Boston Bruins Playing Better, But Not A True Threat


Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

No one is happier than I that the Bruins are playing better, winning games (ending at 5 games in a row) but they are far from “perfect” and need some additions/subtractions before becoming a serious contender for a Cup.

There are 5 key areas that a team must be strong at going into the post-season.

  1. Creating Turnovers; While keeping your Turnovers to a minimum.
  1. Winning the Faceoff battle; Especially key/late game Face-off’s.
  1. Physical play; Being as physical (or more so) than your opponent, while winning the battle for the puck.
  1. Forwards willing to contribute on Defense consistently.
  1. Defenseman moving the puck up and out of the zone; Transitioning the puck from Defense to Offense.

Because of the emergence of 18 year old David Pastrnak the B’s are no longer in dire need of a top line Right Wing, which GM Peter Chiarelli would have been hard pressed to acquire anyway. But there are still clear “holes” and “insufficient” players on this team that must be addressed by the trade deadline (March 2nd). Taking the 5 keys above as an example, cross checking current player stats, here is a list of players that should go and some players that would make for better replacements (Assuming these players become available).

1a. Turnovers: Brad Marchand leads the team in Giveaways, followed by Milan Lucic. Something has to change with these players or one of them will have to go.

1b. Replacements: Players like Ottawa’s Senators; Alex Chiasson or Milan Michalek (as an example and among others) don’t turn the puck over nearly as much, while still providing offense.

2a. Face-Offs: Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly     (Gregory Campbell in the past) are below 50% at the circle with 48.2% and 49.9% respectfully. Adding an additional Center that can win a big draw is key, while potentially moving one of the above players to Wing or in trade.

2b. Replacements: Arizona’s; Martin Hanzal or Antoine Vermette.

3a. Physical play: The B’s seem to have a team full of  players that don’t like to initiate contact, you cant change the whole team but you can always add some “Muscle”.

3b. Replacements: A player such as Cody McLeod (Col.) or  Matt Hendricks (Edm.) among others, would do the trick.

4a. Defense from Forwards: Probably one of the hardest  areas to find consistency on any team let alone the Bruins but they must all “buy in” or find someone who can/will.

4b. Replacements: Like finding a needle in a hay stack but players like Carolina’s; Riley Nash or Jordan Staal may not be bad players to start with.

5a. Defensemen’s ability to Transition: In Claude’s system   the Defenseman are expected to control the puck, the flow of the game in their own end, while quickly transitioning the puck up to the Forwards. Mobility, vision and/or forethought are key elements.

Statistically their worst Defensemen have been: Dennis Seidenberg from the left side and Kevan Miller from the right side. Miller is a good “depth” player to keep. For $4m per year I expect more from “Seid’s”, to the point where I would seriously consider moving him and replacing him with Joe Morrow or make a trade.

5b. Replacements: If the B’s think they have at least a chance at a Cup they need to finally get that one bigger named Defenseman to throw them over the top. Carolina’s Andrej Sekera from the left side may fit the bill, though not a perfect solution. Ottawa’s Marc Methot could be another option. New Jersey’s Marek Zidlicky may work from the right side but once again, not the perfect fit.

Now I am Not suggesting the Bruins make a ton of changes, in fact I would be more than happy if they could trade for a good Faceoff man, perhaps a tough guy/physical player and at least one better quality defenseman while losing the players that are hurting this team. Without some changes this team is doomed to repeat its past Playoff eliminations, falling short of their goal of winning another Cup. Can Peter recognize this teams weaknesses and bring in better talent? Stay tuned because I for one have my doubts. Go B’s!