Noel Acciari - Forward
Since his first NHL call up during the 2015-2016 season, Noel Acciari has helped solidify the Bruins’ fourth line in a big way. He’s physical, fearless, and above all, reliable. He’s not going to score seven hat-tricks a year or lead the league in points, but you can put him out there and know he’ll make the right play. Oh, and he might completely flatten someone too with a clean, open ice hit. He has a knack for that.
His physicality is certainly admirable in its own right, but the fearlessness he possesses is a bonus. He’ll block shots without any hesitation and throw clean checks at just about anyone. This tenacity allowed him to earn a role on the Bruins, and he took a big step forward in 2017-2018.
Acciari’s season began in the worst way possible, as he suffered a broken left index finger after blocking a shot in the opening game against Nashville. Injuries have been consistent during Acciari’s career, and it’s not uncommon, especially for someone who plays with the style he does. He even played through a sports hernia from November to the end of the season, and underwent offseason surgery.
When Acciari returned to the lineup on November 10, he helped stabilize what was arguably the best fourth line in hockey last season with Sean Kuraly and Tim Schaller, and put forth his best professional season to date. He set career highs in goals (10) and points (11), and blocked 41 shots at even strength. He averaged 1:22 of shorthanded time on ice per game, and finished second on the team with 152 hits at even strength. Also, for a guy who plays as physical as Acciari, only having nine penalty minutes is pretty remarkable.
He even showed he was capable of backing up his big hits with a little fisticuffs, which you can see below.
Aggregate Grade: C
Acciari is not going wow you with speed and finesse, rather with his huge hits and perfectly timed shot blocks. He might play with a lot of grit (GRIT!!!), but his offensive flashes surely make him an important piece to the puzzle. And his team first mentality, whether it’s blocking shots, defending teammates, or playing through injuries, certainly goes a long way in the locker room. I would even say he did more than he was expected to, which is never a bad thing.
Acciari plays a clean, hard game, and once again showed his value last season.
Do you agree with Schaller’s grade?
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