Patrice Bergeron is the type of player that you can’t simply replace in the lineup, but the Boston Bruins will have to do just that when they enter training camp on Sept. 20.

Following Bergeron’s decision to hang up the skates after 19 seasons with the Bruins, other players are going to be expected to step up as leaders on the ice as well as off.

When the Bruins traded Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno to the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston replaced the holes in the roster by signing veteran wingers Milan Lucic and James van Riemsdyk to one-year deals each.

General manager Don Sweeney also added centers Morgan Geekie and Jesper Boqvist along with winger Patrick Brown during the free agency period. So with all the changes to the roster, can we really predict what the opening night lineup might look like?

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Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zacha were called upon to center the top two lines during Boston’s postseason series against the Florida Panthers when Bergeron and David Krejci were out of the lineup. With Bergeron retired and assuming Krejci will follow suit, the duo would be the most realistic option going forward as the top two centers.

Here’s an educated guess of the four forward lines.

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Brad MarchandCharlie CoyleJake DeBrusk
James van RiemsdykPavel ZachaDavid Pastrnak
Milan LucicMorgan GeekieOskar Steen/Jakub Lauko
A.J. GreerJesper Boqvist/Trent FredericPatrick Brown/Jayson Megna

The bottom two lines actually have the most question marks because Geekie, Frederic and Brown can all play center or wing giving head coach Jim Montgomery lots of options, assuming Frederic’s contract is resolved before the season starts. The question is whether or not Frederic can elevate his game as the third-line center or if he would thrive on the fourth line.

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Greer and Lucic can flip spots easily given they are both physical players with a scoring touch that could complement either center they are paired with.

The wild card is there is going to be a battle in camp with a lot of the younger players like Fabian Lysell, Georgii Merkulov and Marc McLaughlin vying for spots in the big club. If one or more of them proves to be an asset to the forward group, the Bruins will have some tough decisions to make. Sweeney said after development camp he won’t “block” any prospects from making the NHL roster.

The defensive core remains the same with the exception of Connor Clifton moving on to the Buffalo Sabres and veteran Kevin Shattenkirk joining the Black and Gold. Although prospect Mason Lohrei could get the call before Jakub Zboril if he has a good camp, the rest of the defensive pairings should remain the same as last season.

Matt GrzelcykCharlie McAvoy
Hampus LindholmBrandon Carlo
Derek Forbort/Jakub Zboril/Mason LohreiKevin Shattenkirk

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Between the pipes the Bruins should have the tandem of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman for the season, assuming the Bruins are able to retain Swayman following his arbitration hearing on July 30.

Featured image via Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports Images