On Wednesday night, the Boston Bruins announced their roster for the final preseason game. The roster is stacked up with players that, for the most part, will be up with the big club come opening night.
The forwards are: John Beecher, Jesper Boqvist, Patrick Brown, Charlie Coyle, Jake DeBrusk, Trent Frederic, Morgan Geekie, A.J. Greer, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Matt Poitras, Oskar Steen, and Pavel Zacha.
The defensemen are: Brandon Carlo, Derek Forbort, Matt Grzelyck, Mason Lohrei, Charlie McAvoy, Ian Mitchell, and Jakub Zboril.
And the goalies are: Brandon Bussi, and Jeremy Swayman.
Who’s on the bubble?
Going into the final preseason tilt of the season, the Bruins have a few players who are on the bubble of making the roster and being sent elsewhere.
These players include John Beecher, Patrick Brown, Matthew Poitras, and Oskar Steen on the forward front, and Mason Lohrei, Ian Mitchell, and Jakub Zboril on the defensemen front.
Let’s take a look at all the players on the bubble and predict where they will end up.
Throughout the preseason, Beecher has made it known that he wants to stay in Boston and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Beecher has shown that he is more than capable of playing as a fourth-line center, and on the wings when needed. He will more than likely make the team, but he’ll need a strong two-way performance to show it.
With a goal in the first game, and an assist in the last game, this game is his last chance to show why he belongs in Boston and not Providence.
Prediction: Makes the Bruins roster as an extra forward.
Brown hasn’t shown up on the scoresheet for Boston, so it has been a little bit of a disappointing preseason for the 31-year-old this preseason. However, given his NHL experience, he may be the extra attacker that they keep on the roster.
While the former Boston College product hasn’t popped off the sheet yet for the Bruins, and will more than likely tonight if he wants to stick around and play consistently, it is more than likely that he will have to prove it tonight.
If they don’t keep him around, he could be a prime candidate for them to call up from the Providence Bruins should the need arise.
Prediction: Gets sent to Providence to start the year.
Okay, let’s be real here, what else does Poitras need to do to show that he deserves to stay in Boston? Stand on his head? Do a handstand on the ice? All of the above? Either way, I’m sure he could do it.
This kid is clutch, this kid eats up ice time, this kid blocks shots, he scores, I don’t know what else there is to say about Poitras is he’s the next coming of Tyler Seguin. Yes, you read that right.
The only thing stopping him from being guaranteed a spot (other than an official announcement) is his age. At 19-years-old, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney could very well let him ruminate in the Ontario Hockey League for another year, but giving him at least nine games in the NHL would be a smart thing to do.
Prediction: He makes the opening night roster, and is eventually signed to an entry level deal.
Now, this is a tough one to look at and say for certain what his fate will be. Steen has had an up and down training camp where he has had good numbers, but nowhere near what Poitras and Beecher have put up.
Steen is showing that he is meant to be in the NHL somewhere, perhaps it’s not in Boston though and a change scenery will do him some more good.
The Swede will be fighting for his life with both the big club and the P-Bruins tonight, but don’t be surprised to see him be put on the trade block when the season starts. Sure, he scored the one goal against the Buffalo Sabres, but that won’t guarantee him a roster spot.
Prediction: He makes the roster, but is traded early on in the season.
Boy, what an impression this young man has made in his first training camp with Boston. He had an assist on the Bruins’ lone goal against the Sabres, he scored against the Washington Capitals in their last game, and he seems like he’s everywhere all over the ice.
The question now becomes, is it too soon to put him on the roster? Boston has the option of putting him in Providence for a little while, but the question is is that the wise decision.
Lohrei has certain proven to everyone that he can hang around with the team up here, the question is which left-handed defenseman gets bumped? Perhaps Matt Grzelcyk or Derek Forbort?
Prediction: He makes the roster, and Derek Forbort gets moved/scratched.
Mitchell is one that head coach Jim Montgomery has to be pressuring Don Sweeney and co. to keep around after having experienced coaching him in college at the University of Denver, but Mitchell has to prove something to Sweeney.
With his limited NHL action, and huge amount of right-handed defensemen, he has to make himself a bit of an anomaly in order to stick out.
Mitchell has to show that he can play up to the level of Brandon Carlo tonight in order to stick around – whether he can is another story. Worst case scenario, Providence is always an option.
Prediction: Mitchell is sent to Providence.
Zboril is probably sick of all the talk of him being a draft bust in 2015, and how the Bruins should have taken so and so over him, but now he’s looking to make a stamp on the season make the roster.
In order to do so, much like Mitchell, he is going to have to stick out. He’ll have to play up to the level of Hampus Lindholm and show that he can, in fact, stick around and be healthy.
Zboril may not show up on the scoresheet very much, but he is prepared to show his intangibles of puck handling and passing as to why he should make the team.
Prediction: He makes the team, but isn’t looked at as a starter.
When is the game tonight and how can I watch it?
Boston finishes its regular season against the New York Rangers tonight at Madison Square Garden. Puck drop tonight is at 7:30 p.m. on TNT.