With the 2019-20 season officially underway, here is a hodgepodge of facts, stats, charts and predictions that revolve around the Bruins and their chances of putting together another deep playoff run next spring.
106.1: The average point total for teams the year after losing the Stanley Cup Final (over the last 10 seasons)
So much for the Stanley Cup “hangover,” eh? While a short summer and both the emotional/physical drain that comes from an extended postseason are often used as examples as to why clubs can’t replicate similar playoff results the year after a run to the Stanley Cup Final, most teams that come up just short of the top prize in hockey don’t drop off all that much during the following season.
While we omitted the New Jersey Devils in 2012-13 because the lockout-shortened season would skew the rest of the results from full 82-game seasons, just about every club that came up just short bounced back the following year with a strong showing — averaging 48.5 wins.
However, of those nine teams, only two made it back to the conference finals — while three clubs were bounced out of the first round. The last club to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup the year after losing in the Final? The 2008-09 Penguins, who beat the Red Wings in seven games to avenge the ‘08 Cup Final, in which Pittsburgh fell to Detroit in six games.
Boston will be looking to become the first club in over a decade to replicate that feat.
$10.55 million: The total annual cap hit for Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Danton Heinen in 2019-20
What once seemed like an offseason charted straight towards cap hell has been far less dramatic for the Bruins, who did not have to undergo any drastic, cost-cutting measures this summer in order to remain under the cap ceiling of $81.5 million.
The main reason for Boston’s ability to stay under the cap lies in these three deals that Don Sweeney struck with his RFAs — which is less than what the Maple Leafs are going to pay Mitch Marner for each of the next six seasons ($10,893,000).
Along with helping Boston avoid dealing away talent to save cap room, these new deals will also give Boston plenty of capital to spend in what should be a busy summer in 2020.
[caption id="attachment_518186" align="aligncenter" width="1600"] Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)[/caption]
14: The number of forward lines that David Krejci logged at least 15 minutes of 5v5 TOI with in 2018-19
Jake DeBrusk might have been a usual sight to Krejci’s left throughout the 2018-19 campaign, but the right side was a different story, as Boston’s second line struggled to find any semblance of consistency. Still, Krejci orchestrated a career year with 73 points over 81 games, and could have a regular contributor in at RW in the form of Karson Kuhlman this season. Still, expect Bruce Cassidy to continue to tinker with that top-six crew as the year progresses, including giving David Pastrnak a look next to his fellow countryman.
1.48: Brandon Carlo’s 5v5 goals against per 60 minutes rate in 2018-19
While it remains to be seen just how much Carlo’s game develops in the offensive zone, the 22-year-old blueliner’s new two-year, $5.7 million contract is a steal alone based on his play down Boston’s end of the ice. Scoring chances often tend to dry up when Carlo is called out for a shift, with his GA/60 mark ranking first among all NHL defensemen that logged at least 1,200 minutes of 5v5 TOI. That’s 87 D-men in total, including the likes of Alex Pietrangelo, Seth Jones, Mark Giordano and many more. Expect Carlo’s minutes to increase as Boston looks to ease some of Zdeno Chara’s workload.
460-342-100: The combined record of the 11 teams Boston will face in October
A Stanley Cup “hangover” might be overblown, but the Bruins aren’t going to given much of a break to open the new season, with seven of the 11 clubs they meet during the first month of the year coming off of a trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs — including a rematch with the Blues, a battle with the Lightning and two games with the Maple Leafs. Even clubs outside of the 2018-19 playoff picture in the Devils (10/12) and Rangers (10/27) should be much improved.
2,696: The total roundtrip mileage that Boston logged this preseason
That might seem like a ton, but when compared to last preseason, the Bruins have to be doing backflips that their itinerary this September only involved flights to Newark, Philadelphia and Chicago. Last fall, many of Boston’s main contributors logged over 16,000 miles alone during a nine-day trip to China — a sojourn that Brad Marchand so eloquently described as a “shitshow” back in June. Given their short summer, Boston should benefit from a much more relaxed preseason in 2019.
[caption id="attachment_511706" align="aligncenter" width="1600"] Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak (Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)[/caption]
58.90: Patrice Bergeron’s offensive zone faceoff percentage in 2018-19
In an effort to preserve Bergeron as he enters his 16th season with the Bruins, Boston is making a concerted effort to lighten its top-line center’s workload, especially when it comes to the draining shifts spent killing penalties or slowing down the opposition in the D-zone. More and more, Bergeron’s line is getting deployed in favorable situations in the offensive zone — a far cry from years past, in which the two-way pivot was counted upon to be a 200-foot force for the B’s.
For example, from 2013-16, Bergeron’s Off. Zone Faceoff% was:
With players like Par Lindholm, Joakim Nordstrom and Sean Kuraly now tasked with eating up some of those minutes on the PK and during 5v5 play against top-six lines, Bergeron and his line can be freed up to dominate down the other end of the ice.
24: 5v5 goals scored against the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line in 2018-19
They might be known in some circles as the “Perfection Line,” but Boston’s top forward trio was far from flawless in all facets of their game last year. Granted, they often go up against another top-six trio, but opponents often managed to land some punches against the Bergeron line last year, despite the fact that Cassidy primarily deployed them in the O-zone. After relinquishing 17 goals over 533 minutes of 5v5 TOI together in 2017-18, the Bergeron line was on the hook for 24 goals against in just 461 minutes in 2018-19. That crew might need to tighten a few things up.
4: 5v5 goals scored against the Marchand-Bergeron-Heinen line in 2018-19