Boston Bruins Should Swap David Krejci and David Backes in the Lineup
The Boston Bruins need to make a change. When they made a coaching change, it worked temporarily before fizzling out. Now that the team is back to struggling once again, more changes are needed. With the team having an abundance of centers, a significant shakeup could be made that could spur some positive results.
The Bruins practice lines following their loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday were widely unchanged. With Tuukka Rask and Matt Beleskey missing from practice, Jimmy Hayes saw himself back in the lineup – but the significant pieces were unchanged. The top-six remained the same, but that could be where the Bruins need the biggest shakeup.
The team has made adjustments in their top-six this season, however. They’ve moved David Backes and David Pastrnak between the first and second line on multiple occasions. Many players, such as Matt Beleskey, Frank Vatrano, Peter Ceharlik, Danton Heinen, Ryan Spooner and Drew Stafford have lined up to David Krejci’s left wing. Still, the most significant change hasn’t yet been made.
When the Bruins signed David Backes, they did so intending to play him at center. Many expected him to play as a winger, which in the end, has ultimately been his role with the team for the most part. Still, he has played center briefly with the team with solid success. He started the season flanking a line that included Brad Marchand and Pastrnak, and the results were noticeable. Marchand started the season on a tear and Pastrnak had a career-game – something that shouldn’t be forgotten, with Backes centering the pair.
Many also forget that Krejci played wing alongside Bergeron and Marchand following his return from injury a few seasons ago. With the team looking to keep the lineup Milan Lucic, Spooner and Pastrnak intact while also easing Krejci back into game shape, they used him in a unique way.
Why then, should they refrain from doing so again?
As it stands, the team is trending in the wrong direction. Time is running out on the Bruins making the playoffs again, and they need to do something to evoke the best results. With the team having a tendency to play centers on the wing, Krejci could find his game playing alongside Bergeron and Marchand. From a points perspective, Krejci has five goals and seven points in his last eight games. Points, however, don’t tell the full story. Krejci hasn’t looked good as of late – he hasn’t dominated the way he should, and the Bruins need him to play at the elite level that he’s capable of if they want to make the playoffs.
What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
If the Bruins make this change – temporarily or not, and it works, then they could bolster their chances of making the playoffs. If it doesn’t work, then they could risk missing the playoffs altogether. With the way the team is trending, however, it looks as though they’re heading towards a third consecutive missed playoff bid. Making a change with Backes and Krejci likely wouldn’t make that any worse – though it could make things better.
It might seem like a radical idea on the surface, but it isn’t actually too crazy. Backes is a natural center who has made a career for himself playing down the middle. While Krejci has significantly less experience on the wing, he could display some new creativity while playing alongside the Bruins best duo in Bergeron and Marchand.
Time is ticking on the 2016-17 season. The Bruins probably won’t make a change with the two Davids, but Cassidy would be smart to explore all options as he looks to make the appropriate changes to right the ship. The city of Boston is accustomed to its sports teams making the playoffs – the Bruins need to step up and join the party once again.