Summer Skate: Boston Bruins

Young defenseman trending up for the defending division champs

Updated: August 18, 2014, 9:17 PM ET
By Matthew Coller | Hockey Prospectus

Dougie HamiltonJared Wickerham/Getty ImagesAt just 21 years old, defenseman Dougie Hamilton has yet to reach his maximum potential.

Although the weather outside doesn't necessarily make us think of winter pursuits, it's a good time to take the temperature of every NHL team. Hockey Prospectus will guide us through the leaguewide tour, spotlighting one player trending up and one player trending down for each club, as well as a key statistic as we look ahead to the 2014-15 season. References will be made to goals versus threshold (GVT), a Hockey Prospectus proprietary statistic; for more on GVT, click here. All other advanced stats are courtesy of Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com.

From the first puck drop until the end of the regular season, the Boston Bruins were the best team in the Eastern Conference -- and it was not close. They won the Atlantic Division by 16 standings points and had a better goal differential than the next best team in the East, by 42. Boston's superstars had superstar seasons, bringing home the Vezina and Selke trophies and earning a Norris nomination to boot. Heading into the playoffs, they were the runaway favorites to represent the East. But the Bruins ran into a hot Montreal Canadiens team that knocked them out of the second round in seven games.

Boston heads into 2014-15 with a roster nearly identical to last season's and equally high expectations. With the Bruins' current core of talent still in its prime, it will be a disappointment if Boston walks away with anything less than the Stanley Cup.


Trending up: Dougie Hamilton, D