A key part of the Bruins success these last few season has to be put on the shoulders of Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron has been our go-to player for most of his career. He has been one of the clutch players in the post season.(The team will be depending on him more, thanks to the departure of Nathan Horton due to free agency.) It’s no secret that I have lobbied for Bergeron to receive the “C” this year. Why? He is one of those players that makes the people he lines with play better. Heck, some of Bergeron’s goals are so good and filthy the Bruins now issue hand sanitizer with all of the rally towels.
Bergeron got saddled with two rookies back in 2011. Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand. He took these clay lumps of potential and helped mold them into outstanding NHL players. (when a certain ex-Bruin wasn’t getting fall down disheveled with his buddies from juniors.) Seguin led the team in scoring in 2012. Marchand let the team last season. Both players contributed part of their success to Bergeron.
This year, it looks like Bergeron won’t have to break in a new Bruin. Even though Claude Julien mixes up his lines more than a Rubik’s Cube, it’s pretty much a lock that Bergeron and Marchand will be playing together on the second line next season. But who will be the third spoke in this very dangerous wheel? My top three choices are:
Outside Chance: Daniel Paille. Paille was a former first round draft pick that has done a lot for the Bruins. For the last few years, he’s been part of the most dangerous fourth line in the NHL. As a ‘Merlot Man’, Paille has done his job for the Bruins. Last season though, we got to see Paille pushed up to the third and even the second line. Paille came alive in the playoffs, delivering one short-handed goal and three game winners for the Black and Gold. Fellow Merlot Man Shawn Thornton had joked with the media that “we had been keeping him back.” in regards to Paille. I would love to see Paille get his shot at being a top six forward on a more permanent basis, the two players below have far better chances getting that winger slot on the second line.
Serious Possibility: Jarome Iginla. Iginla is an outstanding player, and when he’s paired with successful linesmen, he gets even better. He’s from the old school of puck management, which would make him a more dangerous version of Jaromir Jagr. He’s also played with Bergeron in the past, being part of the 2010 Olympic team that won gold for Canada in Vancouver. Iginla still got plenty in the tank, and he should be a great winger for several years.
On a side note, we need to thank Andrew Ference for talking to Iginla on our behalf and getting him here.
Front Runner: Loui Eriksson. Eriksson and Bergeron were both selected in the second round in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. (Bergeron 45th overall for Boston, Eriksson 33rd for Dallas) Both have played their entire careers for one franchise (up until now), and both have extensive international play experience. (Expect Bergeron and Eriksson to be butting heads in the Olympics next February.) Loui put up twenty nine points for Dallas(twelve goals), and was consistant for a struggling Dallas team. With the chance to get a Stanley Cup ring, Eriksson has the right combination of skills, and familiarity with Bergeron that would make that line dangerous.