As of the first 41 games of the season (so not including the Saturday game against the Jets), here are the point totals for the Bruins. I included the first 12 forwards and 6 defensemen, plus Bartkowski, Spooner, Caron, and Fraser. The projected points are based on how many each guy has and prorating that to an 82 game season. I also included the career highs for anyone who has played at least a full 82 game season. You’ll notice that Dougie doesn’t have a career high, because the point totals in a 48 game season, his only full season so far, are obviously thrown off. Then I threw in the difference between the projections and each guy’s career high, just to show how each guy is producing relative to the best point-scoring season we’ve seen from him.
|Player||Position||GP||G||A||P||Projected Points||Career High||Difference||Shooting %||TOI/G|
There are a few things to note before we take these numbers as gospel. First, the career highs are obviously unrealistic for someone like Iginla. Second, they’re unrealistic and/or meaningless for anyone under Boychuk (and honestly, probably for Boychuk also), because guys who don’t score a lot either have had one random season of outperforming themselves — Daniel Paille getting 35 points in 2007-08 — or Chris Kelly scoring 39 two years ago, which doesn’t matter much since he’ll never be expected to get that again.
As for the guys for whom the differences between career highs and projections actually matter, the only ones to be somewhat concerned about are the second line guys, including Eriksson. Bergy will likely never hit 73 again, but 48 is too low. 48 is lower than we want for Eriksson also, although it’s obviously hard to tell with him given the concussions. Marchand has picked his game up recently, but his totals are relatively low, and his slow start could be to blame for Bergeron’s and Eriksson’s low numbers.
Lucic and Krejci are right up where they have been at their peaks, which is awesome. Krejci has been on a tear recently, and, even with Lucic’s goal scoring coming back to earth, Iginla has stepped up his scoring, so the first line is beastly.
The most realistic way to look at this is through a positive lens, and that’s not me being biased. The first line is clicking at the level that it was with Horton two or three years ago, and I’d rather have Iginla’s defense over Horton’s, so you gotta love the first line. The second has picked up its game, and, if Eriksson comes back close to 100%, should be a little worse offensively but easily better defensively than what they had with Seguin. The third line puts last year’s to shame, as Reilly Smith is on pace for as many points as Lucic — although those numbers will go down when he’s not with Bergeron — and Soderberg and Spooner are both getting more than a half point per game.
Kelly will come back and stabilize that line’s defense, but I think it’s clear from these numbers that Spooner really needs to be put at 4RW, no matter how out of place it seems originally. Thornton adds almost nothing offensively, and adds very little defensively, minus his awesome ability to flip the puck 100 feet high to center ice when clearing the zone. Spooner’s and Paille’s speed on the fourth line could make the fourth line almost as offensively dangerous as the Merlot Line was in last year’s playoffs, and, as the New York Rangers could tell you, that’s saying something.