Parker Michaels continues his NHL Season Preview series in reverse to first order according to his projected standings. Be sure to bookmark our Season Previews home base here where links to all 31 teams will appear as they’re posted. At No. 6, the Boston Bruins.
Stanley Cup: +1600 (BetOnline)
Eastern Conference: +650 (BetOnline)
Atlantic Division: +325 (Bookmaker)
Regular Season Points: 102.5 (-110) (Bookmaker), 102.5 (-115) (Bovada), 101.5 (-130, +110) (BetOnline)
Make Playoffs: YES -450, NO +325 (BetOnline), YES -500, NO +350 (Bovada)
Current odds as of October 2, 2018
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
*Individual Player Ratings represent how many points in the standings each player is directly responsible for over the course of the full season and is called Point Shares. It involves the base formula created by Justin Kubatko at hockey-reference.com. An explanation of how I further use his methods can be found here with a more detailed methodology by Kubatko himself, here. The average value for a forward is 3.5 and a defenseman is 4.4 Point Shares
*Salaries in green denote entry-level contract
NHL RANK: 17
NHL RANK: T-3
NHL RANK: T-8
NHL RANK: 4
NHL RANK: 12
NHL RANK: T-16
(Starter – 24, Backup – 38)
Less than 24 hours ago the Boston Bruins were projected to be my third-best overall team in the NHL and top team in the Eastern Conference, with just over 108 points. Then I updated the roster after the recent round of cuts and the Bruins took a tumble. This team is arguably the most confusing on paper when you look at the lineup. No team in the league is top-heavier than these Bruins who project to have the league’s best top-six group of forwards but project to also have the NHL’s 31st ranked bottom-six. It is really quite remarkable to see such a crazy disparity.
The Bruins were expected to have another young prospect center the third line in either Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic or Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, all of who would have projected significantly higher than Sean Kuraly, the man who will start there instead. Kuraly was supposed to center the fourth line, a role he would have been much more capable of, but now Noel Acciari enters the lineup in that spot. This gives the Bruins the worst bottom-six center depth in the NHL and it is not even close. It is a disappointing development.
At least Boston has the top projected line in the NHL with Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak but if one of the big three go down, the team will be all but sunk. Bergeron is already hurting as he has been limited in training camp with back spasms, although he is now probable to play in Wednesday’s opener.
The Bruins top-nine wingers are some of the best in the league and whether it is Heinen or Donato who starts on the second line, they should be able to take the heat off the top line. The third line might even be able to survive thanks to their above average wingers, but the fourth line is a black hole. Nordstrom is just one of a small handful of players who project to give negative value while Wagner is much in the same. Both players offer very little in terms of skill but are loved by the coaches for the “intangibles” they bring with their versatility and penalty killing. Frankly though, they were two of the worst offseason additions by any team.
Anders Bjork had a very impressive preseason finale after being limited with a shoulder injury much of camp and would be a substantial bump if he can get into the lineup on a regular basis with a 3.0 Point Shares value. Lee Stempniak is in camp on a PTO and may survive the final cut on Tuesday if Cassidy wants to carry 14 forwards. He would even be an upgrade in either wing spot. It is just very confusing to see this as the projected roster which could begin the season after looking much more promising just a few weeks ago.
Boston’s biggest setback though comes on defense after it was announced Torey Krug would be out for an indefinite amount of time after injuring his ankle in a preseason game. Krug was just working his way back from the fractured ankle he suffered during their second-round playoff series against Tampa Bay. He will be reevaluated in three weeks but could be out even longer. The Bruins are deep on the backend but if Krug’s absence extends into late November or December, that depth will be tested.
My point projection of 103.8 is just above the current number of 101.5 to 102.5 at offshore sportsbooks. I was originally looking to play the over on this number with my projection of 108.6 before the roster changes but now this number carries very little value and not enough for me to fire on.
Current Stanley Cup Futures list Boston on average at 5th or 6th which is in line with my projection of 6th overall. If you are looking for Boston Futures, head over to BetOnline where they have the Bruins listed 9th at +1600. That is a very good price and one I would have been jumping all over 24 hours ago but after updating the roster tonight, I am left wanting more from this team. For now, I am going to pass on Boston Futures. If the Leafs and Bolts jump out to fast starts and the Bruins start slowly without Krug, we should be able to find a bigger price a little later down the road.
Regarding prop bets for awards, several Bruins are scattered over the categories. Ryan Donato is listed for the Calder at +950 and is an intriguing choice. He is more likely to begin on the third line on his natural left side but if he sees time in the top-six, the offensive upside could be enough to make him a worthy flier. Tuukka Rask is listed for the Vezina at +2000 but with the addition of Jaroslav Halak, I expect less games for Rask this season which hurts his chances.
The most interesting choices are Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak for both the Rocket Richard and Hart trophies. Marchand scored 34 goals last season in just 68 games after scoring 39 and 37 the two previous seasons. Pastrnak scored 34 two seasons ago and 35 last year and is just 22 years old. His potential is massive and either player could have a crack at 40+ this year. Pastrnak also had 80 total points while Marchand had 85. Both players have very similar stats which makes Pastrnak’s odds of 100-1 for the Hart seem like crazy value compared to Marchand’s +2800. Something small like a quarter of a unit on Pastrnak for Hart at +10000 might not be a bad idea.
Salary numbers from capfriendly.com, stats from hockey-reference.com and naturalstattrick.com