With the regular season now finished it’s time to look ahead in the hockey calendar. Who do Bruins fans want to protect in the coming expansion draft? The Bruins can choose to protect either 7 forwards 3 defensemen and a goalie or 8 skaters and a goalie. For this article and part two, we will be protecting 7, 3, and 1. Of those 7 forward spots, 3 are already spoken for with Bergeron, Marchand, and Coyle all having no-movement clauses in their contracts. That leaves four open spots. Three of those spots will be taken by Pastrnak, Hall, and Smith. That leaves just one forward spot and that’s where the fans come in. Bruins fans were given four options and asked who they would protect and who they are most worried about losing. So who do Bruins fans want to protect from the expansion draft with that final spot?
The Four Choices
The first choice was Jake Debrusk. In 41 games this season Debrusk has disappointed with just 5 goals and 14 points. The good news for Jake is half of those points have come since April 10th. Next up is Nick Ritchie. Ritchie went from 4th line afterthought to the Seventh Player Award winner. In 56 games Ritchie scored 15 goals and 26 points. The third forward on the list is Trent Frederic. Frederic has quickly become a fan favorite with his physical style but he needs to score more than 4 goals and 5 points in 42 games. Finally, trade deadline acquisition Curtis Lazar is the fourth choice. Lazar scored 7 goals and 13 points in 50 games this season. 17 of those games were with Boston and Lazar scored 2 goals and 4 points.
Results of The Expansion Draft Poll
The poll question was which forward would Bruins fans protect and who are they most afraid of losing. The top answer for both according to the fans is Trent Frederic. Trent received 40% of the vote for who fans would protect and 49% of the votes for who they don’t want to lose. Following in second in both was Curtis Lazar. Lazar has shown why Sabres fans were more upset at losing him over Hall in his short time. With 29% of the who to protect votes and 26% of the afraid to lose votes Lazar was the only player in shouting distance of Frederic.
In Third was Nick Ritchie with 19% and 13% of each vote. Ritchie had an amazing season but that might price him out of the role he currently has. A pending RFA coming off a bounce-back year makes his third-place finish a bit surprising. Finally to nobody’s surprise Jake Debrusk came in last with 12% of both vote totals. Debrusk has shown potential but is being paid for results. With Hall now showing what the second line can be fans have run out of patients for Debrusk.
My Picks And Final Thoughts
In this expansion draft poll, I would vote to protect Curtis Lazar and I’m worried about losing Ritchie. Lazar has turned the Bruins bottom-six around, even making Kuraly and Wagner look dangerous. Lazar also has a year left at just 800k. With the cap remaining flat next season cheap depth with upside will be at a premium this offseason. With Kuraly possibly done in Boston Lazar gives the team an in-house option at the fourth-line center. Why am I most worried about losing Ritchie? Surprisingly, it’s not to bring him back but rather not losing him for nothing. After setting his career-high in goals his value is at an all-time high. Moving him in trade could bring back a decent package. Ritchie is a pending RFA as well so even an offer sheet would bring back some picks. Both options are better than losing him for nothing.
Now we are going to talk about Freddy. Yes, Trent brings that old-school Bruins style back but he needs to do more. Just five points in 42 games are not good enough. As a former first-round pick Frederic needs to show he’s more than just fists on skates. If he can have impressive playoffs, I might change my mind, but now I’m protecting Lazar over Frederic. Keep an eye out for the defenseman version of this poll and its article summary coming soon. If you want more Bruins content check out this Bruins vs Caps series preview. Also, if you are interested here is the expansion draft tool on CapFriendly.com. Until next time stay safe out there and LET’S GO BRUINS!
Featured image courtesy of Jim Davis/GLOBE STAFF.