Over the next three days the Boston Bruins will play a home and home against division newcomer Detroit. The Red Wings have a ton of veteran talent, and along with the Bruins and Penguins should immediately become one of the East's best teams. Both teams will be looking at alot of players for both their NHL and AHL rosters, so it will be interesting to see when the teams best players take the ice.
The Bruins overall roster construction is in a good spot for both the short and long term, but there are still important battles to be had for the last few roster spots. At this point the team's starting goaltender, top two lines, and first four defenseman are all squared away. That leaves the final defensive pairing, the two wings on the third line, and the backup goaltender spot up for grabs.
1) Three young defenseman battle for two spots.
With the departure of Andrew Ferrence, there are two active roster spots on the blueline. The three challengers all have impressive pedigrees for young players. Torey Krug is the 5'8 wild card who plays big and adds a dynamic element to the B's powerplay.
Matt Bartkowski represents what is like the most well rounded candidate, as he posses a solid two-way game, and is physically the strongest of the three. The group is rounded out by 19 year-old 2011 first rounder Dougie Hamilton who posses the most potential of the trio. No matter how it turns out, all three are going to be seeing action this season, because you can never have enough defensemen.
2) Who will join Chris Kelly on the third line?
Chris Kelly was never in jeopardy of losing his spot, and Swedish forward Carl Sodderberg, despite his work at center, has likely emerged as one of the wings. Kelly and Sodderberg are both physical players, who are great in the corners, and in Kelly's case, have shown the ability to finish around the net.
The wild card of camp so far has been young Reily Smith. Smith came over in the Tyler Seguin trade, and since the puck dropped last week, has really impressed the Bruins coaching Staff and front office. Many thought the battle would be Jordan Caron's to lose (not that he'd hold it for that long), but it appears as though Smith is somewhat of a favorite going forward.
3) The backup goaltending position is Niklas Svedberg's to lose.
Chad Johnson was not impressive in his Bruins debut, allowing 3 goals on just eight shots in 30 minutes of work. Unless he is able to really turn things around in the next week, the former Coyote will find himself down in Providence.
Svedberg has been skating with starter Tuukka Rask for the entirety of camp, and turned in a solid half-game against the Capitals on Monday. The German netminder was outstanding in Providence last year, and seems to be continuing his upward trend with the Bruins.
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