Boston Bruins 2005-2006

TEAM NAME: Boston Bruins

TEAM PAYROLL: $35,079,004

GENERAL MANAGER: Mike O’Connell. Entering his 4th year as general manager of the Boston Bruins.

HEAD COACH: Mike Sullivan. Entering his 3rd year as head coach of the Boston Bruins

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FORGOTTEN MOVES: The Boston Bruins made some significant choices in the lockout season, and they were to plan for a total clean up by allowing most of their players to walk away, such as Knuble and Nylander, who was their best forward in the playoffs. They paved the way to clear up the player budget to make a splash in the 2005 off-season, predicting a salary cap would force teams to leave players as unrestricted free agents.

TEAM MODE: This year’s Boston Bruins stand no different than previous seasons. They are a playoff team. This year, however, they are aiming at the Stanley Cup. They kept their main core in Joe Thornton, Sergei Samsonov, Glen Murray, Hal Gill, and Calder Trophy winner Andrew Raycroft. Added to the mix is Russian forward Alex Zhamnov, who should be able to be a significant factor on the power play, and who may center Sergei Samsonov and create Russian magic. After losing Sergei Gonchar to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Bruins went back to Beantown’s history and signed former Boston College player Brian Leetch. Though entering his last years of his career, the outstanding US born defenseman may regain his game’s strengths with the new rule changes. Moving to the lower profile players, the Bruins took advantage to take some size and grit by adding Dave Scatchard and Brad Isbister, who once again receives a chance to show his potential. Also on the wings, some veteran leadership in Shawn McEachern and Tom Fitzgerald were added. This leaves the Bruins as a threatening playoff contender if they can show their talent on paper when hitting the ice on October 5th.

TO TAKE CHARGE!: After taking some heat in 2004 for his playoff performance, Joe Thornton is expected, as his GM publicly stated his expectations too, to take the Bruins to the next level as their leader. He has assistance from Leetch, McEarchen, and Fitzgerald who would be the back up vocals in the locker room and on the ice. Thornton did not have such a good year last season played after hitting almost a thirty point decline from his previous 101 point campaign. And in the playoffs? He has been extremely unimpressive in his post-season career thus far. Yes, he was injured in the last playoffs, but going scoreless in seven games brings questions; the year prior, three points in five games. This has got to be Joe’s year to take charge, prove his captaincy, and lead the Boston Bruins beyond the first round of the playoffs.

ON THE RUSH (OFFENSE): It is quite obvious that the Bruins have an offensive punch to their game by adding the likes of Zhamnov, Leetch, and Scatchard. Keeping Glen Murray was the best move for the Bruins as they keep a familiar face on the team who already knows his game with Big Joe Thornton. The only question that remains is chemistry. The Bruins have solid offensive weapons in most areas, but mostly on paper. Can Zhamnov fit in? Will Scatchard give his 40+ point season? Can Leetch QB the power-play? Will Isbister be a no-show? The good thing is that the Bruins have their own core to depend on, such as Samsonov, Thornton, Murray, and the surprising youngster Patrice Bergeron. But, the rest of the team, aside from a couple of other youngsters from the minors, is made up of free agents. Can they put it together? That will remain to be seen. The skill is on paper, it just has to be on the ice as well.

COVERING THE D-ZONE: The only defenseman on this team that knows the d-zone best and has experience in it is stalwart Hal Gill, who may be traded to then bring in Nick Boynton. The Bruins made improvements on the offense, but where is the defense? Leetch will definitely be used as an offensive defenseman, Boynton (yet to be re-signed) is still young and needs to polish his two way game. After Gill comes Jiri Slegr who is a solid depth defenseman, but as your 4th d-man? Quite questionable. Jonathan Girard is also back on D looking forward to a healthy season. Other than that, the Bruins do not have any defense left. This is where they may find troubles throughout the season, specifically in the playoffs. And if GM Mike O’Connell decides to trade their best defensive defenseman? That will bring some wary concerns.

GUARDING THE NET: The Calder Trophy winner is back in the crease looking to bring Bruins hockey back in the post-season, and past the first round. Can he make it? He proved his worth as a starting goalie, but he is still young and has to keep proving it again this season with a weaker defense in front of him, plus the new rule changes and goalie equipment restrictions. The Bruins find themselves already questionable on defense, and there is no reason to ignore their goaltending situation. Finn youngster Hannu Toivonen showed a lot of promise in Providence, but he too is an inexperienced goalie at the NHL level. Should the Bruins look for Felix “The Cat” Potvin to rejoin the team? It could be likely. Behind the Toivonen is a goalie who has a little NHL experience, but is a veteran US born goalie who played very well in Finland during the lockout; you may expect Tim Thomas to make the squad behind Raycroft unless Hannu Toivonen really shines.

TALKING ABOUT MY GENERATION!: Still waiting to sign their two youngsters in Andy Hilbert and Ivan Huml, the Bruins have an intriguing Russian player in Sergei Zinovjev. At age 25, this smallish forward can prove to be a significant player in the New NHL. Having career highs in the Russian Super League, Zinovjev may be ready to take on the North American ice and be an NHL regular with offensive upside. Though still a restricted free agent, keep him in mind in the Bruins’ future. Still struggling to make it to the “bigs” is former highly touted prospect Brad Boyes, acquired from a three-way deal involving the Buffalo Sabres and the San Jose Sharks. Now 23 years of age, Boyes has proved himself well enough in the AHL and should be able to frequent the NHL on a regular basis. He has the tools to be a core player for the Bruins, but it really comes down to make or break. As mentioned earlier, Hannu Toivonen is the young Finn goalie who raised a lot of eyebrows, yes… even the unibrows, last season in the minors. Only 21 years old, Toivonen did not take long to adapt to North American style hockey. He may become Raycroft’s back up, or may have the slight opportunity to even take over the starting role if Raycroft takes a while to rid his rust. The Bruins do not have anything that is “so flashy” so to speak, but they have a solid young core of prospects where some are, or are very close to being, NHL ready.

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PROJECTED LINES: This is really Mike Sullivan’s choice as Samsonov may end up seeing Joe Thornton or Alex Zhamnov as his linemate. The depth is as follows:

Forwards:

Samsonov-Thornton-Murray

Axelsson-Zhamnov-Bergeron

Isbister-Scatchard-McEachern

Boyes-Green-Fitzgerald

Hilbert- Samuelsson-Zinovjev

Defesemen:

Leetch-Gill

Boynton-Girard

Slegr-Moran

Stuart-Jurcina

Goalies:

Raycrotf-Toivonen-Thomas

EXPECTATIONS: Middle of the pack. It may take some time for the Black and Gold to come together offensively and work the power play well. That could mean a slow first half should be expected. The defense is weak and carries a lot of questions as to how it will defend its goalkeeper; that is another area to give close attention to. Aside from the “iffies”, the Bruins are a team of experience, ambitions, good mix of young and old, and skill. For the Eastern Conference standings, the Bruins are expected to finish 4th overall.

PROJECTED: While the team is one of the most talented in the East right now, I see a lot of question marks on the team. I believe that their defense will lack, but force the offense to explode. This is were coach Sullivan has to take care of the offensive system and make sure that the power-play is tops in the league. The Bruins also need to re-sign young forwards Andy Hilbert, Martin Samuelsson, Ivan Huml, Nick Boynton, and Sergei Zinovjev. They have some holes to fill up. My favorite addition, aside from Leetch, is Shawn McEarchen. This guy is so versatile and brings experience and leadership to the table. He is speedy and still has some more offensive spark to his game. Expect McEachern to be one of the most important players in Boston, and he is the reason, along with Leetch, Fitzgerald, and Green, to carry this team into the playoffs from 6th seed in the regular season standings of the EC, to the semi-finals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.


40 Responses to Boston Bruins 2005-2006

  1. Starkey77 says:

    Being a Habs fan I love the “ifs” in Bean Town although I don’t think that there are as many as you claim and this scares me a bit. This team could be dynamite if they come together quickly as a team although under a young Mike Sullivan there are doubts.

    They definitely need to sign Boynton and not at the expense of Gill in order to be solid defensively. Signing Huml and Hilbert will help also but Hilbert has stressed that he doesn’t want to be used the way the Bruins have in the past. He feels he’s ready to take the next step and after the signings of Isbister, Scatchard, and McEachern it does seem unlikely that that will take effect.

    I love that third line you have in the depth chart and I believe that if that’s the combination you’ll here a lot from them throughout the year. I’d also give Boyes a shot to crack the top lines and see how he fares.

    All in all it will be interesting to see how the Bruins begin the season and I’m looking forward to the first game against the Habs.

  2. hockeyhead says:

    i think isbister will be thorntons left wing….ben walter has looked good in preseason at that spot.

    zinovjev is not coming overseas to play this year….he makes more in russia.

    samsonov will play with zhamnov.

    axelson will be on the checking line.

    those are some line ups that i see.

  3. simplyhabby says:

    I would have to agree with Samsonov playing on the second line. I think samsonov does not fit the first line. (the big boys). He can play, but its like Koivu playing on the legion of doom. it has its upsides but it loses the whole idea what the line is designed for.

    Looks like another contending year for the B’s. Great for Murray to come back because that really made all the difference upfront.

  4. hockeyhead says:

    two big games vs the habs (pre season)

    i have to work til 9 on opening night. i hope i get the radio broadcast.

    bruins second game i am playing in a poker tourney.

    great to have hockey back eh???

  5. simplyhabby says:

    Definately! Can’t wait for the first game I can watch against the rangers on the 6th.

    These 2 preseason games. I agree. They are the final determination of how the teams are going to look.

  6. hockeyhead says:

    they are showing a preseason game this weekend that i can watch.

    but i cant believe that i havent seen NHL in a year and a half and when it is back i will miss the first two games. what a bummer.

  7. canadaownshockey says:

    This si totally Chris isn’t it?

  8. bruinfan37 says:

    Well written article. Its hard to disagree with most of what you said.

    As someone else mentioned, Zinovjev will be in Russia, as it is MUCH better for him. He is a superstar, makes more money, and has a guarenteed spot.

    The lines you have are mostly a depth thing, and it will probably not be those listed lines. Isbister could very possibly be the next Knuble. Very similar going into their stints with Boston

    Here is how I see the opening night lineup

    Isbister Thornton Murray

    Samsonov Zhamnov Bergeron

    Axelsson Scatchard McEachern

    Boyes Green Fitzgerald

    Leetch Moran

    Boynton Gill

    Slegr Alberts (has looked fantastic)

    If no Gill, Jurcina or Girard

    Raycroft

    Toivonen

    With that lineup, it shows great depth, as every line has some offense, as well as some grit (except 2). Almost everyone agrees that IF Samsonov can stay healthy, he is more than capable of scoring 70+ points. Plus, he has played with Zhamnov before, and Bergeron is going to be a force this year. During some preseason games, he has been the best player on the ice. With that much speed, and in the “new NHL” that line could do great things

    Prediction: 2nd in East: Conference Finals or Stanley Cup Winners:)

  9. Starkey77 says:

    Yes ’tis. What’s up insert name here

  10. hockeyhead says:

    your line up looks good….i agree….with all the young talent they have i wouldnt be surprised to see a multil player move sometime in the future.

    ben walter looks like a great future bruin_______

  11. canadaownshockey says:

    it’s Phil baby!!!

  12. simplyhabby says:

    Almost completed the comeback last night HH. look like a good game from the highlites. How was the pace?

  13. hockeyhead says:

    they didnt show any highlights where i am.

    no joe and no sammy in that game. ryan walters son played tho.

  14. simplyhabby says:

    the habs were up 3-0 and the B’s came back to tie it. Montreal won it in OT with a blistering hot from Markov on the point redirected by Latondresse. Raycroft did not really have a chance.

    Thats what i saw in the highlites.

  15. SkruinBruin says:

    Boynton just rejected 1.77… he wants 1.9 or 2.0… i don’t think he will be in black and gold this year… imagine, haggling over 10-20 grand,,,, youd think these guys are on food stamps or tying to keep the wife from getting a part time job….

    I am a hard core bruins fan,,, but this is why someone like Modano makes me smile… to think it wasn’t just about the money… you don’t here that in sports much….

  16. hockeyhead says:

    blame anton thun his agent.

    why else would they be fighting over 15o grand when he is making 1 and a half million???????

  17. Mullet says:

    I’m hearing Nick Boynton wants to be traded to Toronto! UH OH! Not another Eric Lindros situation! Hey, just wondering wasn’t Boynton in a fight with Lindros last year? Although they are division rivals I wouldn’t be half surprised if Boynton land in Toronto for a good package of younger talent!

  18. intelligentscorpio says:

    Mike O’Connell panicked and paid Scatchard, Leetch and others too much money. He had the least amount of players under contract and could have built a Cup contending team with the resources he had. In any case they may still make the playoffs and will get out in the first round as usual.

  19. mcpickl says:

    if youre a Bruins fan, youre gonna love Scatchard.

  20. mcpickl says:

    Sorry, Anton Thun works for Nick Boynton, not the other way around. The final decision belongs with Nick. He doesnt want to follow the rules. He wants to get paid and arbitration number, before hes arbitration eligible. kinda simple, you play one year for 1.6-1.7, play well, then hit it big in arbitration next year, or work out a longterm deal then.

    Maybe he wants to sit out another year. Hes still chasing the money he gave up by not signing with the Capitals when they drafted him.

  21. hockeyhead says:

    what is he looking to be dmitri kristich?

    the b’s will walk away….why? because they can. there is always going to be someone to step in and all the lockout did was get the youngsters one year closer.

    l love nickey and so do the bruins but as any b’s fan knows….you cant win in these situations.

    why is he fighting over 15o, ooo anyway?

  22. hockeyhead says:

    hard to tell how sarcastic you are being.

    joe thornton fought lindros dont know about boynts.

    as for TO….what young talent? or was that the sarcasm?

  23. hockeyhead says:

    just like the red sox will never win the world series?

    one day the bruins will win the cup….they are too good not to..

    and i agree….scatchard will be a great bruin….much better than brian rolston (minus the shot).

    scorpio does have a point tho….they did spend a few hundred thou too much on this guy and on that guy.

    plus getting t. thomas for half a mill and now not having money for boynts is unforgivable.

  24. BLACKNGOLD248 says:

    The B’s just sent down Jonathan Girad to the AHL. So his $900,000 for this year may be available to pay Nick that $150k extra. I just hope he signs soon. He’s the best all around D man the B’s have. Although I like what I’ve been reading about Alberts (Big tough and fast). Saturday night is the first televised B’s game so let the party begin!!! Go B’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. hockeyhead says:

    go b’s go

    i hope girard clears waivers, it would suck if someone picked him up

  26. mcpickl says:

    ???????????

    they have money for “boynts”. he just wants more than theyre willing to give him, and more than hes earned. they dont need the cap space to sign him, they just need “boynts” to be reasonable.

    Why is t. thomas a big deal? if he makes the team over Toivonen, he gets 500k. if toivonen makes it, he gets the minimum of 400k. whoever is in the minors doesn’t count against the cap. so, you think the extra 100k they’ll pay thomas is the difference in money they don’t have to pay “boynts”.

    that logic is unforgivable. and silly.

  27. BLACKNGOLD248 says:

    Just watched the first televised preseason game, looks like the B’s might be pretty good or the Rangers are really bad. Thornton looks dominant. With Murray on his side they should score in bunches. Sammy looks great. Brad Boyes looks surprisingly good. Bergeron is awesome. Razor looked sharp. I’m very optimistic. The new NHL and the penalties suck. I’d like to see more full strength play. Too much power play not enough hitting. Colton Orr is one bad mutha.

  28. hockeyhead says:

    how is it silly?????

    they want to have a couple mill below the cap incase of injury.

    150,000 apart in a two million dollar deal doesnt make sense.

  29. mcpickl says:

    you wrote that signing t. thomas for 500k and not having enough $$$ for “boynts” was unforgivable.

    that statement is silly. if thomas makes the team, he’ll cost the B’s and extra 100k on the cap over toivonen making the team. How would not spending that 100k have anything to do with “boynts”?

    Answer: it doesnt, thats why the statement was silly.

    have a nice day.

  30. mcpickl says:

    and now Thomas is in Providence, meaning he costs the Bruins zero against the cap.

    Whoops.

  31. hockeyhead says:

    you know what is silly????? thinkin that thomas was going to beat out hannu.

    it was all a ploy to get raycroft in camp….it was a waste of money…period.

  32. mcpickl says:

    LOL

    what do you care? its not your money and it doesnt count against the cap.

    Let me ask you a question, if they dont sign Thomas, whos your third string goalie if Raycroft or Toivonen gets hurt?

  33. hockeyhead says:

    that is what the 2 million in cap space the bruins want to keep open is for.

    i dont know why you are arguing with me. i think management should of saved up the “few” thousand dollars to sign boynts before spending what they didnt want to.

    on the other hand, nick is crying over a small amount of money. he will get it in future contracts.

  34. mcpickl says:

    im arguing because you continue to miss the point. you said they spent monet on thomas that should have been spent on Boynton. Thomas costs them zero against the cap. So how would saving zero give them money to sign Boynton? They dont need to save money to sign “boynts”. They have a number for him they think is fair. He doesnt think it is. Its got nothing to do with the Bs not having the space to sign him. They just think hes asking too much.

    and it has nothing to do with tim thomas.

  35. mcpickl says:

    missed that you still didnt answer my question.

    If thomas isnt signed, whos the Bruins goalie insurance in case Raycroft or Toivonen gets hurt?

    Which is more likely this year with many players sitting out all/most/some of last season.

  36. hockeyhead says:

    i was just repeating what i read from paul dupount.

    bottom line is i think boynts is the one wrong although the management is being stubborn as usual which i thought they were trying not to do.

    ayers, brown could be the back up or they propably sign potvin or another free agent to back up one of the goalies.

    same situation that the pats are in…..who replaces harrison?????

    the bruins have holes on defense too. i wouldnt worry about the goalies. plus they have a lot of older guys up front that will get hurt.

    plenty of things to possibly worry about.

  37. mcpickl says:

    that was my point, signing potvin, signing thomas, signing whoever, whats the difference. they dont count against the cap untill you need them, and thomas is 50k over the minimum.

    the problem you had was listening to Kevin Paul DuPont. Dont do that, the guy is a clown who rips articles/news from elsewhere and puts in cute words he looks up in the dictionary to make it seem like hes a writer.

    Ugh, the cats a hack.

  38. hockeyhead says:

    after last nights game (which i heard somewhat on the radio)…they need to sign boynts and get those centers healthy.

    letting the habs slip away with a win in a game they didnt belong in is brutal.

    i agree about dupont.

    and hey, the flyers also lost at home.

  39. mcpickl says:

    i agree they need boynton, but you just cant pay every guy whatever they want, especially in a cap system.

    definitely need to get healthy.

    i was at the game, real classy display by the fans hurling their mini Stanley Cups(giveaway at the door) onto the ice because the didnt like the refs call on Fitzgerald. it was a penalty people. relax

  40. hockeyhead says:

    the best method against that is prevention.

    why give a gift that no one really can use except to collect dust.

    give away a t-shirt and you wont have that problem.

    the first thing i thought when they picked up fitzy was “he is always in the box when the b’s play toronto” so i am not surprised.

    0-7 on the pp can be blamed also.

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