Dobber’s Offseason Fantasy Grades: Boston Bruins

Brian Burns / August 08,2022

For the last 19 years (12 with The Hockey News) Dobber and the team have reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.

The 20th 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 both for the season ahead as well as the foreseeable future. Offensively, will the team perform? Are there plenty of depth options worthy of owning in keeper leagues? What about over the next two or three years? These questions are what we take into consideration when looking at the depth chart and the player potential on that depth chart.
Gone – Erik Haula, Josh Brown, Curtis Lazar, Bruce Cassidy (Former Head Coach)
Incoming – David Krejci, Connor Carrick, Pavel Zacha, A.J. Greer, Jim Montgomery (Head Coach)
Impact of changes – Only time will tell whether the most impactful change to the team is the coaching change, or the fact that the core is another year older, and with that is the injuries just piling up.
Bruce Cassidy coached the team to five straight seasons in the top-five for least goals allowed in the league. With Montgomery replacing him, the team may loosen up defensively, which will not be good for the bottom line, but could work well for the overall scoring production, especially the depth that has struggled to support the Bruins' top line over the last number of years.
However, with Brad Marchand out to start the season, recovering from offseason surgery, and Krejci a year removed from NHL action, the top-six has some questions. A new first line of Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak centred by Bergeron would be a formidable top line again, but it’s likely those two wingers are separated from Bergeron. With all the injuries, the Bruins will have a shallow lineup that will likely have their depth exposed, compounding on a lesser defensive scheme, leading to a poor overall performance.
Ready for Full Time –
A.J. Greer – The 25-year-old has bounced around to a few NHL teams already, but never able to make the permanent jump to the NHL. He plays a heavy and gritty game, and having scored at a point-per-game in the AHL the past two years, there is a bit of an offensive touch as well when put in the right situations. Greer could fit in well on the fourth line with the likes of Chris Wagner and Trent Frederik, at least with players injured to start the season.
Oskar Steen – Steen saw a few games last season, and put up five points in his first seven, before cooling off and being sent back down to the AHL. The Bruins don't have a lot of skilled players in their bottom six, so he would offer a nice compliment to give Jim Mongomery some options while constructing his lineup. He didn't score as well as Greer did in the AHL last season, but he is younger and has more upside.
Jack Studnicka – Studnicka is one of the best prospects in the Bruins system, though that isn't saying much. Fantasy managers have been waiting impatiently for him to stick full time, and this appears to be the year everything falls into place for him. There are spots up in the lineup to be won in training camp, and Studnicka should be able to build on a very successful AHL season and take the step to being a productive winger at the NHL level. He won't touch the Calder conversation, but he should stick for the full season and provide some occasional streaming value.
Fantasy Outlook:
Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark look primed to split the net this year, though neither may come by as many wins as the roster in front of them takes a step back. Their goals-against numbers may also suffer a little with a new system, meaning at an already unpredictable position, you may want to slide these two even further down your draft list.
With the top-two puck movers in Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk out for the beginning of the season, Mike Reilly looks to be the benefactor and should get first crack at the potent top power play unit. Despite the injuries, the Bruins will still start the year with six other defencemen on one-way contracts, and running down the rest of list from Hampus Lindholm to Derek Forbort, there are serviceable defencemen, but no one else noteworthy from a fantasy perspective.
Up front, the outlook really depends on the return status of Marchand (who does have a history of returning earlier than his initial timelines) and the contract status of the two former Bruins centres in Bergeron and Krejci. Without all three of them, things look thin, and you end up with a second line that averaged under 40-points per player last season. Nick Foligno is still a worthy own in bangers leagues, and Jake DeBrusk is taking strides with 16 points in his last 20 games, but overall the team is leaving a lot to be desired.
Grade – B (last year was A-)

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