Boston Bruins: Brett Ritchie the deserving MVP against Dallas Stars

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The Boston Bruins started their 2019-20 NHL season with a bang, with Brett Ritchie ensuring they started right on time, scoring a minute into the game.

Given that there wasn’t any absolute guarantee he even started for the Boston Bruins, the fact we’re now seeing Brett Ritchie as a stand-out player in the 2-1 opening night win is great.

Ritchie playing wasn’t a guarantee even if David Krejci, who missed the game through injury, was fighting fit. He would’ve still been in a contest with Par Lindholm for the final spot in the starting line-up and that was due to an injury to Joakim Nordstrom.

What did happen though is that Brett Ritchie did get to play on opening night against his former team and he started his Boston Bruins career in the absolute best way possible, notching a goal on his first shift.

Only the fourth line group of Sean Kuraly, David Backes and Chris Wagner saw less ice-time in Dallas, but regardless Ritchie, when he was on the ice (he saw 12:55 ice-time), was looking feisty and ready to make an impression; you’d have to imagine in part due to facing the team that allowed him to leave in this summer’s free agency.

The practice lines we’ve seen were shuffled ever so slightly with Krejci’s injury and this saw Brett Ritchie paired with Charlie Coyle and Jake Debrusk the most at 5-on-5 and between them they put up the strongest Corsi For rating of the 5-on-5 lines, tilting the ice in the Boston Bruins’ favour when they were out together with an impressive 64.29% score.

Corsi isn’t necessarily the best statistic with such a small sample size, but even the eye-test showed up positively. It mustn’t be overlooked that they weren’t relied upon very much defensively by Boston Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy. In fact that trio only faced the 1 defensive zone face-off versus 5 in the offensive zone.

Cassidy clearly trusted his play enough to boost his ice-time with power-play usage, seeing very similar time to Coyle and Danton Heinen, who we know have the coach’s favour already.

Brett Ritchie himself, again with the small sample size, put up the most impressive Corsi For score of any Boston Bruins player with a staggering 70.83%; again though this was a result of his usage more than anything else.

Us naming him as most valuable player on the night is as much to do with his strong advanced statistics as it is to do with the fact that relatively little was expected of him when he arrived this summer.

If he can keep up the same level of performance as the season goes on, he will be an absolute steal and go a long way to cushioning the blow of not being able to re-sign Marcus Johansson, who many people took a shine to.

Moving forward and when everyone is fit and healthy once more, it may prove more challenging to fit Brett Ritchie into the line-up every night, but he does have a say in it. If he …read more

Source:: Daily times

      

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