Bringing back in Michael Ryder could give the Bruins an offensive boost they need.
Thank god the Boston Bruins are good this season. If they came out of the gates playing bad hockey, it would have been more misery for the hockey fans in the region who already endured and suffered through a painful lock-out and missed hockey games. Instead of that, the Bruins have only failed to pick-up points in 2 of their 13 games in 2013 and have 20 points. The Bruins are getting it done right now.
That is all that they are doing, and that could quickly become a problem. Bruins’ fans know that the Bruins are a really good to great hockey team that could potentially win the whole thing. They also know that they are better than certain teams and should win easily against them. It just has yet to happen that way. Sunday night against Winnipeg could have been an opportunity for the Boston Bruins to really show what they could do against one of the lesser teams in the league. Instead they played a tight hockey game that had a “yard-sale” in front of the Boston Bruins net in the final seconds that thankfully did not see the tying goal cross the goal-line. Again, the Bruins simply got it done but it would be nice for the Boston Bruins to really curb-stomp the Jets.
Where the Bruins problems lie is in their ability to put the puck in the back of the net. The Bruins are second in the Eastern Conference in terms of goals-allowed, but they are only twelfth when it comes to scoring them. Compared to the ludicrous goal-differential the Bruins possessed last year, the 2013 Bruins have a meager +7. Blame lack of chemistry considering the extended lockout or whatever, but at the end of the day I don’t believe there is a single Bruins fan who thinks that will get it done, especially when the Bruins play the better teams during a playoff chase.
From my vantage point as an observing fan and moonlighting blogger, I see a couple of moves the Boston Bruins could make - internal and external - that could help jump-start their offense.
1.) The Seguin/Krejci/Lucic line
Tyler Seguin normally plays with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and has for the past year and a half. Part of the reason is because Bergeron’s defensive ability was used to hide Seguin’s lack of said defensive ability, but it also worked because the three had great chemistry. Seguin is a better player now, one that isn’t afraid to get a little dirty and play a little defense from time to time. Patrice Bergeron has taught him well and it will be a reason why Seguin will continue to be great.
The eye-test tells us that Seguin has been playing moderately well, but he pissed off someone upstairs. In 2013 he only has three goals and one of them was an empty net goal. It’s quite amazing the turnaround as Seguin was a player who stayed in shape during the lockout by playing in the Swiss league and scoring 25 goals over there. How he went from that to someone who can’t put the puck in the net is shocking.
There was thought that Seguin’s season momentum could have shifted in the Montreal game when Claude Julien opened the third period with new line-combinations. He shifted Tyler Seguin onto the line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic and they scored two goals in their first two shifts.
Let me say that again. Two shifts; two goals. I don’t know a lot about hockey, but I think that is pretty good.
Clearly something was clicking with that line combination and yet they have rarely gone back to it. Part of the reason might be because when they tried it last year, the Bruins gave up a ton of goals, but this season is different. Lucic and Seguin are both better defenders this season and in the long-run it could work. We know it’s an offensive boost for a team that needs one right now.
2.) Jerome Iginla
Iginla and Ducks forward Bobby Ryan are going to be the most coveted trade-pieces at the trade deadline and with the Ducks recent success, prying Ryan away from Orange County might be very difficult. Enter Iginla, the long-time Calgary Flame forward who just so happens to have an expiring contract. They aren’t as valued as they are in say, the NBA, but it does mean that Calgary would be open to trade talks.
Despite his advanced age (35 years old) Iginla can still be a quality member of the Boston Bruins if the team decided to pull the trigger. He only has 1 goal in 2013, but that could be attributed to his less than stellar supporting cast and team. Bring him into a winning atmosphere, and that can change. He can still score, he did so 35 times in 2012 with the same or similar supporting cast. Let him be centered by a superior puck mover like Bergeron or Krejci and similar numbers could be achieved.
If there is any worry about his will to play hockey anymore, it would be wise to remember that Iginla is getting closer to being one of the next great ones to never hoist the Stanley Cup. Put him on a contender and I would bet on Patrice Bergeron’s head that he would show up to play.
Issue? He will cost a lot. The Flames aren’t going to let him go without a couple of good pieces. My guess is it would cost a combination of Ryan Spooner, Alexander Khokhlachev, and two top draft picks. A lot to give up, but if an opportunity to get one of the best players of a generation on the Bruins to boost their Stanley Cup Contender status, it might have to be done.
3.) Michael Ryder
Ah, Michael Ryder, my old arch nemesis/best friend. If there was ever a player Bruins I said “I take back all the mean things I said about ____” it was Michael Ryder. The former Bruins right-wing and key part of their Stanley Cup championship was a highly enigmatic player, capable of putting together great offensive streaks followed by streaks where motherofgodjustputthepuckinthenetRyderyoupieceof…
Sorry, old habits die hard.
Like Iginla, Ryder is a goal-scorer and also in final year of a contract. Unlike Iginla, Michael Ryder isn’t a greatest player of a generation. He does have one thing that Iginla doesn’t have and that is chemistry and knowledge of the Boston Bruins system. Plugging him back in with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley would be just like old times and certainly would give off some good karma between the 2013 team and the 2011 team. He isn’t nearly as good as Iginla, but he would cost less and might actually be a better fit for the Bruins if Dallas is willing to trade.