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What does the Bruins’ defense look like with Torey Krug’s injury?

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There are plenty of question marks now that Krug is on the shelf.

Boston Bruins v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Four Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

When the Bruins announced on Monday that Torey Krug would be out for the next few weeks, it threw a wrench into the Bruins’ blue line plans.

Prior to Krug’s injury, the Bruins were in a pretty decent position: they had eight NHL defensemen on the roster, nine if you include potential NHLer Urho Vaakanainen.

However, the Bruins now find themselves down at least one, maybe two, NHLers, and will potentially be forced to ice some unorthodox pairings before the season really gets going.

Right now, the Bruins are dealing with two injuries:

  • Krug is out for at least three weeks with an ankle injury
  • Matt Grzelcyk is nursing an injury of some kind, and was wearing a non-contact jersey at practice on Monday

One of those injuries is obvious more serious than the other, but Grzelcyk being in or out actually plays a pretty big role in how things will look on Wednesday night.

The Bruins’ roster is currently split right shot/left shot. Zdeno Chara, Matt Grzelcyk, John Moore and Urho Vaakanainen all shoot from the left, while Brandon Carlo, Steven Kampfer, Charlie McAvoy and Kevan Miller all shoot from the right.

Remember a couple weeks ago when the Bruins traded Adam McQuaid for Kampfer, and we all thought, “meh, he’ll be an AHL guy, no big deal.”

About that...

If Grzelcyk isn’t ready on Wednesday

It’ll either be Kampfer making his regular season Bruins return or Vaakanainen making his NHL debut. No big deal, it’s just the defending Stanley Cup Champions on the road.

Here’s what we’d probably see.

Chara - McAvoy

Moore - Carlo

Vaakanainen - Miller

That third pairing is where the question marks appear. I give Vaakanainen the slight edge for two reasons: the Bruins clearly liked what they saw from him in camp, and he’s a natural left shot. Playing Kampfer with Kevan Miller would require one of them to play on his off side.

If Grzelcyk is ready on Wednesday

If the Charlestown kid can go, the question marks aren’t nearly as big.

Chara - McAvoy

Moore - Carlo

Grzeclyk - Miller

Regardless of the camp Vaakanainen had, it’d be hard to see the Bruins pulling out Grzelcyk, unless they have legitimate questions about his health. However, the pairings above assume Grzelcyk is 100%.

I’m as high on Vaakanainen as anyone, but it’d be tough to justify swapping out a healthy Grzelcyk, who is coming off a solid, “prove it” type season, for a teenager in an emotionally charged game like the season opener.


What would you like to see? Things are pretty clear if Grzelcyk is ready, but if he’s not, where would you like to see them go with that third pairing?