BST&N Bruins Mailbag: Preseason Edition
Welcome to one of our new features at BST&N; the Bruins Mailbag. Every couple of weeks I am going to answer your questions posted to Big Bad Bruins on facebook, and my twitter account (the link is at the bottom of the page). This here is the “Maiden Voyage” of this new feature for the blog, with many more to come throughout the season.
Let’s jump right into it!
Nick L. in Hudson, New Hampshire writes: Shawn Thornton is getting older, is it time the Bruins bring up a younger tough guy like Bobby Robins from Providence to learn under Shawn before he retires?
Bobby Robins will certainly get a look during the preseason practices and camps, but I don’t see him as a future replacement for Thornton. Sure, it seems like the obvious choice given the similar role each player serves in Boston and Providence respectively, but I’m not convinced Robins can play at the NHL level. He certainly has the size and tenacity, but his overall game just isn’t there. The Providence Bruins themselves rarely use him for anything more than an energy shift showcased by some hitting and a fight. Thornton on the other hand, possesses a fair amount of skill for a player in his role as well some pretty stellar leadership. Robins can probably pick up some important qualities from the Bruins’ resident tough guy, but I doubt he ever cracks the Boston lineup for an extended period of time. Not to slight Robins, but he is essentially a career minor leaguer. I don’t mean to put him down because I genuinely enjoy watching him play at the Dunk, I just don’t see an NHL level player there. Look instead for Anthony Camara and recently acquired Matt Fraser to potentially fill Shawn’s spot in the lineup, and potentially grow into larger roles down the road instead.
Dan M. in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan writes: Was the Seguin trade a mistake?
This question will follow the Bruins for years, and potentially define Peter Chiarelli’s career. I personally do not think it was a mistake. I watched Seguin closely from day one with the B’s and looked forward to his development. Unfortunately, he never quite lived up to the expectations set upon him in all ends of the ice. The offense of prowess was there in flashes, though also inconsistent, but it was his failure to develop a two-way game after three seasons in the NHL that really stood out. He also failed to show up when it truly mattered (except one great game against Tampa in 2011) which speaks volumes in itself about a players ability to elevate his game. Perhaps he had unfair expectations set upon him from the start, but that is a crux all high end picks have to deal with and eventually overcome. At the end of the day, he has the tools to be a great player, but not to become a great all around player with a responsible game. With the current window the Bruins have now to compete, he simply didn’t fit in with the grand scheme of things. Loui Eriksson is one hell of a good player and you will see that season. He also has a solid cap hit and is under contract for the next three seasons. Matt Fraser, Reilly Smith, and Joe Morrow are all solid players and should make an impact in the organization at some point. This one will take years to answer, but I believe the Bruins management made the right decision.
Will Iginla be able to play Bruins style of hockey?
Iginla has been playing “Bruins style hockey” since his first shift in the NHL. He is one of the best power forwards in NHL history, and is also an accomplished goal scorer and powerplay weapon. He will also drop the gloves if need be and take a big hit to make the play, or make the big hit himself. He wills always be a Calgary Flame, but he was born to be a Bruin.
Is Rask worth the money the Bruins paid for him?
Rask is without a doubt worth the money the Bruins paid for him. Rask is an elite franchise goaltender who has also proven he can win when it counts in the playoffs. Obviously an 8 year, $56 million dollar contract is a risky proposition in this league, especially for goaltender, but Rask is the real deal. He has also shown tremendous patience and loyalty to this team. Tuukka is going be around for a long time, and the Bruins are going to benefit significantly. Rask has the potential to be the best goaltender in Bruins history, and I do not say that lightly. That’s work a few extra bucks eh?
Will the Bruins be a better team this year because of the new faces?
I believe they will be, so yes. It isn’t going to be a cakewalk for them given the strength of the newly assembled Atlantic Division, but I believe they are better suited to succeed with this squad than last year. I did not expect the Bruins to get as far as they did last season, but was pleasantly surprised. Iginla is an improvement over the departed Nathan Horton in just about all areas, especially leadership. Eriksson is arguably the most underrated player in the game. This guy is going to be a monster at both ends of the ice with Bergeron and Marchand. Losing Andrew Ference hurts, but I am a believer in integrating younger players into the mix, and I expect Matt Bartkowski, Torey Krug (more on him below), and Dougie Hamilton to build on their solid rookie campaigns. The third line is the only real question heading into this season, but I had the opportunity to watch Carl Soderberg at practice this past Saturday and every time he skated past me I muttered to myself “that is one big dude”. Soderberg is in excellent shape and he looked dialed in during the session I watched. Keep an eye on him as a big x-factor heading into the new season. This team has all the tools to be a winner. This is going to be a good year for the Boston Bruins.
Is Torey Krug too small to be a full time defenseman for the Bruins?
I am a believer in Torey Krug. I also believe that his size isn’t detrimental to his game in the least. I once heard someone say Martin St Louis (a player of a similar stature) had the heart of a lion. I would say the same about Krug. Yes, his size will always be an argument against him and his durability will likely wane over longer stretches in the NHL season, but this guy can absolutely play. He has an accurate canon of a shot from the point, is a great skater, and can move the puck better than we have seen in Boston for a long time. The sample size is small (no pun intended) to be sure, but I think Krug deserves to be in the lineup on opening day. I also think he is a dark horse to win the Calder Memorial as rookie of the year.
Thank you for all of your questions, I hope to answer some more for you throughout the season. You can follow me on Twitter here: @Mattjacob64