Bruins midseason report card: Forwards

Maybe the recent shift to the first line will get the former Boston College standout going. But after getting back from injury in early November and consistently contributing on the offensive end for a few weeks, December was a dry month for the winger. Always a threat on the forecheck and solid in his own end, Kobasew has to pick it up in the second half to keep the Bruins, as presently constituted, among the upper echelon of the NHL.

Patrice Bergeron: B-minus

He was starting to pick it up just as he suffered his second concussion in 14 months. But Bergeron struggled up until the week of his injury, especially in the offensive end, where he just lacked finish (only four goals in 31 games). At least he was clicking at a 57-percent rate in the faceoff dot and settling in as a distributor on the power play. Bergeron’s second half, however, will be more about comebacks than goals and assists.

P.J. Axelsson: B

The player Bruins fans love to hate when they’re not loving him, the defensive-minded winger has been his normally solid self on the PK and in the Bruins’ end. His ability to find the open man on the PP has been a pleasant surprise, but his lack of finish can be so frustrating (two of his three goals have been empty-netters).

Marco Sturm: Incomplete

The streaky winger was probably headed to a B-minus before a neck injury and a knee injury side tracked his season.

Stephane Yelle: B

The quiet third-liner needs to improve on his 50.6 faceoff percentage — one of the reasons he was brought to Boston. Yelle has been solid on the PK (the other key for the Bruins signing him) and chipped in here on there on offense. Without Bergeron, the Bruins will expect more in the second half from Yelle.

Shawn Thornton: B-plus

It’s hard to criticize a lack of finish from a fourth-line winger. However, three goals on a 67 shots is a little disappointing. Nonetheless, Thornton has taken on all comers of all sizes with his gloves off, and he’s helped make the Bruins’ line-up the most balanced offensively in the league. And his high-power forechecking has probably left its mark on its share of puck-carriers this season.

Petteri Nokelainen: B

With his physical play and ability to keep possesion of the puck regardless of the player checking him, Nokelainen is a big reason for the fourth line’s offensive dimension. He draws penalties better than almost every player on the Bruins. Just a little more finish could make Nokelainen a legit top-nine performer.

Vladimir Sobotka & Martin St. Pierre: Incomplete

Both have been solid fourth-line contributors when given a shot, but neither has played enough games to earn a grade.

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