NHL Season 2016-17 Team Preview - Boston Bruins

John-Michael Liles

Dana Lane

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 8:10 PM GMT

The Boston Bruins missed the playoffs last year and with their point projection at 93.5 this season, I'll tell you why the 'over' in Beantown is the sharp side for your NHL pick.


Projected Point Total: 93.5 at Bookmaker
Last Season: 42-31-9 93pts (Missed to playoffs)
Standings: Atlantic Division: 4th in the Central / League: 16th
Team Notes: D Zdeno Chara will be 40 years old by the end of the season
2016-17 Stanley Cup Odds: 25/1 at Bookmaker
Key Statistic: According to GameScore the Bruins could rack up as much as 107pts this season

 

I've heard it all Summer that you just don't know what you're going to get with the Boston Bruins which is why Bookmaker, where you can get a 50% Free Play Bonus, has their season total right at 93.5 across the board, just good enough to get a playoff birth but it won't be easy. The public has sided slightly with the 'under' mostly because of their collapse last season and offseason moves, or lack thereof, to address some key problems.

Former St. Louis Blues forward, David Backes, was signed but Boston still has not addressed their need for more quality defensemen in front of Tuukka Rask. In fact, Boston didn't get any defensive depth help electing to rely on an aging Zdeno Chara with Torey Krug as their top pairing, who I think is one of the best duos in the NHL but Chara isn't going to last forever as he approaches 40 but I'll still take an aging +12 defenseman who still has a rocket shot and an enormous presence. Krug, entering his sixth season, will have a career season while being a nice compliment to the bigger Chara.

 Stanley Cup Betting Futures, Find Each Team's Odds Here

 

As good as the first unit is, it's the second unit where the issues come in. Liles isn't an impact defenseman who periodically disappears. Liles doesn't contribute offensively and often has trouble against bigger forwards. His pairing with McQuaid hides his ineffectiveness. Boston likes the big/small defensive duo so he'll remain on the second unit to start.

Last season, the Bruins were a bottom half possession team and tied for second worst in shots allowed. In order for this to change the B's needs to get back to Bruin Hockey which means physical play and quicker puck movement up to their start forwards.

Rask has seen his production decline the last two seasons which coincided with the play in front of him. Rask is not a goaltender that will win games by himself so in order to be effective the Bruins must limit the number of shots he sees to the 28-29 range.

The Bruins have enough firepower to overcome their defensive liabilities. Let's not forget that late in the season the bruins were in 1st place in the Atlantic until their late-season collapse which saw them lose 10 of their last 14 to fall out of the playoffs. I've played them to 'over' the 93.5 and return to the playoffs, as my NHL pick