The Boston Bruins preseason is well underway, with three games under their belt. With three remaining, some questions are yet to be answered. Some already have been. Based on what we've seen so far, and what we already know, here is my opening night lineup prediction for the forward group.
What we essentially already know
Lets get the easy one out of the way. If it aint broke, don't fix it. The Bruins first line will stay as one of the best in the league. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak will be the Bruins first forward line opening night. Seeing how well others have skated together on the second, third, and fourth line, there's no reason to break up the perfection line.
There has been a lot of speculation on who might skate on the second line. The one name set in stone is David Krejci. Jake DeBrusk is also essentially set in stone. There are rumblings of the Bruins swapping David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk, but I don't think that will happen. Jake DeBrusk is a natural on the left side, and he's grown to have pretty good chemistry with David Krejci. Moving DeBrusk to the first line would force him to move to the right side, as well as form a whole new line of chemistry.
Bruce Cassidy said that he likes Karson Kuhlman on the ice with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. That would give the Bruins a lot of speed and scoring ability on the second line. Something it has lacked in the eyes of many.
The amount of young talent at the forward position will give Bruce Cassidy a lot of options
With Karson Kuhlman likely starting on the second line, that leaves Anders Bjork and Danton Heinen available for third line with Charlie Coyle. A third line with that much talent could provide a lethal punch for the Bruins. If the young duo of Bjork and Heinen can live up to their potential, Charlie Coyle would be exactly what they need to be one of the best third lines in hockey.
The fourth line is the line that still brings the biggest and most questions. I'd say Sean Kuraly is most likely centering two wings on opening night. Some speculation of David Backes, Trent Frederic, or even Jack Studnicka fronting the line has been around. Personally I think David Backes does make the opening night roster as a reserve. He says he's ready to bounce back, and Bruce Cassidy seems to have a soft spot for veterans like Backes. That, as well as the knowledge that he can rub off on to some of the younger guys on the team, I think its best to keep Backes around for now.
I think Chris Wagner is best to slot next to Kuraly on the right side. Hes proved to be a spark plug for the team and would fit perfectly with the grit of Kuraly. Joakim Nordstrom deserves a spot on the roster and it makes sense to put him with two guys who like the dirty parts of the ice.
Bruce Cassidy certainly has a lot of options. Some might be obvious, but some bold moves could certainly be made with this group of talent. Stay tuned for my defense and goalie opening night line up predictions.