The Boston Bruins will have a lot on their plate this season, following two straight years of missing the playoffs in the final days of the regular season. Despite their troubles as a team, some players had pretty good individual seasons. Patrice Bergeron led Boston with 68 points, while Brad Marchand led the team in goal scoring with a career-high 37 goals – a whole 13 more than the previous season.
Here, we’ll make a prediction as to who will lead the Bruins among several statistical fronts this regular season.
Goals – Brad Marchand
Brad Marchand came into training camp with a chip on his shoulder last year and carried that fire
throughout the season. He had a breakout year for the Bruins, and found himself five goals ahead of linemate Patrice Bergeron, despite playing three fewer games.
Marchand is a safe bet to take the scoring title once again. The gritty winger has made it clear that he wants to take on a leadership role this season, and in a contract year, what better time to turn on the scoring for your club? His career-year last season should be matched by another very good year, as the 28-year-old charges into the prime of his career. Plus, with Patrice Bergeron feeding you all year, well, that helps out a little bit too.
Assists – Torey Krug
David Krejci led the charge in the assist column for the Bruins last season, tallying 46 assists in just 72 games. He’ll certainly be near the top of the list for the Bruins this season, however, the loss of Loui Eriksson on his wing may put a dent in Krejci’s assist total this season.
That puts the Bruins assist column in an unsure situation this season. Boston’s inability to acquire a top-flight defenseman this off-season may result in an increase in ice-time for offensive-defenseman Torey Krug, who could very well compete for the assist title this season. He may be an anchor for the Bruins blue-line this season, and will see time quarterbacking Claude Julien’s powerplay, which has gotten far better over the past few seasons. Krug finished just six assists behind David Krejci last season, and if he sees success with a little more ice this year, he could take over that top spot.
Finally, Patrice Bergeron will certainly compete for the role this season, especially if Brad Marchand finds the back of the net in the same fashion as last season. Patrice Bergeron has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, and can create a lot of offensive chances for his linemates. A solid season from the future Bruins captain could place him at the top of the assists list.
Plus/Minus – Patrice Bergeron
Brad Marchand led the charge in the plus/minus department last season, partially due to his scoring prowess. He and Patrice Bergeron are reliable on both ends of the ice, and will work together to boost their plus/minus ratings as a unit this season. Bergeron’s plus/minus rating has fallen off a bit since his +38 rating back in 2013-14, however, that drop probably has more to do with Boston’s worsening defense than the centerman’s play.
While Brad Marchand may be a safe bet in the plus/minus department, I would keep an eye on Patrice Bergeron to bump his rating up again as one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL.
Penalty Minutes – Adam McQuaid
It’s rather strange to see a team’s leading scorer also lead the penalty minutes department, but that was the very case for the Bruins last season, as Brad Marchand’s ninety penalty minutes put him atop Boston’s list of offenders. However, Marchand isn’t the man to worry about in black and gold when Adam McQuaid is on the ice.
If McQuaid stays healthy, he should take over the penalty minute title without much effort. He registered one less penalty minute that Marchand last season, despite playing thirteen fewer games. As a somewhat undisciplined player, and one who is expected to drop the gloves for the Bruins, he’s our favorite to take home the penalty minute crown this season. Boston’s inability to upgrade the defense may leave McQuaid with more ice time than he should have, so if he stays healthy, you can expect to see him at the top of the list.