The Bruins have had a spectacular start to the season. The main players have led on and off the ice early in the season. But what about underachievers?
NESN’s Seventh Player Award recognises the player that “exceeded expectations” Previous award winners had successful Black and Gold careers.
Randy Burridge, Bill Guerin, Tim Thomas, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak have overachieved. This year’s early-season hopefuls look more seasoned than last year’s champion, Jeremy Swayman.
I thought Fabian Lysell would be this year’s Seventh Player. I expected the goal-starved Bruins would seek to the youngster for spark. Boston’s 85 goals lead the NHL.
Lysell should get a shot at the NHL (he’s third on the Providence Bruins in points), but I doubt he’ll have as much influence as the next five guys.
This one’s on “Sweenius.” Hampus Lindholm is a standout for the Bruins after being dealt from Anaheim.
Boston possesses a long-term left-side defensive anchor. Lindholm should be a Norris Trophy finalist barring injury. Erik Karlsson is the favourite to win in San Jose.
He’s a top-six third-liner. Pavel Zacha is like Michael Ryder. Former right winger has 41 points in 79 Cup games. Zacha has 14 points in 20 games.
Jim Montgomery has used Zacha in the forward group. His flexibility has helped balance top-nine scoring. Zacha was traded for Erik Haula, who has seven points in seven games with the Devils.
If Patrice Bergeron wins the Stanley Cup in June, Gary Bettman will soon let Nick Foligno touch it. Foligno is doing well for the Bruins. His expertise matches his grit.
Foligno has already surpassed his goal total from last season and needs one point to tie it. Foligno has never been a dynamic player, but he’s kept up with every line this season. He’s scored 25% of his points on the power play.
Connor Clifton has already doubled his career-high in goals and is averaging more ice time than ever, but he’s still under the radar as a key Bruins defenseman.
Clifton is in the last year of a three-year agreement and should get a raise this summer. Michael Najarian outlined his year for Causeway Crowd last week.
Linus Ullmark led the NHL in goals against and save %, let alone both. Ullmark has been great since the puck dropped, which is unexpected given he wasn’t Boston’s starter goalie in the tournament.
Jeremy Swayman’s injury caused Ullmark to play more games than planned, but he’s risen to the challenge and is a big reason for the Bruins’ strong start. I hope the club can handle Ullmark down the stretch, but he should be the postseason goalie.
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