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:

O’Donnell-Boynton

Sweeney-Berard

Gill-Girard

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?


14 Responses to Bruins Offseason Moves

  1. pat says:

    I think the Bruins defense has just gotten weaker. The forwards still should be able to produce plenty of offense, even with the loss of Guerin. I don’t think the Bruins will win the East again, but they should make the playoffs.

    Signing Berard for his offense is good, but he is a liability defensively. I admire him for his comeback, but his injury hampers him, especially when the puck is at his feet. He will often lose the puck as he transports it through the neutral zone, and he is very susceptible to poke checks. Berard should provide the offense you are looking for, but at what cost? Remember, the Rangers, who had the worst defense in the league, let him go.

    Grosek might thrive on the Bruins. He is yet to play up to his potential, but he has size, and sometimes plays with a mean streak. He could surprise a lot of people this year.

    Its a shame the Bruins didn’t try to sign Guerin. They had a fun team to watch last year, but I do think they will learn from last years playoff knockout and come back strong.

    -pat

  2. Habfan4 says:

    I can’t say that I agree that Berard compensates for the eventual loss of McLaren. Berard (post injury) is a step back in every category (when healthy) in comparison to Mclaren. IMO Boynton is the key, he looked good in the playoffs against the Habs, he can move the puck and unlike Gill and O’Donnell has the foot speed to compete with quicker forwards.

    Up front the Bruins are still very scary – losing Guerin hurts but I don’t think his absence alone affects them much. Thornton, Samsonov, Murray (he won’t get 41 this year) and Rolston etc.. etc.. will light it up again this year.

    Biggest question mark (as you alluded to) is goaltending. I don’t think Shields is a starter and neither Raycroft or Grahame are not ready for prime time.

    BTW: IMO McLaren’s injury history will ham string the O’Connell at the bargaining table. If the Bruins think they’ll get full value for him they’re sniffing glue.

  3. Habfan1234 says:

    There is no problem with the offense of the B’s. Someone(s) will fill the void left by Guerin, probably Thornton or Samsonov.

    There defense is still slow. Aside from Boynton and Berard the rest of the d is slow.

    The goaltending did not improve in fact it got worse. They have two backups vying for the starting job.

    O’Connell will not get full value for McLaren because of his injury history and because the B’s are dealing in a position of weakness in any trade.

    The B’s will make the playoffs because thier high powered will compensate for the weaknesses in goal and in defense.

  4. LEON says:

    You would think that after losing player’s that were an important part of the team and contributed so much in the Bruins success during the regular season last year, that they would be replaced by players with the same ability to contribute to improving the team. The playoff loss to the Hab’s also showed vulnerabilities that should of been addressed this off season, that being a lack of offensive speed from the defense. Have the Bruins gone out and got players to fill the voids left by Guerin and Dafoe? No, in fact they have done very little to respond to the loss of star quality players that contenders usually do, when faced with the need to replace players lost to free agency. However, what the Bruins have done isn’t necesarily bad either. At this point they are looking For the players they have to repond by steping up their game and contributing more or playing to their potential. Meaning, player like Shields(to become a proven starter) and Berard(to fill the need for an offensive D’man) have to look at this as an opportunity to show they are quality players by rising to the occation. The most important thing the Bruins have to do is give players like Girard, Hilbert and Goren a chance to play on a regular basis and show why they are considered top prospects. If the Bruins went out and got players outside the Bruins organization, then how would the aforementioned players get the chance to play and what kind of signal is that going to send to them? I feel that by doing very little, but just enough, may be what the Bruins needed to do this off-season and what they get in return for a departing McLaren(sooner the better, if he doesn’t want to be a Bruin any longer then don’t let the door hit your….no we wouldn’t want you to get injured and be worthless) can only help any area that proves to be vulnerable in the early stages of the regular season. I’m hoping this coming season will have a surprise or two…or three and have the same potential Boynton showed last season.

  5. Krockasian says:

    i say trade Mclearn and Graham or sheilds for annother d man (they could probably screw someone who might need a goalie like atlanta or chicago) and resign dafoe. They don’t need any mre offense, its probably the only spot that they are good in.

  6. bruinsfan12 says:

    You are very right in some of the points you made…and I certainly hope you are right about Grosek. And yes, it is a terrible shame they didn’t try to sign Guerin. They could easily win the East again next year if they still had him. But hey, I’m no Rangers fan, I won’t live in the past. Let’s hope that they did learn a few lessons from getting knocked around by Montreal.

  7. bruinsfan12 says:

    You’re absolutely right about Boynton, I’m excited about him next year. And the Bruins management are already sniffing glue, so they’ll be trying to trade McLaren all season but nobody will succumb to their ridiculous offers.

  8. bruinsfan12 says:

    I see what you’re saying, and it does make sense. Let’s just hope all those players that are getting a chance to show their potential actually do show their potential.

  9. bruinsfan12 says:

    Although Dafoe screwed us in the playoffs, I really wish they would resign him. But I know they won’t. I like the way you think though.

  10. pat says:

    I am a Rangers fan, I watched Berard all season long. I respect the guy so much for coming back, but I think he should change his game to more of a stay at home defenseman. Easier said than done I’m sure.

    Even without Guerin you still have Murray, Samsonov, Thorton, Rolston….quite a lineup. I’m sure Grosek will be a solid 2nd, but more likely 3rd liner for you guys. Depends on which Grosek shows up. He just needs to realize that he’s over 6ft 210, and start playing like it.

    Regardless, I think you still have a scary good team there. Of course there are some weaknesses, but which team (aside from Detroit) doesn’t! Great article BF!

    -pat

  11. bruinsfan12 says:

    Thank you!

  12. sdion527 says:

    Bruins fans, what would you think of this?

    Stumple & McLaren for Lecavalier?

  13. Suffering_Bs_Fan says:

    I’d do that deal in a heartbeat! But why would Tampa Bay??? No way it would happen.

  14. Suffering_Bs_Fan says:

    Dafoe is ALSO the reason why we sucked in the playoffs…. that and a total lack of passion from Ftorek down to Guerin. Samsanov, Boynton and LaPointe are the only players who showed true playoff passion.

    Guerin will definitely be missed. No question about it. He epitomized what it was to be a Bruin (though I wish he showed more emotion in the playoffs).

    At this point (even though I’m not a Dafoe fan), I would trade Grahame/McLaren/and a Prov. Bruin for a two-way defenseman and resign Dafoe. McLaren won’t pull much on his own… Grahame just scares me and the fact that his “off-season” training consisted of a martial arts program… well….

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