Boston Bruins: Analyzing and grading the 2019-20 season of Sean Kuraly

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 25: Sean Kuraly #52 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the second period of the game against the Calgary Flames at TD Garden on February 25, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 25: Sean Kuraly #52 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the second period of the game against the Calgary Flames at TD Garden on February 25, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Did Sean Kuraly do enough for the Boston Bruins to earn a passing grade in 2019-20?

Primarily playing in a bottom-six role, Sean Kuraly was decent when it came to offensive production for the Boston Bruins during the 2019-20 season.

Kuraly set career-bests in both points (23) and assists (17) in 69 games this past season. This comes after he previously set career-bests in every major offensive category in 2018-19 with eight goals, 13 assists, and 21 points in 71 games.

Although the basic stats say he was better in 2019-20 than in 2018-19, the advanced stats do not.

Kuraly’s Corsi-for percentage (CF%) and Fenwick-for percentage (FF%) both dropped significantly. Additionally, Kuraly’s expected goals for (xGF) also declined significantly this year.

His production might’ve increased, however, his level of play actually decreased quite a bit.

Along with his ability to drive and control the play, Kuraly also struggled with his defense in 2019-20.

After finishing 2018-19 with a career-best 53.8 faceoff percentage (FO%), Kuraly struggled in the circles in 2019-20 with just a 48.8 FO%. Furthermore, his plus/minus (+/-) went from a +6 in 2018-19 to a -2 in 2019-20 and his expected plus/minus (E+/-) dropped from a 2.9 to a -4.8.

In the playoffs, Kuraly played around the same as he did in the regular season. In 10 playoff games, Kuraly registered three points (one goal, two assists) with a -4 rating. However, he was much better with his draws, winning nearly 52% of them.

What grade should Sean Kuraly receive for his 2019-20 season with the Boston Bruins?

Offensively, Kuraly was sufficient for a bottom-six forward in 2019-20. However, he didn’t drive and control the play as well as he did in 2018-19.

Additionally, he struggled defensively and was pretty much a liability in the faceoff circles in 2019-20 after having a good season in both these aspects in 2018-19.

Furthermore, Kuraly failed to bring his game to the next level in the playoffs in 2019-20. He played at a slightly worse points-per-game pace and continued to struggle defensively, but was significantly better at faceoffs.

With all of this included in giving Kuraly a grade, I think a C+ is fair. He was able to produce better than he has in years past but struggled defensively.

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Hopefully, the 27-year-old center can continue his success offensively but improve in his own zone and in the faceoff circles for 2020-21.

Grade: C+