Bruins Roster Projection 2.0: Projecting Boston’s Opening Night Lineup

The season begins Oct. 16 for the Bruins


Sep 29, 2021

Week 2 of Boston Bruins training camp is underway, as veterans and rookies alike take the ice to prepare for the upcoming 2021-22 NHL season.

While the first two lines probably are pretty set in stone, the bottom six is what’s intriguing with the additions of Nick Foligno, Erik Haula and Tomas Nosek. While the trio certainly could fit on either the third or fourth lines, we got a look at what the forward lines could look like come Oct. 16 when the Bruins open their season against the Dallas Stars at TD Garden.

We released our first roster projection last week, and things have changed a tad since then, so here’s our second one:

Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall–Charlie Coyle–Craig Smith
Jake DeBrusk–Erik Haula–Nick Foligno

Tomas Nosek–Jack Studnicka–Curtis Lazar
Extras: Trent Frederic, Chris Wagner

— We don’t need to explain the first line.

— Coyle was a full participant in training camp for the first time at the beginning of the week. He appears ready to go and is not using his surgically repaired knee as an excuse for his shortcomings last season. While replacing David Krejci will be no easy task, Coyle will continue to build chemistry with Taylor Hall and Craig Smith throughout camp in hopes to create a dangerous second line.

— DeBrusk did not have his best season last year, but playing alongside veterans like Haula and Foligno could prove to be greatly beneficial to his game and help him reach his potential. It also helps that the Bruins are 100% vaccinated and will have lesser COVID-19 protocols to deal with this year. Head coach Bruce Cassidy revealed some of those restrictions were tough on the forward and helped open up the line of communication shortly after the season ended last year. So, some veterans on his line and a much-needed conversation with his coach certainly should help DeBrusk.

It’s also worth noting DeBrusk had two goals, including the game-winner in a shootout, against the Washington Capitals in their preseason opener Sept. 26.

— This could be the year Studnicka cracks the NHL lineup and doesn’t leave it. He’s bulked up and has played with the Bruins before due to injuries. Lazar’s defensive game and Nosek’s offense, coupled with Studnicka’s size, could make for a heavy fourth line with a lot of upside.

— Trent Frederic and Chris Wagner could see themselves get plugged into the lineup really at any time if Cassidy doesn’t like what he sees or his bottom six just isn’t clicking. But for now, they’re on the outside looking in.

Matt Grzelcyk–Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly–Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort–Connor Clifton
Extra: John Moore

— Much like the B’s top forward line, we know how well the top defensive pairing of Grzelcyk and McAvoy work. We’ll likely have to wait to see Derek Forbort and McAvoy on a pairing together considering the Stars’ defense features some big bodies. Plus with the chemistry Grzelcyk and McAvoy have, it’s not worth it to break that up the second the season begins.

— Carlo and Reilly worked well together last season, and if Reilly continues to shoot whenever he has an open lane with Carlo using his size and strength to his advantage, then the Bruins will be in good shape.

— Clifton is not afraid to use his size and throw his body around, so pairing his “Cliffy Hockey” style of play to Forbort’s, who’s listed at 6-foot-4 and also plays a physical game, could be a pairing opponents don’t want to go up against.

— With John Moore coming off surgery, it’s probably fair to think he’ll begin the season on the ninth floor at TD Garden. He’s looked strong throughout training camp and had two assists with as many shots on goal in the Bruins’ preseason win over the Capitals.

Linus Ullmark
Jeremy Swayman

— It’s unclear just who will get the start when the season begins, but Cassidy did offer some interesting insight regarding how he will handle both Ullmark and Swayman. He made it clear that there’s no true No. 1 goalie and that it probably will be based month-to-month and on performance.

For now, though, we’ll say Ullmark goes for Boston on Oct. 16.

For even more Bruins, tune into “Bruins: Back To Work” Wednesday on NESN at 5:30 p.m. ET. For the latest updates, view the NESN TV schedule here.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
Previous Article

NFL Rumors: Why Bill Belichick, Eric Mangini Nearly Had Fistfight In 2008

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
Next Article

Tom Brady Reportedly Once Considered Forcing Trade Away From Patriots

Picked For You