The Boston Bruins struggled at the start of the season, going 3-7 through their first 10 games. Now it seems they’ve gotten back to form, as they’re looking even stronger than the team that won the Stanley Cup last year.
The season stats of the players listed here aren’t staggering. The Boston Bruins of 2012 are not a team with one superstar 50-goal scorer. They’re a team with undeniable depth that can attack from all angles. They can beat you on every line. They can dominate you physically.
Here, I’ve comprised a list of the most valuable players to the Boston Bruins thus far.
If you look at the stats, you may question the placement of Daniel Paille on this list.
Paille does things game-in and game-out that just aren’t recorded on paper. The energy he and the fourth line bring to the ice is unmatched by any other fourth line in the league.
It seems as though that line’s sole purpose is to go out there and wreak havoc on the opposition. While it doesn’t reflect in his goal-scoring, Daniel Paille has a beautiful shot and is arguably one of the best penalty-killers on the team.
I don’t know about you, but I have a blast every single time Rich Peverley gets his stick on the puck.
Using his speed and masterful stick-handling, Peverley knows how to make plays with absolutely dazzling ability. He's not afraid to grind it out, either.
You know you’ve got a strong team when Chris Kelly is your third-line center.
At one point earlier in the season, Kelly had more goals than star forward Alexander Ovechkin. Tell me that’s not impressive.
Kelly was an unsung hero in the playoffs and is now on pace to surpass his career-high goal-scoring total.
After Tyler Seguin lit up the ice in the Eastern Conference Finals, many expected a more productive year from him going into the 2011-12 season.
And in the words of Jack Edwards: This kid is hot.
Playing alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin has shown to be a valuable player to this Boston team. He leads the team in scoring and is on pace to score 30 goals this season.
Two U’s, two K’s, too good.
Tuukka Rask is the best backup goaltender in the NHL. Having to rely heavily on your starting goaltender can serve as an issue in the long run, especially when your starter is 37 years old.
Tim Thomas is once again demonstrating his superb goaltending this year, but Rask has stepped into the spotlight as well. He leads the league in both goals against and save percentage. He's also posted three shutouts this year.
That being said, Boston has the strongest goaltending tandem in the league.
Who would’ve ever thought a historically underachieving Hab would ever be one of the most valuable assets to this Boston Bruins team?
Benoit Pouliot has been doing nothing but working hard—every game, every shift.
His speed, size and aptitude to draw penalties have proven to be very significant throughout the season so far. Not to mention, Claude Julien can plug him into just about any line and he can produce.
Fourth line or third line? He’ll grind it out and do his job.
Second or first line? He’ll score and set up the snipers for the big goals.
Pouliot’s success also compliments Peter Chiarelli’s eye for talent.
Brad Marchand came out guns blazing last season. And this year has been no different.
His scoring and ability to draw penalties are just two ingredients that create the recipe for disaster for the opposition.
Marchand will only progress and, with guidance from linemate Patrice Bergeron on and off the ice, he’s on pace to become one of the greatest players in the league.
Last season, Tim Thomas would have claimed the top spot.
In fact, he might have been head and shoulders above the rest.
But this year, with Boston’s explosive offense, the workload has eased up. Thomas is still putting on miracle performances and saving games for the B’s, but with Boston’s scoring depth and powerful defense, the job is just a little bit easier for the All-Star goaltender.
When is captain Zdeno Chara not one of the most valuable players?
Not only to the team but to the entire NHL. This behemoth blueliner has proved to be one of the greatest defensemen to ever play the game. With his dominant defensive abilities, Chara may very well be on his way to winning another Norris Trophy.
Patrice Bergeron is one of the strongest and most versatile players in the National Hockey League—and arguably the most valuable player to the Boston Bruins.
Bergeron can do everything. He can score goals, he can make plays, he can play defense and he’s superb on the penalty kill.
Is there anything this man can’t do?
After starting off slowly, David Krejci seems to have hit his stride.
He is currently riding a nine-game point streak with six goals and eight assists. He's been putting on quite the show with his classic passes through the legs (cue Jack Edwards saying something about Krejci and the circus) and incredible centering spin passes. He works magic when he's on the ice.
As Jack Edwards once said: "Krejci could stick-handle through a phone booth and find room."