The round robin games did not go as smoothly as planned for the Boston Bruins. Despite trying a few different forward line combinations to shake things up, nothing seemed to really fire up the Boston offense.
When it comes to playoff hockey, as Boston knows well from Cup Finals runs in 2011 and 2019, physicality is just as important as skill down the stretch. Boston has depth like they did in 2011, but still lack the physicality they sorely missed to match up with the Blues a year ago.
With expanded rosters and no shortage of personnel available, Boston should look to its youth for a spark during the postseason.
This plan has worked in the past, with Tyler Seguin delivering in 2011, Torey Krug in 2013, Sean Kuraly and Charlie McAvoy in 2017, and to some degree Connor Clifton in last year’s postseason.
Here’s who might be a useful addition this year for Boston:
So far, Lauzon has been locked into a top-six defenseman spot but Clifton and Matt Grzelcyk aren’t far off, with John Moore also in the mix. But Lauzaon provides a sense of steadiness along with a disciplined physicality that the Bruins thrive on when it comes to young defenders.
This may come as a bit of shock given he has so far underwhelmed since his surprise first-round selection in 2015. But this year has been one of his most successful yet by limiting his time in the penalty box and picking up his production on the offensive end.
If Boston is need of help on the blue line, sticking Zboril in the lineup could help spark the rest of the group.
This one leans more towards a physicality aspect. Frederic’s offensive ability, though present, has yet to really shine as much as expected.
He has yet to record a point in his NHL career, but has made his presence felt with his physicality.
If Boston has a matchup with a physical team, it might be wise to insert Frederic for a game or two as a bruiser on the third line.
Benched for the round robin finale against Washington, Kuhlman had three points in eight games during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Despite his shorter size, Kuhlman plays much bigger than his height and isn’t afraid to play in the trenches.
An injury hindered his production and role this year but now that he’s fully healthy, perhaps a benching for a game is enough to get the wheels turning for Kuhlman.
He’s still very raw, but Studnicka led Providence in scoring this year and has been most valuable as a penalty killer.
Studnicka scored seven shorthanded goals this year and in the playoffs when special teams can make or break a series, having a young, skilled forward with the ability to fill in on both units can be an asset for a banged up team during the postseason.
Is it too soon for these guys, or do you think one of them should get a look over one of the lineup’s regulars?