Thursday, June 17, 2010

Boston Bruins: Who's in and who's out

With Dennis Seidenberg and Shawn Thornton recently locked up for the next couple years, it's time to step back and look at who else should be back in Black and Gold next year. With 18 players already signed and just over 4.3 million left in cap space, there is not much room to fill holes. The likes of Rechhi, Begin, Satan and Boychuk headline the most notable unrestricted free agents as of July 1. Restricted free agents Wheeler, Stuart, Paille, Sobotka, McQuaid and Bodnarchuk are also big players moving forward.

But who stays and who goes?

As Mark Recchi continues to age, he continues to produce solid numbers and brings hard work to the line-up every night. His experience is a strong trait to a team that consists of many inexperienced players. His strong playoff performance (10 points in 13 games) also is a great reason to bring back the former cup winner.

Steve Begin was no doubt a top tier penalty killer and added some solid sandpaper to the line-up. Another great worker that wasn't afraid to drop the gloves either. He proved to be a great enforcer that knew his role well within the team.

Miro Satan was another solid performer in the Bruins playoff run, gathering 10 points as well. His chemistry with David Krejci was very noticeable and after Krejci went down to injury, so did Satan's productivity. Less than half a season isn't enough to prove what he can really bring to the table. His track record in Pittsburgh won't support him either. Although he seemed to be a great fit for the stretch run, is he really part of this team moving forward?

Johnny Boychuk really came through at the end of the season and proved to be a very important piece to the defence. His 15 points in just 56 regular season games and 6 playoff points also can't go unnoticed. He logged minutes in the high 20s often in the playoffs and really came through with solid defensive play. His hitting ability wasn't too shabby either. No doubt he would be great to have back, but he will certainly be looking for a raise from his 0.5 million he earned last season.

The collection of restricted free agents will be of concern as well. Wheeler has great size and speed, but should really have produced more last season. Mark Stuart proved he was solid when in the line-up, however keeping him off the injured list seemed a bit of a challenge. Paille had great speed and penalty killing abilities but bringing him back good prove difficult and Sobotka is still waiting for a breakout season. McQuaid and Bodnarchuk should really soon be able to make that next step up as well.

Who do you think Chiarelli should bring back?

With limited cap space, only some of these Bruins will be able to remain Bruins. GM Chiarelli will have work to do and spaces to fill. Trades may also be looked at to free up room to sign as many as the above as possible. However, it is likely that Bruins Nation may be more focused on the Draft than anything. Holding two first round picks can really stir up a lot of options. It will be very interesting to see what he decides to do with those two picks, if he opts to hold them both. However, with the Bruins depth down the middle, it seems like they would prefer Taylor over Tyler. Either way, all there is to do is sit back as the deadlines near and see who's in and who's out for next year.


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