By Eric Converse
With a few exhibition games already under our belts and the first round of roster cuts announced from Boston Bruins General Manager Peter (Chi-Chi-Chi) Chiarelli, now is a good time than ever to review what’s been going on.
Training camp started off with relatively few surprises and nothing was significantly remarkable to me until the unfortunate injury to coveted first round pick David Pastrnak, on a hit by defenseman Matt Bartkowski. Hardcore Bruins fans were so close to seeing Pastrnak debut in a Bruins jersey in the Black and Gold game in Providence, Rhode Island, but alas it was not meant to be.
As suggested by Bleacher Report columnist Al Daniel, the Pastrnak injury demonstrates that he’s not physically ready for the NHL. Everyone knew this, deep down in their hockey loving hearts, but he still came in to the training camp as the possible wild card that could surprise everyone by making the team as the young phenom to inject some life in to a roster that feels like a step back from last season.
With Pastrnak gone, fans (and most likely the management team) were forced to focus more of their attention on more realistic short term solutions for this season.
So far, potential Torey Krug replacement David Warsofky looks very comfortable moving the puck out of his own zone, utilizing both his hands for the quick pass, or carrying the puck out with his speed. Although he has these Krug-like attributes, he has not been nearly as visible in the offensive zone. He moves the puck well, but has less threatening shot. He continues to improve his game with each passing season, cutting down on turnovers. Warsofsky would benefit from one or possibly two more seasons in the minors to round out his game before attempting to take on a full time NHL role.
Defenseman Zach Trotman looks excellent so far in camp. He’s had some concussion issues in the past, but they appear to be behind him. He’s added to his already steady stay at home style, to include a more physical approach, and displayed a more powerful and accurate shot than previous seasons during the Bruins-Capitals exhibition game. He certainly appears to be coming in to his own and could make more spot starts in Boston this year. If he continues on his current path, he could be an NHL regular in no time.
Adam McQuaid showed some rust in the intra-squad game, mis-firing passes and mis-judging the speed transition plays in the neutral zone getting beat at his own blue line. With each subsequent game, he’s appeared more comfortable and ready to be 100% by the season opener. Dennis Seidenberg jumped right back in with far fewer visible rust issues. Both will be vital to the D core this year. Dougie Hamilton continues to progress and incorporate more of a physical aspect to his game.
Until the aggressive 3rd period goal against the Capitals on Wednesday night, Zdeno Chara appeared average (for Chara), maybe even lethargic at times. This could be a good thing, as the on-going theme for Mr. Chara this season is limiting his minutes, and putting him in a position to succeed in April, May, and June 2015. Let’s not start the season full guns a-blazing Chara style and burn out by the time games get important.
Johnny Boychuk has entered camp in top form and was firing on all cylinders in the intra-squad game. He’s been under the microscope of the media for much of the summer as rumors continue to permeate about him potentially being traded to make cap space to sign Krug and Smith.
According to Facebook Bruins Insider “Bruins Quebec”, defenseman Joe Morrow, a strong regular in Providence, was kicked out of practice early on the 23rd, and that Julien later commented: “I just got tired of looking at him.” His dip in form is surprising as he is a valued prospect and top end defensive prospect in Providence. One has to wonder if his issues during this camp stem from the fact that he knows that the Boston defense core is significantly deep. Breen, Arnesson, and Casto will be playing in Providence this season after getting a bit more of a look by the Bruins brass. Breen, with his size, will be fun to watch in Providence this season.
The ConverseHockey Bruins Defensemen Depth Chart!! (It’s actually more like a list)
1.) 33 ZDENO CHARA “C” 6′ 9″
2.) 44 DENNIS SEIDENBERG 6′ 1″ 210
3.) 55 JOHNNY BOYCHUK 6′ 2″ 225
4.) 27 DOUGIE HAMILTON 6′ 5″ 212
5.) 86 KEVAN MILLER 6′ 2″ 210
6.) 54 ADAM MCQUAID 6′ 5″ 209
7.) 43 MATT BARTKOWSKI 6′ 1″ 196
8.) 62 ZACH TROTMAN 6′ 3″ 219
9.) 79 DAVID WARSOFSKY 5′ 9″ 170
10.) 45 JOE MORROW 6′ 1″ 204
11.) 42 CHRIS BREEN 6′ 7″ 224
12.) 49 LINUS ARNESSON 6′ 1″ 188
13.) 65 CHRIS CASTO 6′ 1″ 200
14.) 47 TOREY KRUG 5′ 9″ 180 UNSIGNED
Without Krug in the line up, the primary puck moving role moves to Hamilton, who has a two-way style aspect about him. He’s not as quick in the transition game as Krug, which the B’s sorely need to increase their overall team speed. Krug would be greatly missed for his ability to set up the power play, especially with assistant coach Geoff Ward, who coached the power play, leaving the team over the summer as well. Although I have Trotman higher on the depth chart than Warsofsky, the B’s are clearly considering Warsofsky’s offensive minded style of play to compensate for the loss of Krug.
More to come on the forwards and goaltenders.
Follow Me On Twitter: @ConverseHockey