The last two home games, the Bruins lost two defensemen in Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara. In addition to names like Seth Griffith and Matt Fraser, Bruins fans are starting to hear names like Zach Trotman, Joseph Morrow, and David Warsofsky quite a lot on the wire.
But if you don't follow the team heavily, you might not know much at all about these young guns from Providence. With each name comes uncertainty and lots of questions. So, we're here to help answer those questions, and provide a little bit more certainty.
To replace Chara and Krug, the Bruins have called up...
Drafted: Boston - 7th Round, 2010 (#210 Overall)
2013-14 AHL Stat line: 8-16-24
Potential: Top 4, NHL
Ceiling/Similar to: Robyn Regehr
Trotman is the most true defensive defenseman of the three. At 6'3", 219, he's instantly one of the largest D-men on the ice. And if all goes right, he's projected to be Johnny Boychuk's replacement starting next year. That's why the Bruins gave him a two-year contract over the summer, which becomes a one-way deal starting next offseason.
Trotman could be "diamond in the rough" material, and will be the surest bet to help the Bruins through this stretch. It's not only why he was ahead of Warsofsky and Morrow in our Top 25 Under 25 series, but why he was called up and started in Chara's absence. Look for Trotman to be paired with either McQuaid or Bartkowski.
Drafted: Pittsburgh - 1st Round, 2011 (#23 Overall)
2013-14 AHL Stat line: 6-23-29
Potential: Top 4, NHL
Ceiling/Similar to: Dennis Wideman
Morrow has been on the doorstep for a couple years now. After being trade from Pittsburgh to Dallas earlier in 2013, he was a definitive piece of the Tyler Seguin trade. But with Smith's training camp, and Fraser having a solid year in the AHL, Morrow fell under the radar for much of his first season in Providence.
In his first season with Providence, Edge of 'Morrow ranked as the No. 2 defenseman in points-per-game (.52), just behind David Warsofsky. He may be a step behind Trotman and even Warsofsky, but Morrow's ceiling and offensive talent is up there with Hamilton and Krug. He struggled to learn the Bruins defense at first, but Don Sweeney says things are looking up for Morrow.
"Where he finished up camp and where he is now is a real good progression. He’s got a much better understanding of how we play, what the systems are, what the responsibilities of D-men are, where his strengths are going to apply — using his skating ability, getting up ice but defending... Joe’s shown that he’s able to get through the neutral zone, making real good plays as he’s approaching the offensive blue line. On the power play, his shot is very good. There’s a good two-way component there."
Drafted: St. Louis - 2008, 4th Round (#95 Overall)
2013-14 AHL Stat line: 6-26-32
Potential: Top 6, NHL
Ceiling/Similar to: Torey Krug
The Bruins lost an undersized offensive defenseman on Tuesday night. But luckily, they have tiny puck-movers elsewhere in the system. That's where David Warsofsky comes in. The Marshfield native and BU alum came to the Bruins in the deal that sent Vladimir Sobotka to the Blues, and he's had a few consistent years in Providence.
SkyWars was surpassed by Hamilton and Krug due to pure talent, but did get his first crack at the NHL last season. Wars posted 1G and 1A in six games played, and didn't look shaky in his limited time. He might not crack the lineup initially with Morrow ahead of him, but he'll potentially be used as the power play QB in Krug's absence at least a couple times over the next few weeks.
Look for Warsofsky to skate on the 3rd pairing with either Bartkowski or Morrow.