Where Bruce Cassidy Sees Bruins’ New Additions Fitting In

The Bruins added four NHL-caliber skaters this offseason


August 5, 2021

The Boston Bruins signed a bunch of forwards this offseason with the clear intent of adding more versatility to the lineup.

And it’s largely going to fall on head coach Bruce Cassidy to figure out where everyone goes.

Cassidy hinted at where guys might fit in while speaking Thursday over Zoom from Bruins development camp. So, let’s take a look at what he said and what that means for each player.

Derek Forbort
Cassidy: “We know (Matt Grzelcyk) and Charlie (McAvoy) can play together. Didn’t work out as well in the playoffs as we would’ve liked, there was a lot of demands on Gryz. So, we brought in a guy like Forbort that’s a bigger, more of a defender than Gryz — I shouldn’t say that, but a bigger, different type of defender — so we want to see how that would look with Charlie. Now, whether we do that every night or not remains to be seen. That’s a big ask. We know Gryz can slot in there at times, so I think you’ll see some toggling.”

If the Bruins are intent on playing the matchups more often this season, then we could see Forbort play in a couple different roles. McAvoy and Grzelcyk are a tremendous top pairing, but it might be worth exploring if Boston is better off with a Forbort-McAvoy combo against heavier teams. It sounds like the Bruins will try both.

Nick Foligno
Cassidy: “Nick Foligno is a little more of a guy that we’ll move around, so that’s probably how it will play out for him.”

If the plan is to use him as a winger, then he makes the most sense on the third-line right wing. David Pastrnak and Craig Smith figure to be on the top two lines’ right side, and the Bruins have plenty of options for the fourth line. Foligno can provide a little offense to a third unit that looks like it will have Jake DeBrusk on it, as well.

Tomas Nosek
Cassidy: “I know that Haula and Nosek prefer to play in the middle.”

If it is center or bust for Nosek — who admitted last week he is willing to play both center and wing but prefers the former — then it sounds like the competition will be between him and Curtis Lazar for the job of pivoting the bottom unit. Trent Frederic also can center a line, but he was fine as a left winger last season. Ultimately, it looks like Lazar, Nosek, Frederic and Chris Wagner are the top candidates for the three fourth-line spots.

Erik Haula
Cassidy: “I know that Haula and Nosek prefer to play in the middle.”

If Charlie Coyle does, in fact, move up and take over for David Krejci on the second line, then Haula makes perfect sense as the man for the third unit. That would most likely result in a fascinating DeBrusk-Haula-Foligno third line that has the potential to be a pretty effective offensive unit that can be hard to play against when hemmed into their own zone.

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