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2021 Player Grades: Jeremy Lauzon is all that he was: aggressive, truculent...and depth.

I think this one’s gonna be a tough pill to swallow

New York Islanders v Boston Bruins - Game Two Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

SCOC Grade: 7

Reader Grade: 6.6

I’m gonna be real with you, I personally did not give Lauzon that high of a grade. But I completely get why he did get the grades he did from our staff and from fans.

Which kind of stinks that there feels like a discrepancy, because from eye test alone Jeremy Lauzon plays the kind of game that fans, especially Boston fans, really like, especially from defensemen of his size and caliber.

He’s an aggressive, physical, do-or-die kind of player that anybody can easily get behind. The kind of player who embodies every positive stereotype of the sport regarding defense: will throw down for his fellow Bruins, can throw a massive hit when necessary, and will try his damnedest to keep the puck out of his own end.

Combine that with some generally quite strong penalty killing acumen, Jeremy Lauzon’s season was often a series of fun highlights emphasized by a big hit.

In a world now bereft of Kevan Miller, Lauzon was perfectly poised to take his place as the grit and sandpaper defenseman a fan would absolutely adore.

But all of this is tempered by the fact that, for much of the season, he got to play with the best defender on the team.

And yes, he didn’t escape the injury plague that ran through the B’s defense whatsoever, losing significant time battling a chronic hand injury in the late part of the season. But even when he was healthy, the fact remains that when he was away from McAvoy, and even some times when he was with Charlie McAvoy...problems emerged. Like the fact he was way, way too easy to turnstile by opposing forwards. Like he sometimes lost who he was covering and ended up watching the puck over and over again. Or got suspended thanks to the ever-consistent inconsistency of DoPS. Or that for all his physical traits, he’d sometimes make mental mistakes that would cost the Bruins big time like awful turnovers or poorly timed self-passes.

Indeed, for all of Lauzon’s great strengths, many of them seemed to only come when he was able to have Charlie McAvoy to fall back on.

In the playoffs, all the little things that sometimes made Lauzon a bit tougher to say he deserved more minutes, all the little eccentricities and issues that showed he was still maybe a work in progress boiled to the surface like a vat of toxic sludge. His ability to drive play and keep the enemy out of his own end was significantly diminished.

He didn’t just have a bad playoffs, he was an outright liability.

And he was bad enough that somehow, all of what I just said, all of the caveats and clear mistakes, and all of the bad playoff games somehow washed off his body just in time for the expansion draft and fans began to love him all over again when the prospect of losing him appeared and ultimately came to pass.

While many already miss him (though frequently his physical dimensions are the part people seem to miss the most), I don’t think in the long term it’s really that big a loss. Lauzon definitely brought that edge that so many Bruins fans adore, but given how replaceable he often ended up in certain games (and by a certain point in the season, he was) and then his playoff performances?

I think we can begin to accept the idea that Lauzon was a fun player, but ultimately a guy for whom a long Bruins career was not in the cards.

It does stink that he was taken for nothing given how many teams decided to grit themselves up, but I think that given the opportunity, he’ll be given a chance to prove he was more than just a penalty killer that got to play with Charlie McAvoy. Or he’ll just be depth.

In the end, I think fans will be able to survive without him.