The Boston Bruins lost a lot of good players in the offseason, but they still have one of the best cores of any NHL team.
Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci both retired in the summer. Taylor Hall was traded back in June. Tyler Bertuzzi, Garnet Hathaway, Tomas Nosek, Connor Clifton and Dmitry Orlov all left in free agency.
Despite those departures, the Bruins' roster remains full of high-end talent. If you need evidence, look no further than ESPN's NHL Rank, which is a list of the sport's top 100 players for the 2023-24 season. The ranking is based on input from ESPN broadcasters, reporters, analysts and editors.
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Five players from the Bruins made the list, and all of them ranked inside the top 50.
- 47. Linus Ullmark, G
- 43. Hampus Lindholm, D
- 35. Brad Marchand, LW
- 25. Charlie McAvoy, D
- 10. David Pastrnak
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If you look at these rankings on a positional basis, the Bruins have the No. 3 ranked right wing (Pastrnak), the No. 4 and No. 9 defensemen (McAvoy and Lindholm, respectively), the No. 7 left wing (Marchand) and the No. 5 goalie (Ullmark). The only position not represented for the B's is center, which isn't surprising following the offseason exits of Bergeron and Krejci.
The Bruins and Leafs both have five players on ESPN's top 100 list. The only teams with more are the New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning with six each.
Did anyone from the Bruins get snubbed?
You could maybe make a case for backup goalie Jeremy Swayman, who is good enough to start on a lot of teams. Swayman finished fourth among all goalies in both save percentage and GAA last season. He's 1-0 this season after making 33 saves in a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators last Saturday.
Jake DeBrusk isn't deserving of top 100 status right now, but if he stays healthy and hits the 30-goal mark for the first time this season, he could potentially make next year's list.
The Bruins are 2-0-0 after wins against the Blackhawks and Predators. They begin a four-game road trip Thursday against the San Jose Sharks.