By Matthew Cunha
The Red Sox are in the playoffs, the Patriots are in the middle of their season, and the Bruins are back. It is a good time to be a sports fan. With all the attention on the Patriots defense and the Sox playoff hopes, I thought I’d better be the one to run down what lies ahead for the 2017-18 Boston Bruins.
Who is that? What is that guy’s name? If you have a mom who watches the Bruins like I do, be prepared to answer those question a ton this season. The B’s are likely to roll out a lot of the young talent we have heard so much about. Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk are already slated to get top 6 roles at forward. Sean Kurlay (playoff hero from last season), Noel Acciari, and Tim Schaller could all fill bottom forward roles on this team. It is also likely other young guys such as Zach Senyshyn, Jakob-Forsbacka-Karlsson, and Peter Cehlarik will get opportunities. If a couple of these guys can come emerge, it could be a fun season.
Charlie McAvoy changes the picture – The Bruins lost 4 of their top defensemen at one point of their 1st round series vs the Senators this spring. Still, the Bruins managed to extend the series to 6 games with 4 overtime games. Why? Charlie McAvoy arrived and was a stud from the first game. He played 25 minutes a game in the playoffs without ever stepping foot in an NHL game before. We don’t know what the team would have looked like with healthy defencemen, but the answer awaits. McAvoy can singlehandedly change the picture of this team with his puck moving abilities, which are similar to that of Erik Karlsson in Ottawa.
Can Zdeno Chara be Tom Brady? – Boston Sports Journal Bruins expert Joe McDonald joined the show on Wednesday and discussed Zdeno Chara. McDonald said that Chara worked with 4 experts this year to work on his skating and his speed. If the 40-year-old can find his skating speed the big man might be able to turn back the clock. Sound familiar?
Playoffs are the expectation – With last year’s playoff appearance, the Bruins expectations grew. If the B’s can’t make the playoffs this season with the all their young talent, the Bruins could be in trouble .McDonald said that he had not seen this type of depth in the organization in 20 years. If the young kids, combined with the veteran nucleus can’t produce results, the floor could fall fast for Bruce Cassidy and Don Sweeney.
Defining Year for Tuukka Rask? – I don’t think anyone truly knows how good Tuukka Rask is. A lot of people think he is elite, other people think he is extremely overrated. With a more up tempo style, Tukkaa will have to make a lot of big saves for this team. Can the Bruins goalie make these saves when it counts? A lot of the questions about him will be answered this season.
Prediction – The Bruins will finish as the sixth seed and win a round in the playoffs. Charlie McAvoy is named rookie of the year. The B’s youth finally yields some results and the future is even brighter heading into to the 2018-19 season.
Matthew Cunha is a producer on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.