Boston Bruins fans now have a window into what the top two forward lines could look like headed into the regular season while waiting for rehabbing Brad Marchand to come back from his double hip surgery this summer.
New Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery visited WEEI as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund telethon happening on-air this week and told Gresh and Keefe that he’s looking to keep David Krejci and David Pastrnak together to start the season.
Jim Montgomery says David Pastrnak will start the season with David Krejci https://t.co/r54jNOqHvz
— WEEI Springfield (@WEEIspringfield) August 23, 2022
In fact, it sounds like Montgomery wants to keep Taylor Hall on the left wing on the second line as well while fighting the temptation to potentially slide him into Marchand’s vacant spot for a couple of months.
Instead, it sounds like newcomer Pavel Zacha will get a chance to man the wing with Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk on the first line while they bide time until Marchand’s return to the lineup around Thanksgiving.
“If we’re having success, I’m not switching lines, but inevitably over 82 games things get stale and people are going to rotate,” said Montgomery. “Pasta’s going to play with Bergy and he’s going to play with Krejci. [He’ll] probably start the year with Krejci.
“Taylor Hall had such a great year when Krejci was his center. Krejci is a really dynamic centerman through the neutral zone, which allows Taylor Hall to get his feet going. It’s going to allow him to put pucks to space to allow him to score off the rush. That’s the way I see it initially.”
A second line of Taylor Hall, David Krejci and David Pastrnak could be exactly the kind of dynamic, explosive second line that could make the Bruins an offensive handful against other teams once they get their lineup healthy and fully intact around December. Hall had eight goals and 14 points along with a plus-15 in 16 games paired with Krejci once he was traded to Boston two seasons ago, so there should be a lot of excitement about what he could do with the playmaking center over the course of a full hockey season.
With Zacha coming off signing a one-year deal and posting 15 goals and 36 points in 70 games after being traded one-for-one for Erik Haula earlier this summer, the best place for the 25-year-old to learn the Boston Bruins way of doing things would be skating alongside the captain. That’s the theory anyway while keeping Marchand’s left-wing spot warm for a couple of months.
“I think bringing in a really good player, Pavel Zacha, introducing him to the Bruins way, I think an opportunity to start camp with Patrice Bergeron and learning how to compete and how to play the right way,” said Montgomery. “I mean, he does it already. That’s why we went and got him. He’s a talented hockey player that’s produced at the NHL level. Now here’s an opportunity to play with one of the best players in the league.”
Interestingly, Montgomery also wasn’t running away from taking a look at 19-year-old top right wing prospect Fabian Lysell in a top-6 spot coming out of training camp after impressing with a bronze medal performance for Team Sweden. The Marchand injury could be exactly the kind of excuse to at least get a brief look at what Lysell might look like as an NHLer right now before heading to the AHL for development that needs to come in his play away from the puck and physicality department along with his defensive details.
Here’s what Montgomery has in mind for the top two Boston Bruins lines to start to the season: