Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli struck gold when he traded for Mark Recchi. At the time, Patrice Bergeron had a hit a plateau of sorts in regards to performance and leadership, and he needed a boost from someone who has been through it all, and could still play.
When the trade was made in 2009, Chiarelli said of Recchi, “The experience factor was big. Just the experience that he’s played in the league a long time. He’s a durable player and you need that in this stretch, in the playoffs. Then you factor in the Stanley Cup experience, and that’s invaluable.”
Recchi became much of a mentor to Bergeron since then, and Bergeron has excelled more than expected, and considering the funk Bergeron was in at the time the relationship between the two likely brought a sigh of relief to Chiarelli. A few draft picks later, and a return to Boston of the Stanley Cup, the GM finds himself in a similar situation. Bergeron has developed into the star forward that the team needed, but now Recchi has retired. Although Bergeron will be fine, taking to the ice the newly discovered “Recc-ing ball train of thought” with a winner’s attitude, he is not yet a mentor. A mentor that NHL sophomore Tyler Seguin will need for 1 or 2 years.
Recchi’s retirement leaves a hole in the experience factor of the forwards for the Bruins, although small – it still needs to be filled. Savard won’t return, but even if he does he will have his own demons to stave off. Bergeron is still too much of a youth to make the jump into an all out experienced leader. There are great candidates from the blue line, such as Chara, Seidenberg, and even Ference, but the locker room presence of the D men aren’t going to help the ice tilt the other way when the young forwards look to the bench. So what… to… do…
Free agency! Wait, who’s left? Dammit…
The cat is out of the bag, as Chiarelli let it slip that they’ve offered a camp tryout to a veteran winger, but the GM told the Boston Globe, “Maybe the guy will get a contract elsewhere, or maybe he’ll retire. So, in fairness to him, I’d rather not say who we’ve got in mind.”
Taking the hint of the player ”mulling retirement” I offer up the good, bad, and ugly of the four UFA’s left that fit the bill, whether or not they fit the Bruins scheme.
Teemu Selanne | Age: 41 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 196 | Shoots: R | NHL Seasons: 18
Selanne has had one of the best combinations of quickness and hands in the NHL.over his career. He has lost a step in his later years, but not a whole lot.. While he can still pick the corners with shots and make defensemen look silly in fast rush situations, Selanne has always struggled in defensive systems. He also does not do well unless there is a definitive playmaker on his line. Despite those flaws, he is probably the best filler for Recchi’s skates. With all that being said, it is likely that if Selanne doesn’t retire, he will rejoin the Anaheim Ducks.
Chris Drury | Age: 34 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 190 | Shoots: R | NHL Seasons: 12
Drury is a born leader both on and off the ice. He can play all three forward positions and he would probably be willing to play a little defense too. With his quick shot and great defensive instincts, he can easily be a mentor in the Bruins scheme for the likes of Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, and even Jordan Caron. However, Drury may have a degenerative condition in his left knee, which is why the New York Rangers were quick to buy him out when they could, and is also why he may not be able to play next season.
Cory Stillman |Age: 37 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 200 | Shoots: L | NHL Seasons: 16
Stillman relies solely on savvy to produce his points. Over his career he has shown above average offensive instincts and great hand/eye coordination. He can dangle you slightly less than before, but uses his heavy shot to set up deep plays. Stillman is not quite the defensive player the Bruins would like to be mentoring others on the ice, and he is breaking down physically over time as do most hockey players. Another thing that anyone looking to sign Stillman will be wondering, why has someone with his skill level never reached the 30 goal marker in a season?
Mike Grier | Age: 36 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 227 | Shoots: R | NHL Seasons: 14
Grier possesses excellent defensive instincts and is extremely strong in the corners. With his above average hockey sense and willingness to play through pain, he brings to the ice leadership qualities that the Bruins youth movement will require. Most of his career he has been mediocre on offense and doesnt do well in one-on-one matchups against defenders. Grier doesnt have a goal scorers mentality or the hands to match his willpower, but he may fit into the grand scheme of the Bruins.
While we dont know who it is that Chiarelli invited to camp in September, we can say for sure that Recchi’s winning attitude both on and off the ice will be missed. The Bruins need to fill those skates, and waiting until next season for that veteran presence with the youth of tomorrow might be just one season too late. Chiarelli’s job of the planning the future is second only to planning the present, and Recchi’s absence is a huge piece of the pie the Bruins dont have right now for either scenario.
Do you think the Bruins will sign one of these 4 UFA’s? Do you think it will be someone else? Best answer gets a retweet.
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Tags: Andrew Ference Boston Bruins Chris Drury Cory Stillman Dennis Seidenberg Free Agency Marc Savard Mark Recchi Mike Grier Patrice Bergeron Peter Chiarelli Retirement Teemu Selanne Tyler Seguin Zdeno Chara