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I can’t decide if I think this Bruins team is going to be good or not

It’s a mystery.

Washington Capitals v Boston Bruins Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It seems like it’s been quite a while since we went into a Bruins season with this many new faces.

Gone are David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, Nick Ritchie, and Kevan Miller, among others.

In are Nick Foligno, Tomas Nosek, Erik Haula, Derek Forbort, and Linus Ullmark.

With so much turnover, this Bruins team has become a sort of Rohrschach test — different people look at this roster and see very different things.

Some people see a team that tried to replace two quarters (Rask and Krejci) with a whole bunch of nickels; others see a team that solidified its bottom-six and has a healthy Charlie Coyle to replace Krejci.

In true lukewarm take fashion, I can’t decide what I think.

I think my biggest concern about this season is that the Bruins are pinning an awful lot on hoping everyone plays at their absolute peak — there’s a lot of “if” doing heavy lifting on this Bruins team.

“Goaltending will be fine if Jeremy Swayman can handle the load of a full season and Linus Ullmark was actually held back by Buffalo.”

“Secondary scoring will be great if Charlie Coyle can bounce back.”

“That third line is going to be so much better if Jake DeBrusk gets it together and Nick Foligno can stay healthy.”

To be fair, every team heads into the season with question marks. If there were sure things in hockey, we wouldn’t have to watch the games.

But for the Bruins, you’ve been able to rely on a few different things heading into the season for the past several years: an elite first line, a productive second line, and reliable goaltending.

This year, you can probably count on 1.5 of those, which might be why there’s a little less confidence than usual.

Coyle might click with Taylor Hall and Craig Smith, or that line might go nowhere. Maybe the third line will be better, but we said that with Nick Ritchie and Anders Bjork and Ondrej Kase and David Backes and...you get the point.

Defensively, I have no idea what to expect other than that Charlie McAvoy will be great.

Hopefully, Brandon Carlo will be fully recovered from his concussion. A full season of Mike Reilly could be good. I’m not sure if Derek Forbort is a top-pairing defenseman.

One thing I think we can all agree on — the fourth line should be much improved over the group that struggled last year.

Nosek will likely earn himself a ton of fans pretty quickly, Karson Kuhlman should add an interesting element of speed, and if Trent Frederic can focus a little more on using his physicality to create chances instead of start fights, we should see him take his game to another level.

Frankly, the fourth line had probably gotten a little stale, so that overhaul is welcome.

So we’re left with a first line, a revamped fourth line, Charlie McAvoy, and a whole bunch of question marks.

To be fair, this may just be an “I don’t like change” reaction to a few familiar faces leaving town.

But for the first time in a while, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bruins miss the playoffs. It also wouldn’t surprise me if they win the division.

If nothing else, it should be interesting to watch.

Poll

Do you think that on paper, this year’s Bruins team is...

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    better than last year?
    (261 votes)
  • 40%
    about the same as last year?
    (238 votes)
  • 15%
    worse than last year?
    (93 votes)
592 votes total Vote Now