Sunday, August 21, 2011
This offseason has been a fairly quiet one for the Bruins, but this team falls under the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" category.
Benoit Pouliot and Joe Corvo are the only two who have been added to the team. Benoit, a 24 year old left winger who is a fairly well-rounded offensive player. He has bounced around the AHL and NHL, but seemed to hit his stride with the Habs last season. He did some decent work with the AHL affiliate of Minnesota, scoring almost 40 goals in 3 seasons with them, and was a good call-up for the Wild. Last season, with the Habs, he played in 79 games, and tallied 30 points, with 13 goals and 17 assists. He's an aggressive type, a guy who's not afraid to take a penalty or two for his team.
Joe Corvo was a solid pickup for these guys, a very offensive-generating defenseman. When the Bruins picked up Tomas Kaberle, they got him SOLELY for quarterbacking the powerplay. Clearly, he was a massive disappointment, and it was an udder disaster for their front office, who had been after Kaberle for awhile. With the numbers Corvo's putting up, he could be a solid replacement for Kaberle. Corvo bounced between AHL and the NHL for a bit, but has been a consistent NHL'er since the 2006 season. One particular season of his that impresses me was his 2008-2009 season with Carolina, where he played in 81 games, put up 38 points, which includes 8 powerplay goals. I am 99.99999% sure that Corvo will be the defenseman that this team needs.
With the loss of Michael Ryder, I think the Bruins lose a little bit of an all-around edge. I'm NOT saying "without Ryder, the Bruins will plummet below the Islanders in the standings". All I mean is that Ryder was a presence on the ice that any team would be lucky to have. As far as the Bruins offense goes, just look down their roster. Guys like Marchand, Krejci and Horton amongst others jump off the page as those who are looking to have monster seasons. I think out of all of them, Marchand will want it the most. 2010-2011 was considered Marchand's rookie year, and he was completely overshadowed by Seguin (My thoughts on him later...). After Marchand's performance in the postseason, I am convinced he will be the man to beat. He's aggressive, ticks people off, scores goals, moves the puck beautifully, and knows how to set up plays. I really think if their offense fires on all cylinders, they will be a machine this year.
My final thoughts will be on the wunderkid Tyler Seguin. I believe that Seguin WILL be a gem in the Bruins organization, but I believe that Julien knows exactly what he is doing when he doesn't play Seguin. Tyler Seguin started the season out very strong, got a lot of ice time, and scored a bunch for them. But around mid to 3/4 through the season? He completely plateaued. Seguin finished the season with 11 goals, 11 assists, and a plus/minus of -4. Not exactly the wunderkid that the local talk radio made him out to be. That's not to say I don't like this kid. He's very fast, has soft hands, and can make the plays that have to be done. But like a caller on 98.5 said, "Julien's NOT going to change his entire playoff outlook for a 19-year-old rookie." The flak Julien got from not playing him was absurd. Julien knows what he's doing. He gave Seguin a taste of the professional life, and gave him the shifts that eased his transition into the NHL. Now that Seguins got his feet wet, we'll see if he really is "the next Bobby Orr" (as another 98.5 caller described him....).
Bottom line, this is an extremely deep team, and the city of Boston is hungry for more. With the Cup in the 617, the city's eyes will certainly be watching when the puck drops this fall.