When the Boston Bruins organization did its most recent version of ‘Bear Tracks’, they went to New Jersey to catch up with a very rested and healthy Dennis Seidenberg. The big German blueliner told Bruins fans that he was healthy and looking forward to training camp in September. While that certainly brightened the hearts of the Black and Gold faithful knowing that he was ready to go, it caused a new question to appear in Bruins fans’ minds. With Seidenberg healthy, which of the Bruins blueliners are going to leave town?
The Bruins have eight defensemen when they only need seven. (We could toss in David Warsofsky, but I don’t think he’ll get the call up to Boston unless we have another serious string of bad luck.) Someone has to go. Zdeno Chara is a lock to stay, as is Seidenberg (They also have no trade clauses.). So now, we’ve got six blueliners for four (and the backup) spots on the roster.
The Bruins have two young powerhouses that Boston are very unlikely to trade. Torey Krug has been a wonder to the Bruins power play, plays with passion, and is fearless in making plays in the dirty areas. Dougie Hamilton is a much larger version of Krug. He plays with intensity, and spent the last year learning from Zdeno Chara. They’re both under twenty-five, and they’re only going to get better. It’s all but stated that the organization will not be moving either one of them in the immediate future.
That is four slots covered. So, who will end up in the final two?
Johnny Boychuk is a solid lock for one of those two slots. He’s a fan favorite. He hits like a freight train. He is capable of rather surprising feats of agility for a big guy. It seems rather inconceivable that the Bruins would trade away such an asset. His only fault is that he’s a three million dollar cap hit, and will likely be a bigger one when his contract ends at the end of the season.
So now it boils down to Adam McQuaid or Kevan Miller. Both are tenacious. Both will drop the gloves at the drop of a hat (ANY hat). They’ve earned their places in the hearts of the fan base by being dependable, reliable, and capable. There are two differences that seperate them. Like it or not, McQuaid has been plagued with a series of injuries these last few seasons, and Miller’s contract is far less than Adam McQuaid’s. If it’s simply a matter of cash, then the smart money is on Miller.
The Bruins still have a rough time in front of them. The Bruins have no choice but to again invoke Marc Savard‘s LTIR (long-term injured reserve) status to avoid being over this year’s sixty-nine million dollar salary cap. At the moment, both Torey Krug and Reilly Smith still don’t have contracts for this season. So, it’s pretty clear that the Bruins will either low ball Krug and Smith in a one-year contract, or check out possible prospects on the trade horizon.
Now the rumor mill around Boston is that the Bruins organization are actively shopping around Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk around the NHL. With training camp only three weeks away, the Bruins will need to make their moves quickly in order to finalize their roster for the 2014-15 team. Those spots are still up for grabs and it could turn in to blue line bedlam come October.