NHL: 12 Bold Predictions for the Boston Bruins' 2011-12 Season

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IOctober 3, 2011

NHL: 12 Bold Predictions for the Boston Bruins' 2011-12 Season

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    The Boston Bruins are defending the Stanley Cup for the first time since the 1972-73 season, and they return to the 2011-12 NHL season with much of the same team.

    The only notable departures are Tomas Kaberle, Michael Ryder, and Mark Recchi who retired.

    The Bruins are certainly capable of having another historic season. Let's look at 12 bold predictions for their upcoming season, which starts Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers at the TD Garden.

    For updates on all Bruins news throughout the season, follow Nick Goss on Twitter. 

    Nicholas Goss is a Boston Bruins featured columnist for Bleacher Report and was the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston. 

Tyler Seguin Will Score 30 Goals

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    Tyler Seguin, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, had an inconsistent rookie season but showed he will be a star in this league.

    He scored 11 goals last season; with increased playing time and further development, however, Seguin will score 30 goals this season.

Zdeno Chara Will Win the Norris Trophy

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    Zdeno Chara was a finalist for the Norris Trophy last season, an award that is given annually to the NHL's best defenseman.

    Chara won the award in 2009.

    This season, Chara will continue his excellent defensive play and will win another Norris Trophy at the NHL Awards night next June.

Tim Thomas Will Be a Vezina Finalist

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    Tim Thomas had an historic season last year in which he set records, won the Vezina Trophy as the league's most outstanding goalie, and won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP.

    While duplicating some of the stats he tallied will be hard to do again this season, he will no doubt be a repeat finalist for the Vezina Trophy.

Johnny Boychuk Will Be Traded

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    Johnny Boychuk is entering the final year of his contract, and he will be traded by Boston before the trading deadline next February.

    Boychuk is a good player, but the Bruins likely won't re-sign him when some team would overpay for him in the summer, and young defenseman Steven Kampfer seems ready for a top-6 defensive role at the NHL level.

The Bruins Will Sweep the Season Series vs. Montreal

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    The Bruins have had a lot of trouble with arch rival Montreal in the regular season the past few years, but Boston has won the last two playoffs series between the two teams, including last year's seven-game triumph in the first round.

    Boston will not lose a single game to the Canadiens all year and will display its dominance against rivals all year.

Benoit Pouliot Won't Make It Through the Season

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    Benoit Pouliot has been a major disappointment this preseason, and while it's just the preseason, his play has still caused some concern.

    Pouliot is not being aggressive offensively, isn't taking many shots at all and isn't being physical.

    He is a former No. 4 overall draft pick and has never reached his potential, and he won't with Boston this season.

Adam McQuaid Will Lead the Team in Fighting Penalties

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    Adam McQuaid is one tough hombre. He is a physical player who has become a big part of the defensive future of the Bruins.

    The new three-year contract he received over the summer shows the Bruins want him for a while.

    McQuaid will become a real difficulty for opposing teams this season; he will overtake forward Shawn Thornton and become the Bruins leader in fighting majors this season.

Dennis Seidenberg Will Be Named the 2nd Alternate Captain

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    Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was one of the stars of the 2011 NHL playoffs, and his partnership with captain Zdeno Chara on the first defensive pairing became the league's best shutdown combo.

    With Mark Recchi's retirement this summer, the Bruins have a vacant alternate captain role. Seidenberg is a leader on the ice, and his physical play sets the tone for the Bruins.

    He will be named the second alternate captain for the season and will join Patrice Bergeron as the players with the "A" patch on their sweaters.

Milan Lucic Will Not Score 30 Goals Again

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    Milan Lucic snagged a career-high 30 goals last season, which also led the team. He did also score five empty net goals to help that total.

    Lucic will not score 30 goals again this season, but that doesn't mean he won't improve his play. 

    He will assist more goals and become a better all-around player. His line mates Nathan Horton and David Krejci will score more goals this season, which will prevent Lucic from reaching 30 again.

    Krejci especially will be more aggressive offensively this season.

David Krejci Will Score 25 Goals

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    Speaking of Krejci, he will score 25 goals this season, a 12-goal improvement from the 13 he scored last season.

    Krejci will be more aggressive offensively this season and will look to shoot more in situations he passed last season.

    Krejci is also playing for a new contract as he's entering the final year of his current deal, and although the Bruins will re-sign him, the better he does the more leverage Krejci will have in the negotiations.

The Bruins Powerplay Will Be Top 10 in the NHL

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    In last year's NHL playoffs the Bruins powerplay was historically bad, and they even became the first team to ever win a seven game series when not scoring a single powerplay goal in the series. That happened against Montreal in the first round.

    The Bruins powerplay will be much better this season, and in fact, it will be in the top 10 of the league.

    Newly acquired defenseman Joe Corvo will upgrade the powerplay over departed defenseman Tomas Kaberle, and as a team, the Bruins powerplay has looked pretty good in the preseason thus far.

The Bruins Will Repeat as Champions

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    The Boston Bruins proved that great defensive play, consistently good goaltending, and a physical style of hockey wins in the playoffs.

    You don't need an unbelievable offense or scoring champions, and you don't even need to score hardly at all on the powerplay.

    Boston has the best defense and goaltending in the NHL, and this combo in addition to being Boston's favorite team right now will carry them to another Stanley Cup title, and become the first repeat champions since the Detroit Red Wings won in 1997 and 1998.