The argument could be made that the Boston Bruins had the best line in the NHL each of the last two seasons. The trio of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand has terrorized defenses across the league since the 2017-18 season began. Bergeron continues to be arguably the most underrated player in the game, while Marchand has turned from pest to elite offensive producer. Pastrnak, meanwhile, has went from an overlooked prospect to one of the game’s best snipers.
Put those three together and you have arguably the best line in hockey. When the secondary scoring lacked a season ago, this line carried the Bruins. It’s no surprise that when they struggled in the Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins hopes of another championship all but vanished. This team will go as far as their top line takes them.
The only thing that has held Patrice Bergeron back the last two seasons has been health. Bergeron again missed a chunk of games in 2018-19, playing in just 65 contests. He was well over a point-per-game, however, finishing the season with 79 points (32 g, 47 a). Not only was Bergeron an elite defensive center, he was elite offensively as well in 2018-19.
Possession wise, Bergeron again drove play for the Boston Bruins. His Corsi For of 57% was one of the best in the entire league. The Bruins were a very strong team overall in possession, but Bergeron still left his teammates in the dust. He finished with a Corsi Rel of +6.1% at five-on-five.
Pastrnak continued his development into one of the game’s elite goal scorers in 2018-19. He lit the lamp a career-high 38 times, marking his third consecutive 30 goal season. Pastrnak was again a weapon on the powerplay, sniping 17 goals on the man advantage. He was a big weapon for the Bruins a season ago when up a man, and is arguably their most important powerplay forward. Pastrnak finished the season with a Corsi for of 55.6% at five-on-five.
Marchand, meanwhile, continued his path from pest to super-pest. For the first time in his career, Marchand hit the 100 point plateau, reaching the mark after a pair of 85 point seasons in 2016-17 and 2017-18. He also hit the 30 goal mark for the fourth straight season, scoring 36 goals.
Marchand finished fifth in Hart Trophy voting and 16th in Selke voting. He did everything for the Bruins a season ago.
It’s not bold to say that this line will not just be one of the best in the division, but one of the best in the entire NHL in 2019-20. Bergeron is, arguably, the best two-way center in the game and combines that with top line scoring. Pastrnak is knocking on the door of 40 goals, while Marchand might be most effective forward on the team. He’s their best offensive player and has the ability to throw the opponent off on a nightly basis.
Expect this line to lead the way in possession and in scoring for the Boston Bruins. Pastrnak should take another step forward, and I expect him to hit the 40 goal mark for the first time in his career. Will Marchand hit 100 points again? Probably not, but he should still be around 90 points.
As for Bergeron, expect another season filled with Selke votes, extremely steady play and at least 65 more points. If he’s healthy, there isn’t a more effective all-around player in the league.
Patrice Bergeron Official Prediction: 80 GP, 31 Goals, 42 Assists, 73 Points, +28, 18:46 TOI
David Pastrnak Official Prediction: 73 GP, 41 Goals, 40 Assists, 81 Points, +23, 19:03 TOI
Brad Marchand Official Prediction: 71 GP, 34 Goals, 55 Assists, 89 Points, +24, 19:25 TOI