Bruins hire Montgomery as coach, trade for Zacha

Bruins hire Montgomery as coach, trade for Zacha

After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2022-23 regular season, which starts Oct. 7. Today, the Boston Bruins:

2021-22 season: 51-26-5, fourth in Atlantic Division; lost in first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs

Key arrivals

Pavel Zacha, F: The 25-year-old forward is a restricted free agent. He was acquired in a trade with the New Jersey Devils for Erik Haula on July 13 after having an NHL career-high 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in 70 games last season. … Vinni Letteri, F: The 27-year-old signed a one-year, two-way contract July 13. He had 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 31 games for the Anaheim Ducks last season. … Jim Montgomery, coach: Hired July 1 to replace Bruce Cassidy after two seasons as an assistant with the St. Louis Blues. Montgomery was 61-43-10 in two seasons as coach of the Dallas Stars before being fired Dec. 10, 2019.

Video: Get a look at new Bruins forward Pavel Zacha

Key departures

Erik Haula, F: He had 44 points (18 goals, 26 assists) in 78 regular-season games last season and three points (one goal, two assists) in seven playoff games. … Curtis LazarF: Agreed to a three-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks on July 13. He had 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 70 regular-season games last season and one goal in seven playoff games. … Bruce Cassidy, coach: The Bruins qualified for the playoffs in each of Cassidy’s six seasons but fired him June 6. He was 245-108-46 in the regular season and 36-37 in the postseason for Boston and named Vegas Golden Knights coach June 14.

On the cusp

John Beecher, F: The 21-year-old, the No. 30 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, had 15 points (six goals, nine assists) for the University of Michigan last season and five points (three goals, two assists) in nine games with Providence of the American Hockey League. He signed an entry-level contract May 16. … Jack Ahcan, D: The 25-year-old signed a one-year, two-way contract July 18. He has played nine games with the Bruins the past two seasons, scoring one goal, and could see increased playing time with defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk injured to start the season. … Nick WolffD: The 26-year-old signed as a free agent March 18, 2020. He had eight assists in 32 games for Providence last season. … Marc McLaughlinF: Signed an entry-level contract March 15. McLaughlin, who turns 23 on July 26, led Boston College with 21 goals and was second with 31 points in 33 games last season. He also played two games for the United States at the 2022 Beijing Olympics and one AHL game before scoring three goals in 11 NHL games.

What they still need

The status of centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Bergeron is deciding if he will keep playing in the NHL and Krejci if he will return to the NHL after playing last season in his native Czech Republic. If both or neither come back, they Bruins will need to add centers. They will begin the season without forward Brad Merchant (hip surgery), McAvoy (shoulder surgery) and Grzelcyk (shoulder surgery). Each is expected to be out at least six months, so Boston could look to bolster its defenseman depth.

They said it

“I think around the League, I want us to be known as a team that you better be prepared or else you are going to be put on your heels. … Moving forward, I think there’s areas that I’m hoping with the new different style — every coach has a different way of coaching — that it’s going to lead to a little more offense.” — Bruins coach Jim Montgomery

fantasy focus

Goalie Jeremy Swayman has the third-best even-strength save percentage (.930 in 51 games) the past two seasons (minimum 50 games) behind Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators (.932) and Igor Shesterkin of the New York Rangers (.931). Swayman emerged as the starter over Linus Ullmark last postseason, going 3-2 with a .911 save percentage against the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round. Despite injury concerns surrounding some of Boston’s top players, Swayman is a high-upside fantasy target among the top 15 goalie rankings and top five at the position in keeper and dynasty leagues who could take another step forward under Montgomery. — Anna Dua

Video: BOS@VGK: Swayman drops into a split to make a stop

Projected line-up

Taylor HallCharlie CoyleDavid Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk –Pavel Zacha– Craig Smith

Trent FredericTomás NosekJack Studnicka

Nick FolignoOskar SteenChris Wagner

Hampus LindholmBrandon Carlo

Mike ReillyJakub Zboril

Derek ForbortConnor Clifton

Jeremy Swayman

Linus Ullmark

Injured: Brad Marchand (hip), Charlie McAvoy (shoulder), Matt Grzelcyk (shoulder)

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