The biggest question surrounding the Bruins coming into this season was if their depth would be enough to help out the top lines. So far this season the depth players have been leading the team while the top lines have struggled to stay healthy and produce consistently. The third line of Soderberg Kelly and Eriksson has probably been the Bruins best line so far this season. The players that have stepped up aren't just limited to NHL veterans as some AHL players have stepped up to play big roles so far this year. With so many injuries so far this year the depth players are going to be counted on to continue to play big roles.
The Bruins leading scorer so far this season is third line center Carl Soderberg who has scored 12 points in 15 games doing plenty of damage on the Bruins second power play unit. Soderberg showed plenty of talent last year playing with several different line mates and has continued to show the same skills this year even as injuries have forced the Bruins to change their lines. Soderberg provides the Bruins with a big center and his style usually leads him to the front of the net where his strength and size allow him to win battles in close. With Eriksson staying on the third line Soderberg will have plenty of talent on his line to have another great year and while he probably won't lead the team in points by the end of the year a 50 point season is within reach.
Another third line player who has stepped up is Chris Kelly. Kelly struggled last season with injuries and inconsistent play which resulted in just 18 points in 57 games. So far this year Kelly has looked more like the player who scored 20 goals and 39 points in 2011-12 with 7 points in his first 15 games. Kelly has switched lines with Krejci struggling with a hip injury and it has cause some inconsistent play but once he settles back onto the third line he should continue to score at a decent pace. Kelly is still a very skilled defensive forward but to live up to his salary he needs to continue to contribute offensively. The Bruins have one of the best third lines in the NHL with Soderberg and Eriksson so Kelly should be able to ride their offensive skill to some points of his own.
Some AHL players who have stepped up including Seth Griffith who has been playing on the Bruins top line and has played well for a rookie scoring 5 points in 11 games. Once Krejci returns to center the first line his point totals will increase. It's hard to say exactly how good Griffith could be but he has shown that he is an NHL caliber player and for someone who wasn't considered as a big possibility to make the team any contributions will carry some extra weight. Other AHL players who have stepped up are Joe Morrow, David Warsofsky, and Zach Trotman who have all been called on to play for the Bruins as injuries have struck the defense. With Chara out for a few weeks still and Krug and Miller getting closer but still not ready these three young defensemen have all played quality minutes shown by all of them having plus ratings. Once the defensive regulars are healthy Morrow, Warsofsky, and Trotman will likely go back to the AHL but they have shown that they are ready and able to play in the NHL if they are called back up.
The Bruins struggled to start this season but have turned their play around recently winning their past four games and these depth players have played a big role in the turn around. It could have been a disastrous start to the year but the Bruins have weathered the early storm and will be a stronger team because of it. Once the stars of the team get going and theses depth players continue to contribute this team is going to be very tough to beat. The Bruins need a team where every player contributes if they want to win the Cup the lack of top level offensive talent means it's going to be a scoring by committee team again this year and it looks like that will work just fine. The Bruins have one of the deepest teams in the league and have shown that they still have plenty of young players in the AHL that could be called up and not miss a step so the future is bright in Boston. As always keep checking back here for all of your favorite Boston team news and updates.