Dennis Seidenberg Has Pivotal Season Ahead


With Claude Julien back behind the bench for his ninth season as Bruins head coach, it goes without saying that he’ll expect everyone on defense to pull their weight. Doing so has made a huge impact during their most successful stretches over the past half-dozen seasons. That starts with veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, two blue liners who for the most part have been reliable throughout their time with the Bruins.

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Both are coming off relatively recent knee injuries. Chara picked up his game toward the end of last season, but Seidenberg had a largely forgettable one, where on many occasions it seemed like father time was catching up with the 33-year old.



: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Not to say the success of the defense hinges on the play of Seidenberg, but he certainly plays a significant role. A player the Bruins could once count on in crunch time to tighten up his game and lay the body in the corners took a noticeable step back last season. He was slow and had a hard time closing gaps getting back into his own zone. He was flat-out unreliable at times, and watching him get beat one on one was cringe worthy.  The Bruins can’t have that type of play from him this year if they want to be successful, especially with the back end relying so heavily on young, unproven talent.

Although Seidenberg looked like an old man out there last year, I don’t honestly believe Boston should stick a fork in him yet. On the surface it looks like the B’s are in a situation with Seidenberg where they find themselves financially hog-tied (3 more years at $4M a pop with a no-trade clause). But before we curse out Chiarelli again for paying guys for what they’ve done rather than what they have left in the tank, let’s take a step back and look at the situation.

Seidenberg came off a potentially career ending ACL tear in December 2013, and played just nine months later when preseason began. Rebounding from ACL surgery is different for every athlete, mind you a 33-year old physical defenseman with a bit of tread off the tire, who makes a living hitting people (2nd on the team last year) and blocking shots (led the team).

For an injury that doctors recommend a 54 week recovery period (safe return to the sport in 9-12 months), it would have been unfair to expect Seidenberg to come out in October and play like he did in his prime. Couple that with Chara’s PCL tear in October, and you have Seidenberg trying to carry extra minutes as a top four defenseman coming back on the early end of a projected return.

With the bruising nature of Seidenberg’s game, he simply didn’t have enough time to properly get back up to speed. And with the team missing the playoffs last season, leading to an extra month and a half off, I expect to see a much different player this coming fall. He’ll be on fresh legs, coming off an extended summer where he’s been able to work out the way he’s fully capable of, and he’ll be more than a year and a half removed from ACL surgery.

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  • Seidenberg is my pick to have the comeback year the Bruins need on defense. If he does once again come out looking like a guy in the twilight of his career, then buckle up for three more years of decline before he’s shown the door.  Sweeney can always try to deal him in a cap dump for spare parts should he not play up to his abilities.  Last season around the trade deadline, Seidenberg noted that he would OK a trade because he doesn’t want to be there if the front office doesn’t want him around, so there shouldn’t be too much red tape in that department if they choose explore their options.

    Having him back to form would be huge for the Bruins, not to mention the example he can set for the younger guys like Trotman, Morrow, and Colin Miller. A vet like Seidenberg will help those guys keep their composure when the waters get choppy. The Seidenberg situation is yet another storyline Bruins fans will keep a close eye on once the season gets under way, because the already shaky defense will be even more of an adventure if he doesn’t have a bounce back year.

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