The Bruins have had an eventful season so far. Jaroslav Halak may have become the 1A in a very strong goalie rotation, injuries have brought us the debuts of too many players to mention, and David Pastrnak is having a career year. These storylines have filled the radio waves, Twitter feeds, and television screens of every Bruins fan. At Stanley Cup of Chowder, we like to be ahead of the curve. Here are a couple of players who may see an increase in scoring over the next month.
Danton Heinen ( 2 G, 3 A)
For those who don’t keep up with advanced statistics, you may feel as though Danton Heinen is having a bad season. In 18 games, he has 2 goals and 3 assists. Expectations were high for the Denver alum entering the 2018-19 season. Early in the season, Bruce Cassidy had him sit in the press box for two games. It hasn’t been the contract year that Heinen was looking for.
However, signs point to Heinen’s success. As a 200-foot product, his game has been good. He currently ranks third among forwards in regularized adjusted plus-minus behind Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, which is mostly due to his strong defensive play. But his offensive play isn’t completely absent either.
Heinen has been one of the more “unlucky” Bruins so far this season. At even strength, Evolving Hockey expected him to be on the ice for 2.12 Bruins’ goals per hour. Corsica had a similar result at 2.11. However, Heinen has only been on the ice for 1.39 Bruins’ goals per hour at even strength. On a personal level, Heinen has a shooting percentage of 3.5% on unblocked shots while he has been expected to shoot 6.3%.
Sean Kuraly ( 1 G, 2 A)
Similar to Danton Heinen, the start of the season for Sean Kuraly hasn’t been as great as people hoped. Given the third line center role opening night in Washington, he underperformed and was sent back down to the fourth line where he’s more comfortable. Kuraly is not known for his point production, nor should he. However, 3 points in 20 games may be too low.
Kuraly only recorded 14 points last season, so his 12 point pace isn’t far off. However, signs point to a career year for Sean Kuraly. At even strength, Kuraly was expected to be on the ice for 2.31 Bruins’ goals per hour in the first 20 games. That’s the highest of any forward no named Marchand, Bergeron, or Pastrnak. However, he was only on the ice for 1.58 Bruins’ goals per hour. Personally, Kuraly has a shooting percentage of 2.6% on unblocked shots while he has an expected shooting percentage of 4.5%.
Unlike Danton Heinen, who is about a league average finisher, we expect Sean Kuraly to score less than expected. While Sean Kuraly should see an increase in his point totals going forward, don’t expect a dramatic boost. However, it’s likely that his scoring could increase enough to set a new career-high for himself.