Boston Bruins: Alumni Weakened

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For those of you amongst the Black and Gold brethren who lamented the trade of Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings, have you noticed that they have a more anemic offense than the Boston Bruins, and that ‘ole number 17 needed four games to record his first point?  Through the Kings first four games, they’ve only scored four goals.  Even the Bruins found a way to score seven times in their first three games, let alone six in the last game.

Not only has Lucic not found the net, he’s only managed to get four shots on goal through his first four games in the black and white. Not so surprisingly, the Kings are languishing in the bottom of the Western Conference.  Even Chris Kelly has three shots and a goal so far this season! Lucic is part of a number of Bruins alumni off to sluggish starts, while we also wonder why we let some others go.

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In Dallas, Tyler Seguin has scored once so far in his first four games.  Last year he averaged a goal a game through his first four. Old friend Phil Kessel has a goal and an assist through his first four games as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’d like to think I would have a chance of getting at least one goal and one assist in four games if I skated on a line with Sidney Crosby. With 16 shots on goal, Kessel is on pace to best his career high of 325 in 2010-11.  That was his first year in Toronto, in which he had 32-32-64 totals. Sid The Kid, by the way, has yet to register a single point, despite leading all forwards with 20:40 time on ice per game. Is it coincidence that Kessel rides shotgun on his line?

In Northern California, Joe Thornton’s start can’t be considered sluggish. Through his first four games, he has two goals and an assist. The San Jose Sharks have also won all four games so far.  It has been almost ten years since the Bruins shipped him west for Brad Stuart, Marco Sturm, and Wayne Primeau. In the years since, Jumbo Joe has been an assist machine, and has averaged over a point per game. Would he have helped win the Stanley Cup four years ago had he never been dealt?

Thornton is 38 years old, but he’s only a kid compared to another former Bruin. One player who toiled all too briefly for Boston (11 games in 2013) is off to a tremendous start.  In Florida, 43 year old Jaromir Jagr already has four goals and two assists in four games. Had he stayed in Boston, he’d lead the team in scoring with those types of numbers so far.  Reilly Smith is off to a good start in Florida as well, with two goals and an assist.

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  • Back out west, Dougie Hamilton has one goal in his first three games as a member of the Calgary Flames, while in Colorado, Carl Soderberg has a goal and an assist in four games for the Avalanche.  In Winnipeg, Blake Wheeler has 3-4  7 totals in his first four games. One of those goals was scored against the Bruins. Wheeler is a legitimate twenty goal scorer. Jarome Iginla, who scored 30 goals in Boston two years ago, and 29 last year for the Avs, already has two in his first four games, not a bad start for a 38 year old.  The Bruins couldn’t afford Iginla after he scored 30 goals for them two years ago in his one season in Boston.  Last year his production dropped, scoring only 29 goals.  Can he stay on pace for 41 goals this year? Unlikely, but he would have helped the Bruins last year, and certainly this season.

    Finally, one player whose departure always seems linked to the recent demise of the Bruins is Johnny Boychuk.  Shipped out to the NY Islanders a year ago for a conditional third round pick (which proved to be hulking defense prospect Brandon Carlo) and a second round pick next year, Boychuk’s presence on the ice, as well as off the ice, has been missed.  All he did last year on the island was set career highs with 9 goals, 26 assists and 192 shots on goal.  He has two assists in four games so far, and leads the team with 16 shots. With injuries to Zeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, he is still sorely missed.

    Hindsight, as we all know,  is 20-20. But some of the players that have left will be 20-20, as in 20 goal, 20 assist players, and anybody can see we need that type of offense here and now in Boston.

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    Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports