The Boston Bruins’ Seventh Player Award, annually doled out by the New England Sports Network to a player who exceeds expectations, is arguably the most recognizable team prize and the easiest to prognosticate.
The rest―such as the Elizabeth C. Dufresne Trophy for the best performer in home games―can only be logically debated at season’s end.
But with the training camp roster assembled and the long-awaited start to the 2012-13 NHL season approaching this weekend, it is easy enough to assess the expectations of each Bruin. Upon filtering out the multitude of mainstays whose bars cannot be set much higher than they have been in past years, there are newcomers and prospective pluggers to watch for.
Three of the award’s past five recipients―Milan Lucic, Tuukka Rask and Brad Marchand―have been rookies. The other two―David Krejci and Tyler Seguin―were professional sophomores. Prior to that, goaltender Tim Thomas won it back-to-back in 2005-06 and 2006-07, his last split NHL-AHL season and first full Boston campaign, respectively.
That trend could easily continue, or a veteran who has performed beyond his place on the depth chart in a previous season could do the same and be rewarded this time.