Mar 22, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Greg Zanon (6) warms up before the game against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion. San Jose defeated Boston 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE
When (or maybe if) historians look back at the 2011-12 Boston Bruins season, they'll probably overlook some of the guys who donned Black and Gold. Mike Mottau and Marty Turco - late-season acquisitions made in the name of depth - probably won't get much respect, but then again, neither will Nathan Horton or Adam McQuaid, names who should have played bigger roles in the team's success but due to various injuries were unable to.
Greg Zanon doesn't really fit into either of those categories, but he probably still isn't going to get more than a sentence or two in the team's yearbook.
When the Bruins acquired Zanon in a trade with Minnesota for an incensed Steven Kampfer, it was expected that he'd play the role that many hoped Mark Stuart would while in Boston - tough, gritty second-pairing defenseman, only one who was more than willing to block shots. This, of course, would prove vital in Boston's attempt to return to the apex of the NHL and to again hoist the Stanley Cup.
However, none of these things really happened. In 17 games in a Bruins sweater, the 2000 fifth-round pick of the Ottawa Senators was completely underwhelming, averaging 15:54 TOI during the regular season and 13:43 during the Bruins' disheartening Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Washington Capitals.
But more than that, his blocked shot averages (which the NHL doesn't actually track, making this analysis just a wee bit harder than anyone would hope) were nowhere near what anyone had hoped for. Sure, the limited minutes didn't help, and lack of regular playing time wasn't ideal, either, but that fact is that the Bruins brought Zanon in to do one thing and he struggled to do it.
Handfuls will look back on the 2011-12 season and see it as a bust, in part because of the season before, in part because expectations were so high and in part because trap hockey is just plain terrible, but they won't point to Zanon as the reason. That will be mostly because history doesn't care much for guys who play minor roles on teams that make a first-round playoff exit and then move on to another franchise, but it's not like Zanon did anything to help his cause.