Sunday, 27 May 2012

Boston Bruins: Xtreme Make-Over Edition – the Defense

It’s that time of year again: the Stanley Cup finals. It has been 1 year since the Bruins won a Cup. Time for change!

 Most of these offseason analyses look at who is a UFA, RFA, or available to trade. So let’s do that and more. Thanks to CapGeek.com for our data. We will break this analysis into three: the goalies; the defense; and, the offense. Last time we decided to sign RFA Rask as our number one and extend Khudobin as our backup. That commits $4 million per year for goalies and leaves Thomas available to trade. Remember this is the Xtreme Make-Over edition. Now: the Defense.

 Good-bye Corvo; good-bye Zanon; and, good-bye Mottau. Nothing worth keeping unless Mottau wants to sign a minor league deal at his current $800,000 for a year as injury back-up.

 The core of the defense has played solid and only Ference at $2.25 million has less than 2 years on his deal. Norris candidate Chara still has 5 years at his $6.9 million salary. His shutdown partner Seidenberg still has 2 years at $3.25 million. Boychuk just got an extension last year so has 3 years left at $3.4 million per.  McQuaid still has 3 years at $1.6 million per.  I’m not advocating any change to this core.

 The only question to resolve is the 6th defensive position although there really is very little issue. Answer: Hamilton.

 That was easy.  Having been named Ontario Hockey League (OHL) defensemen of the year Hamilton will gain nothing by returning to the junior league. And he can’t be sent to Providence, where prospects go to learn how to lose, so the 6 foot 5 inch offensive-minded rookie will have to learn on-the-job. But I have a plan. To ease Hamilton into the Bruins line-up and an 82 game schedule split duties with Krug as the number 7 defenseman. Both are offensive minded. The Bruins like Krug, giving him a chance to play in a couple of games at the end of last season, where he didn’t look particularly out of place. Splitting games between Krug and Hamilton gives each 41 games, closer to their college and junior game totals, and allows each to have some time to watch the game at this level while practicing consistently with the team.  

 That would commit $20.7 million to 7 defensemen. Keeps the strong core. Infuses some needed youth and offense-minded rookies.

 So in summary Thomas is available to trade and Hamilton / Krug fill the 6th / 7th defensive positions. Next we look at the offense.

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