During the course of this offseason, the Boston Bruins organization have been looking at a variety of options to make the team better. While we all know that the Bruins need to be more consistent on the defensive end of things, the offensive lines could use some tweaking as well, especially without guys like Loui Eriksson.
The first ‘big’ signing of the summer was David Backes. Originally it was questioned where the forward was going to be placed and why so much money was spent on keeping him instead of Eriksson. However, Charlie Jacobs spoke to the press earlier this week stating;
“We’ve got Bergeron, [David] Krejci and Backes as our first three centers. Think about that,” Jacobs said. “I don’t know if there’s a team in the Eastern Conference that is [as] three-deep at center.”
I guess that answers that question and also suggests that Ryan Spooner will be sent to the wing. Given that Backes is a versatile player (similar to Kelly in that sense) and is able to play responsibly on the defensive end, it is plausible to see Spooner and Backes split time at the center role like we have seen in the past. However, with Claude liking his veerans, it questions the Bruins faith in developing the younger players, but that’s for a different article.
In addition to Backes, the Bruins also brought back-up goaltender Anton Khudobin back for a second time, this time to a two-year contract. He finished last season with the Anaheim Ducks, tallying a 3-3-0 record with a 2.69 goals against average and .909 save percentage. While he was with the Bruins for the 2012-2013 season, he appeared in 14 games, posting a .920 save percentage and 2.32 goals against average. During that season, Khudobin helped the Bruins reach the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks. He has seemingly been the most reliable and solid back-up goaltender since Rask was backing up Tim Thomas in 2011. WIth cat-like reflexes and a sense of security on the back end, the Bruins already have a better defnse than they did last season (providing Rask is on top of his game this season).
Riley Nash, formerly of the Carolina Hurrcanes, is another addition the Bruins made to the roster during the off-season. Nash will finish out the Bruins centermen, taking his place among the Merlot line. It is likely that we will see him paired up with guys like Tyler Randell or Frank Vatrano.
The most recent signing the Bruins made during the off-season is Dominic Moore. Looking at him on paper, he seems like the perfect fit. He would provide some stability to the fourth line, providing a solid closer that we haven’t seen since the Grogory Campbell/Daniel Paille days. He’s also a strong player in the face-off circle and special teams units. Then you dig a little deeper, you start looking at the quality of the player he is. He is a gritty, hardcore player. Initially this is something the Bruins decided that they wanted to stray away from, hence the re-build of last season dealing away guys like Lucic, Thornton and Boychuk. Now it seems we are going to re-visit the hard-hitting, rough and tough Bruins era that hasn’t always worked for them.
While we may not see how all of these players are going to pan out just yet, we will be able to get a taste of what is to come as the pre-season is jut around the corner. Time will tell if the Bruins have made the right moves or if they will be hitting the golf course early this season as well. Fingers crossed for the latter.