Without looking it up, how many goals did Rich Peverley score last year? If you, like me, figured that Peverley missed some time, but was really productive when he was in the lineup, you probably guessed 18-20.
Nope. 11. But he also had 31 assists for 42 points in 57 games. For perspective's sake, a healthy Peverley projected to 16-45-61 totals, which would have tied for fourth on the team in points.
Peverley, like Nathan Horton, was bit by the injury bug, and as a result, Boston's depth at right wing was crippled. Between them, the pair missed 61 games. Peverley's 25 game absence from the lineup hurt more than just Boston's offense; he was a jack-of-all-trades who killed penalties, could play center and wing, and was the team's best faceoff man (if you don't count the 16 draws taken by Nathan Horton and Josh Hennessey). Yes, better than Kathryn's favorite Bruin. Look it up.
Abbreviated as it was, Peverley still finished the season with a robust 10.3 GVT, a number many teams would gladly take from a first line winger, and would kill for from a third line winger. How much of Peverley's success was due to Chris Kelly's improbable breakout season (and vice versa) is an interesting question, but suffice to say they seemed to pair well together. Peverley is really an able second line winger who's overqualified for third line duty, and underqualified for the first line. It should be no surprise that Peverley and Kelly thrived with relatively sheltered ice time. For all the talk about how Milan Lucic got easy ice time, Looch faced tougher competition with a much lower relative quality of linemate, albeit with more offensive zone time.
There's nothing wrong with Peverley and Kelly having easier ice time. Unless Boston gets hammered by injuries again this year, they should do exactly what they did last year: play on the third line and pile up points against lesser competition. That's one of Boston's biggest advantages; what the Bruins seemingly lack in star power, they make up for by scoring in waves. Peverley is a huge part of that and Peter Chiarelli accordingly inked him to a 3 year, $9.75 million contract extension during the season. That's a little rich (sorry Jack), for a 30 year old center/wing, but Peverley was something of a late bloomer, not becoming a firmly established NHL player until age 26, and players with Peverley's skill set seem to age fairly well; for an extreme example, think Martin St. Louis, who had a very similar career arc, though he's obviously a much better player. So the contract is a defensible one.
Injuries haven't historically been a huge problem for Peverley, so one expects him to bounce back and play a full slate of games this year. If so, Peverley figures to deliver 50+ points in a third line role. As for the 2011-12 season, had he been healthy the full season, he'd be a lock for an A. As it is, let's give him a B.