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NHL.com 30 in 30: Bruins lineup stocked with veteran talent

Thursday, 08.15.2013 / 9:40 AM ET / Features
By Corey Masisak  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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NHL.com 30 in 30: Bruins lineup stocked with veteran talent
Five of the 18 skaters who appeared in at least 14 of the Boston Bruins\' 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games are no longer with the team heading into 2013-14.

In their 30 in 30 series, NHL.com takes a look at the Boston Bruins heading into 2013-14...

NHL.com - The Boston Bruins were two wins shy of a second championship in three seasons and are positioned to make another run at the Stanley Cup in 2013-14.

There was some turnover this offseason: Five of the 18 skaters who appeared in at least 14 of the Bruins' 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games are no longer with the team. Nathan Horton, Jaromir Jagr and Andrew Ference signed elsewhere as free agents. Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley were traded to the Dallas Stars.

Jarome Iginla was signed to replace either Horton or Jagr, and Loui Eriksson, the prize in the Dallas deal, likely will replace the other. The Bruins will have a new-look third line, but the "Merlot Line" is back.

2013-14 FANTASY PREVIEW: BRUINS



Under-valued: Loui Eriksson -- His 0.60 points-per-game, minus-9 rating and 2.17 shots per-per-game last season were his lowest in five years. A change of scenery and playing alongside Patrice Bergeron could be exactly what helps this 28-year-old wing bounce back.

Over-valued: David Krejci -- Krejci posted an NHL-best 26 points in the playoffs, but outside of his 73-point performance in 2008-09 he has never eclipsed the 62-point mark. He doesn't shoot or score enough, won't record a lot of penalty minutes and doesn't rack up power play points -- don't overpay for his playoff heroics.

Sleeper: Dougie Hamilton -- Most will be looking at Torey Krug as a sleeper after his playoff totals, but Hamilton still possesses immense upside (17 goals, 72 points in 50 games in the OHL in 2011-12) -- his minutes should increase (17:07 per game last year) and so should his production (five goals, 11 assists in 42 games).

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The Bruins have three young defensemen who saw action in the postseason, and a combination of Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski will absorb Ference's responsibilities. Tuukka Rask signed a monster contract extension, and Chad Johnson was added to be his new backup in goal.

Boston should begin the 2013-14 season as the favorite in the Atlantic Division and one of two or three teams most likely to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final.

Here is the projected 2013-14 lineup for the Bruins:

Forwards

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Loui Eriksson

Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla

Carl Soderberg - Chris Kelly - Reilly Smith

Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Jordan Caron

Defensemen

Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk

Dennis Seidenberg - Dougie Hamilton

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Matt Bartkowski

Goalies

Tuukka Rask

Chad Johnson

NOTES: Eriksson, a strong defensive player, seems a natural fit next to perennial Selke Trophy candidate Bergeron and Marchand on a line that could dominate teams in plenty of advanced statistical categories. That would mean Iginla plays with Krejci and Lucic in the spot vacated by Horton.

Smith, the other player added in the trade with the Stars, could fit on the third line. He, Soderberg and Caron could be pushed for roster spots by prospects Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight. Paille or Thornton could move up a line if needed, but coach Claude Julien would probably like to keep them with Gregory Campbell on the "Merlot Line," so named for the color of their practice jerseys.

Julien likes to put Chara and Seidenberg together during the playoffs, but they often skate apart at even strength during the regular season. Hamilton played in seven postseason games, but expect the Bruins to give him a long look during camp in a top-four role; he has the most upside of the younger players on the blue line.

Joe Morrow, who was traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to Dallas for Brenden Morrow then to Boston in the Eriksson-Seguin deal, could push for a roster spot.

Follow Corey Masisak on Twitter: @cmasisak22

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 81 23 32 2 55
L. Eriksson 81 22 25 1 47
M. Lucic 81 18 26 13 44
C. Soderberg 82 13 31 10 44
B. Marchand 77 24 18 5 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
R. Smith 81 13 27 7 40
T. Krug 78 12 27 13 39
D. Krejci 47 7 24 7 31
C. Kelly 80 7 21 6 28
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 34 21 13 .922 2.30
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
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