Believe it or not, just 10 days remain until the puck drops on the Boston Bruins’ 2021-22 regular season.
And with the 14 cuts made Wednesday, we now have an increasingly clearer picture of where all the pieces will fit.
Each week, we’ve released a roster projection. And as the Bruins gear up for their final preseason game Wednesday, here is our third (and penultimate) edition.
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall–Charlie Coyle–Craig Smith
Jake DeBrusk–Erik Haula–Nick Foligno
Trent Frederic–Tomas Nosek–Curtis Lazar
Extras: Chris Wagner
— The top line remains obvious.
— Charlie Coyle will get his first shot centering Hall and Smith in a game during Wednesday’s preseason matchup, but that still will be his job to lose.
— From the start of camp, the Bruins have seemed very committed to seeing what they have with that third line. They’ll get game reps before any tweaking.
— The fourth line is where things get interesting. It seems like Nosek and Lazar are locks, while Wagner and Frederic are battling for the last spot in the lineup. Frederic hasn’t had the best camp, but he has proven to be a sparkplug at times for the Bruins. We’ll say he cracks the lineup first.
— As for players currently on the roster, this would require Jack Studnicka, Anton Blidh and Karson Kuhlman getting sent down. Studnicka would be a hard cut, but he is waivers exempt, so from an asset management standpoint, it simply might be better for him to just go to the AHL for now.
Derek Forbort–Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly–Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk–Connor Clifton
Extras: John Moore, Jakub Zboril
— The Forbort-McAvoy combination seemed like something for down the road, however those two have been skating almost exclusively together during camp and preseason games. So, we’ll keep with that until something changes.
— The Reilly-Carlo combo was a good one in a limited look last season. They’ll be together for a while.
— Since he’s not with McAvoy, Grzelcyk plays with Clifton in what could prove to be an over-performing third pairing.
— Moore has looked pretty good this preseason and deserves a spot as a spare defenseman. Zboril has not been electric during camp, but he all but certainly would get picked up on waivers, so the guess here is the Bruins keep two defensemen as extras.
— Swayman has earned the job so far in camp, but Ullmark will get a shot to leave an impression when he plays the full 60 in Wednesday’s preseason finale. For now though, we’ll say Swayman gets the start against Dallas.
For even more Bruins, tune into “Bruins: Back To Work” Thursday on NESN at 5:30 p.m. ET. For the latest updates, view the NESN TV schedule here.