An Honest Look At The Boston Bruins Blueline

Mar 5, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) stands on the blue line prior to the national anthem before a game against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) stands on the blue line prior to the national anthem before a game against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

So, will the Boston Bruins figure out a way to find that right blueliner? With all the reasonable talent being snapped up by other teams (Jason Demers was the most recent candidate to get taken off the boards in free agency), can the Bruins still find someone by the start of the season?

Probably not.

If the Bruins are looking to find someone, they’ll probably have to grab someone during the season.

More from Bruins News

The Boston Bruins brought on two more centers on July 1, David Backes and Riley Nash. This gives the Bruins a stacked set of centers. While Backes and Nash can play the wing, they’re both natural centers. So, will the Bruins use this embarrassment of riches at center to find their defenseman?

The most commonly heard speculation centers around Czech forward and Bruins alternate captain David Krejci.  Krejci wasn’t playing at 100 percent last season, but he was still solid enough to put up 63 points for the Bruins, good enough to be tied for second in overall scoring.  Krejci will be coming off another hip surgery, and it’s likely that he won’t be 100 percent at the start of this season either.

Could Don Sweeney sell Krejci on waiving his no-move clause? Probably. Would other NHL teams want David Krejci on their teams? Absolutely. Would they be willing to give up a top-four defenseman to get him? Very likely.

However, other NHL teams will need to be convinced that the 30-year old Krejci is still an elite center. That means having Krejci play the first 30 games. If Krejci is good enough to produce the right amount of points (12-19), then Sweeney can sell other teams on Krejci. If Krejci has an off-season, the rest of the NHL will look elsewhere, unless Sweeney revives the notion of moving Ryan Spooner as part of a package deal.

More from Causeway Crowd

So, what if all of Sweeney’s plans go south? What happens if all the speculation that has been going on is nothing but a pile of hot air? What will the Bruins do? They’ll have no choice but to work with what they got.

The Bruins top line will be centered around Bruins captain (and aging monolith) Zdeno Chara. Chara will need to be paired with someone who is willing to learn on the fly and have the potential to be a dominant presence on the ice. Thankfully, the Bruins have someone who (if done right) they can mold into that position.

The B’s will need to give Colin Miller a full-season go. Yes, he’ll likely make mistakes. He may even cost the Bruins a couple of games.  The Bruins will need to show restraint in the younger Miller’s education (How often did the Bruins yank Kevan Miller or Adam McQuaid for their errors?). That means letting him play the big minutes.

In a perfect world, I’d have Torey Krug play with John-Michael Liles. I’d also have Adam McQuaid play with Kevan Miller on the bottom line.  However, the Bruins aren’t living in a perfect world.

Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid were paired up last season. Krug’s aggressive, forward-thinking, puck moving play is well balanced by McQuaid’s ‘stay at home’ tendencies. They know each others idiosyncrasies and play well together. Krug has proven he can play the big minutes, and is solid on the power play. McQuaid is fearless and does a good job on the penalty kill. Maybe this is the year that McQuaid proves to Boston he can take an extra two or three minutes of ice time.

John-Michael Liles and Kevan Miller would be the most likely bottom pair for the Bruins on opening night.  (I’m certainly not a fan of the Bruins spending $4.5 million on their bottom pair, but the mischief is done.) The Bruins will need stability and a veteran hand on the third pair, and Liles brings that. Kevan Miller has good games and bad games.  Miller’s biggest flaw last season wasn’t really his. The Bruins kept putting him out against other teams’ top pairs, and that usually led to losses. If he’s paired against the bottom lines of other teams, he’ll be matched to people closer to his skill level.

With the Bruins signing Liles to a one year deal, this leaves Joe Morrow (again) as the odd man out for Boston.  I’d like to see Morrow play in more games. He’s got to play consistently. If this doesn’t happen, he’ll follow Zach Trotman out the door at the end of next season.

Next: Jimmy Hayes Needs To Be A Monster For The Bruins

The Boston Bruins are still in desperate need of a top-four defenseman. As much as some people wish to ignore this truth, it’s pretty obvious. If the Black and Gold go into the 2016-17 season with the defensive corps they have now, the Bruins are in trouble. The B’s will have to tweak their game to get more of their forwards to play like Patrice Bergeron. If they don’t, the B’s will be looking at missing the playoffs for the third straight year.