Bruins Offseason Moves
The offseason isn’t over yet, but after the signing of defensemen Bryan Berard, most of the big moves by the Bruins are done. The only thing remaining is to trade McLaren, but who knows if that will happen anytime before the season starts.
The Bruins lost two important players in their run for the Eastern Conference title in the regular season. There is no argument that Byron Dafoe was a big reason the Bruins had success last year. The year before, when he was injured almost the entire season, the Bruins missed the playoffs. Without him, they’ve shown they are weak. So how do they compensate for this loss? Trading for mediocre goaltender Steve Shields. Some people argue that Shields will play well for the Bruins, while others don’t think Shields will help at all. He has proven to be a good goaltender in the past, but that was in the past. More recently he has proven to be hardly a starting goaltender. So do the Bruins have a back-up that can step in for Shields if he plays poorly? They have John Grahame. The few starts he had last year he played well, but I am almost certain he is nothing more than a back-up. In my opinion, the Bruins goaltending has not improved at all, and may have even suffered.
Another player that the Bruins lost this summer was leading goal scorer, assistant captain Bill Guerin. He will be missed in so many areas. Not only was he one of their most skilled offensive players, but he was perhaps their best leader. He probably should have been named captain last season, and it is certain that if he stayed he would be captain this coming season. His 41 goals were equal to Glen Murray’s, but Guerin had proved in the past that scoring 40 goals isn’t a fluke. He was also a tough, gritty player who stood up for his teammates and could more than take care of himself. He was one of those huge forwards that gave the Bruins so much size up front, and he played great with Joe Thornton. Unfortunately, the Bruins didn’t want to open up the wallets to keep an important player like him, so there is a big hole to fill in in the forward spot.
The Bruins certainly have one of the deepest offenses in the league, but can they make up for the loss of Guerin? They haven’t signed any big forwards this offseason, or made any trades for one. They signed Michal Grosek, but that is hardly an improvement. I think now that they have signed Berard, they can trade McLaren for another forward, someone who can contribute almost as much as Guerin did. If they don’t, then another part of their team, their offense, has suffered.
Perhaps the only aspect of the Bruins team that improved is the defense. Although McLaren has said he will refuse to play, the Bruins have succeeded without him. In fact, he may have cost them the Montreal series with that notorious hit on Zednik. So any loss they may have suffered by losing McLaren, they made up for by signing Bryan Berard. By signing him they addressed a serious issue they had last season, and that is their lack of offensive defensemen. I think their pairings next season will look like this:
Or something along those lines. Unless the Bruins trade McLaren for another defensemen, which I don’t think they need to do. They won’t get a defensemen of much value in return for McLaren anyway.
In conclusion, the defense has improved. But are they strong enough to compensate for their downfall in goaltending? Will the forwards be able to produce enough offense? What do you think of these offseason moves for the Bruins? Do you think they can repeat winning the Eastern Conference? Do you think they can even make the playoffs again?