|09.18.13 at 7:11 pm ET|
With the first round of cuts done with, here’s something that we haven’t had to do in years with the Bruins: guess who makes the team.
Here’s the first projection:
Thirteenth forward: Jordan Caron
Smith makes it and the Bruins sport an all-lefty third line. Not to worry, as the young forward acquired in the Loui Eriksson trade has plenty of experience playing the off wing, so there won’t be an awkward adjustment period for him. Of the group competing for the job, Smith is clearly the most prepared for it given that he played the majority of last season for the Stars. The B’s really like his two way game and, as is needed in Boston, grit.
“He’s very smart,” Peter Chiarelli said Wednesday of Smith. “He makes good plays in small spaces. He’s got a real good shot. … Very good stick, so on the wrong side he picks pucks very well and is very good on the wall. He’s not the biggest guy, but I think he plays with an edge. He’s got a lot of the things that we like. We’ll have to look at him more closely, but he’s caught my eye a little bit.”
It should be noted that the left side wasn’t just handed to Carl Soderberg either. In fact, he’s only played center to this point in camp (in between Matt Fraser and Craig Cunningham), but he has looked good enough to show that he should be on the NHL roster and playing. The Bruins will need to see just how he fits on the left wing, but they see things in his game that they feel could make him a productive winger and even power-forward-like. Specifically, they like players that think to shoot, and that’s what he is.
The Caron thing remains something of a head-scratcher. On a one-year, one-way deal, Caron may simply be running out of time while the B’s might be running out of patience. He’s never gotten the prolonged stay at the NHL for him to show whether he can hack it, and he’s spent enough time in Providence. He could still seize a third-line job for this season, but it seems Caron will never have a safe spot in the lineup for as long as he’s in Boston.
Seventh defenseman: Matt Bartkowski
Really wanted to be (kind of) bold and toss Zach Trotman in Hamilton’s slot, but after Chiarelli’s words on Wednesday it would appear that Trotman still has a bit of work to do to convince him he’s a better NHL option right now than Hamilton.
Bartkowski, meanwhile, is a victim of being a left shot, just like Hamilton was a victim of being a right shot during the playoffs. The playoffs finally showed us that Bartkowski is legit, and he’d be a no-brainer to make the team were it not for Krug’s quick rise.
This is very subject to change, as Chad Johnson was bad enough in the first few days and preseason game to give Svedberg the edge, but there is still plenty of camp and preseason to determine who is best suited to replace Anton Khudobin.
|09.18.13 at 5:53 pm ET|
With the Panthers brining in Tim Thomas to give 23-year-old Jacob Markstrom a seasoned veteran from whom to learn, Tuukka Rask knows from experience that it could be a very good idea.
Thomas and Rask played three seasons together, with Thomas starting most of the games before taking last season off and opening the door for Rask to step in as the No. 1 goalie — a position he held late in the 2009-10 season before Thomas put up a Vezina season and took the B’s to a Stanley Cup championship a year later.
“He’s a great worker; he works hard every day, so I think that’s the part where younger goalies should take from him,” Rask said of Thomas. “Markstrom’s been around for a couple years, but I think he probably still wants to learn something new out of a veteran goalie, and Timmy is a good example of that. He works hard every day and makes you work harder every day. That’s what I got out of it and I think that’s what every goalie with Timmy will get out of it.”
Thomas is on a professional tryout with the Panthers, so he is not on their roster. If they like what they see and give him a deal, the Bruins could see Thomas back in town on Nov. 7.
“That’d be a media debacle going on if that happened,” Rask said. “I was happy to see him come back. I wasn’t going to be surprised if this happened, and it did. I’m hoping that he’s going to make the team and get a good contract and get a good year out of it.”
Given that he is 39 and didn’t play last season, there is certainly question as to whether Thomas can be anything close to the guy who turned in a record-setting 2010-11 season and followed with a strong 2011-12 season, his most recent. Yet if anyone can do it, Rask believes his former teammate can.
“Absolutely,” Rask said. “I don’t know too many goalies at this level who have done that to compare, but definitely if he wants to be good, he will be good. There’s no doubt about that. I don’t think it’s too big of an issue to take a year off and come back. I’m sure he kept himself sharp somehow and maybe saw some pucks. It’s not going to be that big of a deal to come back, but he’s definitely the guy to make it happen if somebody will.”
|09.18.13 at 4:52 pm ET|
There were no surprises as the Bruins made their first round of cuts Wednesday, as camp invites Scott Campbell, Jack Downing, Steven Spinell and Ben Youds will head to Providence training camp. Tyler Randell and Adam Morrison have also been assigned to Providence.
With those cuts made, the group of players in camp is still pretty big and will remain split into two groups. Here’s the total roster for now:
Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Carter Camper, Jordan Caron, Loui Eriksson, Justin Florek, Seth Griffith, Chris Kelly, Alexander Khokhlachev, Jared Knight, Matt Lindblad, Brad Marchand, Bobby Robins, Reilly Smith, Anthony Camara, Gregory Campbell, Craig Cunningham, Alex Fallstrom, Rob Flick, Matt Fraser, Jarome Iginla, Nick Johnson, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Daniel Paille, Carl SÃ¶derberg, Ryan Spooner, Shawn Thornton
Defensemen: Johnny Boychuk, Chris Casto, Dougie Hamilton, Mike Moore, Joe Morrow, Dennis Seidenberg, David Warsofsky, Matt Bartkowski, Zdeno Chara, Tommy Cross, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman,
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|09.18.13 at 4:19 pm ET|
The Bruins’ defensive picture got a little more interesting this preseason when Zach Trotman and Kevan Miller crashed a competition that was supposed to be between Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski for two jobs in the Bruins’ lineup. Yet Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli stressed Wednesday that Krug, Bartkowski and Hamilton have the edge in training camp and that he does not plan on sending Hamilton to the AHL.
The Bruins also need a seventh defenseman, so it is likely the B’s will keep all three players on the team. In that scenario, it is likely that Krug and Hamilton would be in the lineup, as Krug and not Hamilton is Bartkowski’s competition. Because there’s an opening for a left shot defenseman and an opening for a right shot defensemen, Krug and Bartkowski are competing for one while Hamilton, Trotman and Miller are competing for the other.
“We’re evaluating everybody,” Chiarelli said when asked if Trotman’s camp has him pushing Hamilton. “I think Miller’s been strong, too. Trotman had a real good rookie camp, and I thought he had a good game the other night. He got lost a little bit in the middle of the game, so we’re going to continue to evaluate those guys. The other D, too, but Trotman and Miller, for me, have stood out in the newcomer category also.
“As far as those D that played last year for us, no spot is guaranteed, but their body of work is greater than these other two, so I would have them ahead.”
Asked whether he would consider having Hamilton start the season in Providence, Chiarelli replied, “My goal is to have him in the NHL.”
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|09.18.13 at 12:52 pm ET|
Good news on the Gregory Campbell front, as the veteran center didn’t seemed bothered at all Wednesday in a training camp session packed with battle drills. Asked how he felt after the contact-heavy skate, Campbell said he is continuing to improve “day by day.”
It would appear that Campbell is both in game shape and physically capable to play in games after returning from a broken leg suffered in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins. With the Red Wings in town Thursday, Campbell said that the idea of him making his preseason debut in the game is a “realistic possibility.”
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|09.17.13 at 4:14 pm ET|
Speaking to the media for the first time since deciding to take last season off, former Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, who is currently on a professional tryout with the Panthers, said he simply “needed a break” last season and that not playing was the “right decision” for both him and his family.
Thomas, now 39, still had one year and $3 million in salary left on his contract last season, but he elected to sit out and was traded to the Islanders mid-season. He did not play for the Islanders, who had only traded for him so they could use his $5 million cap hit to get above the salary floor.
“I got tired and I needed a break,” Thomas said Tuesday of his decision. “Now I'm energized and I'm looking forward to it. I feel great.'
Regarding his decision to not play his final season in Boston, Thomas expressed no negative feelings. He also added that he was “so proud” of his former teammates during their run to the Stanley Cup finals in June, and that watching them inspired him to return to the NHL.
“My time in Boston was great,” he said. “I was very fortunate to have the type of personal and team success there, great teammates.”
As for his decision to not attend the White House in 2012 to meet the President the year after he led the B’s to a Stanley Cup victory, Thomas did not elaborate on what he said at the time, which was that political differences led to him skipping the trip in controversial fashion.
“I didn't want to lie and say I was sick,” Thomas said. “I thought I gave, from my viewpoint, a very honest assessment of the situation.”
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|09.17.13 at 2:43 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — With two spots in the lineup and three spots on the roster up for grabs on the Bruins’ blue line, it was logical to assume that the competition would be down to three people: Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton. Now, they have company.
In a preseason in which many were eager to see which forward would shine and take the third-line right wing spot, it’s been defenseman Zach Trotman who has been the standout player at a position that wasn’t really begging for more NHL candidates. Trotman, a 23-year-old right shot defenseman with a serious slap shot, was the darling of rookie camp and began training camp paired with Zdeno Chara. He’s made the most of every opportunity so far in camp, scoring in the third period of Monday’s exhibition win over the Canadiens.
On Tuesday, Julien said that the discussion of which young defensemen will make the team has expanded past the trio of Krug, Bartkowski and Hamilton to now include Trotman and former University of Vermont blueliner Kevan Miller.
“There’s no doubt there are a lot of guys that are in that conversation,” Claude Julien said Tuesday. “Miller played well last night. He’s big, he’s strong. He’s not the [most notable] offensive guy, but defensively he did a great job. There’s lots of guys right now that we have to have a real close look at because we’re going to need some depth down the road when you have some injuries.”
Who would be the odd man out if Trotman or Miller were to make the team? Likely Hamilton. Last postseason, Hamilton’s chances of getting into the lineup were hampered by the fact that Andrew Ference, Wade Redden and Dennis Seidenberg (all of whom were injured at various points) were all left-handed shots. That caused the right-handed Hamilton to get passed over in favor of Krug and Bartkowski, both of whom are lefties.
It seemed that Hamilton being a right shot would help him in camp, as Adam McQuaid and Johnny Boychuk are the only two veteran righties on the back end, meaning that Hamilton had the inside track for one job while Bartkowski and Krug would battle for Ference’s old job. Now, with Trotman (and Miller to a lesser extent) pushing for a job, Hamilton is one of three righties in the mix for that spot.
Following the season, the idea of the now-20-year-old Hamilton potentially starting the season in the AHL seemed possible, but only if the B’s had another right-shot option. With Trotman impressing, it makes that scenario at the very least something the Bruins can entertain. It’s also worth considering that both Bartkowski, 25, and Krug, 22, are more developed than Hamilton and therefore won’t be as negatively impacted by potentially being the seventh defenseman. Hamilton is better off playing now — at either level — as opposed to going days and potentially weeks at a time without game action.
The biggest question with Trotman is a scarily condensed concussion history. He suffered three in a five-month span last season, but he hasn’t been limited in practices thus far in camp.
In addition to his mammoth shot, a plus for Trotman is his size. Hamilton is young and hasn’t had long off seasons the last two summers, so he hasn’t been able to add a ton of weight to fill out his frame. Trotman stands at 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds.
Miller, who has skated with Bartkowski in camp, went undrafted but has spent the last two seasons in Providence. Last season, he had two goals and 14 assists for 16 points in 64 regular-season games, with five assists in nine playoff contests.
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