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31 in 31

Boston Bruins fantasy preview for 2017-18

Rask, top forwards worth drafting early; McAvoy highest-ranked rookie defenseman

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Senior Fantasy Editor

As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, our fantasy hockey staff is breaking down each team's fantasy landscape. Fantasy-relevant players are listed in order of rank in NHL.com's top 250. Today, we look at the Boston Bruins.

 

[BRUINS 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Top prospects | Behind the numbers]

 

FORWARDS

Brad Marchand, LW -- His elite fantasy production for the Boston Bruins the past two seasons makes him deserving of first-round consideration. A fixture on the top line with center Patrice Bergeron, Marchand ranks fifth in goals (76), tied for 12th in points (146), 22nd in shots on goal (476) and 21st in penalty minutes (171) the past two seasons combined. He also shattered his previous NHL career high in power-play points with 24 last season.

David Pastrnak, RW -- The 21-year-old broke out for 70 points (34 goals, 36 assists), 24 power-play points and 262 SOG in 75 games last season. Even after a midseason coaching change and line adjustment, Pastrnak scored 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in his final 27 games. He's a top 15 overall asset in a keeper league and worth taking in the late-second or early-third round of a standard format.

Patrice Bergeron, C -- Even in a down season, Bergeron finished among the top 40 in Yahoo (39th) thanks to a late-season surge and heavy shot volume (302, third in NHL). He is a lock for at least 50 points, 230 SOG and a strong plus/minus when healthy, and, thus, is as safe of a third- or fourth-round center choice as you'll find.

David Krejci, C (INJ.) -- The 31-year-old played all 82 games last season but finished tied for the worst points-per-game average (0.66) in a season of at least 70 games played in his NHL career. It was encouraging to see Krejci's average rise to 0.74 in the 27 games after the Bruins replaced coach Claude Julien with Bruce Cassidy. Krejci is likely to fall outside the top 150 after dealing with multiple injuries in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but anticipate a bounce-back season if he plays on a line with Pastrnak. 

David Backes, RW -- The veteran's point production has declined significantly in each of the past two seasons (58 in 2014-15, 45 in 2015-16, 38 last season), but his multi-category prowess keeps him fantasy relevant. Backes is a second- or third-line forward these days, but remains a lock for at least 200 hits and was one of 12 players with at least 35 points (38), 65 penalty minutes (69) and 175 SOG last season.

Video: BOS@OTT, Gm1: Marchand nets blocked shot for lead

 

DEFENSEMEN

Torey Krug (INJ.) -- Although Krug's season ended in disappointing fashion with a knee injury that caused him to miss all six of Boston's postseason games, he had his best fantasy season to date. He finished 87th in Yahoo, 11th among defensemen, with NHL career highs in points (51) and power-play points (25). Even with Charlie McAvoy likely to compete for big minutes and power-play time, Krug is a safe bet for another top 15-20 finish among defensemen.

Charlie McAvoy -- The 19-year-old is the highest-ranked rookie defenseman by NHL.com after an impressive performance in a surprise playoff call-up. With the Bruins missing four of their top six defensemen for much of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Ottawa Senators, McAvoy averaged 26:11 per game (2:54 on power play) and had three points (two power-play points) in the first six games of his NHL career.

Zdeno Chara -- Even in the twilight of his NHL career, the 40-year-old is a viable fantasy bench defenseman if available in the final rounds. His power-play role (and production) has declined with the emergence of Krug and now McAvoy, but he still covers goals, points, plus/minus, PIM and SOG respectably, with added value in a hits/blocks league.

Video: DAL@BOS: Krug buries Pastrnak's nice feed for PPG

 

GOALTENDING

Tuukka Rask -- The 30-year-old is ranked eighth among fantasy goalies by NHL.com because of the likelihood of at least 30 wins, solid peripherals and elite shutout production (eight last season, second in NHL). He could be even better this season given the Bruins' improved outlook on defense. Prioritize Rask if he's available in the third or fourth round of a standard-league draft.

Others to consider: Brandon Carlo (D), Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (C), Austin Czarnik (C/RW)

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