Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Boston Bruins
For the last 13 years (12 with The Hockey News) I have reviewed each team from a fantasy hockey standpoint, and graded them. My 14th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. 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 – Between the pipes, Gustavsson for Khudobin is an even swap, or possibly upgrading the backup position, if Khudobin is as good as I believe he is. Up front, the Bruins lose a bit of goal scoring in Eriksson, and replace it with some grit and leadership via Backes – who is no slouch when it comes to scoring goals either. So the big change is on the point, where Seidenberg moves out and nobody moves in to take his spot. That leaves it open for the likes of Colin Miller and Joe Morrow.
Miller was in the AHL for half the year last season so we’ll review him in the next section. For Morrow, this opportunity is a big one. Stuck with just 33 games played last season, Morrow suffered (from boredom?) because he would have to clear waivers in order to get ice time in the AHL. Each player signed a one-way contract in mid-July, though Morrow’s is for just $800,000 which theoretically could be buried in the minors.
Ready for full-time – The Bruins also lost several forwards and only brought in two. That means that Frank Vatrano can join the team on a full-time basis. The undrafted 22-year-old is called a late bloomer by some, but he was actually on Central Scouting’s list back in 2012 for the draft. He was just deemed ‘too small’ by teams. Boston took a chance by signing him in 2015 and he’s really paid dividends. He has a sniper’s touch that can’t be taught, scoring 36 goals in 36 games for Providence last year and another eight goals in 39 games for Boston. With more ice time and the right setup man at center and this youngster could surprise. Just don’t expect a lot of assists though – he’s never accumulated many of those at any level in the past.
As noted earlier, Colin Miller should become a regular this season, unless the B’s sign another blueliner. But if they don’t, Miller has a lot of upside for fantasy leagues. He has 64 points in his last 90 AHL games and he had 10 points in his first 19 games with Boston. His situation is worth keeping an eye on. Pay attention to his status late in training camp as he could become a solid draft pick in your later rounds.
Seth Griffith is an AHL All-Star and has had some success at the NHL level (10 points in 30 games back in 2014-15). But he’s 5-9 and was a fifth-round draft pick in 2012 (131st overall). Without the beloved ‘size’ factor on his side, nor the pedigree of being a high draft pick, he has to go that extra mile in order to get a chance. Not worth drafting but could be worth an early waiver pickup if he makes the squad.
Fantasy Outlook – The Bruins improved, but only slightly. So this season they’ll be in tough again to make the playoffs. Long-term, the Bruins have no blue-chip prospects on the way. In fantasy hockey, there are the usual suspects – Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Torey Krug, Tuukka Rask and now you can add Backes and last year’s breakthrough player Ryan Spooner. There are also several intriguing newcomers such as Vatrano, David Pastrnak and Miller. But it’s looking as though this will be a middle-of-the-road team for offense over the next two or three years.
Fantasy Grade: C+ (last year was C)
Offseason Fantasy Grades: Anaheim Ducks
Offseason Fantasy Grades: Arizona Coyotes