Boston Bruins Final Grades: Forwards

Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno skating for the Boston Bruins
The Canadian Press

The Boston Bruins won 65 games during the 2022-23 regular season, a National Hockey League record. The roster was bolstered by the trade deadline acquisitions of Garnet Hathaway, Dmitry Orlov, and Tyler Bertuzzi, and all signs pointed to a deep playoff run. However, nobody could have predicted this type of ending to a season that saw the Bruins lose in the first round to the Florida Panthers in seven games. This end-of-season report card now needs to be split into two sections, regular season and postseason, with very different results. Here are the forwards:

Brad Marchand

Regular Season 21-46-67 in 73 games (B)

Postseason 4-6-10 minus-6 (B-)

Contract: 2 years remaining at $6.125m AAV

Marchand returned early (November 1) from off-season double hip surgery and had produced offensively for much of the season. The feisty winger did feel the effects of the surgery and, by his admission, did not feel as well as he thought he would. The 34-year-old left wing played fairly well in the playoffs but did not have his best game in Game 7 and was a shocking minus-6.

David Pastrnak

Regular Season 61-52-113 plus-34 in 82 games (A)

Postseason 5-0-5 minus-2 (B-)

Contract: 8 years remaining at $11.25m AAV

Pastrnak had a Hart Trophy-type season for the Bruins and was just the second Bruin ever to score 60 goals in a season. Pastrnak signed an eight-year extension and continued to flourish while playing all 82 games. It was a memorable season for the right wing, for sure. But in the playoffs, Pastrnak took an awkward hit from Aaron Ekblad and banged up his shoulder in the first shift of Game 1. It wasn’t until Game 6 that Pastrnak really found his game. But it wasn’t enough.

Patrice Bergeron

Regular Season 27-31-58 plus-35 in 78 games (B+)

Postseason 1-0-1 minus-6 in 3 games (C-)

Contract: Unrestricted Free Agent

If this was Patrice Bergeron’s last season, the captain showed that he can still be a top 200-foot center in the league. Bergeron had another impressive statistical season, particularly in five-on-five play, and is a nominee for his sixth Selke Award. Bergeron possessed a 61.1 percent success rate at the faceoff circle. The Quebec native suffered a herniated disk during the last regular season game in Montreal, which caused him to miss the first four games of the playoffs. When Bergeron returned, his game was not up to speed, and the Bruins went 0-3 with their top-line center in the lineup. Oof.

Taylor Hall

Regular season 16-20-36 in 61 games (C+)

Postseason 5-3-8 plus-4 and 12 hits 7 games (B+)

Contract: 2 years remaining at $6m AAV

The former Hart trophy winner had an up-and-down season but played much of the year on the third line and played just under 16 minutes per game on the ice. Hall’s move to the third line provided a balanced attack, and his 28 even-strength points were valuable. The former first-overall pick did miss 21 games due to injury. Upon his return in the playoffs, Hall seemed energized and scored five goals. However, his ice time seemed to diminish as the series went on. Overall, Hall showed signs of being the elite player he can be.

Charlie Coyle

Regular season 16-29-45 plus-29 (B)

Postseason 1-1-2 minus-1 and 20 hits (C)

Contract: 3 years remaining at $5.25m AAV

The Weymouth, Massachusetts native has become a solid two-way center for the Bruins and had a good rebound season. Coyle was an excellent penalty killer and faceoff guy as well. Even though Coyle is a terrific possession player, his point totals never seem to match it. In the playoffs, Coyle played well at times, but production was down, and he was a minus-1. Overall, it was a good year for Coyle, but he always seems to have you wanting more.

Pavel Zacha

Regular season 21-36-57 plus-26 (B+)

Postseason 0-6-6 (B)

Contract: 4 years remaining at $4.75m AAV

Zacha proved to be an excellent acquisition as he had a breakout season with Boston and signed a four-year extension. The 25-year-old is a reliable player with good instincts and better offensive potential. In the postseason, Zacha saw an average of 17:30 of ice time and played top-six minutes, with Bergeron and David Krejci both missing playoff time. Zacha did not find the net but had six assists and showed promise for the future.

Jake DeBrusk

Regular season 27-23-50 plus-26 (B+)

Postseason 4-2-6 (B-)

Contract: 1 year remaining at $4m AAV

DeBrusk had another productive season, and new coach Jim Montgomery. DeBrusk’s speed game was on display many nights this season. The Edmonton native tied a career-high with 27 goals and set a high mark of 50 points. In his career, 91 of his 119 goals are even strength. In the postseason, DeBrusk performed well early on but tailed off in the latter games. The Bruins could have used more than 11 shots from Jake DeBrusk in the first round.

AJ Greer

Regular season 5-7-12 in 61 games (D+)

Postseason DNP (INC)

Contract: 1 year remaining at $762.5k AAV

Greer burst onto the scene early in the year with sneaky scoring ability and a willingness to fight, which instantly made him a fan favorite. But that production seemingly disappeared which had been the knock on Greer in previous stints in the league. The second-round pick has only played an average of 9:06 of ice time but did amass 114 penalty minutes.

Tomas Nosek

Regular season 7-11-18 in 66 games (C+)

Postseason 0-2-2 (C+)

Contract: Unrestricted Free Agent

Nosek is a good faceoff guy (59.1) and a top penalty killer, but he does not provide much offense. The free agent to be is limited offensively, so the fourth-line center is the position for him. In the playoffs, Nosek was much the same, with a 60.4 faceoff percentage in about 12 minutes of average ice time.

Nick Foligno

Regular season 10-16-26 plus-18 (B)

Postseason 1-2-3 (B-)

Contract: Unrestricted Free Agent

Foligno provides great leadership in the locker room and, this season, a much stronger presence on the ice. Fliggy also had 147 hits on the season and was a factor on the fourth line. The veteran scored a goal in the playoffs, dished out 21 hits, and was a healthy scratch in Game 7. The free agent would like to return, but it would have to be a league minimum deal.

Related Story: The Nick Foligno vs. Ryan O’Reilly Trade

David Krejci

Regular season 16-40-56 in 70 games (B)

Postseason 1-3-4 minus-3 (C)

Contract: Unrestricted Free Agent

It was good to have the playmaking Krejci back in Boston. The Bruins were a much more dangerous offensive team with Krejci. Defensively, Krejci has lost a step, but his offensive creativity makes players better. After missing a season to play in Czechia, the 36-year-old got off to a slow start but was very good for the Bruins overall and continues to build a strong legacy as one of the best centers in Bruins’ history. In the postseason, Krejci missed the first four games, struggled when he returned, and then had 1-2-3 in Game 7. This seemed to be Krejci’s last kick at the can, as the 37-year-old is a free agent again.

Trent Frederic

Regular season 17-14-31 plus-28 and 105 hits (B)

Postseason 0-0-0 minus-2 in 5 games (D)

Contract: Restricted Free Agent

Frederic revitalized his career with renewed confidence offensively and improved skating. Having Hall on his line has helped as well. The former first-round pick scored a career-high in goals but did not produce much in five playoff games, with eight shots and eight hits in only 10:19 of average ice time.

Tyler Bertuzzi

Regular Season w/BOS 4-12-16 in 21 games (B+)

Postseason 5-5-10 minus-4 (B+)

Contract: Unrestricted Free Agent

Bertuzzi was a great pickup at the deadline and made an immediate impact on the ice and with the fan base. The skilled left wing scored five postseason goals and many of them big ones. His pesky, gritty style makes him a natural Bruin. During five-on-five play, Bertuzzi wasn’t great at times, but his production was there. The free agent will be hard to sign, but you have to believe the Bruins will consider it.

Related Story: Tyler Bertuzzi registers first NHL playoff point in first playoff game

Garnet Hathaway

Regular Season w/BOS 4-2-6 in 25 games (C+)

Postseason 0-1-1 (D+)

Contract: Unrestricted Free Agent

Hathaway was a disappointment of sorts. The Kennebunkport native was brought in to be an agitator and physical player. He did that at times but was largely absent at other times. The infer just didn’t provide enough of the physical play the Bruins had hoped.

Jakub Lauko

Regular season 4-3-7 in 23 games (B-)

Postseason 0-1-1 in 3 games (D+)

Contract: Restricted Free Agent

Lauko showed some promise when brought up to the Bruins throughout the season. He brought some speed and youth, and a willingness to play physical hockey. When called upon in the playoffs, Lauko was a little over his head. He played just 6:5 of ice time and took two penalties in Game 5 in Boston. Hopefully, this was a good learning experience for Lauko.

The forward group could look much different with six unrestricted and a restricted free agent. Decisions will have to be made on who will be a part of the 2023-24 Bruins.

Season 3. Episode 43. Goal Scorers and A-Holes Bruins Benders Podcast

The Bruins have over $21 million in cap space. Would Reilly Smith be a good add?  How about Brenden Dillon or Dakota Joshua? Capitals take over CapFriendly. Bruins getting back into the first round? DraftKings Sportsbook – Boston’s hometown Sportsbook is LIVE right here in Massachusetts! Bet local on all your favorite sports from the comfort of your own home with DraftKings. To celebrate, ALL new customers will receive up to TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in BONUS bets when you sign up for DraftKings Sportsbook using code ITR! You can now bet local on money lines, spreads, props, and more with one of America’s top-rated Sportsbooks – DraftKings Sportsbook!  Download the DraftKings Sportsbook app and sign up with code ITR to get up to TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in BONUS bets to use now that mobile sports betting is live in Massachusetts. That’s code ITR only at DraftKings Sportsbook. If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with gambling, call 800 327-5050 or visit helplineMA.org to speak with a trained specialist, free and confidentially, twenty four seven. 21+. Physically present in MA. Eligibility restrictions apply. Subject to regulatory licensing requirements. Eligibility and deposit restrictions apply. Opt in required. Bonus issued aree bets. Terms at draftkings.com/MA.
  1. Season 3. Episode 43. Goal Scorers and A-Holes
  2. Season 3. Episode 42. Long Off-season Week 2
  3. Season 3. Episode 41. Long Off-Season Week 1
  4. Season 3. Episode 40. There’s Always Next Year
  5. Bruins Benders Postgame Live. Game 6 Recap

One thought on “Boston Bruins Final Grades: Forwards”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tomas Galvas playing for the BílíTygři Liberec

2024 Draft Prospect Profile: Tomas Galvas

The Scouting Report Tomas Galvas is an 18-year-old defenseman from Zlin, Czechia, he was born on February 11, 2006 and is a left-handed shooter. He spent the 2023-24 season playing for quite a few teams, including the HC Olomouc U20, Bílí Tygrí Liberec U20, Bílí Tygrí Liberec and Czechia’s U18 World Junior Championship team. Throughout […]

Read More

2024 Draft Prospect Profile: William Zellers

The Scouting Report William Zellers is an 18-year-old left-hand player who can be utilized as a center or a winger. He was born on April 4, 2006, in Maple Grove, MN, and spent the last season playing for Shattuck St. Mary’s. He is projected to be drafted around #69 in this year’s draft. View All […]

Read More

Former Boston Bruins Defenseman Might Become Available Again

When defenseman Torey Krug left the Boston Bruins on October 9, 2020, many Bruins fans were upset by the team losing a core member who had helped the team to two Stanley Cup Final appearances. However, the salary cap hit at the time was a steep $6.5 million and the Bruins had offered Krug a […]

Read More