The Bruins have looked like, well, the Bruins for the past month, and it's calmed everyone in New England down just a tad. Which is nice, because my doctor says that stress increases cholesterol, in-turn raising the risk for heart disease. So, when the Bruins are playing well, we're less likely to croak.
No pressure, guys.
Even with a recent boost in play, our local heroes only sit 5 points ahead of Florida for the Eastern Conference's second, and final, wild-card spot. They trail those slimy bastards from Montreal by 6 points for third in the Atlantic Division and that gaps not going to shrink unless something is done to sure up the Bruins lack of a true middle defense pairing.
As it stands right now, there's not a chance in hell the Bruins can make a deep playoff run with Adam McQuaid to the right of Dennis Seidenberg on Boston's second pairing. Seidenberg, who eats a boatload of 5-on-5 defensive-zone starts (36.4% - first on the Bruins and 3.6% higher than second place Dougie Hamilton), owns a 49.0 5v5 CF% and a team-high 54.33 CA/60. His numbers aren't impressive, really, but he eats minutes and does so in a relatively effective manner.
Seidenberg's 937:37 TOI in 5v5 situations leads the team, again, a respectable trait in a number 4 defenseman. The dilemma is finding someone who can elevate Seidenberg to more than just a "well, it's the best we can do right now" type of player. The native of Germany found success playing alongside Hamilton, a budding superstar, posting a 53.8 CF% in 277:21 minutes together at even strength. What's intriguing is that apart from Hamilton, Seidenberg's CF% drops to 47.2, though his CA/60 rises minimally from 53.22 (with Hamilton) to 54.56 (without Lord Douglas). It's the offensive production that suffers, clearly, when Dennis is moved from a capable puck-mover to, at best, a competent third-pairing stay at home defensemen from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
It'll be tough to find a player with the skill level that Hamilton has grown into, but there are a few options available, that in theory, could elevate Seidenberg back into "wow, this guys playing pretty good" territory.
Jeff Petry is Edmonton's minutes-eater, and his value is attractive due to his ability to play positive possession minutes (50.1 CF%) on a team that resembles the Titanic, after it split in half - like right around the time people went sliding down the deck and into the ocean. The cinematography during that scene was pretty impressive for a movie made in 1999, or at least I think so.
Any who, Petry's $3.075 million cap hit is more than the Bruins can handle without shipping a roster player out of town, and given Edmonton's penchant for having the intellect of a cardboard box, they'd probably take on a contract of say, McQuaid, Kevan Miller or Gregory Campbell. The latter two being the most preferred, but I have a gut feeling Boston values Miller higher than McQuaid and that makes me want to go in a shed and scream. But I digress.
Carolina's Andrej Sekera, a Slovakian who has a big fan in our very own Chris Abraham, has posted solid numbers on, again, a pretty horrendous team (52.1 CF%, 33.3 DZFO%). An unrestricted free agent after the year, Sekera only has a $1.75 million cap hit this year, so he's financially viable if the Bruins decide to keep their current roster intact. If you really want to get daring, his low salary would make it easier if Peter Chiarelli wanted to get all wild with his bad self and look for a top-six winger as well. And if that happens, watch out, because people will still complain about everything this team has ever done.
These two should be the primary targets - considering Keith Yandle's financial impact would create more havoc than need be - although, if Peter's efforts fall flat for the latter, New Jersey's Marek Zidlicky wouldn't be the worst idea in the world. At 38, Zidlicky's significantly older than the other two targets, but he's from Europe so him and Dennis could have some nice chats about frankfurters and lederhosen or whatever.
Zidlicky brings with him a $3 million cap hit and an offensive game that hasn't flat-lined much with age (4-17-21 in 51 games), so, uh, hooray! Plus, Chiarelli really likes the whole "acquiring old guys" shtick, so it fills that void as well.
They'll probably branch out and grab someone who we don't expect - which usually is the case, but whatever, I was bored and felt like writing something. They need another good defenseman should be the main point you get out of this.
Okay, this over now, bye. Go read a book or watch Taken 2. It's your life, make your own decisions.