Bruins Forward Preview: Veteran Core Leads Way For Boston

An improved forward group will try to lead the Bruins to glory

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September 22

The Boston Bruins have a few questions heading into the season due to injuries but overall, the forward group shouldn’t have many surprises to start off the 2022-23 campaign.

That being said, it’s a long season and players get hurt. It’s worth looking at the bigger picture for the Bruins as there will be a number of players counted on by head coach Jim Montgomery and staff.

Here’s a look at the three rankings of players — from those seemingly set for a lineup spot to kick off the season (or when they return) to the players on the roster bubble and finally, the prospects who could give Boston a jolt sometime this season.

The Set Lineup
Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci, Taylor Hall, Charlie Coyle, Pavel Zacha, Craig Smith, Tomas Nosek, Nick Foligno

Nothing surprising here. Marchand will miss the beginning of the season due to hip surgery but has begun skating and he’s hopeful to return in late November. The names that are new from last season are Krejci and Zacha. Krejci returns to the Bruins after a season away from the NHL as he played in the Czech Republic, leading the team in points. The center is going to slot back onto the second line, presumably between Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak, which should make the line the strongest it’s been.

Zacha has drawn praise from his teammates throughout the offseason and may have a big opportunity to start the season on the first line as Marchand’s replacement alongside Bergeron and DeBrusk. If that’s the case, he has a chance to make a big impact from the jump.

Once everything settles down and Marchand is able to return to the ice, the Bruins could have their best top-nine in quite some time if everyone plays to their potential.

The Bubble Players
Trent Frederic, Oskar Steen, Chris Wagner

There are question marks when it comes to the “bubble” players for the Bruins. Frederic’s time with Boston last season was rocky. He was in and out of the lineup with his play being up and down at times but he did show flashes that should give him the leg up heading into camp.

Both Steen and Wagner had their own stints with the team (Wagner having to wait until May) but have proved what they can and can’t do on the ice. Steen displayed offensive flashes in his 20 games, scoring two goals and recording four assists. They fit different areas for the Bruins and depending on what Montgomery is aiming for with the lineup that could decide who has the best chance of making the roster for the Bruins first.

The Prospects
Fabian Lysell, Jack Studnicka, Jakub Lauko, Matt Filipe, Marc McLaughlin, John Beecher

As Bruins fans have seen over the last few seasons, prospects can play a big part in the Bruins’ success with this season being no different. Studnicka makes the prospects list as he awaits an opportunity to play every day. Lysell is the big name as it remains to be seen if the 2021 first-round pick can make the team out of camp, but his elite speed alone could be a game-changer for Boston. All eyes will be on him throughout camp.

McLaughlin saw the lineup late last season and showed in small doses what he can bring to the table. He was expected to be a big body for the Bruins on the offensive end and was able to find the back of the net three times in his 11 games. While he is a prospect, McLaughlin could be in play to get regular minutes from the jump.

Beecher will be an interesting player to keep an eye on in camp. The 2019 first-round pick made his Providence Bruins debut last season and already has said his goal is to make the Bruins out of training camp. With that mindset, Beecher could make some waves if he shows what he’s made of over the next few weeks.

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