Last year the Boston Bruins were able to dominate the regular season and capture the President’s Trophy for the best record in the NHL. A big part of that success came from consistent play from their offensively talented defenseman Torey Krug and one of the bright shining Stars acquired from Dallas in the Tyler Seguin trade, Reilly Smith. Smith had a career year in Boston. He played a full 82 game season for the first time in the NHL and put up a 20-31-51 stat line. That is one more goal than David Krejci by the way. Krug was no slouch either. 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points tied Krug with Captain Zdeno Chara for the highest scoring Bruins defenseman and played the most games of any of the D-men with 79.
Looking ahead you have to expect more is to come from the young duo at both ends of the ice. The only problem is that Smith and Krug are nowhere to be found. Both are restricted free agents and neither has been officially signed to the team with the regular season just days away.
There have been a lot of rumblings about cap space problems and who should they trade to keep Smith and Krug as part of the Bruins organization. Some names that have been dropped around as potential trade bait: Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid, and Brad Marchand. While I would ultimately like to see all of them stay that doesn’t seem to be a possibility while also keeping Smith and Krug part of the mix.
I agree with my Bruins Life counterpart Jesse Tarlton that signing Smith has to be at the forefront of the Boston front office. They simply don’t have the depth in talent if they wish to let Smith walk and be as competitive as they have been the last few seasons. That is why I believe if there is a move made that it has to come from the back end and moving somebody like Marchand would leave just as big of a hole in the offense as not signing Smith.
Looking at the Bruins defensemen you can see that they did just fine in the regular season while fighting off various injuries and illnesses that plagued the roster throughout the year. All in all just about every Bruins defender took some sort of injury or illness absence. Seidenberg and McQuaid played less than 35 games each and Chara, Dougie Hamilton, and Boychuk, were all part of the injury report at one time or another.
At one point we were all wondering if Boychuk would walk again while he lay on the ice in Montreal only to have him comeback later as a player who had played more NHL games himself than all the other defensemen combined that were to take the ice with him at game time. He’s a tough player who only missed five games all season despite what could have been a season ending injury. He’s a leader on the ice and he has that monster shot from the blue line and I feel like that is a guy the Bruins need on this team.
I think there is one player whose loss wasn’t felt as much as the others. Adam McQuaid missed action three separate occasions with groin and ankle injuries, the latter needing offseason surgery, and only ended up playing in 30 games. I think that the young man who came up to help fill his shoes, Kevin Miller, is a hardnosed tough player that plays the same type of game that McQuaid does and can continue to play that game for the B’s going forward. I think some of his inexperience showed through in the playoffs but all in all a great addition to the Bruin defense. Having Miller and McQuaid are like having two of the same player. Not necessarily a bad thing but when it is potentially at the expense of a dynamic offensive player and a puck moving defenseman who proved to help jumpstart the normally pathetic Bruin power play is a big mistake.
If there were a way to make the room to sign both Krug and Smith by moving McQuaid and possibly another piece, Matt Bartkowski, David Warsofsky, Zach Trotman or another prospect then I think that is the only avenue to pursue for what is best for this team for the near future.
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