|2013-2014 Regular Season
|NHL Career Totals
*5 v. 5 strength
Here we are again, discussing the value of Jordan Caron as an NHL forward which seems like exactly where we were this time last year. Caron's Entry-Level contract was expiring and it was expected that the 6'2 Quebec native would be cut loose by the Bruins. But, a 1-year $640K contract offer to the RFA Caron earned him a reprieve, and he was given another real chance to prove himself on Boston's 3rd line, intially skating on the LW alongside Chris Kelly and Reilly Smith, then moving to RW when Carl Soderberg joined that line. A lot was riding on Caron having a productive start to the season, as we noted in last year's report card how Caron was coming off his worst performance in the pros in the previous lockout-shortened season.
Caron squandered his opportunity, where his main competition for playing time became Reilly Smith. While Caron ended the season with an TOI/G of 10:55, his October TOI/G was roughly 12:30. He had a real chance to showcase his talents, and produced 1 goal in 9 games in October. Unfortunately for Caron, Reilly Smith was making a much bigger impression with the Bruins, and as Loui Eriksson went down with his first concussion, Smith, not Caron, earned the promotion to the 2nd line. Caron would find himself out of the lineup completely after both Soderberg and Eriksson would return from injury, playing in just 2 games in the month of November.
It was a telling sign when Eriksson suffered his 2nd concussion, Shawn Thornton was suspended, and Providence players Ryan Spooner and Nick Johnson were called up to the varsity B's. Caron would work his way back into the lineup out of sheer necessity, but would mainly see action on the 4th line. In 12 games from December 8th to January 2nd, he registered less than 11:00 of ice time 9 of 12 times, posting a scoring line of 0-0-0 and a -2.
Caron's last stretch of consistent play came in April, as the Bruins began to rest players in preparation for their playoff run. He found his way into the final 7 games of the season, with the Bruins going 2-2-3 in that stretch and Caron averaging roughly 11:30 in TOI/G, registering 1 assist with a -3.
The only reason Caron doesn't get an F from me is based on the little amount of noise he made during the playoffs. With the plethora of talent the Bruins currently have in their lineup, plus players like Matt Fraser and Ryan Spooner knocking on the door seems to make Jordan Caron very expendable. The only way I can see Caron sticking around this team is if they choose him to be a skill-upgrade to Shawn Thornton on the 4th line (which isn't saying much). There are two problems with that scenario, however. First, Jordan Caron doesn't look like he is a competent fighter. When examining hockeyfights.com, we find Caron only has 2 career NHL fights, neither of them showing him looking like the kind of pugilist necessary to hold his own against the competition he'd likely be facing. While I know fighting is supposedly a dying art in the NHL, the fact remains that it's still a part of the game today, and it seems hard to imagine a franchise like the Bruins completely forsaking that aspect of the game. The second issue is Caron's defensive skills. While he registered a better Corsi For % than any player on the Merlot line during the regular season, he played in half the games of players like Paille and Campbell. Has Caron's defensive abilities been adequately demonstrated to warrant a place in Claude's system?
All that being said, I don't see how the Bruins hold on to this guy. What do y'all think?