So far the Bruins are 4 for 4 in the preseason (and 2 for 2 in the NHL China Games) that began on Saturday, September 15, including two wins against the NHL's most recent Stanley Cup champions, the Washington Capitals.
It's an impressive start to the preseason for the B's as they try out new players, mix up the lineups, and prepare for the 2018-19 season that is fast approaching.
Joakim Nordstrom is one name that is really standing out for the Bruins right now, as they look to fill the voids left behind by Riley Nash and Tim Schaller, who left via free agency earlier this summer. The Bruins showcased some serious depth last season with their ability to roll out four strong lines every game, and the gaps left by Nash and Schaller won't be easy to fill. However, 26 year old Nordstrom, who signed a two year contract July 1, hopes to do just that and is already proving himself to be both versatile and dependable, according to Coach Bruce Cassidy.
Bruce Cassidy had this to say following practice on Tuesday in Beijing, “Good hockey sense, thinks the game well, good speed…He's got some skill. What we've got to do is get him to think a little more attack-oriented.”
Nordstrom has been shifted to the third line, joining rookie Trent Frederic and veteran David Backes, as left wing. Frederic has also been making an impression, enjoying every minute of the training camp in China, as he competes with Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Jack Studnicka for a spot as third-line center. It's been a unique experience for the guys, who have had the opportunity to sight-see and bond with the rest of the team in between games and training sessions.
Cassidy has been testing out JFK and Studnicka with Marchand and Pastrnak, which is a high-pressure position considering it is usually manned by Patrice Bergeron, who is expected to be ready for the regular season after undergoing groin surgery over the summer. But, there are no guarantees and Cassidy wants to be prepared. He feels this is a good opportunity for the guys to prove their capabilities going forward.
Cassidy is looking to guys like Frederic, JFK, or Studnicka, who are all showing a lot of promise, for the depth his team possessed last season. It could also be a kind of insurance policy against injury, since that was a huge factor in the Bruins downfall during the second round of the playoffs. If Cassidy can achieve the kind of depth he is looking for, the Bruins will yet again be a force to be reckoned with. And, hopefully be protected against the injuries that compounded their post-season problems.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the preseason progresses and how the roster shakes out, but so far, the B's are on a winning streak, which will hopefully turn into a winning season.
The Bruins next game is Saturday, September 22 against the Detroit Red Wings.