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With lockout over, 10 burning questions for Bruins

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  January 6, 2013 09:45 AM

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With the NHL lockout over, the Bruins, like every other team, will scramble to launch an abbreviated training camp. They will recall their players from their current locations – Austria in Johnny Boychuk’s case, Charlestown for Shawn Thornton – and start camp in several days, most likely in Wilmington.

The NHL has yet to determine the length of the 2012-13 season. If it is a 48-game sprint, the season would most likely start on Jan. 19. The Bruins were originally scheduled to play the Canadiens at the Bell Centre. There’s no reason why that matchup should change.

Here are some of the pressing questions the Bruins will look to answer heading into camp:

1. Will the Bruins be cap-compliant for 2012-13? Yes. Marc Savard will most likely be placed on long-term injured reserve, allowing them to exceed the $70.2 million (prorated) cap by his annual average salary.

2. How long will it take the players who remained in North America to find their game legs? Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Brad Marchand, Shawn Thornton, and Adam McQuaid were the Bruins expected to make this season’s roster who elected not to play overseas. There is nothing to replicate game play, and these players haven’t had it.”

3. Will Tim Thomas return or sit out the entire season? It’s highly unlikely the Bruins would welcome Thomas back. His announcement in May caught the organization off guard.

4. Can the Bruins find a taker for Thomas’s contract? Probably not. The cap floor, according to TSN, will be $44 million. All teams are currently above that threshold.

5. How will Tuukka Rask perform as the No. 1 starter? Rask has the pedigree and skill set to become a go-to goalie.

6. Can Tyler Seguin continue his development? Seguin is on the verge of becoming a superstar in only his third pro season.

7. How will Dougie Hamilton transition to NHL pace? It’s a big jump from juniors to the varsity. The Bruins will be cautious with the teenager, a defenseman who was the Bruins’ first-round draft pick in 2011.

8. Can Nathan Horton recover from his concussion troubles? The rest may have been beneficial for Horton. The right wing is in a contract year.

9. Will the lack of significant roster turnover help the Bruins? A quick start will be critical. In theory, the Bruins won’t have to spend much of camp becoming familiar with each other or studying systems.

10. Who will be the No. 3 left wing? Chris Bourque and Jordan Caron could be in the running to skate with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. Caron, however, didn’t make the most of his Providence time.

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