Marchand confident Bruins can have ‘really good start’ despite injuries

Posted: 16/09/2022 in NHL
Tags: , , , , ,

Boston Bruins star winger Brad Marchand is confident his team can start the 2022-23 campaign strong despite missing some key players, including himself.

“It will be tough (not playing), but I think we’re in a good spot as a team,” Marchand said. “I think the toughest thing would be if the team wasn’t winning or doing well, then that would be really (bad).

“But I don’t think that’s going to be the case. I think we’re going to have a really good start. The guys look really good right now … hoping that they put a really good push on.”

The B’s are going to be without Marchand and defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk for at least the first month of the season:

PLAYERPROCEDURERETURN TIMELINE
Matt GrzelcykOffseason shoulder surgeryEarly November
Brad MarchandOffseason surgery on both hipsLate November
Charlie McAvoyOffseason shoulder surgeryDecember

Marchand paced the Bruins with 80 points (32 goals, 48 assists) in 70 games this past season while playing an instrumental role on Boston’s top line alongside Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk. The Bruins controlled 67.3% of the shot attempts and 69.7% of the expected goals with the trio on the ice at five-on-five, according to Natural Stat Trick.

On the backend, McAvoy is just as indispensable. He led the team in average ice time per game (24:38) and topped all Bruins defensemen with 56 points in 78 games. Boston owned 62.8% of the expected goals at five-on-five while McAvoy was on the ice, which was the league’s best mark among all defensemen who played at least 200 minutes.

He and Grzelcyk put up formidable numbers when they were side-by-side on Beantown’s blue line. The Grzelcyk-McAvoy duo accounted for a staggering 75% percent of the goals for and 67.4% of the expected goals in just over 400 minutes of ice time together at five-on-five.

Among Bruins pairings to log at least 200 minutes of ice time together at five-on-five, Grzelcyk and McAvoy’s 1.45 expected goals against per 60 minutes ranked first on the team.

It isn’t all bad news for the Bruins. After much uncertainty, five-time Selke Trophy winner Bergeron decided to return to Boston for one more season, and veteran center David Krejci is back after a year overseas.

Boston will likely need to have a decent start to the campaign in a competitive Atlantic Division, especially given the strides the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings made in the offseason.

The Bruins finished the 2021-22 season with a record of 51-26-5. The Carolina Hurricanes eliminated them in the first round of the playoffs.

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