Whenever the Boston Bruins’ season resumes, certain players will hit the ice with a little added recognition.
NHL.com’s Amalie Benjamin named the Bruins’ “season snapshot awards” winners as part of her look at where the team stands during the pause in the NHL season.
Benjamin picked winners in five categories — MVP, Rookie, Defenseman, Defensive Forward and Comeback Player — to highlight those whose contributions have been vital to the Bruins being the NHL’s top team when the season paused due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Pastrnak earned Benjamin’s Bruins MVP award due to his elite goal-scoring and cohesion with his linemates.
“David Pastrnak is tied with Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals for the NHL lead with an NHL career-high 48 goals. Pastrnak has continued to work on his game, offensively and defensively, and it’s clear that sometimes on the ice he just can’t be contained. Pastrnak can score in bunches — he has four hat tricks this season — and when he’s on, his line with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron is almost impossible to stop.”
Benjamin believes Jeremy Lauzon has made the biggest impact of all of Boston’s first-year players. The third-line defenseman has filled in admirably to deserve both her top-rookie honor and the contract extension he signed last month.
“There aren’t a lot of options for the best rookie on a team that returned mostly intact from a season ago, but the choice is Jeremy Lauzon, a defenseman with a competitive bite to his game who has made the season-long loss of Kevan Miller because of a knee injury sting a little less. Lauzon has two points (one goal, one assist) in 19 games, but the points don’t matter for a defenseman whose main focus is his own end. He’ll have staying power in Boston.”
Brandon Carlo has been “rock solid” throughout the season and earned Benjamin’s top-defenseman award.
“Brandon Carlo has elevated his shutdown game to a new level this season. He’s smart, skates well, has the size (6-foot-5), and has developed a bit of the snarl that Bruins coaches always hoped he would. He’s part of the reason the Bruins are allowing the fewest goals in the NHL (2.39 per game), and he’s contributed with an NHL career-high 19 points (four goals, 15 assists).”
Patrice Bergeron is a perennial favorite to win the Selke Award, so it makes sense Benjamin ranked him the team’s top defensive forward.
“This goes to Patrice Bergeron, forever and always. One of the best defensive forwards in the NHL is having another strong season to go along with 56 points (31 goals, 25 assists) in 61 games. He’s sixth in the NHL in face-off percentage (.579) among players to take at least 500 draws.”
After taking some time to find his groove with the Bruins, Charlie Coyle stepped up in the playoffs and has continued it this season. Perhaps that’s why the Bruins signed him to a six-year contract extension, and Benjamin picked him as Boston’s comeback player.
“The Bruins don’t have many choices in this category, so the slightly off-the-board pick is forward Charlie Coyle. He was underwhelming offensively in his brief regular-season stint last season after he was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Wild, getting six points (two goals, four assists) in 21 games. He was a force in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 24 games and has become a key part of what the Bruins have done this season, solidifying their depth with 37 points (16 goals, 21 assists).”
The Bruins have 12 games remaining on their regular season schedule. If they play them, non-award-winning players will have the chance to bolster their respective cases for NHL.com’s honor roll. And if Boston doesn’t play out its schedule, the aforementioned players will claim the proverbial silverware.
Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images