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Preseason Thoughts

Camp is in full swing, and preseason games have started. This time of year is a welcomed sight for Bruins fans that are already sick of hearing about how the sky might be falling for the 1-1 Patriots, if Brady is going to retire, if Kyrie hates LeBron, how Farrell will bury the Sox this year, blah blah blah. Hockey games are upon us once again, with real contests less than 2 weeks away. With all the different story lines coming in, here are a few thoughts from the first week of camp and the first couple preseason games.

POSITIONAL BATTLES

With multiple forward spots up for grabs and a plethora of young talent knocking on the door to grab available playing time, these battles are sure to get pretty heated by the time camp breaks. Through two games, albeit games featuring mostly young lineups, my two pre-camp choices for the wing spots have lived up to the hype. Anders Bjork scored in the game against Montreal, and Jake DeBrusk definitely looked like he belongs along side David Krejci and David Pastrnak. Danton Heinen, Jakob Fosbacka Karlsson, Jesse Gabrielle and the forgotten prospect Ryan Fitzgerald have also looked good for the Bruins to add more pressure on the lackluster veterans that the team rolled out last year like Tim Schaller, Ryan Spooner, Riley Nash, Matt Belesky, and Noel Acciari. I still like DeBrusk and Bjork to make the team, with the possibility of JFK and Heinen also on the roster.

DEFENSE

Pairings likely haven't been what they will be come opening night, but you can see the players that the Bruins brass are looking to get real looks at in these preseason games. With the short term injury to Torey Krug, players like Jakub Zboril, Rob O'Gara, Matt Grzelcyk, and Jeremy Lauzon will get more of a look to make the roster. Barring any major injuries and with the offseason addition of Paul Postma to seemingly take the 7th defenseman role, it seems unlikely that any rookie defensemen outside of Charlie McAvoy will make the roster.

ANTON KHUDOBIN

I'm one of the people that don't put too much stock in a backup goalie when you have a top tier netminder like Tuukka Rask. But in the last few years Rask has shown that he needs someone behind him that can lighten his workload a bit and keep him fresh. To be honest, I'm a Zane McIntyre believer. But he just didn't look ready for the NHL last year. That's where Anton Khudobin comes in. On Tuesday night, Khudobin looked good against the Detroit Red Wings. If McIntyre can't seize the backup role, the Bruins will rely on Khudobin to keep the obnoxiously loud anti Rask crowd at a dull roar.

As we get closer to the regular season opener, we'll start to see the established roster players playing more and more minutes in the preseason games ramping up for the games that count. It will be interesting to see how Bruce Cassidy views the rookies and integrates them into the lineup. Either way, it's great to see the black and gold taking the ice once again.


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