Marchand

Taking a look at the depth in Boston and how it holds some fantasy players back

 

Few things hurt more than having a good player on a solid team and you know that there is little chance that they would get more than 60 points in the season. If the player was on a bad team we would say that they need to be surrounded by others to help him and the team reach higher totals but when they are on a good team we just grit our teeth and bear it, especially if your pool counts or carries over into the playoffs.

We have such a dilemma with the players on the Boston Bruins, last year’s President’s trophy winners.

True to the imagery of their team colors, you can compare them to a bunch of bees. No single player is a dominant offensive force but they all work together and successfully maintain a productive hive.

If there is one Queen it would be Claude Julien. He fights off all other rivals, Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel come to mind, to maintain the culture and defensive structure that he wants the team to employ. The Drones would be the players on the top two lines and the Workers would be the guys on the bottom two lines.

It is a system that has proven to work nicely and it is why they have been predicted to win the Stanley Cup or make the finals by many over the past few years. Yet no one anxiously waits to select a Bruin player in the early rounds of a points only pool.

Since the 2006-07 season the only Bruin to earn 80 or more points was Marc Savard, with 96 in the 2006-07 and 88 in 2008-09. Julien became their coach in July 2007. Despite the lack of a scoring leader they had found success.

 

Season

Overall Standings

Playoff Result

Coach

2005-06

26th

DNQ

Sullivan

2006-07

23rd

DNQ

Lewis

2007-08

15th

1st Round

Julien

2008-09

2nd

2nd Round

Julien

2009-10

14th

2nd Round

Julien

2010-11

7th

Stanley Cup

Julien

2011-12

7th

1st Round

Julien

2012-13

5th

Finalist

Julien

2013-14

1st

2nd Round

Julien

 

So how successful is a team without at least one 70+ point player? Here is a table illustrating the results:

 

Season

#

Did Not Qualify

First Round

Second Round

Third Round

Finals

2005-06

8

Chicago, Columbus, Los Angeles, NY Islanders, Phoenix, St. Louis

Calgary, Montreal

n/a

n/a

n/a

2006-07

11

Chicago, Columbus, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Louis

Calgary, Dallas, Minnesota, NY Islanders

New Jersey

n/a

n/a

2007-08

4

Columbus, NY Islanders, St. Louis

New Jersey

n/a

n/a

n/a

2008-09

10

Colorado, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, NY Islanders, Toronto

Montreal, NY Rangers

n/a

n/a

n/a

2009-10

13

Atlanta, Calgary, Columbus, Edmonton, Florida, NY Islanders, St. Louis, Toronto

Buffalo, Nashville, Phoenix

Boston

n/a

Philadelphia

2010-11

15

Atlanta, Colorado, Columbus, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, NY Islanders, Ottawa, St. Louis, Toronto

Montreal, NY Rangers, Phoenix

Nashville

n/a

Boston

2011-12

13

Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Columbus, Minnesota, Montreal, Winnipeg

Boston, Detroit, Florida

Nashville, St. Louis, Washington

n/a

n/a

2012-13*

13

Calgary, Columbus, Dallas, Florida, Nashville, New Jersey, Phoenix, St. Louis

Minnesota, Montreal

Ottawa, San Jose

n/a

Boston

2013-14

18

Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Florida, Nashville, New Jersey, NY Islanders, Phoenix

Columbus, Detroit, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

Boston, Minnesota

Montreal

NY Rangers

* denotes that the values were projected to an 82 game season

 

It looks like teams that did not have a star offensive leader with 70 or more points were doomed to not make the playoffs or if they were lucky enough they were ousted after the first round. That changed from the 2009-10 season onward. It appears that teams can and do have success now even if they have a bunch of drone and worker bees. Boston has been a consistent team in this regard. Other teams that have had limited success under similar influences include Montreal, Nashville and St. Louis.

What happens if the hive loses a drone or two? Looking at Boston that is not a big a problem as it may seem. They replaced Iginla with a healthy Eriksson and based on Dobber’s 2014-15 Fantasy Hockey Guidethis hive will keep buzzing along.

The true issue will be when the queen is challenged and the only two ways I see that happening are from a player or from upper management.

We have seen the challenges from players and the team dealt with them by trading them away. The Bruins can survive on trade deadline pickups or free agent signings but it will look bad when the team starts to struggle and it will (I predict it will start next season). That will be the time when upper management will pressure Julien for better hive performance. It will also be the time when the hive wished it had a player like Seguin on its roster.

If you have a Bruin player on your keeper roster I think you should consider trading him now before the future turmoil starts. It will not be easy to trade these guys because people out there know that they are unlikely to surprise you with a 70 point season. The players have the talent but they are not in a system that accentuates their offensive abilities. For the team and their players it is about winning the Cup and as a fan I understand that. As a fantasy hockey manager it is a situation I would like to avoid.

You should too unless you want to be stung by a B.

 

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my free Top 50 challenge.

 

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