Causeway Crowd’s Quarterly Grades for Defensemen
Today Causeway Crowd takes a look at the Boston Bruins defense corps. There was only one change to the defense from the Stanley Cup winning team from last spring. Essentially, Thomas Kaberle was swapped out for Joe Corvo over the summer as the former signed a ridiculous 3-year $12.75 million dollar deal! There are already rumblings that Jim Rutherford, GM of the Hurricanes is looking to dump Kaberle and his $4.25 million annual salary! I’m sure Kristina over at Cardiac cane is all over that story. Just sad… Anyway on to the grades.
The goaltending isn’t the only reason the Bruins are ranked 3rd in the league in Goals Against Average. The B’s sport one of the best Defensive corps in the league. They may not be offensively gifted, but they’re good in their own end and they play with an edge.
Boychuk has been playing alongside Chara for most of the first quarter of the year and it has certainly helped him. Through 21 games he’s got 2 goals and 3 assists, and is a +6. At this pace he’ll best last seasons 3-13-16 totals in 69 games. What’s different this year, and it may be the benefit of playing with Big Z, is that he is able to take more chances offensively while still delivering punishing hits. That’s exactly what the coaching staff is looking for from Boychuk. At times, he still finds himself out of position or getting caught up ice on an ill-advised pinch in the offensive zone, but hopefully that will be an area Boychuk will improve on as we get deeper into the year.
At the quarter mark, Chara is off to one of the best starts of his career. Posting 4g-12a-16pts totals through 22 games, he is producing offensively. Defensively, Chara is Chara. He’s a beast in his own end, hitting anything that moves, never shying away from contact. He’s still prone to defensive zone turnovers, but averaging 25 minutes a game it’s understandable. The other big thing that Chara brings is leadership. Although, he isn’t leading any diferently, that new ring makes people take notice a little more.
Boston’s only addition on the blue line, Corvo is everything the Bruins thought they were getting when they acquired Tomas Kaberle. His grade is almost based on what Kaberle couldn’t do. He’s not skittish in his own end, he moves the puck quickly and effectively and he’s not afraid to shoot! He does only have 9 assists on the year and is still searching for his first goal. We predict he’ll get that very soon. We also have to remember that, although Corvo has a reputation as an offensive defenseman, he’s never scored more than 40 points in a season. He’s on pace to reach that number this year.
Andrew Ference has been very steady and reliable this year. In fact, that was the case last year as well. Last year, Ference played in 70 games, only the third time in his career he’s played 70 or more games and his first since 03-04. He’s been contributing offensively with 2g-5a-7pts in 20 games. But, Ferences biggest asset to his team is his stay at home play, toughness, and leadership. He’s playing at about the level anyone can expect from Ference.
The mulleted one, ( I mean, come on, we’ll always remember him with the mullet) has missed 5 games so far and has yet to really get on track. At times, he shows signs of growth, like when he dumps the puck in, retrieves it, and circles around the offensive zone. Other times, it’s signs of rust, like bad turnovers in the defensive or neutral zone. McQuaid can be better and he will be. He needs to stay healthy and play with the edge we saw last year. No one looks scarier on the Bruins when they’re mad than McQuaid and his crazy eyes.
What can you say about Dennis Seidenberg? If you were Jack Edwards you’d say “no one has better feet in the NHL, than Dennis Seidenberg”. Not that Jack’s wrong. What’s great about Seidenberg is he plays like a machine and talks like Arnold Schwartzenegger. He’s the Terminator! Seriously though, Seidenberg is a great 2nd pairing d-man. He’s responsible defensively, doesn’t get knocked off the puck easily and always makes smart decisions with the puck in all three zones. Would like to see him chip in more offensively, but that will come.
Check back tomorrow for our grades of the forwards.
For our Goalie Grades click here.