Hampus Lindholm in 2023
80 GP, 10G, 43A, 53PTS, 23:11 ATOI, 53.7 CF% (5v5), 46.1 oZS% (5v5)
Reader rating: 8.2
Writer rating: 7.6
Charlie McAvoy in 2023
67 GP, 7G, 45A, 52PTS, 22:18 ATOI, 53.8 CF% (5v5), 56.2 oZS% (5v5)
Reader rating: 8.4
Writer rating: 7.6
There are plenty of question marks facing the Bruins heading into the 2023-2024 season.
How will they replace last season’s top-two centers? Will the glut of bottom-six forwards work out? Can any youngsters step up?
There are also plenty of things in the Bruins’ favor: one of the league’s best pure scorers in David Pastrnak, an elite two-way wing in Brad Marchand, arguably the league’s best goalie tandem in Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark.
And then there’s the two guys we’re talking about today: Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm, who should be linchpins of the Bruins’ blueline for the better part of the next decade.
Both McAvoy and Lindholm had excellent seasons in 2022-2023.
Lindholm shattered his previous career high in points (34 back in his second season) and McAvoy likely would have set a new high had he not missed 15 games.
Each player averaged more than a full period of ice time per game, meaning it was rare that one of them wasn’t out there causing problems for the opposition.
McAvoy’s season represented another step forward in his impressive young career, as he’s now regularly mentioned on lists of the league’s top five defensemen.
For Lindholm, whose Bruins career didn’t get off to a scorching start when he was acquired in 2022, his performance was exactly what Bruins fans were hoping for when he arrived from Anaheim.
As the season came to an end, Lindholm, in particular, took a bit of a beating due to his performance in the playoffs.
It’d be harsh to say he looked lost out there, but he looked a step behind and like a shell of himself; it made sense, then, to find out he was dealing with a pretty significant injury.
Jim Montgomery did elect to use McAvoy and Lindholm together as a Super Pair from time to time, but for McAvoy spent most of his time with Matt Grzelcyk while Lindholm spent most of his time with Brandon Carlo.
It will come as no surprise to read that both Grzelcyk and Carlo saw pretty significant hits to their possession metrics when taken away from McAvoy and Lindholm.
As we look toward this season, it will be interesting to see if Montgomery elects to keep that top four in place or if he decides to switch things up with some of the new faces in the mix.
Bruins fans have plenty to fret over as a season of change begins.
But in McAvoy and Lindholm, we all know what we’re going to get — and it should be fun to watch once again this season.