Through the course of the whirlwind offseason, the fans of the Boston Bruins have some big expectations and predictions for their team. The new players to the team will have some big shoes to fill and with that comes huge expectations. Replacing David Krejci and Tuukka Rask will be a tough task but Charlie Coyle and the duo of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman seem to be up to the task. How will Brendan Carlo adjust to taking on a bigger role after coming back from a major injury? These bold predictions will be talking points throughout the 2021-22 season for the Boston Bruins.
1st Bold Prediction: Charlie Coyle Rebounds and Fulfills Second Line Center Role
After David Krejci decided to leave the NHL to return to Europe the immediate question was “who is going to play second-line center?” The obvious and immediate response was Charlie Coyle. Playing on the Bruins for parts of three seasons Coyle knew the system and style the Bruins liked to play. Coyle has been playing on the Bruins’ third for the past couple of seasons with the expectation for improved production after inking a six-year extension worth 31 million dollars. Well, he is finally going to get the opportunity to play on the second line for the Boston Bruins. Playing alongside former all-star, Hart Memorial Trophy winner Taylor Hall and Craig Smith, Coyle is poised for a breakout season.
In the covid shortened 2021 season Coyle was limited to six goals and 10 assists in 56 games. With more games, more ice time, and more skilled linemates Coyle will absolutely surpass his production from last season. After being acquired by the Boston Bruins at the trade deadline last season, Taylor Hall played 16 regular season games scoring eight goals and six assists. Craig Smith was also impressive in his first campaign with the Bruins as he scored 13 goals and 19 assists in 54 games. Playing in between the two point-producing wingers will be beneficial to Coyle. It would not be shocking if Coyle sets a new career-high in points, goals, and assists with his new linemates. When Coyle played for the Minnesota Wild in 2015-16 he scored 21 goals in 82 games. The following season Coyle, still a member of the Minnesota Wild, set his career-high in points with 56. Finally fully healthy, in a full season, and on a new line with an expanded role Coyle will for sure have a bounce-back season to replace David Krejci.
2nd Bold Prediction: Brendan Carlo Will Suffer Another Injury
Unfortunately, injuries are a thing that all people have to deal with. Brendan Carlo can tell you from first-hand experience that hockey players are no different as he has dealt with his fair share of injuries over the course of his NHL career. This past season Carlo dealt with an upper-body injury after taking a nasty hit into the boards. This injury took him out of the Bruins lineup for a couple of weeks. Hopefully, Carlo can defeat the injury demons he has had to deal with his entire career and piece together a healthy and successful season. With his history though Carlo, unfortunately, will most likely suffer an injury that will keep him out of the lineup for a couple of weeks and keep his production to a minimum.
Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark Form One of the Best Goalie Tandems in League
The Boston Bruins crease on opening night will be totally different from the opening night of the 2020-21 season. Last season the Boston Bruins had a goaltending tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. The Bruins had many goalies play in games last season including Jeremy Swayman and Dan Vladar. After the news that Tuukka Rask would be taking some time off to rehab his injury and spend time with his family, many Bruins fans expected Swayman and Vladar to start the season as the goaltending tandem. Instead, the Bruins decided to trade Vladar to the Calgary Flames in the offseason and sign Linus Ullmark.
The former Buffalo Sabres goalie signed a four-year contract in which he will be making five million dollars a season. Last season with Buffalo Ullmark played his way to a winning record and .917 save percentage and 2.63 goals-against average. Both are very respectable stats but could be improved with a better team in front of him. The Bruins are exactly that. The Bruins are miles better than the Sabres, Ullmark should thrive with his new team. It would not be shocking if he posts career highs in wins, save percentage, and goals-against average. Ullmark split the crease with emerging star Jeremy Swayman. Swayman had a great start to his NHL career as he posted a 7-3 record in 10 starts with a .945 save percentage and 1.50 goals-against average. Ullmark will help show Swayman the ropes of being an everyday starting goalie the tandem should work well together forming a formidable one-two rotation.
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