Bruins report card: Defensemen/goaltenders
|06.10.14 at 4:12 pm ET|
As the Stanley Cup finals take place, the fact that the Bruins didn’t even reach the Eastern Conference finals after winning the Presidents’ Trophy further accentuates the failure that was their 2013-14 season. Here are the individual grades.
Zdeno Chara: A-
Regular season: 77 GP, 17 G, 23 A, 40 PTS, plus-25
Postseason: 12 GP, 2 G, 2 A, 4 PTS, plus-4
The good: He was the best defenseman in the league in the regular season and was the most deserving Norris candidate, though the guess here is he’ll lose to Duncan Keith. The bad: He wasn’t himself in the last couple of games against the Canadiens, which cemented the fact that when Chara isn’t right, neither are the Bruins.
Torey Krug: A-/B+
Regular season: 79 GP, 14 G, 26 A, 40 PTS, plus-18
Postseason: 12 GP, 2 G, 8 A, 10 PTS, minus-2
RESTRICTED FREE AGENT
Krug gets this high a mark because he’s a bottom-pairing defenseman who gives the Bruins major production in offensive situation and on the power play. He’s also getting better in his own end. It will be interesting to see what kind of money Krug commands as a restricted free agent, as this was just his first full season in the NHL.
Dougie Hamilton: B+
Regular season: 64 GP, 7 G, 18 A, 25 PTS, plus-22
Postseason: 12 GP, 2 G, 5 A, 7 PTS, plus-1
When he was healthy, Hamilton made big strides in his second season. Paired with Chara on the Bruins’ shutdown pairing in the postseason, he had a ball against the Red Wings in the first round, but his Game 3 mental gaffe with P.K. Subban coming out of the penalty box was the low point of what was otherwise a very promising campaign from the 20-year-old.
Johnny Boychuk: B+
Regular season: 75 GP, 5 G, 18 A, 23 PTS, plus-31
Postseason: 12 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 PTS, plus-3
Know who loves playing for the Bruins? Johnny Boychuk. Know who’s in the prime of his career (30) and a really good right-shot defenseman who could command a ton of money if he hits free agency after next season? Johnny Boychuk. This could get interesting. The Bruins could either concede that they won’t be able to afford him by trading Boychuk this offseason or they can try to get a deal done with him before the season starts, the latter of which is Peter Chiarelli‘s usual plan of attack.
Kevan Miller: B+
Regular season: 47 GP, 1 G, 5 A, 6 PTS, plus-20
Postseason: 11 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 PTS, plus-2
He’s a young defenseman who isn’t immune to making mistakes, but he’s steady enough to play the Adam McQuaid role of third-pairing defenseman with a healthy dose of nasty. While Miller proved himself to be an NHL regular, his first taste of the playoffs wasn’t so swell, as his postseason will be remembered for his giveaway in Game 6 against the Canadiens that resulted in what would end up standing as the game-winning goal. The fact that he signed a two-year extension with an $800,000 cap hit might make him a better commodity than McQuaid going forward.
Dennis Seidenberg: B
Regular season: 34 GP, 1 G, 9 A, 10 P, plus-11
Seidenberg was fine before he went down with a torn ACL/MCL, and you have to commend his effort to return to the lineup, which he would have done had the Bruins reached the Eastern Conference finals. He signed a four-year extension before the first game of the season.
Matt Bartkowski: C
Regular season: 64 GP, 0 G, 18 A, 18 PTS, plus-22
Postseason: 8 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 PT, plus-2
RESTRICTED FREE AGENT
Regular season: good. Postseason: not so good.
Bartkowski was supposed to be the team’s seventh defenseman, and he was good enough following Seidenberg’s injury that the team preferred him over Andrej Meszaros down the stretch. Bartkowski had a very rough go of it in the second round against the Canadiens, however, taking penalties at inopportune times and losing track of Dale Weise on Montreal’s first goal in Game 7.
Adam McQuaid: C-/D+
Regular season: 30 GP, 1 G, 5 A, 6 PTS, plus-12
At this point of his career, staying healthy isn’t just half the battle for McQuaid, it’s most of it. McQuaid couldn’t stay healthy, and while it appears Miller has taken his job, there’s probably minimal trade value for a player who can’t stay on the ice. As such, don’t be surprised if McQuaid isn’t moved this offseason.
Andrej Meszaros: C-/D+
Regular season: 14 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 PTS, plus-4
Postseason: 4 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 PTS, plus-1
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT
The good news is that the conditional pick didn’t vest, as the third-round pick the B’s sent to Philadelphia would have become a second-rounder if the Bruins had reached the conference finals and Meszaros had played in at least two-thirds of Boston’s playoff games. Despite Bartkowski being sick early in the playoffs and scratched for Games 2 and 3 against Montreal, Meszaros didn’t make a strong enough case to stay in the lineup, and he was a disaster in Game 3.
Philadelphia could still get that second-rounder from Boston if the B’s sign Meszaros before the draft (or a 2015 fourth-rounder if they sign him after the draft), but don’t expect either to happen. He’s an OK defenseman who should probably sign with a bad team that will keep him in the lineup.
Incomplete: David Warsofsky, Corey Potter, Zach Trotman
Tuukka Rask: A-
Regular season: 58 GP, 36-15-6, 2.04 GAA, .930 SV. %, 7 SO
Postseason: 12 GP, 7-5, 1.99 GAA, .928 SV. %, 2 SO
At this point, the only thing the Bruins need to see from Rask is the Stanley Cup, and this season figured to be as good as any for him to win his first as the starter. Rask was the best goalie in the NHL during the regular season and should win the Vezina, making the team’s second-round exit all the more disappointing. Rask was hit or miss against the Canadiens.
Chad Johnson: A-
Regular season: 27 GP, 17-4-3, 2.10 GAA, .925 SV. %, 2 SO
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT
Midseason wraparound issues aside, Johnson was the ideal backup goalie for the Bruins. He played against weaker competition, sure, but he also shut out the Kings in January when Rask had to face the Blackhawks the day before. Flip a coin as to whether he’s back next year, as he can in all likelihood get more than the $600,000 he made this year on the open market, while the Bruins have Niklas Svedberg ready to take over as backup goaltender.
Incomplete: Niklas Svedberg