Unless you have been living under a rock, you are keenly aware that the Boston Bruins have been decimated by injuries early and often this season. Thankfully, the Bruins are close to returning to full strength, and with that comes some difficult decisions for Don Sweeney and Bruce Cassidy’s coaching staff.
Anders Bjork and David Krejci will travel with the team and are possibilities to play tomorrow in Philadelphia. Jake DeBrusk has been ruled out. #NHLBruins— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 1, 2017
Per the team, Adam McQuaid (Broken Leg), David Krejci (Back), Jake DeBrusk (Upper Body) and Anders Bjork (Undisclosed) are all close to returning to the lineup in the next week or two (McQuaid).
Jake DeBrusk and Adam McQuaid are the early skaters this morning at Warrior Ice Arena. #NHLBruins— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 1, 2017
With that in mind, let’s do a little armchair managing and discuss what you, as fans, think is the ideal Bruins roster when fully healthy. For discussions sake I have included below what I personally think the Bruins SHOULD do, not necessarily what they WILL do. When the lines are balanced this way, the Bruins would theoretically have scoring options throughout the top three lines, while allowing the fourth line to settle into a more traditional grinding/defensive role similar to the “Merlot Line” under Claude Julien’s Bruins of years past.
For forward injuries, Peter Cehlarik would be my first call up (when healed) and arguably should already be playing over Vatrano at this point. The fact that Vatrano is not waiver eligible, while Cehlarik and other prospects are, is likely the main reason Frank Vatrano is still on the Bruin’s NHL roster.
If the Bruins can get a return for Vatrano, I wouldn’t hesitate to trade him as I think he has quickly fallen down the depth chart with the recent influx of young forward talent. Honestly, he could probably use a fresh start in another program that will give him ample ice time and offensive usage to compliment his high shot volume playing style.
On defense, the Bruins would keep Matt Grzelcyk as the 7th defenseman, as he can be swapped in for McQuaid based on match up or roster construction i.e. 6 or 7 defensemen. If Grzelcyk struggles, Rob O’Gara is available down in Providence, along with other top prospects like Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon.
In this scenario, Matt Beleskey is put on waivers to the AHL and likely clears due to his contract. If he doesn’t clear, the Bruins rid themselves of a contract that looks worse with each passing game. Additionally, Paul Postma would be traded for a low draft pick or waived to Providence, should he clear. The thought process behind this is that the Bruins are better off developing Matt Grzelcyk or Rob O’Gara over the 28 year old, soon to be UFA Postma, who almost certainly won’t be back in Black and Gold after a thus-far underwhelming season.
So what do you think, should the Bruins roll with the established players like Beleskey, McQuaid and Co.? Or should they commit to the blossoming youth movement and move away from some of the under-performing veteran players? Let us know your ideal roster in the comments below!