Going into the 2023-24 season, the Boston Bruins are looking for similar success to last season.
They won’t be going into the season with the expectations of winning the President’s Trophy by 22 points (although it would be nice if they did), but they’re looking to have a similarly consistent season in terms of production from their key play makers.
What they’ll be looking for is consistency, not perfection. While an ability to consistently score goals and have someone there to stop shots is nice, the Bruins key this season will be through their special teams.
Last season, Boston placed 12th in the league in powerplay percentage at 22.7% and were the best in the league on the penalty kill killing off 87.3% of all penalties. Given how successful they were last year with just the 12th best powerplay, and how successful they were with the best penalty kill, watch for both special teams to be a big part of 2023-24.
Throughout their lineup, the Bruins have a very balanced attack ranging from emerging goal scorers like Morgan Geekie who will presumably be getting more touches with the puck, to experienced players looking to break out for a second year in a row like Pavel Zacha who are looking to expand their already large role with the team.
Boston is going to be missing a few playmakers on their special teams squads like Taylor Hall on the powerplay, Patrice Bergeron on the penalty kill, but they do have reinforcements. They’ll also be missing goal scorers like Tyler Bertuzzi.
With the lack of consistent goal scorers like Bertuzzi, the Bruins have gone out and added pieces like James van Riemsdyk and the aforementioned Geekie to their attack on the power play. They also added muscle by bringing Milan Lucic back which should help on the penalty kill.
The signing of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk should also give them some added depth behind Brandon Carlo on the defensemen track.
The special teams have always been a key to Boston’s success, no matter what season it is, but this season given all of their departures whether it is to retirement or to other teams, it is definitely going to be key for the penalty kill and power play to be solid moving forward.
Predicted special teams lines (top two lines)
Powerplay, Line 1:
Forwards: Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle, Fabian Lysell
Defensemen: Hampus Lindholm, David Pastrnak
Powerplay, Line 2:
Forwards: Jake DeBrusk, Morgan Geekie, Pavel Zacha
Defensemen: James van Riemsdyk, Charlie McAvoy
Penalty Kill, Line 1:
Forwards: Milan Lucic, Jesper Boqvist
Defensemen: Derek Forbort, Brandon Carlo
Penalty Kill, Line 2:
Forwards: Jakub Lauko, Jayson Megna
Defensemen: Matt Grzelyck, Kevin Shattenkirk