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Bruins 2013 Grades: The Defense

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With the Stanley Cup Finals (painfully) in the rearview mirror, we’re breaking down the Bruins performances and giving out marks for the season.  As a team, the B’s rode a roller coaster of highs and lows through the year.  Some played better than others.  Some shined brightest during the playoffs.  Some may have worn out their welcomes.  We’re already handed out marks for the forwards.  Next up are the defense, and finally the goaltenders and front office.

Zdeno Chara  B+

The big defender logged his typical minutes and was more than solid through most of the season.  As things wore on though, it became evident that he’s lost a step when it comes to defending the league’s speedier forwards.  Some of the Rangers were able make him look slow and the Hawks exploited the chinks in his armor.  The thousand mile stare halfway through game 6 said it all.  He’ll remain solid with plenty left in the tank, but the Bruins should explore a trade to shed his cap hit while the value is still high.

Dennis Seidenberg.  B
The German-ator  played his solid, physical brand of hockey most of the season.  He stuck it out and contributed in the playoffs despite obviously being hampered by injury. He’s plenty worth what he’s being paid and should continue to be a dependable fixture through the end of his deal.

Johnny Boychuk. B+/A-

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Johnny rocket really let it fly in the post season, ripping off 6 goals.  He also played physical and stepped into a leadership role, showing promise as a true top 3 defenseman. His performance gave them confidence to let Andrew Ference go.

Adam Mcquaid.  B
Mcquaid played his stay at home style, mixing it up with some of the league’s biggest while also backing his teammates. He won’t take home the Norris anytime soon, but you can always count on solid, dependable play. Offseason shoulder surgery and a blood clot didn’t set him up for a strong campaign, but he played as though neither had ever happened.  He’s the gritty, character defenseman that helps make this corps tick.

Andrew Ference.  B
Another solid player in a long list of them on the B’s back end.  That list, plus age and free agency, are why Ference is now an Edmonton Oiler.  His leadership will sorely be missed in the locker room.  Hopefully it’s not a repeat of when they let Shane Hnidy and Aaron Ward go.

Dougie Hamilton. C+
Not a bad campaign for the rookie, but at times, he seemed overmatched against the league’s elite.  It’s also very telling that he couldn’t hold a roster spot come playoff time. That’s an indicator of Claude Julien’s confidence in him defensively. The kid clearly has talent, he just needs the seasoning.  Now that he’s had a taste, expect him to return from the offseason hungry.

Torey Krug. Incomplete

While Krug played fantastically in the playoffs, especially in stepping up during the Rangers series, it was too small a sample size to be anointing him the next Ray Bourque just yet. Lets see how he responds to the offseason and a full training camp.  He did improve by leaps and bounds in Providence while showing a knack for puck moving skills.  Still, don’t be surprised by a bit of a regression next season.

Matt Bartkowski.  B
Bartkowski has been in the system for a while now and certainly came into his own during the playoff run. He proved to be a solid, puck moving defender who can also hold his own on the back end.  Seeing as the Bruins are loaded with guys just like that, he’s likely a trade chip within the year.

Wade Redden.  Incomplete
His time with Boston was brief, but he made the most of it. He helped out in the playoffs and never seemed like a liability out there.  He’ll draw some interest on the market.

Overall, the Bruins defense corps got the job done all season. They’re not all that glamorous, but cohesively, they’re one of the best units I the league. They also proved to have youth on their side.

Tags: Bruins

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