The Bruins blueline was riddled with holes during the 2013-14 season. We lost the services of several veterans in Boston due to injury, and the organization was forced to shop around for short-term solutions. Adam McQuaid was a blow. We missed his physicality, we missed his brawling, and we missed him as a solid second and third pairing. If McQuaid’s loss was a gut punch, then the loss of Dennis Seidenberg was being blindsided with a two-by-four. Seidenberg was one of those rainmakers for Boston, and his lack of presence was damning in the second half of the season.
The Bruins had to shop quickly, and they made a few selections at the trade deadline. The Bruins picked up Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter. There were hopes that they could fill the niche vacated by McQuaid and Seidenberg. By and large, they couldn’t. Meszaros played fourteen games for the Black and Gold, and Potter only three. Meszaros did alright, but just couldn’t gel the way some players do under the Julien system.
It is unlikely that Meszaros will be picked up next season in Boston. Potter will just move on and hope for better luck with another team.
Then we have Matt Bartkowski. To be completely fair, Bartkowski is a better technical skater than his fellow defenseman Dougie Hamilton. The big difference is that Hamilton has a superior hockey IQ, and is better able to adapt to a very fluid shift. Hamilton has had the advantage of being paired with Zdeno Chara and spending a great deal of time learning from the veteran captain.
Some of the vitriol directed at Bartkowski is due to his poorly timed penalties in the postseason. He took five minors in eight games. His looking over the wrong shoulder at the wrong time allowed the Canadiens to score early in game seven. Social media lit up in frustration and anger over that bungle, and a lot of those comments are totally unprintable. He’s a restricted free agent, and Boston might not wish to keep him going into the 2014-15 season.
Which brings us to the last of the restricted free agents on the Bruins blueline, Torey Krug. His retention is total no-brainer. Krug has surprised us this year, and he’s kept on improving as the season progressed. He’s a passionate player who goes out there and takes on people nearly a foot taller and fifty pounds heavier. He had a banner season last year (still kind of hurts a little to say ‘last year’.) He’s dedicated, he’s professional, and he’s become a crowd favorite due to his work ethic and his compete level.
Some of these decisions the Bruins organization have likely already made. A few more will be made at training camp. The Black and Gold have a track record for success, and this time around it will only take a few minor tweaks to push the Bruins to a Stanley Cup Final.