Predicting Stats for the Boston Bruins' Top 10 Players in 2013 Season
Diehard fans and fantasy buffs alike should keep an eye on the Black and Gold, who look primed to produce plenty of offense in the 48-game campaign.
Here's my take on how the Bruins' top 10 skaters will fare.
10. Chris Kelly
Third-line center Chris Kelly was a plus/minus monster last season, and he should continue to be one of the league's most efficient players this year. He will benefit significantly from once again playing with Rich Peverley, who spent time among the top six forwards and in the training room last year.
If Kelly can encourage the success of winger Chris Bourque, then Boston's tertiary trio could pack a surprising punch.
|2013 Projected Stats||48||10||13||23||+16|
9. Chris Bourque
Summer acquisition Chris Bourque will finally attempt to convert years of AHL success into a regular NHL job in 2013. Hall of Famer Ray Bourque's son has earned a spectacular 423 career AHL points despite posting a measly four in 34 NHL appearances.
Before being invited to Boston's training camp, he led the Providence Bruins with 28 points in 32 games, earning an invite to the AHL All-Star Game. The former Boston University star will not be available for the game, as he has now earned a spot on the Bruins third line alongside Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. The offensively gifted winger should make a solid contribution in the shortened season.
|2013 Projected Stats||48||7||17||24||+8|
(*With AHL's Hershey Bears.)
8. Rich Peverley
After playing only 57 games last season, the versatile Rich Peverley is healthy and ready to go for the shortened season. After scoring 23 points in 29 games for Finland's JYP during the lockout, he seems prepared to provide a healthy dose of offense.
With Nathan Horton back on the ice, Peverley will likely return to the third line, which may limit his ice time, but he should still find a way to produce regularly.
|2013 Projected Stats||48||11||16||27||+12|
7. Zdeno Chara
Perennial Norris Trophy candidate Zdeno Chara should be a dominant two-way defender once again in 2013. The Bruins captain may not be the most offensive-minded blueliner, but he consistently contributes with the world's fastest slap shot and some excellent vision from the point.
The quintessential plus-player, Chara should be near the top of the league in plus/minus rating once again while leading all Bruins defensemen in points.
|2013 Projected Stats||48||7||25||32||+16|
6. Brad Marchand
After reaching the 20-goal plateau in each of his first two NHL seasons, Brad Marchand should continue to progress as he builds chemistry with linemates Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin.
One of the few Bruins who did not play competitively during the lockout, Marchand's conditioning could be problematic early on, but he will find form sooner or later. The development of Tyler Seguin should help increase Marchand's strike rate.
|2013 Projected Stats||48||16||20||36||+19|
5. Nathan Horton
One of the Bruins' most talented goal scorers, Nathan Horton appears to be past the concussion problems that limited him to just 46 games a year ago. In a contract year, Horton will be hellbent on proving that he is worth a big payday next summer.
The physical right winger may need some time to adjust after sitting out for nearly a year, but he should help linemates David Krejci and Milan Lucic re-emerge as elite players.
|2013 Projected Stats||48||18||16||34||+4|
4. Milan Lucic
After a minor step backward last season, Milan Lucic has a lot to prove in 2013. The pounding forward scored 30 goals en route to the Stanley Cup in 2010-11 and will need to recapture that form to carry the Bruins in the shortened season.
Two days after the birth of daughter Valentina on January 17, No. 17 got off to a perfect start with Boston's first goal of the season in an opening day victory over the New York Rangers. With fellow bash-brother Nathan Horton once again lined up on the other side of center David Krejci, Lucic could go off during the sprint to the playoffs.
|2013 Projected Stats||48||17||23||40||+5|
3. David Krejci
David Krejci will need to up his game this season to dispel swirling trade rumors. After a disappointing campaign a year ago, he should be up to the challenge.
During the lockout, he led HC Pardubice with 27 goals in just 24 games in his native Czech Republic. Even if his scoring rate doesn't jump, he should boost his plus/minus rating.
|2013 Projected Stats||48||18||24||42||+5|
2. Patrice Bergeron
Last year's Frank J. Selke Trophy winner has always excelled as a two-way center, but he should find plenty of offensive success this season. Now firmly established as Boston's No. 1 center, Bergeron will make good use of emerging stars Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand.
After posting 29 points in 21 games for Switzerland's HC Lugano, Bergeron should be prepared for a hot start back in Boston. As the pivot man on arguably the league's best line, Bergeron could once again lead the league in plus/minus.
|2013 Projected Stats||48||14||31||45||+19|
1. Tyler Seguin
After leading the Bruins in both goals and points in just his second season, Tyler Seguin is ready for superstardom. The second overall pick in the 2010 draft could emerge as the face of the franchise in 2013.
He led the Swiss National League A with 25 goals during a dazzling lockout stint with EHC Biel, and the youngster now seems primed to compete for a number of major end-of-year honors.
|2013 Projected Stats||48||30||23||53||+18|