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Fantasy Puck Preview: Boston Bruins

Scott Cullen
9/6/2008 7:02:15 PM
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The Bruins have a couple of blue chip fantasy performers, but most of Boston's fantasy value comes from possible sleepers and breakthrough candidates.

Marc Savard doesn't seem to get his just due most of the time, but he's highly regarded in fantasy circles, not only for his exceptional playmaking abilities (and high assist totals), but he generally plays with enough of an edge to put up solid penalty minute totals as well.

Savard's playmaking prowess works to the advantage of triggermen like Marco Sturm and Michael Ryder. While neither is close to an elite winger, Sturm has a respectable 83 goals over the last three seasons.

In Ryder's case, just when it seemed safe to expect 30 goals a year he had a dramatic fall to 14 last season. It's asking a lot for Ryder to bounce right back to the 30-goal plateau, but a return to the 20-25 range might make him worth a late-round flier.

Taking any player coming off a serious injury, particularly a concussion, is a risky proposition, but it's still going to be awfully tempting to take a shot with Patrice Bergeron, who had 143 points in two seasons before he was limited to just ten games by a severe concussion last season.

By all accounts, Bergeron is healthy and ready to go this season so, with a dose of cautious optimism, 70 points could be within his reach again.

The Bruins have a couple of possible young breakout candidates.

First up is Phil Kessel. The 20-year-old had his moments as a teenager, but only has 66 points through his first two NHL seasons. His third year should be good for a much more productive campaign.

A strong finish to his rookie season provides a sense of optimism around 20-year-old Milan Lucic. A genuine tough guy, whose penalty minutes are sure to go up as he climbs the depth chart and gets more playing time, Lucic could also be a 20-goal threat this season if he secures playing time with a scoring unit.

The Bruins have a couple more candidates, particularly for those participating in deeper leagues. David Krejci, who impressed with 27 points in 56 games as a rookie, could end up playing more of a two-way role, but if he gets put into a scoring role, he could be worth a late-round selection.

Same goes for Chuck Kobasew, a speedy winger who could be ready to surpass last year's career high of 39 points.

On the blueline, the Bruins have a fantasy stud in Zdeno Chara, one of only two defencemen in the league to top 50 points, plus-10 and 100 penalty minutes last season.

The only other Bruins defenceman who will command fantasy interest is Dennis Wideman, who provided 70 penalty minutes along with 36 points (20 on the power play) in 2007-2008.

Getting involved with the Bruins goaltending situation is risky.

Tim Thomas put up very good numbers in 57 games as the number one keeper last year, but his unorthodox style and inconsistent play always seems to leave him vulnerable to losing his job.

The top challenger would figure to be Manny Fernandez, the big money goalie who played all of four games last season. Fernandez has put up decent numbers in his career, though he hasn't been able to effectively hold the role of primary starter. At this point, it may be best to take a wait and see approach with Boston's goaltending.

With question marks ahead of him on the depth chart, it's possible that goaltender of the future Tuukka Rask might find himself in Boston sooner rather than later, but that will require one of the two veterans to be moved.




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