This past offseason saw a lot of changes for the Boston Bruins. Coming off their second shot at a Stanley Cup in three years, albeit unsuccessful the second time around, it looked like the Bruins had everything in line to keep the playoff pressure on for years to come. Then there are those ugly words no fan of a good team likes to hear: Cap Space. The Bruins needed to make space to pay one of the top, if not the top, goaltenders in the league Tuukka Rask as well as other contract signings and extensions for other key parts of the organization. That meant there were some players who were going to move during the offseason due to trades and free agency. We saw some big names leave, Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton, as well as a fan favorite and tough defenseman Andrew Ferance, among others.
|Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson|
|Liam Richards/The Canadian Press/AP|
Numbers and stats aside, I think the kid is fun to watch too. The 22 year old Smith has helped the third line of Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly become a shining star as of late with them and the Merlot line putting up a lot of points in the midst of a small slump for lines one and two. Coach Claude Julien decided he was good enough that during Eriksson’s down time with injury and when Brad Marchand was working through the tough start to the season he had Smith is the one who was brought up to the second line.
He was originally to compete for a spot on the third line with Soderberg and Jordan Caron but the three way battle for two spots was quickly knocked down to Soderberg and Caron battling for the last remaining third line spot as Smith propelled himself to the top of the heap during camp and preseason.
|Joel Auerbach/Getty Images North America|
Julien trusts him enough to have even been using him as a point man in certain situations. He does have experience on the blue line where he played with Dallas’ AHL club the Texas Stars. All this and we’re only a quarter into the season and I can’t wait to see what is to come the rest of the season from utility player Reilly Smith.