Bruins Round Table: Starting Goalie, Point-Leader & More

With the start of the 2022-23 NHL regular season right around the corner, it felt appropriate to start looking at some questions about the Boston Bruins that should be exciting for fans and media alike. To answer these questions, we’ve polled some of the writers from the Bruins’ team here at The Hockey Writers, including Vince Reilly, Scott Roche, and Brandon Share-Cohen.

Jeremy Swayman, Boston Bruins
Jeremy Swayman is the future of the Boston Bruins crease, but will he start most of the 2022-23 season? (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Without further delay, here are the questions (and answers):

Should the Bruins Split Goalie Starts All Season?

The first question has to do with Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark. The Bruins are in a situation where both goalies have legitimate claims for the crease, though it’s difficult to determine at face value if either is favorable over the other to take on the majority of starts all season long.

Linus Ullmark Boston Bruins
Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman will both be in line to get starts for the Boston Bruins this season. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Vince Reilly

Yes, the Bruins should plan to split their goalie starts all season. Both Swayman and Ullmark have shown an ability to keep the Bruins in games and steal wins for the team. The tandem is a strength of the team and should be embraced rather than shunned. Similarly, by being able to split the workload, both goalies should remain fresh and play at a high level in the push for the playoffs and into playoff games. However, all of this comes with the caveat that both players remain healthy. If the choice is between Swayman and Ullmark, split time. If the choice is Swayman or Ullmark and Keith Kinkaid, then Kinkaid should be used as a traditional backup.

Scott Roche

At the beginning of the season, Swayman and Ullmark will most likely share the duties, but does that last all season long? It should, as long as they each have another season that they had last season. With Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk both sidelined to begin the season recovering from offseason surgeries, there is a very good chance that both goalies will be seeing a lot of rubber early on. The only question mark is Ullmark, who battled injuries during his time with the Buffalo Sabres, and having him remain healthy this season is going to be key.

Brandon Share-Cohen

Both Swayman and Ullmark had their moments throughout the 2021-22 regular season. Though Swayman looked to be pulling away with the job at one point, he would eventually see some struggles. At the same time, Ullmark would put together a hot streak at just the right time to make it clear that both goalies were viable and both should receive equal starts in the regular season. Swayman got the nod in the postseason, but both goalies should be monitored and played accordingly and the hot hand should be kept in mind when making lineup decisions each and every night. Swayman is the long-term goalie for this team, but keeping him fresh is important.

Who Will Lead the Bruins in Points?

With so many injuries affecting the Bruins early in the season, it’s interesting to try and determine which player will likely finish first on the team in points when all is said and done. A lot will come down to how the team rolls out its depth chart early in the season.

Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand is set to miss of the start of the 2022-23 season due to injury, but will he still lead the Boston Bruins in points? (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Vince Reilly

Over the last five years, Brad Marchand has led the team in points four times. That would make him a likely candidate to take the title again right? The hip surgeries he underwent, coupled with a return to play two months into the season would say otherwise. That is why David Pastrnak is my pick to lead the team in points. He will continue to be the primary goal-scoring threat for the Bruins, featuring heavily on the powerplay and even strength. He also will have the best set of line-mates of anyone on the roster. With David Krejci back at center revitalizing the connection the two showed at the World Championships, and Taylor Hall running the opposite wing, opponents will have to focus on all three members of the line, opening up Pastrnak for a huge season.

Scott Roche

If he was healthy to begin the season, Marchand would end up leading the Bruins in points this season. Marchand is out until late November at the earliest, which opens the door for Pastrnak. The plan heading into training camp is to play Pastrnak with Hall and Krejci, which should help numbers. Playing with Erik Haula and Hall last season, he still finished with 40 goals and 77 points. Those numbers should go up with Hall and Krejci as long as he stays healthy.

Brandon Share-Cohen

It seems to be the consensus that Pastrnak will run away with the Bruins’ scoring title this season given the injury to Marchand that will keep him out for the early goings of the season. With that said, the Bruins are no strangers to injury in recent years, and fully eliminating Marchand from the discussion may be a bit premature. Still, Pastrnak does feel like the odds-on favorite to get the job done and it’s hard to argue against this. Hall may be a dark horse to come in and win this distinction, and Patrice Bergeron should not be discounted too heavily from consideration either. Still, Pastrnak feels like a safe bet.

Will Fabian Lysell Play in the NHL This Season

The final question has to do with Fabian Lysell and whether or not he’ll get any NHL action during the 2022-23 season. The opportunity is certainly there for the taking, but there are other factors to consider as well.

Vince Reilly

Yes, Lysell will see time in the NHL this season, the question is how much time and in what role. With the injuries the Bruins are dealing with, there is a case to be made for Lysell to break camp with the team to provide an early offensive weapon while Marchand is out. I think it is more likely he starts in Providence and gets the chance to prove his WHL postseason can carry over to the professional game. Once he shows he can hold his own in the AHL, I would suspect Lysell would be on the shortlist for a middle-six wing position as the Bruins return to health and have to clear cap space, likely by moving a veteran wing (Craig Smith/Nick Foligno).

Related: Boston Bruins’ 3 Untouchable Prospects

Scott Roche

When training camp begins later this month, all eyes will be on Lysell and how he fares. There is a lack of right-wing depth on the Bruins roster right now as the roster currently stands, but if he makes the roster at the beginning of the season, it would be on the fourth line. The best move at the beginning of the season will be to start him with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL), but at some point during the season, I expect Lysell to make his NHL debut.

Brandon Share-Cohen

The conversation surrounding Lysell and his timeline seems to be more geared towards “when” and not “if” he’ll play in the NHL this season. Whether he plays on the team to start the season, at some point in the middle of the season or to close out the season, his exposure to NHL hockey seems inevitable at this point. How long he’ll get to play in the NHL and in which role is another story, but his talent level alone makes him a viable candidate to log some minutes this season on a Bruins team with Stanley Cup aspirations.