Back at the start of the season, I did an article called 10 for 2010: 10 Predictions about the 2010-11 Boston Bruins.
With the regular season now in the books, let's take a look at how I did, shall we?
1. Tim Thomas will not be traded this season.
I was right on this one. And then some. But not really for the right reason. I certainly didn't anticipate Thomas winning back his job and setting the single-season record for save percentage. But then, neither did anyone else, so at least I've got company. Next year? We'll see. I can't imagine the Bruins trading Thomas after a record-setting season, but the Thomas/Rask tandem is a luxury item they cannot afford much longer. At latest, a decision must be made after next season, when Rask will be a restricted free agent and surely looking for a huge raise.
2. Nathan Horton will score 33 goals.
Not quite. He had 26, though, and I doubt anyone seriously regrets that trade.
3. The Bruins offense will improve dramatically over 2009-10.
They moved from 29th in goals scored to 5th. If you don't consider that "dramatic", the fault is in your standards, not my prediction. They had three guys who would have outscored last season's leading goal scorer.
4. The Bruins' failure to give Brad Marchand playing time will cause me to have a nervous breakdown.
Well, they didn't fail to give Marchand playing time, and I didn't have a nervous breakdown. So, I guess I was wrong on this one. But my larger point was a winner: Marchand would flourish with playing time. My potshot at Shawn Thornton? Not as much.
5. We have seen the last of Michael Ryder.
Remember that nervous breakdown I mentioned? Well, it could still happen. And if it does, it will be Ryder's fault. He had 14 goals before the All-Star break, and just 4 after. Ryder can stickhandle, and if the stars are favorably aligned, he can make a nice pass. But he's hopeless defensively and could skate an entire period with a dozen eggs in his pocket and not break one. Ultimately, if Ryder's not putting the puck in the net, he's not bringing much to the table. I thought for sure that the Bruins would get rid of Ryder as the solution to their cap woes, but injuries to Marco Sturm and Marc Savard took him off the chopping block.
6. The Bruins will be forced to trade for a defenseman.
Not only did they trade for a defenseman, but they traded for the one I pinpointed. I love when that happens. Oh, and there was one more thing:
This year, Ference will do what Ference does best: give Boston 40 or 50 decent games, get injured and whine about environmental causes. I'll make you an offer, Andrew: you play at least 78 games, and I'll swear off veal next season. Deal?
7. Tyler Seguin will be okay, not great, this season.
11-11-22 is a bit underwhelming; I said that 40 points was a reasonable goal. But Seguin has been a healthy scratch in 9 games, and has had his ice time slashed to the bone in plenty of others. All told, "okay" probably isn't too far off the mark, as he's shown definite progress as the season has gone on, and hasn't done anything to make people believe he was a wasted pick.
8. Two guys driving Boston's offensive resurgence will be Blake Wheeler and Milan Lucic.
Well, I hit the bull's eye on one of these two. Lucic led the team with 30 goals and became the vaunted "power forward" that we dared hope for.
Put me down for 48 in the Lucic/Wheeler combined goals pool. And if that seems somewhat underwhelming, remember that they combined for 27 last year, so an increase of 21 would go a LONG way toward making up that dropoff in goal scoring from 2008-9 to 2009-10.
Looch had 30 and Wheels 18. Okay, Wheeler scored 7 of those for Atlanta, but I'm taking credit anyway.
9.Tuukka Rask will be a top five goaltender.
Nothing to see here, please move along.
10. Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron will sign contract extensions.
They signed new deals within days of this article. The Bruins will enter next season with only two free agents of note: Tomas Kaberle and Brad Marchand. Three if you want to count Mark Recchi (I do not: either he'll retire or sign another 1 year, $1+M deal).
11. The Bruins will win the Northeast, finish 2nd in the East and make the Conference Finals.
First in the Northeast and 3rd in the East is close enough for government work.
The Conference Finals? Well, get back to me in a few weeks on that one.