Tampa Bay Lightning Atlantic Division Preview: Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 25: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins skates against Anthony Cirelli #71 of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden on March 25, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins won 2-1. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 25: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins skates against Anthony Cirelli #71 of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden on March 25, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins won 2-1. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

With the NHL regular season not too far on the horizon, we are kicking off our Tampa Bay Lightning division opponent series. We will work through the Atlantic Division in alphabetical order, beginning today with the Boston Bruins, last year’s Presidents Trophy winners.

2022-23 Record: 65-12-5 | 135 points | 1st in NHL

2022-23 Head-to-head vs Tampa Bay: 3-1-1

Scheduled Games

November 20 vs. Boston

January 6 @ Boston

February 13 @ Boston

March 27 vs. Boston

Key Losses

As if things could not get any worse after having the best NHL regular season of all time and then losing in the first round of the playoffs, they did this summer for the Bruins. Their captain and long-time top center Patrice Bergeron retired and was soon followed by his running mate at center in David Krejci. Losing Bergeron and Krejci in the same summer leaves a massive hole in the Bruins lineup down the middle that they did not fully address this offseason.

In addition to losing their top two centers, the Bruins also were not able to re-sign any of the three pieces they brought in at last season’s trade deadline. Tyler Bertuzzi, Garnett Hathaway and Dmitry Orlov all left in free agency. Bertuzzi was a piece many thought could re-sign in Boston, especially after the Bruins also traded Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno to Chicago in a salary dump. Bertuzzi however chose to sign a one-year deal with Toronto.

Key Additions

As mentioned before, Boston did not go out and directly try and fill the large holes left behind by their significant departures. Up front, the Bruins brought back fan-favorite tough guy Milan Lucic on a one-year deal. They also added another veteran winger in James Van Riemsdyk. To address their giant holes at center ice, the Bruins signed free agents Morgan Geekie and Jesper Boqvist. These two will not be expected to be the top two centers as they will likely be playing in the bottom six. Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle will be expected to step up into the top two center roles after Zacha played a lot of wing last season and Coyle was typically their third line center.

On defense, the Bruins replaced Orlov with former Lightning defenseman and national champion at Boston University, Kevin Shattenkirk. The 34-year-old Shattenkirk signed just a one-year deal in Boston following the end of his three-year contract in Anaheim. With the exception of Shattenkirk, the Bruins blue line remains about the same.

Line Projections (via Daily Faceoff)


James Van Riemsdyk – Pavel Zacha- David Pastrnak

Brad Marchand- Charlie Coyle- Jake DeBrusk

Jakub Lauko- Morgan Geekie- Trent Frederic

Milan Lucic- Jesper Boqvist- A.J. Greer


Matt Grzelcyk- Charlie McAvoy

Hampus Lindholm- Brandon Carlo

Derek Forbort- Kevin Shattenkirk


Linus Ullmark

Jeremy Swayman

Verdict: This team is not dead yet

Despite some huge losses up front and not directly replacing them with other stars, this Bruins team is likely one that will still contend for a playoff spot. Brad Marchand seems like the expected next captain and with him and David Pastrnak still flanking their wings, they will still be able to account for a large chunk of their offense.

The concern of course lies with their depth at center. It looks like they are going to roll with the group as is and potentially upgrade at the trade deadline if they want to go all-in again. Somebody like Mark Scheifele has been linked to the Bruins in trade rumors in the past.

This Bruins group will remain completive because their defense core is still very strong. Not many teams have two defenseman of the quality of Charlie McAvoy and Hampus Lindholm. Having one of those two on the ice for the majority of the game is a problem for opponents.

Behind their defense as well, the Bruins sport what is probably the best goaltending tandem in the NHL. Linus Ullmark put up a Vezina Trophy winning season a year ago and Charlie Swayman was similarly impressive in his own opportunies. In an impressive bit of juggling, the Bruins were able to hold on to both of these goalies this summer after getting Swayman signed for another season. With these two backstopping things for another year, Boston should remain very competitive in the Atlantic Division.

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