Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Boston Bruins
For the last 12 years over at The Hockey News, I have reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them. Now that I am no longer with THN, my 13th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – The Bruins moved a lot of size and skill, but they brought in size and skill. But not as much skill. Collectively, Beleskey and Hayes might bring the skill of a Lucic, but as two separate bodies…probably not. And while Colin Miller is a gem of a defense prospect, he's no Hamilton (and certainly not as big). This non-playoff team from last season may have done okay considering their cap situation, but they most certainly did not improve. A lot of 'potential' needs to come through before the Bruins can claim that.
Ready for full-time – Ryan Spooner tallied 18 points in his last 24 games after getting called back up for the second time. Now that he'll become a regular his minutes will still be pampered, but he'll find the league a lot tougher to sustain such a pace. I've pencilled him in for 39 points this year.
Seth Griffith was up and down last season and had, at times, some great results highlighted by his three-point game October 28. That was just early enough in the year to get fantasy owners pretty excited. He has 81 points in 108 career AHL games, so there is some upside here. But given his toolbox, he probably tops out on the second line. Expect more up-and-down to and from the minors this year.
Colin Miller was actually very much a key to the Milan Lucic trade, even though you hear fans and media mention him as an afterthought. If afterthoughts finish second in AHL scoring among defensemen, then consider me a fan of afterthoughts. The 22-year-old is about a year away from being NHL-ready, but he'll most certainly get several cups of coffee with the big club this year and perhaps he impresses enough to stick. With Hamilton gone, Torey Krug needs another puck mover on his team to help out (Zdeno Chara's puck-moving years are behind him).
Joe Morrow is the same age as Miller, but was drafted in the first round of 2011 (Miller was fifth round, 2012). Morrow is considered one of Boston's top prospects and the organization is easing him in. He has a strong chance of making the team this year, but look for his ice time to be pampered similar to what you're seeing with Nathan Beaulieu over in Montreal.
Malcolm Subban is the backup goaltender as things stand now, though the Bruins may sign a proven backup for one year to give Subban some more time (and more starts at the AHL level).
Fantasy Outlook – Be very surprised if any Bruins' player reaches the 60-point mark next season and it's also pretty doubtful that more than three players reach the 50-point mark. That's like the Nashville Predators of old, but without the stud defensemen. The mighty Chara will be lucky to reach 30 points, so it falls on Krug to move the puck. As for the prospects pipeline – it's average. No better or no worse than other organizations, with nobody sticking out as an elite option but with several good ones.
Fantasy Grade: C (last year was B+)