When you look at the Bruins and some of their struggles, one thing will stand out. The 3rd defensive pairing with Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton seems to be a very weak link on the Bruins roster.
Not saying that everything in hockey has to be perfect but the Bruins could perhaps make things better if they were to move on from Connor Clifton.
This isn’t something that should be a jump the gun topic in Boston however. Let’s not go overboard and say that Connor Clifton is horrible. It could just be situational as such, perhaps when Bruce Cassidy was at the helm, Clifton may have not been getting deployed correctly but with new bench boss Jim Montgomery in this season behind the bench, perhaps Clifton could be given another chance show he belongs in Boston.
Could Clifton be replaced?
The long and short answer here is yes he most certainly could and he is playing on an expiring contract this season so it could be interesting how the Bruins configure their lineup. This goes without saying that someone like Jack Ahcan could impress the brass enough to finally be inserted into the lineup but could it be Clifton that is left on the outside looking in? Only time would tell.
One thing to think about is the fact that Clifton was great in college but even though that fully hasn’t translated over to the NHL quite yet, the jury could still be out, perhaps Jim Montgomery places him along side a new defense partner to see if new chemistry could be bonded.
My guess would be if Clifton stays through the beginning of the season he’s going to have to prove it night in and night out that he belongs otherwise, I am sure his $1 Million salary could be lucrative to a team looking to give him a shot that he deserves or wants to try and salvage whatever is there.
All in all, the Bruins and Clifton will have to figure it out sooner rather than later and offseason surgeries to Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelyck and Mike Reilly will really put the Bruins defense and depth to test at the start of the regular season.