Boston Bruins: Ranking the Top 5 Candidates for the 2013-14 Team MVP

Michael Smith@@smithmichael8 Contributor IIIOctober 8, 2013

Boston Bruins: Ranking the Top 5 Candidates for the 2013-14 Team MVP

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    The Boston Bruins have a realistic shot at getting back into the Stanley Cup Final.

    The core group of players—Tuukka Rask, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and David Krejci—is now joined by Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson to form a potent offensive lineup.

    On the back end, Chara is accompanied by Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid, Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug.

    With a new division to compete in, and with the teams around them getting better, some great individual performances will be needed this season in order for the B's to get deep in the playoffs.

    Who are the most important players for the Bruins? Who will be the team MVP this season?

No. 5: Milan Lucic

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    The Bruins' big man is the left wing on the first line for a reason. He will pound you into the glass and score clutch goals.

    In the past, he has received criticism for his streaks of pedestrian play (via The Boston Globe). But when he is at the top of his game, the Bruins are a different team.

    If Lucic can keep up a strong game throughout the season, he will be a huge benefactor for Boston. In a lot of ways, his playing influences the rest of the team. He is certainly one of the most important and valuable assets for the club.

No. 4: David Krejci

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    The center of the first line is obviously an important part of the team.

    Krejci will be one of the leading scorers on the team, and he's tasked with integrating newcomer Jarome Iginla into the lineup.

    The leading scorer in two of the last three playoffs, his playmaking will be the catalyst for the Bruins' offensive output. Without a stellar year from Krejci, the Bruins offense will suffer and the majority of scoring will need to come from the second line.

No. 3: Zdeno Chara

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    The defenseman with the longest tenure for Boston is the captain for a reason. He's the team leader and its most important defensive player.

    Chara brings intensity, grit and a big frame that makes it incredibly difficult for opponents to score. He disrupts so many offensive plays that don't even get noticed.

    If Chara can continue to play as much as he is accustomed to, the Bruins will continue to be a great defensive team. Simply, with Chara at the top of his game, it's hard to find a more important defenseman on any team.

No. 2: Patrice Bergeron

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    The guy who does everything for the Bruins is the most important skater on the club. Without his back-checking, scoring, penalty-killing and shot-blocking, the Bruins are a different team.

    In Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago, the B's were noticeably less effective on both ends without Bergeron, who was at a local hospital (Via the AP, from Yahoo!).

    He is the most clutch goal scorer on the team and the emotional leader of the offense. Without Bergeron, the Bruins aren't the Bruins.

No. 1: Tuukka Rask

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    The goalie has more influence on the outcome of an NHL game than any other player. When you have a netminder as good as Tuukka Rask, that is something to appreciate.

    After posting a 2.00 goals-against average last season (via ESPN), the Bruins expect big things this year from the Finland native.

    A down year for Rask could derail the Bruins' hopes of winning a Stanley Cup—a good year vaults them to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

    Rask's play will determine the success of the Bruins more than any other player wearing black and gold. That's why he is the favorite to be the team MVP.