If you haven't heard by now, the Boston Bruins made a few changes up front this offseason. Gone are Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton, Jaromir Jagr, and Rich Peverley. In are new faces such as Louis Eriksson, Riley Smith, and Jarome Iginla amongst potential others.
Like it or not (and by now you should), general manager Peter Chiarelli wasn't afraid to shake things up to try and get this organization back into the Stanley Cup Finals. As magical as last season's run was, this was an offense that struggled to put the puck in the net during last years regular season.
The hope here is that the new additions, particularly Iginla and Eriksson will breathe some new life into a solid group of forwards. Yes, Claude Juliens' system requires a commitment in the defensive end, but if Jaromir Jagr can figure it out, then the new faces should have no problem.
If these players can buy into the system, maintain a desire to win, and avoid serious injury, it isn't outrageous to suggest that this offense could be much improved. For the first part of the season fans should be patient, and allow the various units to find some chemistry, but if the preseason was any indication, the B's are going to be just fine.
Krejci should be good for another 70-plus point season, so the focus here is on Iginla and Lucic. In terms of Iginla, he looked great in the preseason. With Lucic banging bodies and driving to the net, and a creative playmaker like Krejci, Iginla should have no trouble finding chances. Is it fair to expect 40 goals? Absolutely not, but for the regular season, the future hall-of-famer will be an upgrade over Nathan Horton.
As for Lucic, it is tough to say what we're going to get. The human wrecking ball was abysmal in the regular season last year, even earning a spot in the press box down the stretch. Come playoff time, Looch (much like the Bruins), flipped the switch and turned into the force that fans and management have been dreaming of. This year, he'll probably be somewhere in between.
This is one of the best second lines in all of hockey, and as scary as it may seem, replacing Tyler Seguin with Louis Eriksson could make it even better. Eriksson doesn't have that dynamic end-to-end speed as Seguin, but how often did Seguin really utilize it? Eriksson is a consistent sniper (he's a lock for 25 goals), and after wasting away in Dallas, the Swede looks hungry to taste some action in the playoffs.
In terms of the other two veterans, what is there really to say. Marchand needs to keep his antics under control, and Bergeron needs to avoid more injuries (not to mention recover to full strength), but those things are more than doable for players that understand what it takes to be a part of a successful team.
3) Third Line: Riley Smith-Chris Kelly-Carl Sodderberg-Jordan Caron
We're listing four forwards here because Sodderberg will miss the opener, but there is going to be a lot of mixing and matching here. Once upon a time the Bruins tough and productive third line was what drove the team to a championship, but in recent years, the unit has become somewhat of a question mark.
Kelly should be in for a rebound year, but the rest of the pieces are less known. Smith turned out to be the big surprise of camp showing as he struck up a quick on-ice rapport with the veteran Kelly. Smith was acquired as part of the Seguin Eriksson deal, and has once again shown why the Bruins have one of the best front offices' in the NHL. The Miami of Ohio product is young, but has the potential to become part of the third line resurgence.
Before the injury Sodderberg, was having a nice camp and cemented his spot on the third line. Sodderberg has the size and skill the Bruins covet, and will get his fair share of opportunities to earn the multi-year deal he got this offseason.
All of that leaves Caron as the odd man out. He has never come close to prove he was worthy of being a first round draft selection, and has constantly spent his time fighting his way out of Claude Julien's dog house. If Caron doesn't take advantage of every opportunity that he gets, he will get sent down or traded.
4) Fourth Line: Shawn Thornton-Gregory Campbell-Daniel Paille
After their performance in the first two and a half rounds of last years playoffs, there is little doubt that this is the best fourth line in all of the NHL. With toughness (Thonrton), heart (Campbell), and skill (Paille) this group has it all.
The only real concern is Campbell's recovery from the broken leg he suffered blocking a shot in last years' Eastern Conference Finals. After a remarkable recovery this offseason from an injury the should have put him out until November, Campbell will be good to go for the opener.
You need to satisfy your competitive drive, so why not beat our experts in fantasy football. At FightClub, our official Fantasy Football partner, you can change you team weekly and win cash. Get a free $5 credit when you sign up and try them out. And each week, Sports Media 101 will sweeten the pot and award the player with top points an extra $25. Match-up and show them how good you are. Can you handle FightClub?
Your man cave is your home field advantage for every game. When the game is on the line, you should be able to look around and be reminded of the great moments you've watched unfold in that very room! MJR Sports Integrity offers a wide range or team and player-specific memorabilia that can do just that and take your game day room to the next level. Find your inspiration at MJR Sports Integrity and will your team to victory!
- 2013-2014 Boston Bruins Position Preview: Goalies
- The 2013-2014 NHL Atlantic Division Preview
- The Top Five Games to Look for on the Boston Bruins 2013-2014 Schedule
- Boston Bruins Postseason Report Card Position-By-Position
- The Top Five 2013-2014 Off-Season Acquistions in the Eastern Conference
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/11w5