Competition Heats Up as Bruins Contend for Third Defensive Pairing

Published September 7, 2023 at 3:48
The Boston Bruins are gearing up for the 2023-24 season, which comes after a significant offseason transformation. The departure of key players, including Bergeron, Krejci, Hall, Foligno, Clifton, Bertuzzi, Hathaway, and Orlov, has reshaped the team's roster. While the Bruins have worked diligently to remain competitive this season, they're also planning for a more substantial overhaul in 2024, aligning with a more favorable salary cap.

Amidst these changes, defining player roles within the Bruins' roster is a complex task. While much attention has been on the forwards, the focus on the defensive pairings has been somewhat understated.

The Bruins' top four defensemen, consisting of Charlie McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Carlo, and Matt Grzelcyk, are among the NHL's elite, which explains the limited discussion about the blue line. However, it's crucial to highlight the Bruins' third defensive pairing.

Connor Clifton's departure to the Buffalo Sabres left a significant void in the Bruins' blue line. Clifton, who signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Sabres, had an impressive 2022-23 season, setting career highs in various categories.

In response, the Bruins signed Kevin Shattenkirk to a one-year, $1.05 million deal, potentially filling Clifton's shoes. Shattenkirk, a seasoned defender, had a solid season last year.

The Bruins have several other options for their third defensive pairing, including Jakub Zboril, Ian Mitchell, Reilly Walsh, and Mason Lohrei. Each brings unique qualities, creating competition during training camp.

Coach Jim Montgomery faces the challenge of experimenting and finding the right combination throughout the season, as the Bruins' third defensive pairing presents an intriguing puzzle with multiple contenders vying for spots.

As seen on: Thehockeywriters
September 7   |   105 answers
Competition Heats Up as Bruins Contend for Third Defensive Pairing

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