Bruins have a good problem on their hands
If you're into cliches in sports, more specifically the one about never having too much defense, then you'll like how the Bruins blue line currently sits.
With summer quickly passing and NHL training camps not too far in the distance, the Bruins have a bit of a problem on their hands. However, it's a good problem to have.
With their July 1 signing of John Moore, the Bruins currently have eight NHL ready defensemen on their roster. Moore joins the group of Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller and Matt Grzelcyk as the eight NHL ready defensemen.
After the signing of Grzelcyk, the talk quickly became how moving Krug made the most sense and how moving Krug could be the key to filling a gap at the right wing position.
But the way things stand now, it looks like the Bruins will be heading into training camp with the same eight defensemen they have on their roster today.
Things could change in training camp as players like Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon could make pushes for roster spots with impressive training camps, but if the Bruins do roll into their season opener against the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals with eight defensemen, who is in and who is out?
Chara and McAvoy are locks and most likely will once again be the Bruins top pair. Fresh off of a new five-year contract, Moore too is a lock for the lineup. Moore will step in and fill a void in the Bruins defense: a big left shot body behind Chara.
From there, the Bruins defensive picture gets a bit more cloudy. Krug and Carlo should be locks from there, but it will be interesting to see how the two respond from two different leg injuries.
Prior to his season ending injury, Carlo was battling through issues with consistency. Those issues led to a few nights watching from the press box as the healthy scratch. But as much as Carlo did struggle last season, the Bruins clearly missed him in the playoffs, something general manager Don Sweeney alluded to earlier this month.
Krug is one of the Bruins more interesting defenseman. Slotted into a top-four role due to the Bruins lack of help on the left size, Krug has done a great job in a role not really carved out for a defenseman of his kind.
The five-foot-nine defenseman is the Bruins best offensive weapon on the back end and an absolute stud on the power play. But being paired on the Bruins second pairing, against some of the leagues premier players often exposes Krug. Much like we saw in the playoffs a few months ago.
A healthy Krug and a healthy Carlo will once again benefit the Bruins. With those two in the fold, that leaves one more spot for three more guys.
Grzelcyk exceeded expectations last season and showed that he was indeed ready for a role in the NHL as an everyday defenseman. His ability to retrieve pucks and get the puck out of the zone quickly and safely is unlike any other Bruins defenseman. As the youngster continues to grow at the NHL level, a lack of consistent playing time could slow down the development of the Charlestown, Mass native.
McQuaid and Miller are the type of guys you need in your lineup in order to win in this league. Guys who don't kill you defensively and give it 100% with each shift. Guys who are not afraid to throw the body around, nor block a shot. Both are valuable assets to the Bruins blue line.
With a group of veterans and a pair of kids who continue to learn the game at the professional level, the Bruins have a well-rounded mix of defensemen. The unfortunate part is only six can play per night, well technically they can play as many as they please.
But at the end of the day, the Bruins have a problem on their hands. A good one, yes.