3 Bruins’ Wishes for the 2022-23 Season

The end of the offseason is finally in sight. Training camp is right around the corner for the NHL and September is the last month of the year without regular-season hockey. Excitement is mounting for the 2022-23 season and there is plenty to be excited and hopeful about for another year of hockey. 

Related: Bruins and Pastrnak Have plenty of Time to Work on an Extension

When it comes to the Boston Bruins, this year is surely going to be an interesting one. After a first-round exit in last season’s playoffs, this team only has so many more shots at another Stanley Cup for guys like Brad Marchand, Patrice, Bergeron, and David Krejci, who recently returned to Boston after a year of playing back in his home country.

Everyone wishes for their team to make the postseason and win the Stanley Cup at the start of the new season. But these are three other wishes I would like to see the Bruins fulfill this season that should be very doable.

Breakout Seasons for DeBrusk and Frederic

Jake DeBrusk has certainly had a rollercoaster of a young career so far in Boston. After a phenomenal season in 2018-19 that saw him score 27 goals and 42 points in 68 games, the forward struggled in the following seasons. He only had five goals and 14 points in 41 games in 2020-21 and was even a healthy scratch at certain points. It all came to a head last season when it was revealed that he had made a trade request. 

Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins
Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

After the request was made public, though, DeBrusk turned his season around and finished as one of the strongest forwards on the team. He matched his career high in points, scoring 42 in 77 games and registered 25 goals. This summer, he rescinded his trade request and seems happy to be in Boston for the at least the next few seasons (he signed a two-year extension in March).

Trent Frederic is another former first-round selection of Boston’s that has struggled to find his footing in the roster. While he has not had the same highs or same lows as DeBrusk, he has certainly not quite lived up to the expectations one would have of a first-round pick. He’s mostly made a name for himself in the physical standpoint, and has gained a bit of a reputation for taking bad penalties. 

The 2022-23 season is a fresh start for both players. It’s an opportunity for DeBrusk to prove that he’s the high-scoring forward the Bruins desperately need him to be and it’s an opportunity for Frederic to become more disciplined in his game and become more of a contributor on offense. With a brand-new head coach in Jim Montgomery, both should hopefully benefit from the new system since neither seemed to be thriving in former head coach Bruce Cassidy’s system. Every season you want to see guys play to their potential, but these two are names that stick out going into this next season.

Reunion of Krejci, Hall & Smith Line

While I wouldn’t be surprised to see Krejci spend some time with David Pastrnak on his wing, it would be great to get some quality minutes for the Krejci, Taylor Hall, and Craig Smith line. The three showed great chemistry after Hall was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres at the 2021 Trade Deadline.

David Krejci Boston Bruins
David Krejci, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Prior to the acquisition of Hall, Smith had struggled to find a permanent spot in his first season with the Bruins and Krejci had had a rotating cast of wingers (as had become the norm for him in the seasons leading up to his departure for the Czech Republic). In the 16 games they played together to close out the regular season in 2021, Hall registered 14 points in 16 games, Smith had 10, and Krejci had 21. 

If the Bruins can put together a really solid second line, then they would have a top six that could compete well in the NHL. The keyword, as it always is with the depth scoring for this team, is “if.” Hopefully these three can find that chemistry again and become the same contributors they were to close out the 2020-21 season.

Break Out From a Bruins’ Prospect

While the first three lines seem to be pretty concrete, the Bruins fourth line remains a fairly big question mark and there are a number of young guys who will be competing for the final few roster spots. Among them are Oskar Steen, who is 24 years old and had six points in 20 games in Boston last season; Jack Studnicka, who had 35 points in 41 games in Providence last season; and Marc McLaughlin, who had three goals in 11 NHL games last season. 

The Bruins need to commit to giving young guys like the three of them a chance this season. I’d expect all three of them to get opportunities at various points during the season, especially when the inevitable injuries pop up. This should hopefully be the season that one of these guys finally has the necessary breakthrough to cement their case to become a full time NHLer. 

If I had to make a bet, my money would be on McLaughlin. He’s had an incredible 2022 beginning with making Team USA’s Olympic roster back in January. The Bruins have also had a run of success in recent years with local guys (Charlie Coyle, Matt Grzelcyk) and the Billerica and Boston College product would fit right in with that group. 

McLaughlin has the least amount of NHL experience out of the three of them, but isn’t too far behind in points. He has three points in 11 NHL games while Steen has six points in 23 games and Studnicka has seven points in 37 games. With a new coach and hopefully a real commitment by the front office to give young guys a real shot this season, this should be the year one of them breaks out, and it can’t come a moment too soon as Bergeron and Krejci are both on one-year contracts that expire at the end of the season. The team desperately needs someone to give an ounce of hope for the future (even though no one will truly be able to replace either Bergeron or Krejci).

2022-23 Season Upon Us

The Bruins will open their preseason on Sept. 24 against the Philadelphia Flyers and will begin their season on Oct. 12 in Washington D.C. against the Washington Capitals. There will certainly be some interesting storylines for the preseason as young guys vie for the few open spots and Krejci comes back into the fold. 

Related: Bruins Need Hall to Shine with Krejci in 2022-23 Season

Every new season is exciting but this is a particularly interesting one for the Bruins with Charlie McAvoy, Marchand, and Grzelcyk injured to start the season and it being the potential end of an era in Boston if this is it for Bergeron. Make sure to follow along on The Hockey Writers throughout the 2022-23 season.