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Which Bruin should win the Seventh Player Award?

With many of the players over-achieving this season, which Bruin will win NESN’s 7th Player Award?

NHL: Boston Bruins at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The 7th Player Award is given to the Bruin who goes above and beyond expectations. We all expect guys like Tuukka Rask, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Patrice Bergeron to play well year after year.

So, who really deserves to take home the hardware this year?

Charlie McAvoy:

Charlie McAvoy, the young stud who suits up alongside Zdeno Chara and eats up the most minutes on the Bruins, deserves your vote. The 20 year old has 27 points in 54 games played (5 G, 22A) and is a +23 on the season. This kid was an absolute steal by the Bruins, falling to the 14th overall pick in the 2016 draft. Everyone knew McAvoy was going to come into the Bruins lineup and have a lasting impact.

McAvoy started out with the Providence Bruins before being called up to Boston for last year’s playoff series against Ottawa. McAvoy impressed right out of the gate and that’s when everyone knew how good this kid could be. This season he has continued that terrific play despite having heart surgery. He can kill penalties, lead the power play, and pretty much do anything that is asked of him. But has he gone above and beyond expectations?

I would say everyone knew McAvoy was going to play well, we all knew his potential. Do I see him winning the 7th Player Award? Yeah, maybe. The one reason he may not win it is because we had high expectations for him and he met those expectations. For me personally, I’d say he went beyond my expectations but there are players who have really gone over expectations for me.

Matt Grzelcyk:

Grzelcyk came into the Boston lineup after being called up from Providence. No one had any real expectations for him. Bruins fans just wanted him to play well and do his job on the third d-pairing. In my opinion, Grzelcyk has definitely gone above and beyond expectations. In 40 games played he has racked up 11 points (2 G, 9 A) and is a +17. He has been tremendous in the defensive zone as well as being able to move the puck up ice to help the offensive attack.

I’ve always known that Grzelcyk was capable of this: I knew he’d get his chance to crack the lineup and make a lasting impression on the team, Bruce Cassidy, and the Boston fans. I definitely think he deserves votes for the 7th Player Award, but I do not think he will win it as other players have done even better than he has.

Tim Schaller:

Arguably one of the best 4th liners in the league, Schaller has exceeded expectations this year. Recording 17 points (10 G, 7 A) in 58 games is a career high for Schaller, who recorded just 14 points in 59 games played last season. He has really been able to help this team and it’s nice to see. He’s got the hands of a first/second liner and boy, has he made opponents pay.

Did I expect Schaller to play this well? Nope. I expected him to play at the same pace as last season. The New Hampshire native is extremely proud to wear the Spoked B and he shows it day in and day out. This kid definitely deserves votes for 7th Player.

Riley Nash:

Nash has racked up 28 points (10 G, 18 A) in 57 games played and is a +11 on the season. Playing alongside David Backes and Danton Heinen has proven to be one of the best things for him. Both Backes and Heinen are high-end players who can make plays and score goals.

Backes and Heinen have assisted on many of Nash’s goals and are able to create plenty of chances for him to score. Nash is at a career high in points right now with 28. He has tied his career high in goals with 10 and has surpassed his career high in assists with 18.

Did any of us really expect Riley Nash to play this well? I mean, he’s a third-line guy who last year only had 17 points in 81 games. He has played way above expectations and has proven to be a very valuable player on this Boston roster.

Nash is absolutely the guy you want centering your third line right now. He can score goals, make plays, and help his linemates in any way possible. He deserves to be in the running for the 7th Player.

David Backes:

Well on his way to having a better season than the last, Backes has impressed. He’s able to score goals when they matter and help his linemates score goals as well. For me, Backes has gone above and beyond expectations because I didn’t think he would be having this good of a season.

This guy got part of his colon removed, came back from surgery very quickly and continued to make a lasting impact on the lineup. A guy who doesn’t put up as many points as he used to, Backes is extremely good at killing penalties and using his body to make plays. He’s not afraid to get physical with people and that’s what sets him apart from many players this day and age.

Backes has been very fun to watch this season. I highly doubt he will win the 7th Player Award because fans seem to not recognize him as much as other guys, but he should definitely be receiving votes.

Danton Heinen:

Continuing on with our third liners, Danton Heinen has been phenomenal this season. He is currently tied for sixth in rookie scoring with 39 points. He has been tremendous on the third line with Backes and Nash.

Through 54 games he’s scored 12 goals and 27 assists for 39 points. No one thought Heinen would be playing this well. We knew he would play well but he has definitely exceeded expectations. He’s not afraid to get to the dirty areas and score goals. He has a tremendous shot and can score from anywhere on the ice. This kid is fast and is able to break away from defenders to get off his shot.

He will definitely score 40+ points and will probably hit the 50 point mark. A kid in his first full season with Boston possibly scoring 50 points is extremely impressive, especially for a third liner.

Overall, Heinen deserves 7th Player votes and could very well win the award after the season he has been having.

Jake DeBrusk:

With 29 points (11 G, 18 A) in 54 games, he has really helped the second line find its game. DeBrusk has an amazing shot and he will only get better as he matures and grows as a player. This season, DeBrusk deserves some 7th Player votes because he is on pace to score 35+ points.

Anton Khudobin:

Anton Khudobin as been able to steal games this season for the Bruins. When Tuukka wasn’t playing so great, he was able to step in and get wins for the team. He has been everything you want in a backup goaltender this season. With a 13-3-4 record and a 2.33 GAA, .922 SV% Khudobin has been stellar. Khudobin has exceeded expectations, as last season he had a 7-6-1 record.

Khudobin’s performance reminds me of his 2012-13 season with Boston, when he went 9-4-1 with a 2.32 GAA and .920 save percentage. His stats between that season and this season are extremely similar.

The Bruins went on to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013. Coincidence? Hmmmm...

Khudobin has been stellar and deserves voting for the 7th player, as he has really stepped it up this season. He is having the best season of his career right now and has been a key component of this Bruins team.


Who do you think it will be? One of the guys above, or is someone missing?