With the calendar now turned to 2020, here are 10 predictions I have for the Bruins in the new year:
1. Bruins reach new scoring milestones
For the first time since the 1992-93 season, the Bruins will have two players reach at least 100 points in the same season, with David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand hitting the century mark in 2020.
(For the record, the last Bruins to achieve that feat were Adam Oates and Joe Juneau during that ‘92-93 season).
After having a potential 50-goal campaign wiped out following a thumb injury last February, Pastrnak remains healthy this winter and caps off this year with a league-leading 57 tallies. With another 100-point season, Marchand joins Peter Mahovlich (1974-75 and 1975-76) as just the second player in league history to record their first two 100-point campaigns in their 10th season or later.
Patrice Bergeron, who will miss at least another 5-6 games down the stretch due to a nagging, lower-body injury, will still reach a new career high in scoring with 83 points on the year.
2. B’s continue to look in-house as trade deadline approaches …
The Bruins might have a couple of major vacancies up front on the roster (headlined by the still unsolved spot at second-line wing), but much as they did last season during the dog days of January and February — methinks Boston is going to exhaust their in-house options before taking an extended look at the trade market.
As Don Sweeney noted on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Saturday, it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if Jack Studnicka gets another look up in the NHL ranks in short order, especially if the B’s want to keep Charlie Coyle at the 2RW spot for now.
Studnicka’s stock has soared in his first full season down in Providence (14 goals, 26 points in 35 games) and he is worthy of another look after a brief sample size back in November, but entrusting such a key role on this B’s roster to a 20-year-old rookie is quite the risk, especially come the playoffs.
3. … but finally relent and snag a top-six winger, again.
Studnicka might inject some much-needed skill into the bottom six, especially if Coyle remains up at 2RW, but Boston isn’t going to charge into the playoffs once again with such an unproven player in that spot.
(If anything, expect Studnicka to crack the roster out of camp for the 2020-21 season, and remain up with the big club for a long, long time.)
After exhausting their internal options, Sweeney ultimately