When you come as close to winning a Stanley Cup as the Bruins did this past season and overhaul the roster, it’s going to lead to questions how the new players will fit in. When those new guys are veterans like Loui Eriksson and Jarome Iginla, it feels like a major upgrade.
That’s what the Bruins are contending with this season.
Bringing in a pair of guys who have piled up goals through their career to replace Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin seems like a move that would play out seamlessly but it comes with some potential pitfalls. A couple questions have to be asked.
What does Iginla have left?
Before last season’s lockout-shortened year, Iginla rattled off 11 straight seasons of 30+ goals. Now as he heads into his 17th NHL season and at 36 years-old it’s appropriate to ask if he can produce at that level again.
Iginla wants to stay in Boston past this season and scoring goals at the pace he did last year (28 goals over 82 games possible) would help that. Consider this if you think that’s not enough: Horton’s best season in Boston (2010-11) he had 26 goals.
Did they give up on Seguin too soon?
That might not even be the right question. The Bruins’ concern with him centered more on him not having grown up yet, but when you look at the raw numbers, the answer is probably yes.
Seguin saw his numbers improve each season and he was on pace to break 30 goals last season if not for that darn lockout. After scoring 29 two seasons ago, it’s not a stretch to think his stock is only climbing. Eriksson, by comparison, has been steady for 60-70 points in his last four full seasons.
Giving up a possible superstar for consistently great output only means fans will debate their trade for the next 10 years.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.