With the 2019-20 NHL season on hold we are going to review where each NHL team stands at this moment until the season resumes. Here we take a look at the long-term outlook for the Boston Bruins.
From a big picture perspective we should not really be surprised by the overall performance of David Pastrnak. He has shown over the past couple of years that he was on his way to becoming a top-tier scorer and put up huge numbers in an injury-shortened season a year ago. But it might be at least a little bit of a surprise as to just how much of a leap his offense took this season.
Not only is he in a back-and-forth race with Alex Ovechkin for the Rocket Richard award, he had an outside shot at the 60-goal mark. He is having one of the best individual offensive seasons in Bruins franchise history and has quickly become the best player on a team that still has Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.
Pastrnak is no longer just a great top-line player.
He is a superstar.
Beyond that, everything here has pretty much been business as usual for the Bruins. They were a Game 7 away from winning the Stanley Cup a year ago and brought back mostly the same roster. The expectation was for them to be great. They have been. In every possible area.
You really have to start reaching to find anything that even somewhat resembles a disappointment here because there are not many weaknesses with this team at any level.
Early on you might have been able to say that Charlie McAvoy‘s offense was a let-down. But even that started to correct itself and he was still making a positive impact even without the goals.
Maybe Ondrej Kase has been a disappointment after being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks before the trade deadline, but that is such a small sampling of games it would be unfair to actually go as far as to call him a disappointment for their season.
Overall, almost everything here is perfect. Their superstars at the top of the lineup are as good as it gets in the NHL. Their defense is good. They have two outstanding goalies. Their special teams units are both among the top-five in the entire league.
The only thing that has been a flaw this season? The shootout.
They have been awful in the shootout, and it is kind of weird to figure out because they have the goalies and they have the high-end talented forwards that you would think would shine in a skills competition. Instead, the Bruins have gone 0-7 in games decided by shootouts and are one of just two teams in the entire league that has yet to win one. Columbus (only 0-4 at this point) is the other. It is baffling.
Their shootout struggles have been so much that even Brad Marchand, one of the league’s best and most talented players, had this happen.
None of this however has been enough to hurt them because they still have a massive lead for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, the Eastern Conference, and also the Presidents’ Trophy.
• Looking at the 2019-20 Boston Bruins
• What is the Bruins’ long-term outlook?
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.