If Phil Kessel is indeed dealt over the next 48 hours or so I find myself scouring the Bruins roster to see who actually can "Phil" Kessel's goal production void?
I know that Phil has had his droughts in his first three professional seasons, but since his benching in the 1st round of the 2008 playoffs Phil has scored 45 goals in 85 games while missing some time due to the shoulder injury that he battled through down the stretch.If you look up and down the Bruins lineup where do you see that kind of goal scoring production?
While some will protest this because through out the regular season the Bruins scored the second most goals in the NHL, I beg to differ. I don't feel the Bruins are as well balanced in the goal scoring department as one might think!
The questions I ask myself from time to time go something like this...
Will Patrice Bergeron ever regain his offensive touch? I doubt it and for one reason if not for nothing else, He is the 3rd line center on this team and probably will be for the foreseeable future unless there is a Marc Savard trade before the season or by next trade deadline! Bergeron is not asked to score on this team and while he showed some offensive spunk with Recchi on his line down the stretch, I can't see anything different happening here.
Will Blake Wheeler continue the pace in his Sophmore season? While it would be nice, I wouldn't bet on it just yet! It remains to be seen whether or not the handling of Wheelers ice time at the end of the regular season and playoffs will have a positive outcome as it did to Kessel. If he slumps early it could be a long season for Blake!
Will Marco Sturm and Chuck Kobasew stay healthy long enough to pot 20-30 goals? That remains to be seen, but given the last few seasons in Beantown I'm betting on NO!!!
Will Marc Savard net 20+ while still being one of the elite set up men in the game? I think he can, but what will his space be like out there without a winger like Kessel? Remains to be seen until we know Phils fate with the Bruins.
Will David Krecji continue his second line wizardry and give the Savard line some relief? That kind of raise has shown the ability to add pressure to a player...can David handle this as a second year full timer? Not sure just yet...I don't doubt his ability though, not for a second!
Can Mark Recchi have another 20 goal season at 41? I know he'll help the PP a ton, especially around the net.
Can Micheal Ryder continue his goal scoring ways? He flatened out in the playoffs after the Montreal series, but so did many other Bruins! I guess as long as Claude Julien is head coach of this team Ryder has a good shot!
Will the defense produce the way Chara and Wideman did? That surely takes some pressure off the forwards and hopefully Derek Morris will take some off of the aforementioned Chara and Wideman. Finally we may have two solid d pairings on the PP!!!
Who is coming up from Providence to pick up this slack? The 3rd never coming of Carl Soderberg do it? NOT! Can Vladimir Sobotka do it? Zach Hamill? Brad Marchand? All these prospects are better suited as Centermen...tough to ask a center to score 30+ in this league!
The last question is...will Milan Lucic really become the second coming of Cam Neely and put up big offensive numbers to supplement Kessel's department? I think Milan's game makes other players better by the space he creates, so maybe inadvertently he will increase Boston's goal scoring potential.
So finally I ask you...Who can do it? I think these are all valid concerns going into the 2009-2010 season if it is indeed one without number 81 on the Boston roster sheet!!!