Bruins Roster Projection 1.0: Projecting Boston’s Opening Night Lineup

Hockey season is almost upon us

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September 13

The Boston Bruins begin training camp very soon, and from now until October there will be players trying to earn a spot in the lineup.

There will be a few spots open due to injuries that will need to be filled. Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk will not be ready to begin the 2022-23 campaign after undergoing offseason surgery, so players like Jack Studnicka, Oskar Steen, Jakub Zboril and even Fabian Lysell have a chance to see some ice time.

Each week, we’ll release a roster projection. Here is our first one.

FORWARDS
Pavel Zacha–Patrice Bergeron–Jake DeBrusk
Taylor Hall–David Krejci–David Pastrnak
Trent Frederic–Charlie Coyle–Craig Smith
Nick Foligno–Tomas Nosek–Oskar Steen

— The top line isn’t set in stone like it has been in years past, but we do know Bergeron will return to his usual top-line center position after signing a one-year deal in the offseason. New head coach Jim Montgomery already hinted that Zacha would move to the first line, but he also didn’t rule out the possibility of using Lysell there if he has a good camp. DeBrusk played some of his best hockey when he was moved to the top line and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue.

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— How good it is to see Krejci back in the lineup after he spent last season in his native Czech Republic? We know the chemistry he has with Pastrnak and he played with Hall during the 2020-21 season. To have these three together for a full season certainly will be a treat.

— Charlie Coyle belongs on the third line. Ex-head coach Bruce Cassidy tried him on the second line last season but he just couldn’t quite find the same success there as he did on the third.

— If Frederic can find consistency in his game and stop taking penalties that put the Bruins in a vulnerable position, that’s a solid third line

— Fans got a good look at Steen last season, and with Curtis Lazar and Anton Blidh no longer with Boston, Steen now has a chance to earn more of a full-time role with the team.

DEFENSE
Hampus Lindholm–Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort–Connor Clifton
Mike Reilly–Jakub Zboril

— With McAvoy and Grzelcyk sidelined for a few more months, Lindholm and Carlo will be the top pair. Lindholm fit in pretty nicely when the Bruins acquired him at last season’s trade deadline and even though Carlo and Lindholm didn’t click right away, we saw what happened with Forbort on the top pairing in the 2021-22 campaign. It wasn’t very pretty. But Forbort was better than what the eye test showed, plus Clifton “defended well” when they played together.

— Forbort and Clifton figure to be the Bruins’ third pair once McAvoy and Grzelcyk return.

— Zboril was playing some of his best hockey last season before he tore his ACL. This could be a tryout of sorts for him to stay with the big club when the Bruins become fully healthy. It’s likely that Clifton, Zboril and Reilly will be fighting to stay in the lineup when that time comes.

GOALIES
Jeremy Swayman
Linus Ullmark

— This could go either way, but Swayman really held his own during the Stanley Cup playoffs and showed flashes of what he’ll bring to this team in the future. The starting goalie position for Opening Night is Swayman’s to lose.

Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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