At long last, the trade deadline craziness is over. No more rumors, no more rumblings, no more parody accounts!
With the dust settled, we can take stock of the comings and goings. Ryan Donato and a few draft picks have been sent out of town, while Charlie Coyle, Marcus Johansson and Lee Stempniak have arrived as stretch run reinforcements.
Johansson and Coyle figure to be key pieces in the lineup going forward, while Stempniak figures to be a back-up in case of injury.
So...the Bruins have added two guys who can play both wing and center. What do they do with the lineup going forward?
Leave the fourth line alone
This is probably the easiest decision to make. The Bruins’ fourth line has been anywhere from solid to great for the better part of two months now. Let Noel Acciari, Chris Wagner and Sean Kuraly continue to roll.
If things start to go south, you can rotate in a guy like Karson Kuhlman or Stempniak.
What about the rest?
It still seems like the best fit for Charlie Coyle remains third-line center. Coyle can play wing, sure, but it doesn’t appear to be his strong suit. Based on comments from Wild fans who have watched Coyle’s entire career, he’s far better utilized as a center.
If you want Coyle at 3C, that leaves a few different spots for Johansson. He’s most comfortable playing on the left wing, but could play right if required. There are two logical places to put him: 2LW or 3LW.
If Bruce Cassidy chooses to play Johnasson on David Krejci’s left wing, he would probably slide Jake DeBrusk to the right side.
The problem with that, of course, is that you then have to bump David Pastrnak back up to the first line, making you top heavy. The Bruins, as a team, have more balance to them with Marchand-Bergeron-Heinen followed by DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak.
Sliding DeBrusk to Krejci’s right would make more sense than bumping DeBrusk down to the third line. DeBrusk and Krejci have been good together, with DeBrusk mixing a bit of heaviness with Krejci’s offensive instincts.
The other option for Johansson would be 3LW, setting him up with Coyle and Rotating Right Wing of the Day.
This seems like it’s probably the team’s best option. It allows the B’s to spread the talent out a bit, taking some of the burden off of the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line. You’re essentially leaving two lines completely intact, meaning you only have a third line that needs to gel.
The biggest question, then: who plays 3RW?
It seems like it’s going to be David Backes at this point, as the B’s remain committed to keeping him in the lineup. However, an argument could be made that a guy like Peter Cehlarik would be a better fit. Coyle is a big body, Johansson is a pretty good passer and Cehlarik could be the finisher.
Other guys may end up rotating into that spot as well. Kuhlman could get a look, or the B’s could import another wing from Providence.
So what do the lines look like when fully healthy?
Things won’t look like this tomorrow night, but once David Pastrnak is back, my choice would be:
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Danton Heinen
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - David Pastrnak
Marcus Johansson - Charlie Coyle - David Backes
Chris Wagner - Noel Acciari - Sean Kuraly
I’d actually like to slot Cehlarik in for Backes, but I don’t see that happening.
Thoughts? Build your best lines in the comments!