This years Boston Bruins lineup is magical. To start the season, you never thought to yourself that they’d do what they are doing. It’s fun, historic, and absurd in some categories. The biggest is the goal differential and the trio of defensemen leading in the plus/minus category. With injuries occurring and newcomers in the fold, what does the Boston Bruins lineup truly look like when everyone is healthy and what are the cases to be made? In this piece we will examine the forward groups with the defensemen following suit.
Boston Bruins Lineup At Full Health
The Top Six
When it comes to the bread and butter of this lineup, the top six is what comes to mind. The first line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Jake DeBrusk has been lethal together. In fact, the trio ranks 10th among qualified lines in xGoals% (62.6%). They also have scored 22 as a line ranking them 30th. With the elite two way play of captain Bergeron to go with the skill on the wings, it’s everything you can ask for a top line.
One of Don Sweeney’s finest moves was trading for Pavel Zacha. In addition, he went ahead and signed him to an extension. That extension is paying dividends as Zacha is having a career season. The biggest thing about him, is he has played wing, but has filled in nicely at center when David Krejci missed time. Enough about the one Czech Forward, there’s three of them. Alongside Zacha is Krejci and David Pastrnak. Together they make The Czech Line. The trio ranks fourth in goals as a line (32). However, they rank 14th lowest in terms of chances generated. It is one of the lowest in the league, but they make the most of their opportunities and finish. David Krejci finally has wingers again and the Bruins top six is absolutely lethal. The question marks lie in the bottom of the lineup where the health of certain players is in question. For this exercise of projected lineups, this top six group will stay intact.
Statistics Come From Money Puck
The Third Line
This is where things get tricky. As mentioned above the first two lines are a lock. The chemistry they have and the way they have played make them an automatic shoe in. However, the third line becomes tricky. With the injury to Taylor Hall the experiments have begun. The trade for Tyler Bertuzzi has looked good so far. As a line they have played well and developed chemistry. Here is a good comparison of the lines production.
Goal Differential: 11-5
High Danger Chances: 45-23
Goal Differential: 3-1
High Danger Chances: 15-11
It is a close contest. The sample size is much smaller with Bertuzzi, but it is a good showing. On the surface, everything is evened out. Both lines generate a ton of chances and they are possessing the puck. Hall has resumed skating and practicing at Warrior Ice Arena. A player of his caliber does not belong on the fourth line, but I don’t see him moving up either.
My Projected Line: Hall-Coyle-Bertuzzi
The Fourth Line
The fourth line is a lock for the most part. Despite Tomas Nosek missing time with injury, he is the anchor to the fourth line as well as being one of the best penalty killers. In addition, Garnet Hathaway has been everything you could ask for in a fourth line guy. He is physical, forechecks hard, and has scored a few goals since joining. Those two are the locks.
This is where things get tricky. If the projected lineup above is correct, that bumps Frederic down. Granted he has earned the right to be on the third line, but on a deep team like this it bumps guys around. You now have one slot open for Frederic, Jakub Lauko, and Nick Foligno. Foligno has resumed skating but there is no telling if he will be ready. Unless he is at full health, he is not seeing the ice.
Jakub Lauko has proved he belongs and deserves every bit of consideration. He has made every ounce of his opportunities. In fact, he is giving the coaches a reason to end his emergency call ups. But in hindsight, there may not be room for him when this team is at full strength. With the leadership Foligno brings, and the career year Frederic is having, it’s their spot for this season.
My Projected Line: Frederic-Nosek-Hathaway
It gets tricky on the back end as well with Derek Forbort out of the lineup, but for this we go over the forward group. It is a good problem to have as the Boston Bruins lineup is deep and talented. Any player that can be plugged in will be ready and with two key players out with injury it could get complicated. Overall the Boston Bruins will be ready come playoffs and Don Sweeney went all in on this club.