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Team Reset

Bruins hope youth movement serves them well

Boston to rely on younger forwards; Moore expected to help Chara on defense

by Matt Kalman / NHL.com Correspondent

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is taking a look at where each team stands. Today, the Boston Bruins:

The Boston Bruins will be looking for more youth to complement their veteran core and get them closer to winning the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2011.

In addition to continued improvement from their rookies from last season, including defenseman Charlie McAvoy and forward Jake DeBrusk, the Bruins are hoping for big things from rookies in 2018-19, including forward Ryan Donato, a second-round pick (No. 56) in the 2014 NHL Draft who had nine points (five goals, four assists) in 12 games last season.

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

In free agency the Bruins added experience and versatility on defense by signing John Moore. They also replaced Anton Khudobin with Jaroslav Halak, whose experience as a No. 1 goaltender appealed to them, as Tuukka Rask's backup. Boston, which lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in the Eastern Conference Second Round last season, stayed away from bigger-ticket free agents, and that's where the continued infusion of young players will be vital.

Here is what the Bruins look like today:

 

Key arrivals

John Moore, D: The Bruins wanted to get bigger on the left side of their defense behind Zdeno Chara so they signed Moore (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) to a five-year, $13.75 million contract on July 1 as an unrestricted free agent. He set an NHL career high with 20:01 of average ice time and had 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in 81 games for the New Jersey Devils last season. The Bruins hope Moore, 27, can play in all situations, alleviate some pressure off Chara, and provide depth in case of injuries. Barring a trade, the Bruins have eight NHL defensemen on their roster. … Jaroslav Halak, G: The 33-year-old signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract on July 1 as an unrestricted free agent. He was 20-26-6 with a 3.19 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in 54 games (49 starts) for the New York Islanders last season. The Bruins hope he'll improve behind a better defensive team.

Video: John Moore on signing five-year deal with the Bruins

 

Key departures

Rick Nash, F: Prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent July 1, the 34-year-old announced he is unsure whether he will continue playing. He was acquired in a trade from the New York Rangers on Feb. 25 and had six points (three goals, three assists) in 11 games with Boston. ... Riley Nash, F: He signed a three-year, $8.25 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 1 after setting an NHL career high with 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists) in 2017-18, his second season with the Bruins. … Tim Schaller, F: The 27-year-old signed a two-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks on July 1 after he set NHL career highs in goals (12), assists (10), points (22) and games (82). ... Anton Khudobin, G: He signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Dallas Stars on July 1 after going 16-6-7 with a 2.56 GAA and .913 save percentage in 31 games (29 starts). ... Nick Holden, D: Signed by the Vegas Golden Knights on July 1, Holden had five points (one goal, four assists) in 18 games with the Bruins after he was acquired in a trade from the Rangers on Feb. 20.

 

On the cusp

Ryan Donato, F: The 22-year-old showed signs of being a top-six forward after signing March 18, two days after Harvard's season ended. Donato will be given a chance to play major minutes 5-on-5 and on the power play. ... Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, F: After he had 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 58 games for Providence of the American Hockey League in 2017-18, his first professional season, the 21-year-old will be one of three rookies vying for the third-line center job. Selected by Boston in the second round (No. 45) of the 2015 NHL Draft, he played one NHL game in 2016-17. ... Trent Frederic, F: The 20-year-old left the University of Wisconsin after two seasons to begin his pro career and had eight points (five goals, three assists) in 13 games for Providence. The Bruins project Frederic, who they selected in the first round (No. 29) of the 2016 NHL Draft, will be in the mix for third-line center. ... Jack Studnicka, F: Seleced in the second round (No. 53) of the 2017 NHL Draft, he impressed the Bruins in rookie camp and training camp but was returned to Oshawa of the Ontario Hockey League, where he had 72 points (22 goals, 50 assists) in 66 games last season. The 19-year-old, who isn't eligible to play in the AHL, could be the latest teenager to break camp with the Bruins.

Video: How the Bruins are looking for the 2018-19 campaign

 

What they still need

Assuming David Pastrnak remains on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, the Bruins will have have to replace Rick Nash at right wing on the second line with DeBrusk and David Krejci. The Bruins have several internal candidates, including Danton Heinen and Anders Bjork.

 

Fantasy focus

So much fantasy attention will be on Buffalo Sabres rookie defenseman Rasmus Dahlin (No. 1 pick in 2018 NHL Draft) that McAvoy could fly under the radar for the Bruins. McAvoy was limited to 63 games as a rookie, but his production rate stretched over 82 games would have been 42 points and a plus-26. McAvoy was playing on the second power-play unit behind defenseman Torey Krug, who took advantage of the exposure to elite fantasy forwards Marchand (16th in Yahoo), Pastrnak (21st) and Bergeron (50th). But McAvoy, a potential restricted free agent in 2019, could be a bargain anywhere outside the top 100 for one of the safest fantasy teams in the NHL. If the 20-year-old steals first power-play usage from Krug, the former has a ceiling of 55-60 points in his second full NHL season. McAvoy went two rounds after Dahlin in NHL.com's first fantasy mock draft but carries far less risk than the 18-year-old rookie. -- Pete Jensen

Video: BOS@TBL, Gm2: McAvoy finishes superb passing play

 

Projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk -- David Krejci -- Anders Bjork

Danton Heinen -- Sean Kuraly -- David Backes

Joakim Nordstrom -- Chris Wagner -- Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

John Moore/Matt Grzelcyk -- Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

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