Bruins defensive corp
Despite fans clamoring for one of those fabled puck moving defenseman, the
is certainly a strong point. Unless one of the "bubble" players blows away management during training camp the Bruins top six will likely include Captain Zdeno Chara (duh), Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny "Destroy of Worlds" Boychuk, Mark Stuart, Matt Hunwick (looking less likely) and unfortunately Andrew Ference. Hey, five out of six ain't bad. Let's explore.
Last year: Chara had a "down" year by his standards, but 98% of the Bruins did. He dealt with a dislocated pinky all season, an injury that affected his ability to drop the gloves and defend teammates and likely affected his booming slap shot.
He scored 44 points, his second lowest point total since coming to the Bruins but certainly not bad. He had just seven goals, down from the 19 his scored during his Norris winning campaign. He fired off 242 shots, but held an accuracy rate as low as Ference's games played rate (2.9%).
In the playoffs the Captain scored seven points in 13 games and upped his shooting percentage to 5.9%, perhaps a result of his pinky feeling a bit better. As usual he was rock solid in both the regular season and playoffs and still remains one of, if not the, most feared defenders in the league.
Role: We're expecting a big season out of Chara. Norris level again. Not exactly a bold prediction, but like many of his Bruins teammates Chara seems extra motivated. We loved that he showed up for a voluntary Captain's practice to lead his troops. He had to leave for a day to go to LA for another nude photo shoot.... ah, Easton hockey shoot but then came right back.
He'll still be the Bruins shutdown defender, working his magic at even strength, on the powerplay and the penalty kill. He'll dominate physically and should be back to his fiesty self. A lot of the leagues agitators knew Chara couldn't fight back within the rules of the league without suspension (when he had his splint on his finger) and certainly took advantage. His problems behind him, we expect Chara to put the fear back in his opponents.
Seems like he wants hockey to start right now. Like... this season. We're expecting better powerplay numbers and better accuracy, and as a result more goals for the big man. He will likely be paired with Seidenberg but also showed great chemistry with Boychuk in the playoffs. The Bruins slogan last year was Big and Bad are Back. We have a feeling that this year Chara will personally live up to that slogan.
Patrice Purrgeron says: Chara will break you.
After the jump, we look at the rest of the Bruins D-men...