Midseason Bruins report cards: the forwards

Lucic/By S. Bradley

Now that the Bruins have passed the halfway point of their season, it’s time to grade each player before they officially start their second half at home against Ottawa tonight.

Somehow, the Bruins have produced so few four-line, 60-minute efforts this season, you can count them on one hand, yet they still rank a respectable 13th in goals scored per game (2.83).

That’s a tribute to their balance and ability to pick each other up when slumps – and there have been plenty — hit. Boston might be in the market for a scoring winger come trade-deadline day, or they might just continue to rely on their defense to combine with timely scoring in order to get by down the stretch. There’s definitely room for improvement among most of the forward corps no matter which way you look at it.

Here are my midseason grades:

Patrice Bergeron

First quarter grade: B

Midseason grade: A-minus

Everyone wanted to see some offensive flair from the veteran center this season. Well, how about the fact that he now leads the team in scoring with 29 points (10 goals)? He’s winning 54 percent of his faceoffs and is second among Bruins forwards in blocked shots. And, of course, he has been instrumental as a shutdown center when needed. Sure, Bergeron has benefited from the healthy returns of Marc Savard and David Krejci pushing him down the lineup, but Bergeron has also done everything asked of him by the club this season in all situations — although, like most, he must get his power-play numbers up.

Milan Lucic

First quarter grade: A-minus

Midseason grade: B

His current stretch of recording just one point in his last 11 games is Lucic’s first sustained slump of the season. That said, as the first-line left winger for a contending team, Lucic has to provide the Bruins with more offense. He has been hampered by some line juggling and Marc Savard’s struggles, but Lucic could take more advantage of the power-play time he gets and also make some things happen with his own ability to get to the net. Remember, four of his team-high 16 goals are empty-netters. He hasn’t fought since Oct. 23, which would be fine if the rest of his physical play was where it needs to be every night. He leads the team with 104 hits, but that’s just tied for 27th in the entire league.

Nathan Horton

First quarter grade: B-plus

Midseason grade: C-plus

Simply put, if you’re going to go through a stretch of four goals in 23 games, you have to find other ways to contribute. And Horton, more often than not, failed to do that during his lengthy drought. With 12 goals at this point, he could get healthy and still score between 25 and 30 goals, as the Bruins had hoped. But he has been nothing more than a streak-scorer, while the Bruins were wishing he’d take the next step in his ascension to stardom. Instead, they’ve gotten the same player Florida had. With his minutes at full strength on the top line and on the power play, his numbers should be better.

Mark Recchi

First quarter grade: B

Midseason grade: B-plus

Nary a negative word is written about Recchi on this blog, and with good reason. Recchi’s on the Bruins to play a third-line role, battle in front on the power play and provide leadership whenever possible. He has perfectly filled that role, and mostly only struggled when asked to do more. His eight goals, six on the power play and five for game-winners, are about what you’d expect from a player his age logging around 16 minutes a game. He is a plus player, he has killed penalties at times and has even been willing to move back and forth between left and right wing all year long.

Krejci/By S. Bradley

David Krejci

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