The 30-year-old Finn is coming off of a rather disappointing season with the Nashville Predators, recording just 21 points in 51 points. It’s the least amount points in a season for Haula since his second year in the league in 204-15. It also is excluding the 2018-19 season when he played in just 15 games due to injury.
The Bruins brought Haula in on a two-year, $4.75 deal this summer to shore up the bottom six. There was a ton of turnover that needed to happen with the third and fourth line, and Haula’s versatility in being able to play both wing and center should help out.
He has shown flashes in his career where he can be a prolific scorer. He had 55 points in 76 games with the Vegas Golden Knights in their first season. While I think that was more of an outlier, the ability to be a depth scorer is there with Haula.
Erik Haula will stand out the most among the rest of the new Bruins
I believe Haula will be the most impactful Bruin that is new this season. Tomas Nosek’s game doesn’t really stand out and he’ll be a fourth-line grinder all season. I think Derek Forbort eventually will go down to the third defensive unit as Bruce Cassidy will reunite Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grezelcyk.
Nick Foligno has never been a huge scorer and I think his impact will be more so felt in the locker room and off the ice, where it’s harder for fans to see.
And lastly, while I think Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman will provide a great goaltender tandem, I can see Swayman getting more games than Ullmark this season. Ullmark, I believe, will have the second-highest impact on the team, but not as much as Haula.
I think Haula is on a better team than he has been in the past, surrounded by linemates that can provide an offensive spark. It wouldn’t shock me to see Haula put up at least 40 points on the third line. The chemistry is there between Haula, Jake DeBrusk and Nick Foligno to be one of the better third lines in the league if they can put everything together.
With those three playing as a unit, the Bruins may just find the depth scoring they have been in desperate need for with their bottom-six forward group.