As of today, the Boston Bruins have 12 players on their preseason roster that still qualify as rookies. That list includes two goalies, four defensemen, and six forwards. However, the Bruins are still carrying 33 players, and will need to drop 10 before the start of the season to get down to the league maximum of 23 players on the roster. Most of these cuts will be made from these rookie players, but there is still room for some additions from last year’s roster.
The injury to Torey Krug opens up an additional slot for a defenseman until he is able to come back after three weeks. The Bruins have also had a considerable amount of injuries the past two seasons, so it would not come as a shock so see some of these rookies play a few games during the season.
Out of the 12 rookies still left on the roster, here are their chances in making the pro roster on opening day:
Sure thing (100%): Charlie McAvoy
McAvoy has been an assurance on the Bruins’ roster this season since April when he debuted on the team during the playoffs. McAvoy looked like he already belonged in the NHL throughout the six game series against the Senators. Paired with captain Zdeno Chara, his calm play and decision-making impressed around the league. McAvoy will be with the Bruins for the entire season.
During the preseason both Bjork and Debrusk have found themselves in top six roles. Bjork has been played consistently with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and played noticeably well. With a gap on the right side of that line, expect Bjork to fill it on opening night. Whether or not he sticks there will be up to his play. Debrusk has been slotted on the left side of David Krejci and David Pastrnak during practices and preseason games. He has drawn the praise of head coach Bruce Cassidy, and looks to be the solution on Krejci’s left wing. Debrusk had a successful AHL campaign last year, and looks like the best possibility to start on the second line.
Krug’s preseason jaw injury has opened the door for Grzelcyk. He has been given the longest looks during the preseason in terms of defensemen, and has the best chance to make the opening day roster. Kuraly and Heinen both have a little experience in Boston. Kuraly was an overtime hero in game 5, and looked fantastic during the playoffs. Heinen looked great in the beginning of the season last year, and has received compliments from Cassidy. However, with so few forward spots available, these two are looking to be injury call ups rather than season starters.
O’Gara is the dark horse for Krug’s spot, but seems to have been outpaced by the Grezlcyk. He has an outside shot, but has been given less looks than Grzelcyk and by more seasoned pro Paul Postma. Forsbacka Karlsson, or JFK as the fans have started to call him, was considered a favorite to make the team before preseason. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury and has seen little time in games as a result. Although he was given time at the end of last season in Boston, it seems as though Cassidy and the Bruins staff feel he needs time in the AHL. Subban is the least likely of the group. He has been given three preseason games, but with Anton Khudobin’s play at the end of last season, it is hard to imagine Subban passing him on the depth chart. He played well in the game against Chicago, but with his history of play is not great in Boston. He will have to work hard to put up better results in Providence.
These three have not seen any ice time during the preseason games, but remain on the roster. Cehlarik is recovering from shoulder surgery and Johansson is still out with a concussion, and may see one game once they recover, but will not start the season with the Bruins. Vladar will also be in the next round of roster cuts for sure, as he has yet to see any preseason time. He remains behind Subban and Zane McIntyre in the goalie depth chart.