Unlike the past few seasons, Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli decided to shake up the organizationís group of forwards.
By now, you know the stories of why Tyler Seguin resides in Dallas, how Tuukka Rask landed a monster contract this off season and why it was necessary for the club to say goodbye to Andrew Ference. As the NHL Free Agent frenzy nears a conclusion, weíll take a look at the transactions Chiarelli made this off-season and let you know if the Bruins won or lost in each transaction.
Arrival: Loui Eriksson (LW/RW)
Departure: Tyler Seguin (RW/C)
Seguinís skill set never really meshed with Claude Julienís defensive-minded system and a departure of Seguin will help both player and organizations involved in the deal. Even though Seguinís potential impact in Dallas still makes a verdict on this deal a mystery, in the short term, Chiarelli made a brilliant deal. Throughout his career, Seguin would often carry the puck into the offensive zone and flick a shoddy wrist shot on goal.
In Eriksson, the Bruins instantly upgrade in all three phases of the game (offense, defense and special teams). Comparing the two from a statistical standpoint, youíll notice similar totals, but unlike Seguin, Eriksson is an elite, polished player in his prime right now.
Win for the Bruins: Yes Seguin will put up tremendous numbers in Dallas, but Eriksson is a more complete player and will fit in better with the Bruins system than Seguin did.
Arrival: Jarome Iginla (RW)
Departure: Nathan Horton (RW)
Youíd be hard pressed to find a more clutch player than Horton during his three-year reign in Boston. Hortonís value to the Bruins was especially important during the postseason, led by six game-winning-goals and 36 points in 43 games played. Nonetheless, Horton decided it was time to move on and signed a lucrative contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
When the news struck of Horton leaving, many expected Chiarelli to search for a low-cost veteran option due to a lowered salary cap. This time, Chiarelli had the interest of Jarome Iginla and inked the decorated Olympian to an incentive-laden, one-year contract. In Iginla, the Bruins receive the ideal replacement for Horton, who will quickly find a rhythm within Julienís system.
As Jaromir Jagr once said,ďThey always said, ĎYouíve got to drive to the net,í and now I understand why they were saying that, and I never really drive to the net, now I know why,Ē and Iginla has an inept ability to wreak havoc in front of opposing nets.
Loss for the Bruins: Iginla is a great player, no doubt, but Horton was as clutch as they came during his tenure in Boston. Itís hard to find guys who can score big goals like Horton did for the Bruins. He surely will be missed.
Arrival: Chad Johnson (G) or Niklas Svedberg (G)
Departure: Anton Khudobin
After not getting an opportunity to showcase his talents in Minnesota and Boston over the previous three seasons, Khudobin excelled in the role of backup goaltender in 2013 with the Bruins. Khudobin knew his playing time would be limited with Boston and departed, without a raise, to Carolina. Chiarelli quickly signed 27-year-old Chad Johnson, who is expected to compete with Niklas Svedberg in camp, who excelled with the Providence Bruins in his first season in North America in 2012-13. Itís important to remember Johnson saves the Bruins in cap space, compared to Khudobin, and that Tuukka Rask will get 75-80 percent of the starts between the pipes.
Push for the Bruins: This is a tough one to judge, for now. Khudobin was the perfect backup to Rask. As of now the backup job is Johnsonís to lose, but donít be surprised if Svedberg edges Johnson for the spot.
Arrival: Torey Krug (D) and Matt Bartkowski (D)
Departure: Andrew Ference (D)
With a plethora of young defensemen ready for NHL action, the Bruins had no choice but to part ways with Assistant Captain Andrew Ference, who first arrived in Boston during the 2006-2007 season. After a successful rookie campaign, Dougie Hamilton will receive a bump in playing time, while playoff sensations Krug and Bartkowski battle for the final spot on the blueline. Even though the Bruins lose the presence of a locker room leader in Ference, the skill sets of Krug and Bartkowski are in upgrade over Ferenceís.
Win for the Bruins: Krug and Bartkowski showed the Bruins some serious potential in last seasonsí playoffs. It should be fun watching these two young defensemen over the next several years.
Arrival: Carl Soderberg (LW/RW)
Departure: Jaromir Jagr (RW)
After striking out on Iginla, Chiarelli turned to Jagr to help resurrect an offense that was having issues finding the back of the net. In 11 regular season games, the future hall-of-famer tallied two goals and nine points, including two power play points. In the playoffs, Jagr showed he still inhibited the necessary skill to continue his playing career, but failing to register a goal in 22 playoff games cemented all possibilities of a return to Boston.
Win for the Bruins The cap flexibility and Jagr's playoff performance is what gives the edge to the Bruins going with Soderberg.
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