Bruins Players That Will Make Roster Decisions Tough

Published August 19, 2023 at 5:49 PM
BY

As the Boston Bruins gear up for their Warrior Ice Arena gathering in mid-September, all eyes will undoubtedly be on the promising young talents set to hit the ice.

Yet, amid this anticipation, the spotlight mustn't overlook the seasoned veterans who have joined the roster during what has been a significant summer overhaul.

Last May, General Manager (GM) Don Sweeney expressed his intention to infuse youthful vigor into the 2023-24 lineup.

However, the free-agent acquisitions of Morgan Geekie, James van Riemsdyk, Patrick Brown, Jesper Boqvist, and Milan Lucic in the forward positions, along with the addition of Kevin Shattenkirk on defense, present a formidable challenge for these aspirations.


Despite the flurry of roster changes, the training camp is expected to feature players who will undoubtedly pose intriguing challenges for the coaching staff in determining the Opening Night roster.

Here are some standout players who are bound to spark complex decisions as the season approaches.

A.J. Greer:

In the previous season, A.J. Greer showcased his mettle by participating in 63 games for the Bruins, tallying five goals and 12 points.

Functioning mainly on the fourth line, he embodied the quintessential fourth-line grinder, wielding a robust forecheck alongside Tomas Nosek, Jakub Lauko, Nick Foligno, and other line companions. However, Greer faces a more daunting task this season to secure his place in the roster.

While signings like Geekie, Brown, and Lucic have fortified the bottom-six composition, the prospect of Geekie potentially fitting into a second-line role adds a layer of complexity.

Lauko's strong potential also places him as a contender for a lineup slot, and Lucic's presence is undoubtedly more than that of a healthy scratch, contributing a much-needed enforcer facet missing from last season.

Greer's preseason performances will be critical, but it's within reason that the Canadian talent may leave an indelible mark, prompting contemplation from the coaching team.

Georgii Merkulov:

Emerging as a prominent Bruins prospect, Georgii Merkulov delivered a robust inaugural full professional season with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL).

This accomplishment followed an impressive freshman year at Ohio State University during the 2022-23 season. His undrafted free-agent signing led to a season with the Buckeyes, culminating in 20 goals and 14 assists.

In the preceding season with the P-Bruins, Merkulov flourished with 24 goals and 31 assists, becoming their leading scorer. Evidently boasting a robust offensive prowess, the question lies in whether he can translate this proficiency to the NHL stage.

With the Bruins aiming for increased production from the bottom six, Merkulov's versatility as a center and winger grants him an opportunity to claim a spot on the fourth line.

He stands as one among a select cadre of prospects who could potentially secure a berth for Opening Night, capitalizing on his robust skill set.

John Beecher:

Beyond Merkulov's presence, John Beecher stands as another prospect on the cusp of NHL readiness. The pertinent query pertains to his potential role and the adjustments his inclusion might necessitate.

The departure of David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, coupled with Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle's anticipated roles, ushers in an era of center-related inquiries for the Bruins.

Within this dynamic, Beecher's niche becomes evident. While Geekie, Brown, and Trent Frederic will have their chances, Beecher's potential lies in securing a spot as the fourth-line center.

Notably, Beecher's prowess extends to penalty-killing, faceoff proficiency, and a standout presence on the ice. As the former University of Michigan standout and 30th overall pick of the 2019 Entry Draft enters training camp, his viability for an NHL slot is undeniably compelling.

Jakub Zboril:

Cast your mind back to the 2015 Draft, when GM Sweeney initiated his tenure with the selection of defenseman Jakub Zboril, 13th overall. Fast forward eight years, and Zboril is still grappling to establish a foothold within the Boston setup.

His journey has been punctuated by injuries and the influx of left-shot blueliners through trades and free agency. This upcoming season presents Zboril with a formidable challenge to crack the roster, though this doesn't negate his ability to make a substantial impact during camp.

Among the left-shot defensemen ahead of him are Hampus Lindholm, Matt Grzelcyk, and Derek Forbort. Each brings unique attributes to the table, thereby intensifying the competition that Zboril faces.

Of particular note, Zboril's capacity to function on the off-side provides Coach Jim Montgomery with versatility. While the right side boasts established players like Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, Shattenkirk represents a contender for the third-pairing spot.

In the context of Sweeney's emphasis on injecting youth into the lineup, Zboril's potential contribution ranks high on the agenda. The prevailing sentiment is clear: Zboril's moment is on the horizon, and if not now, then when?

The forthcoming Bruins squad will undoubtedly exhibit a distinct complexion. The extent of this transformation hinges upon the deliberations made by the coaching staff.

Young prospects will be given a platform to showcase their abilities through practices and preseason encounters, raising the question of whether they can truly earn their place.

As the training camp unfolds, one certainty remains: the emerging talents will render the decisions challenging for Jim Montgomery and his dedicated team.

Source: Thehockeywriters
POLL
August 19   |   46 answers
Bruins Players That Will Make Roster Decisions Tough

Do you think the young prospects will make a significant impact on the Boston Bruins' lineup this season?

Yes3780.4 %
No919.6 %
LIST OF POLL
Latest 10 stories