Boston Bruins three stars at the midway point of the season

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 18: Danton Heinen
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 18: Danton Heinen /

The Boston Bruins are 40 games into the season and in the middle of their league-mandated bye week. Solidified in a playoff position, what players have had stand out seasons thus far?

The Boston Bruins are currently in the middle of their league-mandated bye week. At the midway point of the season, they are playing a lot better than some expected and a case could be made for multiple stars of the season so far. But, which players have had the biggest impacts? Which players are a must in the lineup? Who are the three biggest stars of the season thus far?

1st Star – Danton Heinen

Danton Heinen was not on the radar for many fans coming into the season. In fact, he was still down in Providence when the season began. Due to injuries, he was a given chance and he and Bruce Cassidy have not looked back. Throughout the season, he has played on almost every line and his presence has been known.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 6: Riley Nash /

He currently sits fourth on the team in points (30) with 10 goals and 20 assists. Of course, the three men in front of him are the Bruins’ top line. Since December 1, he leads all rookies in points with six goals and 10 assists. Which also has equaled 16 points in his last 15 games. His production, skill, and impact on the roster are undeniable.

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I put Heinen as my first star for more than just his surprising production and solidified slot on the roster. He adds depth to the Boston Bruins beyond their high-powered first line and he makes those on his line, like David Backes, play to their full potential. His continued poise, grit, and production will be needed come playoff time.

2nd Star – Charlie McAvoy

Charlie McAvoy made his NHL Debut in the middle of the postseason last year. He immediately played with as much skill and poise as a veteran defenseman. That warranted high expectations coming into this season. Pretty quickly, Bruce Cassidy made the adjustment to pair McAvoy with Captain Zdeno Chara and sometimes it’s as if McAvoy is the veteran defenseman between the two.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – DECEMBER 7: Charlie McAvoy /

Now, that is not a shot at Zdeno Chara, but more a compliment of McAvoy’s game thus far. Numbers wise, he has 21 points (5 Goals, 16 assists), tied sixth on the team overall, and second among defensemen. He has also played in all 40 games so far, a stat that seems to be hard to come by this season. He also averages almost 23 minutes of ice-time a night, which is second on the team, only behind his partner Chara.

It’s safe to say he is an integral part of the Bruins’ blue line this season and hopefully, many more seasons to come. He is my second star because night in and night out he is going up against the NHL’s best offensive players and is able to handle himself as a Veteran defenseman.

3rd Star – Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand was just named as the lone Bruin for the 2018 All-Star team. Rightfully so, he currently leads the team in points (40) with 17 goals and 23 assists. He leads all forwards in average ice-time of 20:01. I only put Marchand as the third star, frankly because this should be expected at this point in his career. Plus, I believe he is at his best when playing along with David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron. Both players I could have included as one of the three stars as well, but that’s just too easy.

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 13: Brad Marchand
DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 13: Brad Marchand /

A healthy Brad Marchand and the rest of the top line is key if the Bruins plan on making an impact in the post-season. His skill level and transformation from a “pest” to an all-star over the last few seasons is undeniable.

Honorable Mention

Tuukka Rask – Whether you are among the “Rask-haters” or fully believe in the starting goalie, Tuukka Rask needs to at least be mentioned for his numbers this season. Yes, he is inconsistent, so I will only go as far as honorable mention. But, without him during the month of December, the Bruins may not be just as high up in the standings as they are. In his last 13 starts he is 11-0-2 and on the season has a save percentage of .920.

David Backes – David Backes disappointed many fans last season, including me. However, this season he has been on another level, both in his overall play and physically. He missed most of the fall due to Diverticulitis and having to have surgery. In that surgery, doctors removed almost half of his colon! Not only did he return healthy, but ahead of schedule. In his 23 games, he has eight goals and nine assists. His pure grit, leadership, and commitment to this team are amazing to watch and should not be overlooked.

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Overall, the Boston Bruins have solid depth this year and a lot of key players finding solid production and ice-time. I could have made a case for a lot of different players to be the three stars at the midway point of the season, but for now, I will stick with Heinen, McAvoy, and Marchand.