Bruins Third Protection Pairing Competitors

The Boston Bruins may have a completely new-look lineup within the 2023-24 season. It’s not that hyperbolic to say this is likely one of the most transformative and impactful offseasons the workforce has had of their 100-year historical past given the foremost turnover, together with the departures of captain Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Taylor Corridor, Nick Foligno, Connor Clifton, Tyler Bertuzzi, Garnet Hathaway and Dmitry Orlov.

Jim Montgomery may have some choices to make for the Boston Bruins’ third defensive pairing this season. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Bruins have finished an admirable job at placing collectively a roster stuffed with NHL-capable gamers who will make sure the workforce nonetheless competes subsequent season earlier than making an attempt a extra impactful retool when the wage cap is extra of a pal than a foe in 2024. Nonetheless, with the present personnel in place, figuring out the precise participant assignments on the Bruins’ roster stays a difficult process. Whereas there was widespread dialogue concerning the ahead group, the eye given to the defensive pairings has been comparatively restricted.

Substack The Hockey Writers Boston Bruins Banner

On one hand, the highest 4 will nonetheless function Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Carlo, and Matt Grzelcyk, a formidable group that ranks among the many NHL’s finest prime two pairings. It is smart, then, that there wouldn’t be almost as a lot dialogue in regards to the Bruins’ blue line. Nonetheless, there must be a definite concentrate on the Bruins’ third defensive pairing.

Bruins’ Third Defensive Pairing an Open Competitors

The departure of Connor Clifton to the Buffalo Sabres this offseason has left a major void on the Boston Bruins’ blue line. Clifton, who signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Sabres, was a key contributor to the Bruins’ defensive corps all through the 2022-23 season and put up a career-high 5 targets, 18 assists, 23 factors and 78 video games throughout the Bruins’ historic common season.

The Bruins responded by signing Kevin Shattenkirk to a one-year deal value $1.05 million this offseason, making him a possible substitute for Clifton. The veteran defender would rating 4 targets and 27 factors in 75 video games final season.

It must also be famous that Clifton began 53.2% of his shifts within the defensive zone, whereas Shattenkirk began 54.3% of his shifts within the defensive zone. Each gamers put up comparable sufficient stats to one another that this swap truly doesn’t really feel just like the worst proposition on the planet. That mentioned, that is additionally extremely depending on Shattenkirk, a 34-year-old defender, to not regress this coming season.

Associated: Boston Bruins 2023-24 Opening Evening Lineup Predictions

Newest Information & Spotlight

Nonetheless, Shattenkirk had a really stable season with the Anaheim Geese regardless of that seeming almost inconceivable for any participant final season. The Geese had been the NHL’s worst workforce and completed the season with simply 23 wins and 58 factors. For reference, the Bruins received their twenty third sport final season on Dec. thirteenth, 2022. It will not be truthful to straight examine the Bruins’ 2022-23 season in opposition to any workforce’s efficiency, however the Geese had been actually terrible final season and Shattenkirk’s play regardless of this reality is definitely intriguing.

This doesn’t imply that Shattenkirk is definitely locked right into a roster spot, nevertheless, because the Bruins do produce other choices who may make a push subsequent season. Gamers like Jakub Zboril, Ian Mitchell, Reilly Walsh and Mason Lohrei should all be thought of choices heading into coaching camp.

Realistically, Lohrei would profit from getting extra time within the AHL subsequent season earlier than ultimately making the soar, however his title remains to be within the dialog for the opening-night roster.

Zboril, when wholesome, might be an on a regular basis participant for the Bruins. His versatility to play either side is invaluable however consistency has at all times been a little bit of a query mark for the 26-year-old blueliner. Walsh, who spent your entire 2023-23 season with the Utica Comets of the AHL, confirmed off his offensive prowess by registering 9 targets and 41 factors in 71 video games. He’s confirmed to be a tremendously gifted scorer on the AHL stage and if he can translate his sport to the subsequent stage, he might be an attention-grabbing story this preseason.

One other participant within the combine for the Bruins’ third pairing is Mitchell, who was a part of the Corridor commerce to the Chicago Blackhawks. Mitchell, a second-round choose from 2017, truly has 82 video games of NHL expertise beneath his belt. He’d rating one purpose and eight factors final season in Chicago whereas additionally recording two targets and 6 factors in 5 AHL video games with the Rockford IceHogs. The best-shot defender has proven a knack for scoring within the AHL prior to now and can doubtless discover himself in some sport motion in Boston this season indirectly, form or kind.

One title who may add a bit extra familiarity to unit is Derek Forbort who has regularly offered stable penalty killing for the Bruins in recent times. He’ll issue into the lineup for certain.

The Bruins have a bevy of choices vying for spots on their third pairing and it’s unlikely that they’ll lock on this unit on the opening evening of the season. A variety of tinkering goes to happen and that’s going to be a part of the obstacles that head coach Jim Montgomery should overcome this season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *