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Forwards wrap

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  April 20, 2007 02:32 PM

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Marc Savard

2006-07: Earned every cent of his $5 million salary, playing in all 82 games and leading the team with 96 points... Was a fixture on the No. 1 PP unit, manning the top of the right circle... Took over alternate captain duties once Glen Murray went down... Didn't make the All-Star Team despite being in the top 10 in scoring... One drawback was his undisciplined play and yapping, as he logged 96 penalty minutes, time that would have been better served on the ice instead of in the box... Tailed off at the end of the season.

2007-08: If he stays healthy and has consistent linemates, should challenge the 100-point mark once again... Should shoot more often, as opponents play him to pass... Must play more disciplined.

Patrice Bergeron

2006-07: Scored 70 quiet points, battling injuries that prevented him from showing the physical presence he developed in his first two seasons... Was stationed at the top of the left circle on the power play, taking cross-ice passes from Savard for one-timers... Didn't play up to his contract (annual cap hit of $4.75 million)... Finished the year with an ugly minus-28 rating... Was alternate captain, which could lead to him wearing the "C" sometime in the future.

2007-08: Biggest issue will be health. If he can stay injury-free and ramp up his confidence, should rebound from a disappointing 2006-07 season... Too young, fit, and savvy to hit a plateau in his development.

Glen Murray

2006-07: Had a premier setup man in Savard and scored 28 goals, a team high... Suffered a groin tear that knocked him out early, putting the offensively challenged Bruins in an even bigger hole... Was one of two down-low men on the top PP unit, but might have been more effective in Bergeron's shooting role given his knack of finding goalies' holes.

2007-08: Could be trade bait because of his salary, but teams might be unwilling to take on his contract given his groin issues... If he can rebound from injury, should be a goal-scoring threat as always... Given his age, unlikely that he'll develop a strong defensive presence.

Marco Sturm

2006-07: Was the second-leading goal-scorer with 27 strikes, playing mostly with Bergeron... Instead of being swapped out at the deadline, signed a four-year deal worth $3.5 million annually... Per his history, ran into hot and cold streaks on offense.

2007-08: With his wheels, should be in the 25-30 goal range... Has to be consistent and not run into multi-game droughts.

Phil Kessel

2006-07: One of few bright spots, given the way he rebounded after his cancer surgery and developed into offensive threat... Served as closer in the shootout as the No. 3 sniper, showing a variety of moves to beat opposing goalies... Trademark maneuver was carrying the puck with speed from the defensive zone to the offensive zone, often looking to shoot... Played both wing and center, and was most effective at the pivot in the latter third of the year.

2007-08: Should be the No. 3 center behind Savard and Bergeron... Needs to gain strength and be more stable on his skates, as opponents often knocked him to the ice... Should challenge the 20-goal barrier based on his development curve.

P.J. Axelsson

2006-07: Skated on a scoring line, most often with Savard and Murray, instead of his usual spot on a checking trio. Dave Lewis liked the defensive presence Axelsson brought to the line... Wanted to score more than 27 points given his linemates' abilities... Was slowed by a fractured foot and fractured wrist, limiting him to 55 games.

2007-08: Undetermined if he will continue to be featured in a scoring role... Needs to be healthy... Could be a candidate for a trade given his affordable contract and all-around game.

Brandon Bochenski

2006-07: Was obtained for minor-leaguer Kris Versteeg and played 41 NHL games... Scored a career-high 13 goals, looking like a poor-man's Murray... Didn't display the best wheels, but seemed to be in position for shots and tip-ins... Wasn't afraid to shoot in any situation... Didn't show much of a defensive game... Is a restricted free agent.

2007-08: Should be used in a top-six role, maybe as right wing alongside Bergeron and Sturm... Also needs to get power-play time, preferably with the No. 1 unit... Will most likely play his first full season as an NHLer... Is being counted on to lift the flickering offense.

Chuck Kobasew

2006-07: Acquired with Andrew Ference from Calgary for Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau... Scored only two points in 10 games with the Bruins... Was blasted by Evgeni Malkin and sustained a concussion that sidelined him at the end of the year. Was his second concussion of the season. Also had a fractured elbow... Was inexplicably placed on the top line and on the No. 1 PP upon return from his elbow injury... Showed some speed and toughness, but not much production.

2007-08: Said the most recent concussion wasn't as serious as the first one, but any head injuries are cause for concern in future years... Projects to be a third-line winger with speed and some hands, but didn't open many eyes in Boston, so expectations aren't high going forward.

Shean Donovan

2006-07: Was signed in offseason to a two-year deal, promising to bring energy and grit. Brought neither... Was on the third line for most of the season, showing good speed but little else... Lack of presence might be because of passive forecheck that doesn't allow forwards to be released fully.

2007-08: Will be playing for his next contract, so that, if anything, should be motivation to have a better year... Dropped his gloves several times in 2006-07, but needs to be a constant physical presence beyond his willingness to fight... An expensive commodity if he doesn't step up his game.

Mark Mowers

2006-07: Played 78 games, a career high, an indication of his value and versatility in Lewis's eye. Truth is, on a deeper team, he's a fourth-line forward bringing energy in spare shifts... Was a safe player who didn't make many mistakes and was dependable in his own zone... Slowed by a shoulder injury late in the season... Brought good value for his contract.

2007-08: Should be a fourth-liner who can play in defensive role and penalty-killing situations... His above-average speed might lead to him potting a few more goals.

Petr Tenkrat

2006-07: Started the season on waivers, then in Providence. Upon his return to Boston, was used in different roles, from first-line winger to fourth-line spare part... Was used in the second half of the year as a penalty-killer, which seemed to jack up his confidence... Was one of the faster skaters on the team.

2007-08: Is an unrestricted free agent and most likely won't be back with Boston... Said he'd like to remain in NHL, but Europe might be his ultimate destination... Could be a good pickup for a team seeking a penalty-killer for cheap bucks.

Stanislav Chistov

2006-07: Obtained from Anaheim for third-round pick in 2008... Showed flashes of skill but little grit and took too many undisciplined penalties... Was held back by a bum right knee... Had a poor year by his own admission.

2007-08: Under contract for one more season... Remains to be seen whether offseason knee surgery will make him a more dangerous attacker... Still young but may be a career fourth-liner.

Petr Kalus

2006-07: Scored on first three NHL shots... Had much to learn, especially defensively, but played a solid game and showed little fear in going into danger zones.

2007-08: Will be in mix during camp for a big-league job... May need another season in Providence to fine-tune mental approach and technical knowledge of pro game.

Jeff Hoggan

2006-07: Had a strong camp and preseason... Tapered off and found his level of fourth-line energy forward... Had plenty of scoring chances but could never finish, failing to score a single goal... Good character guy who filled his role with no complaints.

2007-08: Is an unrestricted free agent and probably won't be brought back... Fourth-line forward who might be in the AHL as a top-six guy.

Jeremy Reich

2006-07: One of the biggest surprises of the season, getting the call and playing his role well... No hesitation in dropping the gloves, although he's not an NHL heavyweight... Didn't make defensive mistakes and did little things well, such as blocking shots.

2007-08: Is an unrestricted free agent, but might have won a big-league job with his 2006-07 performance... Should be under consideration to return to Boston given his grittiness and conservative play.

Ben Walter

2006-07: Only got a four-game sniff, but made his mark in the AHL, winning MVP honors for Providence... Didn't get much of an opportunity in Boston, but rounded into a solid two-way AHLer.

2007-08: Because of depth at center, might not crack the Boston lineup, but will be given a good look during camp... Projects to be a third- or fourth-line NHLer with playmaking abilities.

David Krejci

2006-07: Was checked into 2010 by Adam Mair in NHL debut... Only played in four games, getting benched in his final match after being on the ice for two opposing goals... Top-line center in AHL.

2007-08: Depth issue at center might be biggest roadblock for his NHL future... Has skill to be an NHLer, but perhaps best served to play another year in AHL.

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