5 Boston Bruins Who Have Put Together the Best Performances Overseas
With no progress being made towards a new CBA, nine Boston Bruins stars have set up shop in Europe. The Bruins contingent has since met with considerable success.
Four players currently reside in the Czech Republic. Two more have signed on in Switzerland, while Russia, Finland, and Germany each have one Boston representative.
In nearly a month of play, several Bruins have scored in bunches and led their new clubs to consistently good results.
The following five Bruins have made the most impressive starts to their European campaigns:
5. Rich Peverley
Stats: 11GP, 1G, 9A, 10P
Rich Peverley has become quite the playmaker in Finland. In a mere 11 games, he has risen to third on his team in assists, with nine. He is currently averaging just under one point per game, despite scoring only one goal.
Having played in just over half of JYP's games, Peverley ranks sixth on the team in points.
Peverley's lack of goal-scoring may be cause for concern, but JYP is not complaining as they sit atop the Finnish league. The Bruins hope that Peverley will keep up the steady stream of helpers when he returns to Boston.
Now that he has settled in Finland, Peverley may be trending upward. He finally found the back of the net in his most recent contest on October 27, also adding two assists to complete a three-point outburst. More prominent performances should be imminent.
Despite being hampered by injuries a year ago, Peverley put up 42 points in just 57 games for Boston. His early performances in Finland, portend more NHL success if the lockout is ever resolved.
4. David Krejci
Team: HC Pardubice
Country: Czech Republic
Stats: 11GP, 7G, 4A, 11P
David Krejci has been consistently excellent, while suiting up for the Czech Extraliga's defending champions.
Krejci's seven tallies tie him for third on the team, with Edmonton Oilers star Ales Hemsky. Hemsky currently leads the team in points, having played three more games than Krejci.
At the moment, Krejci is the only Pardubice player averaging more than one point per game. Despite a disappointing 62 point campaign last year, Krejci has come out of the gate scorching hot in his home country.
Despite Krejci's superb play, he is now 0-2 when playing against his Bruins teammates. On October 26th, Krejci put the puck past Tuukka Rask, before being stopped by the Bruins goalie in a shootout that gave Rask's HC Plzen the victory.
Two days later, Krejci scored twice in a losing effort against Andrew Ference's HC Ceske Budejovice.
Though HC Pardubice is wallowing in seventh place out of 14 Extraliga clubs, Krejci has put together a 10 game point streak. He has not been held pointless since his Pardubice debut on October 5.
The intriguing question about Krejci, is whether his success solidifies his position in Boston or increases his trade value.
3. Patrice Bergeron
Team: HC Lugano
Stats: 5GP, 6G, 5A, 11P
Patrice Bergeron has taken Switzerland by storm this fall. In just five games, Bergeron has notched 11 points. Having played in less than a third of HC Lugano's games, Bergeron is tied for the team lead in goals and is ranked fourth in points.
Bergeron has never been viewed as an offensive juggernaut. His stardom is established on the well-rounded style of his game. This past spring, Bergeron was awarded the Frank J Selke Trophy given to the NHL's best defensive forward. His numbers in Switzerland may be uncovering another facet of Bergeron's game.
Last season, playing between dynamic young stars Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand, Bergeron totaled 64 points, with only 22 goals. It was by all means an admirable season, as Bergeron's game is better measured in plus/minus and face-off wins, but the Bruins must be salivating over his new-found goal-scoring touch.
HC Lugano is now fourth in the Swiss National League. Helped by former Bruin Glen Metropolit, they recently defeated Tyler Seguin's EHC Biel by a 6-3 margin, with Bergeron netting the opening goal.
The only thing mitigating Bergeron's success is a supposedly minor upper-body injury, reported by NESN's Naoko Funayama. Bergeron was held out of last Friday's game against HC Davos, who currently employ NHL stars Joe Thornton and Rick Nash.
Bergeron was questionable for the game and is expected to return against HC Geneve-Servette on Tuesday. Bergeron's injury is a big scare for the Bruins, as he struggled in the the 2012 playoffs while playing with a torn oblique.
Despite the injury, Bergeron's dominant offensive play cannot be ignored and Claude Julien would love to see him improve his goal-scoring record stateside in the near future.
2. Tuukka Rask
Team: HC Plzen
Country: Czech Republic
Stats: 10GP, 1.97GAA, 92.86SV%
Tuukka Rask is thriving in the HC Plzen net. Through ten starts Rask looks completely prepared to take over Tim Thomas' role in Boston
HC Plzen is 8-2 with Rask as their starter, and they are currently in first place in the Czech Extraliga.
Bruins fans panicked on October 23, when Rask left a game against Slavia Praha after the first period with a groin injury. Rask missed the final six weeks of last season with a groin problem. Despite the scare, Rask's rest was purely precautionary.
Rask returned to action three days later in a shootout victory over David Krejci's HC Pardubice. He made 29 saves to force the game into overtime, and shut the door in the shootout. Though Krejci scored in the first period, the Bruins center failed to stump his teammate on his shootout attempt.
Rask, who grew up in Finland, has adapted tremendously to life in the Czech Republic. He currently leads the Extraliga in goals against average, allowing just 1.97 goals per game.
His superb play is best seen in contrast to fellow NHL goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. The Winnipeg Jets goalie is currently 19th in the league with a 3.63 GAA.
At the moment, all signs are indicating that Tuukka Rask is ready to be an elite NHL goaltender once the lockout ends.
1. Tyler Seguin
Team: EHC Biel
Stats: 12GP, 8G, 8A, 16P
Tyler Seguin is currently the Bruins highest scorer in Europe. Through 12 games, he has been rapidly ascending the Swiss scoring charts.
With 16 points, Seguin is currently ranked 9th in the Swiss National League. He is ranked ahead of NHL stars Logan Couture, Rick Nash, and Joe Thornton. As the disparity in games played evens out, Seguin is on pace to eclipse the league leaders.
In Biel, Seguin has formed a superb partnership with former University of New Hampshire forward Jacob Macflikier, who is the team's leading scorer...for now. Macflikier is sixth in league points, having seen his goals increase with the arrival of Seguin.
Biel currently sits directly in the middle of the league standings, but could see their fortunes change soon as Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane recently signed with the team.
Rumor has it Kane could join Seguin on Biel's top line, according to Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago. Such a partnership would almost certainly decimate most Swiss defenses. Upon joining forces with Kane, Seguin's numbers should only improve.
On October 20, Seguin had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 loss to Patrice Bergeron's HC Lugano. He scored his first EHC Biel hat-trick the following day, against HC Ambri Piotta.
The former-2nd-overall pick in 2010, Seguin improved tremendously last season, as he became the Bruins leading scorer. Based on his quick start to the Swiss campaign, Seguin looks capable of being the point-per-game player that Boston fans have dreamed about since Marc Savard's career was derailed by injuries.
At just 20-years-old, Tyler Seguin could be ready for NHL superstardom, and seems likely to become the face of the franchise sooner rather than later.