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Days of Y’Orr Round Table Discussion: Bruins and Playoffs? Part I

The DOY staff sat down and had a nice little chat with some predictions about the 2017-2018 Boston Bruins. This will be broken up into two parts because the first question has some pretty lengthy answers. If you want to support us, please check us out on Patreon!

1. Where are the Bruins at the end of the season in the Atlantic standings?

Pizz: I’m going to tell you the same thing I told my wife on our wedding night: “Keep your expectations low and you may begin to enjoy it”. Last year was an odd year in hockey, especially in the East. If the Islanders could win a game in the first half of the season, or if Tampa hadn’t lost Stamkos to injury and Bishop to injury/trade, then the 2017 playoffs would have looked a lot different. This year, both of those teams should be better, AND some young talent on a certain team that is usually the joke of the Atlantic Division (not Buffalo, the other one) has another season under their belt. But hey, we should do better than Detroit at least! For the first time in never, the fucking Lions are the darling team of that fair city.

But, to shoot a ray of sun through my perennial storm clouds, I’m looking forward to watching this team. This is the first time in a while that I feel like we have a lot of good young talent that we can see grow before our eyes. It’s already begun with Pastrnak, and just thinking about McAvoy skate and play makes this grinch’s manhood grow three sizes this day.

All this said, do I think the Bruins will make the playoffs this year?

Marshall: Man, the Atlantic is a mediocre meat grinder this year. Outside of (a healthy) Tampa, I don’t think any of these teams would make the playoffs in any other division. The Bruins have a pretty wide window where they could find themselves at year’s end, pretty much anywhere between 1st and 5th. I can say with confidence that Detroit, Florida, and Buffalo will be scraping the bottom of the barrel once again.

After that, things get harder than Zdeno Chara 45 minutes after taking a Cialis. You can take Boston, Tampa, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, put them in any order, and it wouldn’t shock anybody. Ultimately, I think Tampa reclaims its throne, Montreal struggles to find an identity on offense, Ottawa pretty much stands still, and Toronto takes a big step backwards.

That leaves our beloved Bruins mostly in the same spot they were last year, duking it out with the Senators for the 2nd seed in the division. Despite retaining the services of both Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller, the injection of youth on the blueline means the back end looks a lot better than it did to open the 2016-17 season. Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo can anchor this team’s defense for years to come and I, for one, am excited to see them grow like those magic dinosaur capsules your parents picked up on Christmas Eve because they forgot to get you a real present.

If the young guns at the front of the ice (Anders Bjork, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, et al) can provide more firepower than the Bruins got from the likes of Jimmy Hayes and Dominic Moore, it’s not unreasonable to think this team can land in the top 10 in terms of goals for. Breaking up the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak combination, while heartbreaking, will spread out the Bruins weapons, making them harder to play against. I think that if things click the right way, the Bruins outpace the Senators and finish 2nd in the Atlantic, setting up a rematch from last year’s first round, but with home ice this time around.

Prediction: 2nd in Atlantic Division

Jon: Before those of you who believe the Bruins do no wrong and that you have to say the B’s are the best or you’re not a “real fan” get all pissy and whiny know that I’m making this prediction as of 9/20/17, before final rosters are set. I’m not a psychic, mostly because psychics aren’t real. I don’t know how well the prospects like Bjork or DeBrusk or JFK are going to do in real NHL games. I have high hopes for them, but I’m also realistic. Remember when we all thought Caron was going to be awesome? I know a lot of you already penciled in Bjork as a 90-goal scorer, but I don’t have the money for the drugs you’re taking.

I see the Bruins as a borderline playoff team, but I’m not sure they make it in when the season ends. Tampa and Toronto are going to rule the division if healthy. Both teams have more depth than the Bruins.

Like their late owner’s pizza company, Detroit will make their fans stomachs churn while constantly firing vile liquids out of both ends of their bodies and the team will finish dead last.

Buffalo will be a good team in a couple more years but I still don’t see them being a threat in the division. Eichel’s Ginger Powers can only get them so far. They’re still trash overall on defense and in goal.

I think Ottawa’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals last year was a fluke. I don’t even see them making the playoffs. Erik Karlsson is hurt to start the season and despite his greatness, he can’t drag this shit pile of a team back to the playoffs. Despite a fancy new mask Craig Anderson will have a down year. No amount of inspirational stories will be enough his year.

And this is where it gets tricky. I have the Bruins fighting for 3rd in the division at best, but likely fighting for a wild card spot.

Florida has some talent but no direction so I have no idea what to think of them. Their management seems dead set on reversing any progress they’ve made and poor Ekblad keeps getting concussions, which both the NHL and individual teams seem to not give a shit about. Montreal has Carey Price and Claude Julien but their management is a mess so who knows. So why don’t I have the Bruins beating both of them just yet? Lack. Of. Depth.

Their top line of Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak is the wettest of wet dreams. Any other line they face will need a safe word. That’s how hard they’ll dominate. I’m typing this with one hand just thinking about it. No man or woman in Boston will need to watch porn. They’ll just watch highlights of these three playing together.

But after that? On the left wing you have unproven NHL commodities in DeBrusk and Agostino. Schaller and Kuraly were good energy guys last year but they’re still a huge drop off from Marchand. Then you have Vatrano and Beleskey. Vatrano has shown sparks but no consistency in the NHL and Beleskey was who I thought of when I accidently drank bleach and needed to throw up quickly.

Same with center. You have the Almighty Bergeron, savior and patron saint of Boston. The man is the peak of human evolution. And sure, David Krejci is an okay second line center but he’s on the decline. Just accept it and move on. Just like your dad, he’s not coming back. You then have JFK and Riley Nash. Possibly Spooner if the B’s can decide if they want him in the middle or on the wing. Fine role playing guys but that is it.

Then on the right wing you have that beautiful man David Pastrnak who is more magical than Jesus and actually for real. But then what? No idea what we’re getting from an aging Backes. You’d like to think he’ll have a better year now that he’s adjusted to his new town but who knows. Do they use Spooner here? Again, Bjork is still unproven at the NHL level. We hope he’s as good as advertised but there will at least be a small adjustment period.

The defense has some hope but again we’re not sure what we’re getting. Chara is a first ballot HHOF’er and will be a terrifying real estate agent now that he has his license but he’s another year older and has obviously slowed down. McAvoy looked as good as a shirtless Chris Hemsworth in the playoffs but we don’t know if he can carry that over a full season yet. I think he’s got the goods, but again I want to see it first. Carlo should be better in his sophomore year and Krug is dependable and underrated in my opinion. But the Bruins are one injury away from having to consistently use Kevan Miller or Adam McQuaid in roles that don’t suit them and we all know that turns the Bruins net into a revolving door.

I think they’re all set in net with Rask but at least 60% of you want to trade him or throw him in the trash like a prom night baby so doesn’t really matter what I say about him.

I think the Bruins will be a fun team to watch and I’m really, really excited to see how all the young guys do this season, but I see them as a 7th seed at best. Even if they end up sucking I still think they’ll be fun to watch if that makes sense.

But you can pretty much lock in Pittsburgh, Washington, Columbus and the shit stain Rangers from the Metro as playoff teams. Carolina could be sneaky good this year too. Tampa and Toronto will be in. So really it’s just a matter of who wins the Florida/Montreal/Boston battle royale. It’ll be a fun year regardless but I’m not getting my hopes up for a deep playoff run.

Now, if we get into the season and Bjork and Charlie Mac and the other young guns are flying and running wild and proving they belong, this would all change. I’m just telling you what I see today. But if that happens I’ll also pretend I’m a member of the GOP and deny I ever said any of this even when presented with the facts.

Pez: Gah, this is a tough one. I think the Bruins are in the same place they were last season in terms of talent. However, I think most teams in the Atlantic got better. Tampa will be better than they were last season. While they didn’t acquire much, the addition of a healthy Stamkos is huge. The Leafs get to look forward to the maturation of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.

It is my true belief that Ottawa and Montreal will be worse. Montreal may not be much worse than they were, but they’ve gotten rid of so much premium defensive talent that it is going to bite them in the ass at some point. Even with Carey Price being one, if not the, best goaltender in the NHL. With that said, they’re still a playoff team.

I think it will be a race between Montreal and Boston for third place in the Atlantic and by proxy, a fight for the wild card. If the Metro Division is as strong as it was last year, the wild card may not be an option. There were multiple points throughout the season where the wild card consisted of the Rangers and the Flyers or Islanders and with the potential explosion of talent that’s about to come out of Carolina, that spot could be gone.

It will be fun to watch as a hockey fan, but as a Bruins fan it will be incredibly frustrating.

The same questions still remain from last season.

Who will score other than Marchand and Pastrnak?
How good is this defense really?
Will Matt Beleskey play to his ability?
How effective can a 33 power forward be?
Who will spell Tuukka Rask?

I do think the answers are on this team for secondary scoring. Anders Bjork has shown some pep in the pre-season and if paired with The Wonder Twins, could really be an asset to this team.

I also have high hopes for the maturation of Frank Vatrano. I think Vatrano is going to sneakily be a 20 goal scorer this year. Most people aren’t talking about him because they’re caught up in the DeBrusk/Bjork/McAvoy/JFK hype. Watch for Vatrano to make a bigger leap than he did last year. Remember, he’s still on an Entry Level Contract and this will be his first real season where he could play more than 44 games (his career high).

I’m getting away from the original question.

I think the Bruins finish fourth in the Atlantic Division and make the wild card.

Part II will be posted tomorrow where we discuss who could have a breakout season for the Bruins, who could regress and what our expectations are for the season.