The talk around the Boston water coolers when it comes to hockey usually gets interesting. Some fans contrive fantasy scenarios about big named players being traded to the Bruins. Others talk about what Charelli’s big move is going to be come September. A few people like to reminisce about 2011 a little too much. The big question for all of us to answer is who will end up on the roster next year.
Let us start off be assuming that the Bruins will handle most of their line promotions internally. First, we take Loui Eriksson who is prime to have a great year (concussions and other vicious surprises not withstanding) and put him on on first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. The Black and Gold promote Daniel Paille to the third line to make up for Eriksson’s absence. Paille’s speed would compliment Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg nicely. If the organization makes those moves, that leaves three open slots on the squad (two in the fourth line and the thirteenth forward). Could Bruins first round draft pick David Pastrnak make the squad his first year out of the blocks?
I don’t think he will. We’ve seen European players have a tough learning curve on NHL ice, and we can expect more of the same from the young Czech. Sure, he’ll probably get a call up sometime during the season. He may play several games for the B’s as they fill in slots for injuries or use the healthy scratch stick to reprimand recalcitrant players. The only way he will make the roster is if he has an outstanding training camp and a few people expected to make the cut fall flat on their skates.
The big issue now is (barring trades) where Gregory Campbell will end up. If he stays at center, then it raises the odds for players like Pastrnak and lowers them for Providence centers with NHL ice time. Justin Florek, Matt Fraser, Jared Knight, and Anthony Camara are the top choices among the Providence squad to get promoted up if Campbell stays where he is. If Campbell moves to the wing, then we’ll likely see a P-Bruin get the bump up to center the new Maroon Line. (It can never be called Merlot again.) The Providence players likely to get the invite to camp to try that theory out are Ryan Spooner or Alexander Khokhlachev. Most of the above players have some NHL experience under their belts, and a good training camp could catapult them from the Dunk to the TD Garden.
It’s roughly six weeks before the start of training camp, and we are sure to see one or two big surprises from the Bruins front office before the start of the season. The Bruins have a great organization, and I’m sure they’ll find most of what they need inside the family.