Bruins roster projection: Reilly Smith early favorite for third line
|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.