The biggest talking point heading into the season for the Boston Bruins is the second-line center position. That is entirely justifiable, as David Krejci opted to go home to the Czech Republic and continue his professional hockey career there. At this juncture, it seems Charlie Coyle is going to get a shot at the role, as Bruce Cassidy said this summer that he was the frontrunner. Yet, Jack Studnicka is trying to make his case for it and has had a strong preseason.
Yet, the Bruins’ third line also carries high degree of importance. During the off-season, the Bruins decided not to send Nick Ritchie a qualifying offer, and the power forward then went on to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs as an unrestricted free agent. Like we stated above, Coyle is expected to get a promotion as well. Thus, the only remaining player from last year’s third-line is Jake DeBrusk. Yet, that honestly may not be a bad thing.
The Bruins third line this season will likely sport Erik Haula and Nick Foligno as its newest members. In their last preseason game against the Flyers, the three appeared to work quite well, as they each managed to get themselves onto the scoresheet. Truthfully, when looking at these three on paper alone, it seems that they should be able to mesh better than last year’s.
The Bruins should see better chemistry with their new trio.
When looking at Coyle versus Haula, the latter is more of an offensively-driven center. This could benefit DeBrusk significantly. The 24-year-old winger struggled to produce on last season’s line and previously had success playing with a pass-first center like Krejci. In total, he scored five goals and had 14 points in 41 games. With this, he also primarily played on his off-wing and it simply wasn’t a fit for him. It appeared that he lost the confidence he once had. This is where adding Foligno to the team is massive, as he has a ton of versatility and can play each forward position. Thus, DeBrusk now can move back to the position he plays best at. Furthermore, Foligno also can chip in offensively.
The loss of Krejci is a massive one and the Bruins need better depth scoring now more than ever. Krejci was consistently their best forward who wasn’t on the first-line for many years. Yet, even then, the B’s were criticized for their lack of production from the bottom half of their lineup. Now, with an entirely revamped third line, they are hoping this can finally change.
Truthfully, there should be a sense of optimism when it comes to this specific line. Personally, I do believe they have the tools to quite productive, especially if DeBrusk can have a bounce-back season with his new expected linemates.
At the end of the day, if the third-line ends up working out well, they will help rid of the ongoing narrative that the Bruins are a one-line team. That would be a very nice thing to see, especially with the team looking to remain as legitimate contenders.