Claude Julien has to be happy with the way his team ended the season, especially after a grueling start and some midseason struggles. Much of the resurgence can be credited to an outstanding all-around effort by the B's, and the team's ability to come together in the face of adversity.
While the team-centric focus may have returned the Bruins (49-24-4) to their winning ways, a number of players stand out as MVP-worthy candidates on the season.
The tremendous play of goaltender Tim Thomas certainly stands out among the group. Thomas played in 59 games this season, going 35-19-1 with the NHL's 10th best save percentage (.920) and a respectable 2.36 goals against average. The soon to be 38-year-old netminder wasn't phased by the test of a loaded schedule down the stretch, either, playing in 15-straight games for the B's between Feb. 25 and March 25 due to Tuukka Rask's injury.
Zdeno Chara is another name that automatically pops up when thinking Bruins' MVP. Chara is again in the running for the Norris Trophy, as the league's best defenseman, and even increased his offensive production with a career-high 52 points.
Moving over to the offensive side, second-year forward Tyler Seguin has quickly transformed into the Bruins most potent offensive threat. Seguin tallied career high's across the board with a team-high 67 points and 29 goals on the season. The 20-year-old gives the B's an added weapon and legitimate goal scorer for the entirety of this season's playoffs.
Patrice Bergeron didn't have the best statistical season of his career, but the 26-year-old center may have had his best all-around year with the B's. Bergeron finished second on the team with 64 points, netting 22 goals and dishing out 42 assists on the year. The defensive standout may have finally locked down his first Selke award, as the NHL's best defensive forward, after years of being overlooked.
Finally, second-line center Chris Kelly boasted arguably the best of his seven seasons in the NHL. Kelly scored a career-high 20 goals this year, while posting the league's fourth-best plus-minus rating with a plus-33 on the season. The only players Kelly trailed on the year were Bergeron, Seguin and Chara — in that order.
Needless to say, there's been plenty of impressive performances by Bruins players this season. But who deserves the honors of MVP?
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