BOSTON – After falling in the Stanley Cup Finals, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli hinted that veteran defenseman Wade Redden might fit into the team's plans for next season.
But it appears there will instead be much more of a youth movement with the Black and Gold, and the Bruins won’t be bringing in a spare veteran defensemen.
Chiarelli told reporters on Sunday afternoon he’s content with the composition of his defense corps headed into September training camp, and that means Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski all could be a part of a rapidly-changing defensemen corps. With Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid already penciled in, that means those three young blueliners will be competing for a pair of starting spots.
Bruins officials saw what the young blue line kids could do during the playoffs when Krug potted four goals in five playoff games against the Rangers, sparking their power play. Bartkowski already looks ready for the heavy workload of a top-four D-man, and looked good in all situations when thrown into the fire during the playoffs.
The stellar playoff performances of Krug and Bartkowski was part of what prompted Boston to allow Andrew Ference to walk away in free agency, and it certainly means they’ll be a quicker, more dangerous transition team that’s also perhaps a bit more prone to the occasional mistake.
But the Bruins will take the good with the bad, all the while knowing next year will be a little different than in years past.
“I’m okay with it and we do have a different look to our D. There is a freshness, a young look to it. If things aren’t working out as the season progresses I may look into that, but I’m okay with it,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. “What I saw with these guys is there’s going to be some bumps along the road.
“But the new guys that I think will be in the lineup are competitive. They’re young, they’re all good skaters and they’re going to make some mistakes. But I like what they bring in general.”
One thing an infusion of youth should also do for the Bruins? It should allow the coaching staff to give Chara and Seidenberg a little more rest during the season, and perhaps avoid the fatigue that seemed to creep into their individual games deep into this season's playoff run.
Allowing the young defensemen to shoulder a heavy portion of the regular-season burden might just pay dividends when it gets to the postseason next spring, though that feels like a long way away right now.