Boston Bruins: Predicting The 2015-16 Opening Day Roster


Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins have a few players who are vying for even fewer jobs in their starting lineup for the 2015-16 season. Players like Brian Ferlin, Alexander Khokhlachev, Jonas Kemppainen, and Zac Rinaldo are all competing for a role on the fourth line, or as the thirteenth forward. Additionally, Players like: Matt Irwin, Joe Morrow, Kevan Miller and Colin Miller are all competing for a job in the Bruins lineup in either the top-six or as the seventh defenseman. As the preseason rolls along and players outlast each round of roster cuts, the remaining players in camp will be getting longer looks to prove why they deserve an NHL job.

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  • While there has been a lot of discussion about Alexander Khokhlachev and his recent statements about wanting to play in the NHL and not the AHL, but also isn’t looking at the KHL as per his agent, Khokhlachev hasn’t earned himself a roster spot so far during the preseason. Khokhlachev is known for his offensive ability, whereas his defensive ability is sub-par according to most. This preseason, Khokhlachev has posted only one point while playing very poorly in the faceoff circle. If he wants to steal a roster spot this season, he will have to really shine with the remaining opportunities that he is given.

    Brian Ferlin has shown he can absolutely be a regular player on the Bruins roster, and should see playing time at some point during the 2015-16 season. Injuries happen, and Ferlin’s name should be right at the top of the list for a call-up alongside recently-injured right winger Seth Griffith. As it stands, Bruins coach Claude Julien will most likely want to roll out three experienced NHL players on the fourth line to start the season, which means Zac Rinaldo, Chris Kelly, and Max Talbot will all likely be the starting fourth line players.

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    To the dismay of many, Zac Rinaldo has absolutely earned a spot on the roster, showing his speed, hitting, and even restraint on plays which end up forcing penalties from the other team. Claude Julien has already stated that he is impressed with Rinaldo following the preseason game against the New York Rangers. “Right there, it seemed to distract them (New York Rangers) more, Julien said, “and it seemed like our guys were focused on trying to win a hockey game. He stayed out of trouble. It was a clean hit, and we’ll leave it at that.”

    Jonas Kemppainen hasn’t really stood out in in the preseason, but defensive ability isn’t always as noticed as offensive play. Kemppainen has been skating between Zac Rinaldo and Maxime Talbot for most of the Bruins training camp, which means Claude Julien may be testing the waters to see how chemistry is formed between the three. With Chris Kelly penciled in as a lock for the roster, Kemappainen is most-likely competing for the thirteenth forward job.

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    Matt Irwin has played very well in the preseason for the Bruins, and with Dennis Seidenberg sidelined for two months, it seems more than likely that he makes the roster to bolster the experience on the roster. Irwin has shown his offensive ability, and even scored two goals in his first preseason game with Boston. He will likely start the season on the bottom pairing, and could earn himself a top-four role if Claude Julien feels the need to shuffle his lines.

    Joe Morrow has provided stability on the Bruins blueline over the preseason, playing reliable defense while also showing his slick puck-moving ability. Claude Julien may have tipped his hand about Joe Morrow’s chance of making the roster after giving him high praise early into the preseason. “If you ask me for a rating, (Morrow) got a real good rating (Thursday), Julien said. “Especially when you’re down to five D’s, and the amount of ice time those guys had to get. That includes a young guy in Carlo, trying to get his feet wet in the league, and right from the get-go, you’re down to five. So, I thought those guys handled themselves well, but Joe was really good in my mind.Brandon Carlo was of coursed sent back to his CHL team during one of the most recent batches of roster-cuts.

    Kevan Miller has shown that he plays a very rough-and-tough game. He has drawn comparison to Adam McQuaid, and rightfully so. Both players are willing to drop the gloves and lay out big hits to defend teammates, or simply build energy for the Bruins. Due to Miller’s experience, it seems more than likely that he starts the season as the 7th forward, and if another injury occurs on the blueline, he could see a promotion.

    Colin Miller has been given a lot of playing time in the preseason, and Claude Julien has trusted him a lot of situations. While his offensive ability is far superior to his defensive ability, he could benefit the Bruins greatly, but probably not this season. Colin Miller is still getting used to the Bruins system after being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings, where he played with their AHL franchise. Colin Miller has all the makings of a solid offensive-defenseman at the NHL level, but he may have to earn that job by starting the season in the AHL and proving he’s deserving of a roster spot at the next level.

    Based on how the preseason has unfolded, it would appear the Bruins going to start their roster as follows:


    Brad Marchand
    Patrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
    Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
    Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
    Zac RinaldoChris KellyMaxime Talbot

    Extra Forward: Jonas Kemppainen


    Zdeno CharaZach Trotman
    Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
    Joe MorrowMatt Irwin

    Extra Defenseman: Kevan Miller


    Tuukka Rask
    Jonas Gustavsson/Jeremy Smith

    Tuukka Rask will be starting for the Bruins in their next preseason game with Jonas Gustavsson backing him up. With Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre both being sent down to the AHL, the backup goaltender race is down to Gustavsson and Jeremy Smith. Gustavsson has NHL experience which could give him the upper-hand on Smith, but Julien might be waiting until the last possible second to make his choice on who will start the season as Tuukka Rask‘s backup. With the AHL currently clogged at the goaltender position with both Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre likely to split starts for the Providence Bruins, Julien might want to keep Smith in the NHL if he feels that the workload won’t be too much for Smith to handle.

    Follow Brandon Share-Cohen on Twitter @BShareCohen to discuss all things Bruins and sports