Derek Forbort proving to be key off-season addition
When the Bruins signed Derek Forbort to a three-year contract this summer, offensive production wasn’t what led the Bruins to find the former Jets defenseman as an attractive option.
Forbort’s defense-first mentality was what sparked the Bruins interest, knowing he could come in and play the left side on any of the Bruins three defensive pairings.
The Bruins got that defense-first mentality and more in Sunday’s 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Forbort scored his first goal as a Bruin and later, his first assist, but neither of those were the highlight of his day.
With the Bruins protecting a one-goal lead late in the third period and the Sharks goal empty, Forbort hopped over the boards, tasked with protecting the lead.
A task he successfully completed.
“I love it,” he said, “being out there with a one-goal lead, the goalie pulled, that’s kind of my favorite time to play hockey.”
Now with two points in four games, the Bruins will take any offensive production they can get from Forbort. But they surely know what his role is and what expectations of him are on the ice.
"He's been great from the first day he's been here, in the room, off the ice, he gets along with everybody really well. He's a great guy,” said Brad Marchand who picked up his fourth goal in as many games Sunday.
“And then obviously his game on the ice, he's one of those guys that you hate to play against. He's just really solid defensively, makes really good plays in the D-zone and he goes top cheese too. So happy to have him here."
Forbort did a little bit of everything on Sunday. He logged 20:31 of time on ice, 2:43 of that on the penalty kill, had two shots on goal and three blocks.
At 6-foot-4, 219-pounds, Forbort is the big-bodied defenseman the Bruins have actively been looking for for quite some time.
Between his big frame and defensive skillset, at a time of the game where the Sharks are trying to get as many bodies and pucks to the net as possible, Forbort is made for those types of situations.
“He’s going to have to play in those situations. He’s a good guy to clear the front of the net. I thought he managed the puck well. It went up to the forwards and they could have done a better job of giving us a little more breathing room, to be perfectly honest with you,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy.
“But he had a good game tonight. He obviously moved the puck a little cleaner and got rewarded for hitting the net. But, yes, that’s where he needs to be good for us.”
The addition of Forbort gives Cassidy some flexibility on the backend, allowing the Bruins bench boss to move some pieces around on both sides of his defensive pairings.
“As you get going you become more familiar with your defensive partners and the guys you’re on the ice with,” Forbort said. “Everything gets easier and you’re thinking less, make the plays and you roll with it. It just takes time.”