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Three Bruins players facing the most pressure in the 2023-24 Season


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Hunter Bowman
July 26, 2023  (10:11 PM)
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The 2022-23 NHL season for the Boston Bruins saw several intriguing storylines, with a notable highlight being the emergence of numerous players under the guidance of first-year head coach Jim Montgomery.

A few players enjoyed unexpectedly productive seasons, catching the attention of fans and critics alike.
As the hockey world gears up for the 2023-24 season, the spotlight falls on certain members of the Black and Gold roster who must validate that their performances from the previous year were no mere fluke.
Here are three Bruins players facing the most scrutiny and pressure as they enter the upcoming season.
Trent Frederic - A player in the spotlight, Trent Frederic, currently a restricted free agent (RFA), awaits the outcome of his contract negotiations. His arbitration hearing is scheduled for Aug. 1, and while it's possible that he and General Manager Don Sweeney could reach an agreement before the hearing, the situation remains unresolved.
The former first-round draft pick had struggled to find consistency under former coach Bruce Cassidy, at times getting bogged down in taking ill-advised penalties. However, under Montgomery's tutelage, Frederic's game took a positive turn, and he had an impressive season.
He achieved career-highs in goals (17), assists (14), and points (31), boasting an outstanding plus/minus rating of plus-28 while playing in the bottom six. Still, Frederic must now prove that last season's success was not a one-time occurrence, as he continues to seek a key role within the Bruins' lineup.
Jake DeBrusk - Jake DeBrusk experienced a resurgence over the last year and a half, following a period of struggle under Cassidy's coaching. At one point, DeBrusk requested a trade during the 2021-22 season, but to no avail, as Sweeney retained him.
The decision turned out to be a wise one, as DeBrusk thrived after being placed on the first line alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Montgomery, maintaining a "If it's not broke, don't fix it" approach, kept DeBrusk on the top line, and the young forward rewarded the trust placed in him.
With 27 goals and 23 assists, DeBrusk tied his career-high in goals and earned a career-best 50 points. Unfortunately, an injury temporarily sidelined him during the season, but he remained a formidable force in the postseason, notching four goals and six points against the Florida Panthers.
Now, as he enters a contract season, DeBrusk must demonstrate that his recent success is sustainable and not just a brief resurgence.
Kevin Shattenkirk - As the Bruins navigated their cap situation during the offseason, it became evident that Conor Clifton's time in Boston was coming to an end. Clifton secured a substantial deal with the Buffalo Sabres, and Boston turned to veteran defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk as his replacement.
Shattenkirk, who brings a wealth of experience from his stints with various teams, joined the Bruins on a one-year, $1 million contract. Known for his offensive contributions, Shattenkirk will fill a crucial role on the third pairing. His numbers over the last two seasons reflect his value, with 12 goals and 50 assists, though he's not expected to solely focus on scoring for the Bruins.
Instead, his defensive prowess will be vital, evident from his 115 blocked shots and 79 hits last season with the Anaheim Ducks. Shattenkirk faces the challenge of proving himself in his new role with Boston and demonstrating that he can successfully replace the departed Clifton.
As the Boston Bruins look ahead to the 2023-24 season, the onus falls on these players to either replicate their impressive performances from last year or step up to fill significant gaps on the roster.
Source: Thehockeywriters

NHL players in this story
Brad Marchand
Kevin Shattenkirk
Jake Debrusk
Trent Frederic
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Three Bruins players facing the most pressure in the 2023-24 Season

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