Sure, two weeks separate us from now until the start of the NHL season.
But we’ve been waiting so long for there to be hockey that we’re just going to hit the ground running. Cool? Cool.
The Boston Bruins will open the season Jan. 14 against the New Jersey Devils, with training camp beginning Sunday at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton. There are plenty of storylines to follow over those 10 days, but what we do know is David Pastrnak won’t be available for the opener, and it’s unlikely Brad Marchand will be ready.
So, that means Bruce Cassidy is going to have to get a little creative with his lineup.
We envision the Bruins giving a couple youngsters a shot with Bergeron, putting Jack Studnicka to the pivot’s right and Anders Bjork to the left. That way the second line remains unimpacted, while Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith get time to build chemistry on the third trio.
Thus, the Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Ondrej Kase second line the team hopes will work out starts together, while Nick Ritchie skates on the left side of the third unit.
We have Trent Frederic beating out depth center Par Lindholm for a spot on the fourth line, playing opposite Chris Wagner with Sean Kuraly between them.
In the back end, the Boston University pairing of Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy join together, while a true shutdown unit of Jeremy Lauzon and Brandon Carlo forms the second duo. That leaves veterans John Moore and Kevan Miller as the third pairing.
And in his first game since the second round of the playoffs in the Toronto bubble, Tuukka Rask is in net.
Get all of that? We’ll make it a little clearer. Here is our Opening Night roster projection (which, by the way, we’ll do about one of these a week leading up to Bruins-Devils).
Anders Bjork–Patrice Bergeron–Jack Studnicka
Jake DeBrusk–David Krejci–Ondrej Kase
Nick Ritchie–Charlie Coyle–Craig Smith
Trent Frederic–Sean Kuraly–Chris Wagner
Matt Grzelcyk–Charlie McAvoy
Jeremy Lauzon–Brandon Carlo
John Moore–Kevan Miller
Scratches: Par Lindholm, Jakub Zboril, Connor Clifton
Taxi squad: Greg McKegg, Karson Kuhlman, Steven Kampfer, Dan Vladar