The guys at Hockey Prospectus are publishing their “summer skate” 2011-12 projections for the 30 NHL teams on the ESPN Insider site.
Today they started with the Stanley Cup champion Bruins.
While you need Insider access to read the article, here are some excerpts of the piece written by Corey Pronman and Ryan Popilchak.
The article lists a player trending up, one trending down and one name to know.
The player trending up according to Hockey Prospectus and their VUKOTA projection system is Tyler Seguin. As the article explains:
Last season, he managed to score 1.44 points per 60 minutes of ice time, which is only slightly below the scoring rate of an NHL top-six forward.
So the HP argument is that with the departure of Mark Recchi and Michael Ryder, there should be more 5-on-5 and power-play time for Seguin in his second year to soar statistically.
For the player trending down, HP picked Tim Thomas. When you think about it, there’s really nowhere for his numbers to go than down.
Thomas set the single-season record for save percentage at .938 and the likelihood that he’ll be able to duplicate such a historical performance is very low, especially adding in the fact that he’ll be 37 years old next season and he’s backed up by the uber-talented Tuukka Rask. VUKOTA expects Rask to play 38 games in 2011-12 versus only 26 this past season, which seems to be a reasonable assumption if coach Claude Julien wants to keep Thomas fresh for another Cup run next year.
As for the name to know, HP is predicted a breakthrough second pro season for forward Jordan Caron. HP writes:
Caron isn’t a flashy player, but he’s a hard-working, two-way forward who can score goals at an above-average level and is a great weapon to plant in front of the opposing net. There are forward prospects with more raw scoring talent in the Bruins’ system who may push for a spot in the not too distant future, such as Khokhlachev, Maxime Sauve and Ryan Spooner. However Caron has the pro-level physique having filled out well and possesses the ability to play well on the bottom two lines. He could push for a starting role on the defending champions in a lesser role this season and has enough talent to generate some offense as well.
These seem like pretty safe projections by HP. I’d also look for an uptick in production from Johnny Boychuk, a drop-off by Brad Marchand and would keep an eye on Jamie Arniel as someone with a chance to push for a bottom-six lineup spot.