After months of speculation, it appears that the Bruins made the moves that we all wanted: Matt Fraser and Ryan Spooner will be on the opening night roster. Peter Chiarelli announced today that the B’s will put the now former Providence teammates on the roster together, finally ending the question of whether or not the Bruins would forgo their concerns about having too many centers and simply decide that talent should win out.
The decision seemed to be far easier with Fraser, as it should have been. They need more wings, and Fraser was the best 3rd line left wing in the playoffs last year, performing better than both Jordan Caron and Justin Florek. He’s already 24, so they should get him on the roster sooner rather than later, and he can play on both the left and right.
Spooner would be an easy call for just about any other team. Hell, there’s a chance that he could be the second line center for the Blackhawks if they hadn’t signed Richards. (I’m not saying that he’s better than Andrew Shaw or Marcus Kruger, but his speed might match better with Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane.) But Peter Chiarelli made the right move here by making sure that Spooner and all his talent makes the roster, because the only place that someone like Spoons will really grow is at the NHL level.
Another piece news today is that Bobby Robins will make the roster, because the Bruins simply must have a over 30s guy who can’t skate but can fight at the 4RW spot. Despite that last sentence, I don’t hate that move – until Gregory Campbell is back. Because the final man on the roster is clearly just a placeholder, I have no problem having a guy who won’t be a locker room concern and with whom you don’t have to worry about chemistry or rustiness. Frankly, as long as Robins is serviceable, who cares if he isn’t anything more than that?
Finally, David Patstrnak will play in the AHL this year down in Providence, and it seems like he may have chosen to play in Rhode Island over Sweden. Good news all around. He shouldn’t be on the opening night roster by any means, but he’ll get seasoning in an American professional league as opposed to killing it in juniors for another year like he already has anyway.
So, what to do with the lines. Well, let’s start with the fact that David Krejci might miss the first game or 2, although it doesn’t seem to be serious. And since Campbell’s out, the B’s are down to 4 centers, which might be part of the reason that Spooner made the team. For the first night, I’d slide Soderberg up to the first line, put him with Eriksson because they excelled together last year, and then make sure that Spooner and Fraser play together. Here would be my lines against the Flyers tomorrow:
When Krejci and Campbell are back, here’s what I’d do
The B’s could also decide to stack the 3rd line and make the 4th a lot worse, kind of like what they did when Paille replaced Fraser at some points in the playoffs last year.
First 2 lines the same
25-51-11, or Campbell and Spooner could be swapped.
The point is, the Bruins have options. That’s what tends to happen when you have 6 capable centers. And let’s be happy that Chiarelli made the right moves with the forwards, even if he didn’t on defense with Boychuk. Well, there’s always the trade deadline.