Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Boston Bruins
For the last 15 years (12 with The Hockey News, last year’s via pinch-hitter Cam Robinson) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 16th 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 – The Bruins lost a great backup in Khudobin, but with Halak things will still remain reliable there. The loss of Riley Nash will hurt the most because he is coming off a great season in which he was one of the better third-line centers in the league and Boston didn’t replace that. As for losing some of the bigger-name wingers – that’s probably a good thing. Danton Heinen, who was great in the first half prior to the influx of acquisitions that pushed him down the depth chart, will get his ice time back. And the B’s also now have Ryan Donato, who joined the team in late March and so could technically be considered “incoming”. The bottom line is this team has the talent within that can fill the holes. Boston is still a high-scoring, competitive team (sixth in goals last year) and will remain so for as long as their elite line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak are rolling. And that trio looks like they have a couple of real great years left in them yet.
Ready for full-time – Ryan Donato dominated the college ranks with Harvard before making the jump to the Bruins on March 19 and promptly posting three points in his first NHL game. He ended the season with nine points in 12 games and is pretty much a shoe-in for a second-line roster spot in the fall. He also saw plenty of first-PP unit ice time with the big guns, which can only help his production in the year ahead if that happens again. (Read up on Donato here)
Anders Bjork is the other player who would have had a roster spot sewn up were it not for the major shoulder surgery that he underwent back in February. The 21-year-old (22 in August) is likely out until training camp and he will likely need a couple dozen AHL games to get his timing back. Last year was pretty much a write-off after what was a pretty promising September and October. He has scoring-line upside and is certainly one to watch in the second half. Or perhaps sooner if his recovery is fast. (Read up on Bjork here)
Bakos is a 28-year-old late-blooming winger who had 40 points in 52 games in the Czech League last season. He’s also Slovakian, so if he can get Zdeno Chara to put in a good word then who knows? The Bruins are not deep when it comes to right-shooting right wingers – after David Pastrnak and David Backes, the team really only has Wagner. So if Bakos makes a good impression then perhaps he can stick. His contract is a two-way deal.
Left wing Peter Cehlarik (also a Slovak) is close to NHL ready, but is there room? His skill set is that of a third-liner and he’s already been up for short stints in each of his last two seasons. (Read up on Cehlarik here)
The player that poolies really want to know about is Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, who was drafted 45th overall in 2015 and some fantasy owners have waited on him ever since. He is a strong two-way pivot in a similar mold as Patrice Bergeron. However, his offensive upside isn’t as high as Bergeron’s. The 21-year-old is best served playing at least another half season with Providence before finally graduating. (Read up on Forsbacka Karlsson here)
Boston Bruins prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – The best line in hockey has been producing at a better clip than any line Sidney Crosby has played on ever since Bruce Cassidy took over as coach. And as long as a team has three players posting a point-per-game or more, each, then a defenseman or two is going to cash in on that as well. Torey Krug could well reach the 60-point mark this year (he had 59 last season) and Charlie McAvoy should flirt with 45. The depth scoring is also there via Jake DeBrusk, Backes, Heinen and Donato (with Bjork on the way). There is no reason to think this can’t be a Top 10 scoring team again over the next two or three seasons.
Fantasy Grade: B+ (last year was B)
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