The Bruins tweeted today that David Krecji took a twirl during the morning skate with his teammates for the first time since his injury. DJ Bean from WEEI is out Krejci with a timely article about David Krejci’s return. He’s certainly easy to disagree with, but this was a well thought piece in my opinion and it is a fascinating discussion for B’s fans. His main contention: Don’t play Krejci with Carl and Loui.
Mike had got into this debate with DJ previously on twitter, suggesting that the Bruins take a look at moving Soderberg to wing with Krejci centering the Swedes. To me, this is an awfully tempting prospect. It keeps the Lucic-Spooner-Pastrnak line together which has seen ups and downs but has been a revelation in a number of ways in the last few weeks. It allows Krejci to play with one of the Bruins hottest forwards, Loui Eriksson, and could shake Carl Soderberg out of his 0-fer-a bit slump. The Bergeron line stays intact (Reilly Smith needs to be careful though because I think I heard Bret Connolly’s music). Greg Campbell might get a non injury related trip to the press box at long last.
Bean isn’t a fan of this plan, and kind of came in hot at those (Mike) who suggested the above combination. I don’t disagree completely with his reasoning for not wanting to do it, but I think it is silly to dismiss it outright so I appreciated him giving it a look in the article and giving it some consideration instead of just scoffing. You should check out the article for yourself and make up your mind, I linked to it above.
Krejci deserves to play with top tier talent, I agree with the author on that. Eriksson has shown, despite his inability to pounce on easy empty net opportunities, he has real skill and he’s been one of Boston’s best players in 2015. I just wouldn’t be so quick to say it is a crazy idea to play Soderberg on the wing. Sure, his vision problem prohibits playing the right side, but playing with Kelly he’s often “wing-ish”. And while it is true that Carl is going through a mighty big slump, law of averages says it has to turn around at some point right? You know he has the skill to play, and he’s doing some of the little things right (check out his screen on the Pastrnak PP goal the other night). It might not be the answer, but it isn’t crazy. If the Bruins maintain their hold on a wild card spot, which they should, they might be able to experiment with some of this stuff. I think this should be given a shot to work.
What else should be considered?
Spitballing here, but Smith and Carl have been underwhelming to say the least. Connolly coming back for the last few games of the regular season could provide some friendly competition. Connolly has 12 goals and in Tampa he struggled to get meaningful minutes. He hasn’t played with top talent and if the team projects him to be a top 6 forward, now is as good a time as any for him to prove it. Could he play on the wing if Loui moves over to the left side to play with Krejci at center? Yep, and the B’s should try this too if they have the luxury of a Connolly return in the regular season. Such a move would bump Soderberg to play on the 4th line potentially, but give Claude the ability to use him on the Power Play if he wants. Kelly Soderberg Talbot is an interesting 4th line. Soderberg in the press box is less appealing to me, even though he’s struggled lately.
The other option is Connolly replacing Smith. Bergeron and Marchand drive possession, and Smith has benefited from this pairing. Connolly has never played with the level of talent on the Bergeron line, and giving that line a right shot right wing that has a bit of a knack for the net could be useful. That means Smith and Soderberg can move up and down the lineup a bit.
Then there’s the Claude adjustment scenario. If something isn’t working mid game, reuniting Lucic with Krejci, putting Eriksson or Pastrnak on the wing. Reuniting the swedes if they are separated. Starting Connolly with the swedes and then moving him up if it looks like Smith has disappeared again.
Who knows what the B’s health situation will look like so all of this could be moot. I just think Lucic-Spooner-Pastrnak together gives the Bruins a new trick in a bag that desperately needed one. David Krejci coming back, even if he’s not fully healthy, will allow the Bruins to become a deeper team. It is a great problem to have. It’s up to Claude to figure out which buttons to push. I just hope he realizes, as I have putting together this blog, how hard it will be to justify putting Gregory Campbell in the lineup as forwards come back from injury.
What do you think the B’s should do? Leave your thoughts in the comments or find us on twitter, @RaysArmyBlog