The Boston Red Sox recently had one of the most exciting trade deadlines in sports history and meanwhile, their friends at the TD Garden have been busy twiddling their thumbs for the past month. The Boston Bruins are in an interesting situation and one that may not be the most eye-opening for fans.
The biggest news of the summer for the black and gold has been the fact that they lost out on Jarome Iginla. Not exactly the offseason news one would like to hear after losing to the hated Habs in the second round of the playoffs. As of today, not one player from an outside organization has been signed by the Bruins. They have resigned several young players, most notably Matt Bartkowski, Niklas Svedberg, Justin Florek, and to many fans dismay, Jordan Caron. Torey Krug and Reilly Smith, the team’s most notable restricted free agents, remain unsigned.
Some good news has came from first round draft pick, David Pastrnak. Pastrnak was very impressive at the Bruins development camp in July and according to GM Peter Chiarelli, had one of the most notable performances in recent years. The Czech winger is a right handed shot, which is something the Bruins are now lacking. Of the ten NHL level forwards that will be on the team this year, only David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron are right handed shots. Pastrnak is a skilled player and wouldn’t make much sense on the merlot line as a replacement for Shawn Thornton, but it’s possible he finds a spot on the roster at some point during the season. It would be a lot to ask the 18-year-old to play along side his fellow Czech and idol, Krejci, but perhaps he may find himself on the top line right wing. Krejci has had a right handed right winger for his whole career in Boston for the most part and the current plan is to have Loui Eriksson step up and fill Iginla’s spot. If Eriksson isn’t up to the task, there aren’t many names that immediately come to mind as a back-up plan.
Are the Bruins done making moves this offseason? The lack of chatter may suggest it, but the abundance of defensemen would suggest something is in the works. If Torey Krug returns, the Bruins will have eight NHL-level defensemen who will all expect playing time. Not to mention, players like David Warsofsky and Joe Morrow will be expecting chances like Kevan Miller got last year if there is an injury. There had been speculation earlier in the offseason regarding Johnny Boychuk as a possible candidate to be shipped out of town. Boychuk carries one of the higher salaries among the blue-liners and is a proven commodity that could fetch some value on the trade market. If he’s not traded in the next couple of months, he could be a rental at the trade deadline, as he will be an unrestricted free agent next year.
No matter what happens, the young players will need to step it up. Iginla’s 30 goals will need to be replaced somehow and the grit lost with Thornton’s departure can’t be forgotten either. While the Bruins may not be atop headlines right now, be sure to keep an eye on any developments over the next several weeks. The first preseason game is on September 23rd in Montreal. Talk about a preseason opener.