New Year, New Bruins?
After displaying inconsistent (to put it lightly) play through the first 40 games of the 2014-2015, it’s become obvious that Boston Bruins need to make a trade or two. Many fans and analysts have wondered what direction they will go in, either build for the future (2015-2016), or make numerous additions to club to help them spark a second half turn around.
CEO Charlie Jacobs made it clear in an interview what direction he wanted the Bruins to go in, regardless of the matter of GM Peter Chiarelli (on the hot seat) liking it or not, when he said it would be an “utter disappointment” if the team was to miss the playoffs this season, which they are currently on pace to do so. Well, Mr. Jacobs, it was nice of you to finally declare that you’re upset, and it’s nice to know that it only took you to the halfway point of the season to realize it, when your team lost to the worst team in the East, Carolina.
Sitting at a comfortable 10th place in the Eastern Conference Standings, the Bruins are showing why exactly why they currently cold the 12th overall pick in this years NHL Draft. The Bruins have been exploited numerous times this season for having a lack of urgency, and structure, which is why they are currently a minus goal differential team for the first time in years, which shouldn’t happen to a reigning Presidents Trophy winning team. All four lines of the club have been very inconsistent at some point this season, especially the fourth line, which is what helped develop the Bruins character over the past few years with its grit, and physical physique (Former 4th liner Shawn Thornton was great as that as well as former d-man Johnny Boychuk).
The Bruins also cannot draw penalties, which is a huge reason as to why their special teams unit is struggling so much. The Bruins are the only NHL team to not have 100 or more power plays to this point in the season, which is very concerning. Goaltending has been sub par, especially in shootouts, and the offense has been dreadful, as Brad Marchand is the only player to score 10 or more goals. This of course does not help Mr. Chiarelli, who let Jarome Iginla and any potential free agent goal scorers walk right past him this offseason.
The defense is not only struggling on the defensive side, but the entire defensive unit (including Providence call ups) have scored just 23 goals this season, putting them on pace for about 40, which is down from the 56 they saw last season.
But that’s enough about the Bruins flaws, because there’s too many, and this could go on and on. So how do they fix it?
Well, let’s give Mr. Chiarelli credit for what he’s already done (not), as he left David Perron go to the Penguins for less than expected. Perron is the definition of the type of forward the Bruins need, so good going there Peter. But if Chiarelli wants to keep his job, and keep Jacobs happy, he’s got to find more. This more could be delivered by numerous Western Conference forwards, such as Antonie Vermette (10/15/25 with Arizona), TJ Oshie (10/13/23 with St. Louis), or former Bruin Blake Wheeler (11/19/30 with Winnipeg), all who’ve had their names have mentioned in trade rumors. But the Bruins also need to repair their fourth line, their source of energy over the past 5 years with forwards such as Nicolas Deslauriers (5th in NHL in hits with Buffalo) or Cody McLeod (106 hits with Colorado).
No matter what, it’s time for Peter to pull the trigger and make his boss happy, as it’s his job, and it’s what he’s expected to do. However, he and coach Julian need some help, as the key veterans on the team that won’t be traded such as Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron (and others) need to step up and play to their abilities, or else, the Bruins could be in trouble, and an unhappy Jacobs could be prepared to go through a fire sale this offseason to re-shape the clubs identity, and get them back into the playoffs.
– Anthony (AMB__12)