Boston Bruins: 2014-2015 NHL Risers and Fallers
Boston Bruins: 2014-2015 NHL Risers and Fallers
Year after year, we see change happen before our eyes. Some of it is good, and some of it is bad. Whether good or bad, we must adapt to these changes in order to not just survive, but to thrive so we can live our lives to the fullest. How an individual deals with change varies, but mostly, we all rely on our what we know, our instincts. The more we know about something, the less risk there is, and the better we can make calculated decisions. And in this case, calculated predictions.
With that in mind, in the coming weeks I’ll be taking a look at each NHL team featuring 10 of its players. Are they destined to rise or destined to fall? Your questions will be answered below.
C – Patrice Bergeron (neutral): After Malkin, Bergeron may be the NHL’s 2nd best 2nd line centre. He won’t dazzle you with highlight-reel goals or end-to-end rushes like Malkin, but his all-round game is elite. As he turns 30 next years it is naïve to expect anything more from him, but he is not old enough to expect anything less.
D – Zdeno Chara (falling): With age comes experience and wisdom, but also come aches and pains. In 2015, Chara will be 38 years old and given his rugged style of play it’s surprising he hasn’t broken down sooner. Whether he can see it or not (it’s high from up there), a regression seems anything but inevitable at this point.
RW – Loui Eriksson (rising): After a difficult year of mostly concussions and 3rd line minutes, things are looking up for Eriksson. With Iginla off to Colorado, there’s a hole that needs filling on the top line, and head coach Claude Julien has already said he believes he could do just that. If he does, expect a big jump from the Swede.
LW – Milan Lucic (falling): What’s not to love about the prototypical power forward? Even if they are subject to inconsistency in their scoring. After coming off a career year, (and a shooting percentage of 18.2%) a small regression is more likely than a progression.
D – Dougie Hamilton (rising): Deemed as the future of the Bruins’ backend, Hamilton worked his way to a top-4 spot, playing 19:06/game. He was a stud on the backend, and wasn’t afraid to get involved in the offensive game either, registering 25 points (7 goals and 18 assists) in 64 games played. Going into his 3rd full NHL season, look for Hamilton to continue his rise to stardom.
C – David Krejci (neutral): Logically, it would only make sense to see a decline in Krejci’s performance, given he is now Iginla-less on the wing. But in life, logic does not always triumph, and Eriksson is not a bad swap. Expect a repeat season from the Czech centre.
D – Torey Krug (rising): Last season, the diminutive rookie registered 2:31min/game on the power play, the most of any Bruins’ blueliner. He may not be the stereotypical Bruin (big, rugged), but his hockey IQ and shot are elite; a swap they were willing to compromise their brand for. Now that Krug is the man on the backend of the Bruin’s power play, expect he is treated as so.
G – Tuukka Rask (neutral): What is common between Bruins fans and Oliver Twist? They’d like some more, even though they shouldn’t. Rask is one of the best goalies in the world today, if not the best. Asking for more will only cause outrage amongst the hockey public, and initiating it with a pouty-face will only get you reactions such as this:
RW – Reilly Smith (falling): All Smith needed was a chance to shine, and he got just that when he was traded to Boston along with Loui Eriksson and Joe Morrow in exchange for Tyler Seguin last offseason. Smith’s performance this past season may be the definition of an underdog story, and like any underdog story, they come with their ups and downs. After a breakout season for the Toronto-native, a small decline in his sophomore season is expected.
C/W – Ryan Spooner (rising): “Impressive”, would be the word to describe the 22-year old’s 20-game stint last year, totaling 11 point respectively. Unluckily for the Bruins, they were unable to resign Iginla due to cap issues. Luckily for Spooner, this opens up a full-time spot for him. If he makes the Bruins, expect him to slot on the 3rd line with Soderberg.
D – Johnny Boychuk (falling): With youngsters Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug on the rise, Boychuk moves down the pecking order.
RW – Jordan Caron (rising): Re-signed to a 1-year one-way deal worth $600,000. With Thornton signing in Florida, Caron looks to be the likely candidate to solidify a spot on the 4th-line.
LW – Brad Marchand (neutral): As long as he continues to play with Patrice Bergeron (as he should), he is a 50-point player. Whether he is with Bergeron or not, he is one the league’s most-hated.
C/LW – Carl Soderberg (rising): For his first full NHL season, Soderberg was spectacular, finishing 4th on the team in assists (32), and 7th in points (48). But what’s even more spectacular, is that he led all Bruins in points per 60 minutes with 2.77 points, which also puts him ahead of names like Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Toews.
G – Niklas Svedberg (rising): The Bruins decided to let former backup Chad Johnson walk due to cap problems. With Johnson out, Svedberg is now in. Expect anywhere from 12-27 starts in the black and yellow for the Swedish goaltender.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions in the comment section below. Your thoughts are welcomed.