Ryan Spooner has been terrific thus far for the Bruins and a key contributor.
With the Bruins returning to action at home tonight against the Maple Leafs, I am going to pass out my mid-season report cards. Let’s see how they did.
Forwards: The Bruins have been a much better team team offensively than I thought they would be. Brad Marchand is leading the team in goals with 20 and has become the go to scorer on this team. Now that he has more responsibility offensively, he’s accepted it and is playing at a high level. Patrice Bergeron leads the team in scoring with 44 points. He has 19 goals and 25 assists. Given the minutes he logs and everything he does for this team in all three phases of the game, I think he’s an MVP candidate. There have been stretches this season where he has carried this team offensively. David Krejci missed several games in the first half of the season but he is still third in the team with 25 assists. Krejci has emerged as a very good two player. He does more defensively than people think. The Bruins will need him to stay healthy in the second half. Loui Eriksson has had a solid first half of the season. He is currently third on the team in goals with 15. The free agent to be has adjusted well to playing on the top line and has been one of the more consistent two way players on the team. Eriksson has really bought into playing in Claude Julien’s system. Matt Beleskey hasn’t been the scorer the Bruins were hoping he would be when they signed him last off-season but he has picked it up in the past month and is poised for a big second half. The Bruins will need more offense from him. Ryan Spooner has emerged as a top six forward. He is currently third on the team in points with 37. So much for the Bruins not developing talent in Providence huh? Spooner has been a consistent two-way player. The only knock on him. He’s a -6. That’s not good. Jimmy Hayes has been better of late but lets be honest, he’s been a disappointment thus far. He doesn’t go to the dirty areas enough and he hesitates to shoot the puck. Hayes needs to play to his size and be tougher. Julien has actually gotten pretty good production from his third and fourth lines, especially when you consider the amount of turnover he’s had with his bottom two forward lines.. David Pastrnak will be counted on to step up in the second half and give the Bruins more scoring
Forwards Grade: B
Defensemen: The Bruins have been very inconsistent defensively thus far. Some nights they play well, other nights they really struggle. (see Anaheim) Zdeno Chara isn’t playing as many minutes as he has in the past but he’s still logging over twenty minutes a game. Despite his age and lack of athleticism, he’s still the linchpin of this group. If Chara is going to be productive in the playoffs, he’ll need some rest in the second half. Dennis Seidenberg is a shell of the player he once was. You see it in his plus, minus. He’s a -3. That’s not good for a veteran defenseman like him. Torey Krug has been steady but he’s undersized and struggles along the boards. The Bruins love his shot and what he does on the power play but he’s a liability at times defensively. Adam McQuaid is still steady and he’s embraced a bigger role on this team but he needs to stay out of the penalty box. He can’t be a top four defenseman and still fight people. It just doesn’t work that way in today’s NHL. Kevan Miller is physical and can handle the puck but he really struggles in transition. Opposing teams have done a good job of matching him up against their top two lines. I would like to see more of Colin Miller. I like his game on both ends of the rink and more minutes will help his development. Miller has struggled at times but there is no question, the talent is there.
Defensemen Grade: C+
Goaltending: Tuukka Rask has been good for the most part. He’s had a couple of rough games but he has also kept the Bruins in a lot games as well. Rask has once again proven that he’s an elite goalie. Back up Jonas Gustavsson was playing well but he’s been out the past week with an undisclosed illness. That means Rask will probably play more games in the second half which could be an issue come playoff time. Young Malcolm Subban has been called up to take Gustavsson’s spot as the back up. Goaltenders: B
Special Teams: The Bruins power play has been good all season. Boston is currently second in the NHL in power play percentage. The penalty kill has also been good. The Bruins PK is currently fifth in the NHL. The special teams have been inconsistent in the Claude Julien era. They seem to be much better now.Special Teams: A-