2013 NHL Season Preview: Part IV: Boston Bruins roster predictions

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In the final part of my 2013 NHL season preview, I take a look at what the upcoming season may have in store for each member of the Boston Bruins’ roster.

Part I –> Northeast Division Preview

Part II –> Eastern Conference Preview

Part III –> Hockey Independent Roundtable: Preseason Stanley Cup Predictions

Part IV –> 2013 Boston Bruins Roster Predictions

FORWARDS

19 Tyler Seguin – 19 goals, 21 assists

- Boston’s prized youngster broke onto the scene one year ago, nearly tallying 30 goals and earning his first career all-star invitation. With another offseason of training and a brief stint in Switzerland now under his belt, expect Seguin to step into the category of “elite” scorer in the NHL.

37 Patrice Bergeron – 13 goals, 23 assists

- Boston’s perfect model of consistency, Patrice Bergeron has been one of the most steady and productive players in the history of Bruins’ hockey. It’ll be business as usual for Boston’s alternate captain with close to another 30-goal/70-point pace this season.

63 Brad Marchand – 14 goals, 15 assists

- After deciding against skating overseas during the lockout, it may take the Halifax, Nova Scotia native a little longer to get things going than his two linemates. However, Marchand should still be able to reach his typical 20-25 goal pace.

17 Milan Lucic – 17 goals, 14 assists

- Lucic is another player who may take a little longer to get back on the right track after opting not to play during the lockout, but with linemate Nathan Horton back in the lineup, I’d still expect to see another solid year from Boston’s bruising top-line forward.

46 David Krejci – 13 goals, 25 assists

- Before last season, I predicted David Krejci to really take the next step in his career and post his first-ever 80-point season. While that didn’t exactly happen in 2012, I would not be surprised if it did in 2013. There’s a reason general manager Peter Chiarelli was reluctant to move Krejci for (potentially available) Ducks’ forward Bobby Ryan;  and that’s his remarkable on-ice vision and ability to create offense in any situation.

18 Nathan Horton – 17 goals, 12 assists

- The man who may very well be the key to success for the Boston Bruins this season is none other than 2011 playoff hero Nathan Horton. With Horton in the lineup, the B’s are given added flexibility and the ability to keep the tandem of Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly skating together on the third line. However, after suffering two concussions in seven months, it is unclear as to if Horton can return to 2011 form.

49 Rich Peverley – 10 goals, 19 assists

- Boston’s always-dependable third liner spent the lockout in Finland refining his game and preparing for the season. Back on the B’s third offensive unit, alongside an elite defensive centerman in Chris Kelly, Peverley looks to be in good position for another solid season in the first year of his new three-year contract.

23 Chris Kelly – 8 goals, 11 assists

- After an incredible 20-goal season just one year ago and a lucrative contract signed this summer, expectations will be higher than usual for Chris Kelly as we prepare to begin the 2013 NHL season. However, a small step back in the offense department may be an unfortunate inevitability for the former Ottawa Senator.

48 Chris Bourque – 5 goals, 7 assists

- Donning the 8-spoked “B” for the first time on Saturday evening will undoubtedly be the thrill of a lifetime for the son of Boston sports legend Ray Bourque. However, with Jordan Caron on his way back from injury, the younger Bourque may need to prove himself immediately or risk being sent back to Providence.

22 Shawn Thornton – 3 goals, 5 assists

- Status quo for Boston’s fourth line enforcer who isn’t exactly known for his tremendous offensive prowess. Well, unless you’re asking Jet’s goalie Ondrej Pavelec.

11 Gregory Campbell – 4 goals, 7 assists

- With a new contract in tow, expect another solid season from Gregory Campbell in his role as fourth line center, while providing head coach Claude Julien with another capable body to be used on the penalty-kill.

20 Daniel Paille – 5 goals, 6 assists

- Boston’s speedy fourth line winger may see some competition this season as young Lane MacDermid has made the Boston roster as the thirteenth forward and could see some action on the Bruins’ fourth line. Paille will need to maintain a high level of performance if he hopes to remain in the lineup all season long.

DEFENSE

33 Zdeno Chara - 9 goals, 20 assists

- Boston’s shut-down defenseman continues to be the perfect model of conditioning excellence. Even at age 35, I’d expect another all-star caliber season from the B’s captain.

44 Dennis Seidenberg – 3 goals, 11 assists

- Perhaps the most underrated defenseman in the entire NHL is Boston’s Dennis Seidenberg. However, after a fantastic showing against Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin in last year’s postseason, the secret may be out on just how good the German-born defenseman actually is.

55 Johnny Boychuk – 2 goals, 6 assists

-  Skating alongside Zdeno Chara during most of the regular season makes No. 55 one of the luckiest defensemen in the league. If he’s able to limit the blueline turnovers, Boychuk could enjoy a breakout season in 2013.

27 Dougie Hamilton – 5 goals, 15 assists

- The prized “puck-moving defenseman” that B’s fans have salivated over ever since general manager Peter Chiarelli selected him with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft is finally set to debut in Boston. Skating next to Dennis Seidenberg (as training camp indicated) will undoubtedly benefit Hamilton during his first season of NHL action, but rookie miscues are bound to shine through in what will be a learning season for Boston’s future No. 1 defenseman.

21 Andrew Ference – 3 goals, 10 assists

- After setting a career-high in goals (6) and nearly reaching his personal watermark in points (scored 24, but needed 31) last season, Ference proved himself as a lot more than your average third-pair defenseman.

54 Adam McQuaid – 1 goal, 4 assists

- Boston’s dependable third-pairing d-man was sorely missed during the postseason series loss to Washington last April, but offseason surgery has No. 54 back and ready to roll on the Bruins’ blueline.

GOALTENDERS

40 Tuukka Rask – 2.41 GAA, .918 save percentage

- It’s fairly safe to say that the fate of the 2013 Boston Bruins rests squarely on the shoulders on goaltender Tuukka Rask. With Tim Thomas fleeing for Colorado in the offseason, the B’s handed the reigns over to the young Finnish netminder who led the team to the second round of the playoffs in 2010. If Rask is able to regain his form and become the elite goaltender that he was just two short years ago, the B’s could be contenders for a second Stanley Cup championship in just three years.

35 Anton Khudobin – 2.76 GAA, 9.12 save percentage

- The young Russian who hasn’t proven much at the NHL level will be given a shot as Boston’s No. 2 goalie to start this season. However, I’d expect no more than 10-12 starts for the former member of the Minnesota Wild.

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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Michigan Fan. Street Hockey Agitator. My work has been featured at the New England and New York Hockey Journals, The Hockey Guys, and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com!

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