Every year the Boston Bruins have an award that goes out. It is called the Boston Bruins seventh player award. This is an award that is presented to the player who has been an unsung hero for the club all season long. This has been a magical season all year long, and there have been unsung heroes all over this roster.
Boston Bruins Seventh Player Award Nominations
There is so much magic going on with this Boston Bruins team. Linus Ullmark is having a Vezina-caliber season, David Pastrnak is closing in on 50 goals and 100 points, and the historic pace they are on. On a team filled with blossoming stars and seasoned veterans, there are unsung heroes that play their part in this historic run. Those are the recipients of this award. Those who do the little things and contribute in ways that may go unnoticed. Who are those unsung heroes worthy of the nomination?
One nominee that’s worthy of this award is Brandon Carlo. This is a team that boasts stout blue liners in Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, and Dmitry Orlov. But Brandon Carlo excels perfectly in his role. It is never flashy like you see with all these other defensemen, but from a shutdown standpoint, Carlo does a great job.
Carlo has seen time spent alongside Matt Grzelcyk, but he has spent majority of the season alongside Hampus Lindholm. The duo averages 1.66 goals against per 60 minutes. Him and Grzelcyk average 1.3. In addition, Lindholm and Carlo have 2.14 expected goals against per 60 minutes. They play better than expected in this regard and excel in their shutdown role.
Carlo ranks second in defensemen with 100 hits, third in takeaways (22), and has the least amount of turnovers with 13. In addition, he has excelled on the penalty kill. Having five takeaways leads the team when in that situation. Just so much appreciation for a guy like him that does his job.
Another guy who is worthy of this is Weymouth native Charlie Coyle. His game has been taken to a different level under new head coach Jim Montgomery. Not only has he been anchoring the third line, but he has also played on the penalty kill. Montgomery also has high praise for the forward by saying, “It’s very comforting for us as a team to know that they’re out there and they’re gonna get the job done,” Montgomery said of Coyle and Nosek’s craft on the PK. “And not only that, they read off each other really well with their pressure in zone, but also especially down ice”.
One thing Charlie Coyle has excelled at is helping drive offense while being a great puck protector. All of that is still true, but Montgomery has tapped into his defensive game. Coyle has played 147 minutes of penalty kill time. He has one goal and three assist (2 being primary). Coyle has a whopping 15 takeaways while killing penalties. It shined brightly as he and Tomas Nosek connected for a goal against the New York Rangers.
In all situations Coyle leads in takeaways with 43. He has been exceptional in the faceoff circle winning 53.2% of his draws. However, most notably he has spent more of his draws in the defensive zone. It has helped make the Bruins more dangerous that they can count on him in that regard. The third line has been impactful for the club and number 13 is a large reason why.
Don Sweeney has worked his magic with trades. Everyone saw him go to work this trade deadline and last year’s deadline. But the one move that has paid off tremendously is Pavel Zacha. In a one-for-one deal, Zacha has come into Boston and has played tremendously for the club. He may have not been a fit in New Jersey anymore, but he had fit like a glove in Boston.
Zacha is a swiss army knife and has been able to play center and wing and has come up large. In addition, he is having a career year with the Bruins. He is one goal shy away from his career high, but has a career-high in assists (27) and points (43). Zacha has two game-winning goals to his name, and has a 16.2% shooting percentage for the season.
The infamous Czech line has been a force for the Bruins. Despite them being best the bottom in chances generated (46.1 xGoals%), they rank ninth in goals scored (26). Zacha has been able to provide balance to the lineup and has been great for the team overall and worthy of this award.