Ranking the Best Boston Bruins Performances Overseas During NHL Lockout

Chris Blanchard@@BlanchardNHLContributor IIIDecember 3, 2012

Ranking the Best Boston Bruins Performances Overseas During NHL Lockout

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    With the 2012 NHL lockout dragging on into December, a number of Boston Bruins players continue to ply their trade in Europe. Eleven Bruins in all have crossed the Atlantic in search of ice, and many have found incredible success. 

    With Tuukka Rask returning from the Czech Republic over the Thanksgiving weekend, 10 Bruins remain abroad, while others such as Gregory Campbell and Brad Marchand consider a European excursion if CBA negotiations remain fruitless. 

    Spread across Switzerland, Germany, Finland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Russia, the Bruins have made major impacts in their new leagues. 

    Here is a look at each Bruins individual performance thus far.

11. Chris Kelly

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    Team: HC Red Ice

    League: National League B (Switzerland)

    In late October, Chris Kelly made the surprising decision to join HC Red Ice in the Swiss second division. With Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin already thriving in the nation's top flight, it was somewhat bewildering for Kelly to join a lower-tier league. 

    Kelly has fared well in Switzerland, with nine points in just eight games, but averaging more than a point-per-game in a B-league does not exactly turns heads. 

    He ranks third on his team in points-per-game behind fellow lockout refugee Patric Hörnqvist, of the Nashville Predators, and former St. Louis Blues draft pick Ryan MacMurchy. 

    It seems that Kelly, who ranked third in the NHL with a plus-33 rating last season, is seeking little more than conditioning during this extended offseason. He is up to speed but has lacked the eye-catching numbers of his Bruins teammates. 

10. Johnny Boychuk

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    Team: EC Red Bull Salzburg

    League: Eishockey Liga (Austria)

    On November 16, defenseman Johnny Boychuk became the 11th Bruin to sign in Europe. The most recent Bruin to make the trip, Boychuk's overseas grade is decidedly incomplete. 

    He has only participated in four Austrian contests. In those four games, he has one goal and one assist, and he has managed to garner a plus-3 rating. The plus-minus rating alone is cause to believe that Boychuk is bound for further success in Europe. 

    Last season he ranked eighth in the NHL with some superb all-around defensive play and a plus-27 rating.

    At the moment, Boychuk looks all set to thrive in Salzburg, but the sample size is far too small to pass judgment on his play.  

9. Andrew Ference

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    Team: HC Ceske Budejovice

    League: Extraliga (Czech Republic)

    In October, defenseman Andrew Ference returned to HC Ceske Budejovice, for whom he played during the 2004-05 lockout. 

    His production in the Czech Republic has been somewhat underwhelming, however. In 15 games he has one goal and four assists, with a somewhat disappointing even plus-minus rating. 

    As his team wallows in ninth place in the 14-team Extraliga, he has been afforded little help and should not shoulder too much blame for his lack of production. 

    In early November he missed some time after taking a shot to the hand, but he has been otherwise perfectly healthy. He appears fully prepared for a return to Boston when the lockout ends. 

8. Anton Khudobin

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    Team: Atlant Moscow Oblast

    League: Kontinental Hockey League (Russia)

    Bruins backup Anton Khudobin has struggled at times in the KHL. Playing behind a bad team, he has had a hard time stringing victories together.

    In 21 games with Atlant, Khudobin has backstopped only 6 victories. However, his play has still  been encouraging. He has a 91.6 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against average. 

    Despite the many obstacles he has faced in Russia, Khudobin has shown the ability to take over games. In one late November game, Khudobin made 42 saves in a signature victory against Alexander Ovechkin's Dyanmo Moscow, who currently reside atop the KHL standings. 

    Khudobin will need to show off his big-game ability in Boston this season as he makes the jump from the minor leagues to the NHL. 

7. Zdeno Chara

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    Team: HC Lev Praha

    League: Kontinental Hockey League (Czech Republic)

    Zdeno Chara played his first game for the KHL's only Czech team on October 6. In 18 games he has undoubtedly been a positive force. 

    The Bruins captain has three goals and five assists for a squad looking up the standings at most other teams. The 6'9" defenseman, who has earned a plus-33 rating in each of the last two NHL seasons, currently owns an underwhelming plus-1 rating in Prague. 

    The 35-year-old Chara may be avoiding over-exertion while abroad, considering he is playing below the level that made him a finalist for the Norris Trophy in 2011-12. 

    Chara has remained healthy in the KHL and will shoulder big expectations upon his return to the NHL. 

6. Rich Peverley

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    Team: JYP Jyväkskylä

    League: SM-liiga (Finland)

    Rich Peverley has had an impressive fall playing for the fifth ranked team in the SM-liiga. 

    Peverley failed to score in his first 10 games with JYP, but he has now scored eight times in his last 10. He has five goals in his last four games. 

    Oddly, his goal-scoring surge comes at the same time as a major dip in his assist rate. Peverley had seven assists in his first ten games, but he has only dished out three helpers in his last ten. 

    He currently ranks third on his team in points and second in goals. His unique brand of inconsistency is baffling, but he has managed to produce points throughout his stay and thus looks set for another NHL campaign. 

5. Dennis Seidenberg

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    Team: Adler Mannheim

    League: Deutsche Eishockey Liga (Germany)

    In late September, Dennis Seidenberg announced plans to return to Adler Mannheim, for whom he played prior to his NHL debut.

    The Bruins defenseman is thriving in his home country of Germany, reunited with his brother Yannic. 

    With his team sitting atop the DEL standings, Seidenberg has contributed one goal and 10 assists in just 18 games. His 11 points and plus-nine rating rank first among Mannheim defensemen. 

    The 31-year-old Seidenberg appears rejuvenated and prepared for a strong return to Boston, where he figures to continue being among Boston's best blue-liners. 

4. David Krejci

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    Team: HC Pardubice

    League: Extraliga (Czech Republic)

    Back in his home country, David Krejci has found considerable success. Playing for the Czech Extraliga's eighth ranked team, Krejci has averaged more than a point-per-game. 

    In 19 games, Krejci has 10 goals and 10 assists. He ranks second on his team in points-per-game behind Edmonton Oilers star Ales Hemsky. 

    Krejci has only failed to record a point in three games this season. His consistent excellence bodes well for a bounce-back campaign in the NHL. 

    Amidst constant trade talks, Krejci will need to improve on his 62-point 2011-12 campaign to solidify his position in the Boston lineup. 

3. Patrice Bergeron

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    Team: HC Lugano

    League: National League A (Switzerland)

    Patrice Bergeron has suddenly become an offensive dynamo in Switzerland. In just 15 games he has 20 points. He has scored nine goals and dished out 11 helpers, to date.

    He ranks second on his team in points behind former Bruin Glen Metropolit, who has played in 12 more games. 

    The center awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward is now among Switzerland's best offensive forwards. 

    He missed some time in late October with an upper-body injury, though he has since returned to full strength. 

    The Bruins will hope that Bergeron can maintain his excellent offensive form upon his eventual return. 

2. Tuukka Rask

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    Team: HC Plzen

    League: Extraliga (Czech Republic)

    Tuukka Rask ended his stint in the Czech Extraliga over the Thanksgiving weekend, but his 17-game stay overseas was excellent. 

    He went 12-5 with HC Plzen, leading them to first place in the Extraliga standings. At the end of his stay, he ranked second in the Czech Extraliga in goals-against average (2.11) and fourth in save percentage (92.49). 

    His early return relieves the fears of the Bruins Nation, as it will protect him from potential injury. Rask suffered a minor groin tweak in October that caused some concern, due to his history of groin issues. However, he returned quickly and completed his time abroad with no further health problems. 

    The Bruins' new starter, in the wake of Tim Thomas' year off, played elite hockey throughout his time in Europe and should continue to do so in Boston. 

1. Tyler Seguin

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    Team: EHC Biel

    League: National League A (Switzerland)

    Tyler Seguin has dominated from the moment he arrived in Switzerland. Despite a late start to the season, he has become the Swiss league's top goal-scorer. 

    The 20-year-old is averaging nearly a goal-per-game with 22 strikes in just 23 appearances. He has also added 13 assists. 

    His 35 points rank him third in the league, ahead of NHL stars like Joe Thornton, Rick Nash, and Henrik Zetterberg. 

    The Bruins' 2011-12 top scorer has shown off every ounce of the offensive upside that made him the second overall pick in 2010. Playing with Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, Seguin looks like he has arrived as a bonafide superstar. 

    Seguin led the Bruins in goals and points in 2011-12 as a teenager, and he has shown significant improvement this fall. If he returns to Boston with his newfound maturity in tow, he should be the Bruins' most potent offensive threat in recent memory.