The Bruins are practicing in new lines. Some, me included, think it is well past due. The previous split had the lines falling into a top six-bottom six split that really wasn’t characteristic of how the Bruins played and won. Last year with Ryder, Horton and Bergeron on three separate lines they split the guys who had at least once scored thirty goals in the NHL. This year with a third line on which Kelly was the highest offensive achiever, Ryder and Recchi departed the talent was compressed.
Tyler Seguin for all his growth isn’t yet ready to be a first line player against NHL competition. On a third line, the way they were constructed to start the season, he was underused and lacking in complimentary offensive talent. As the new look lines are constructed he’d still be playing with Kelly at center and Lucic on the left wing. If Lucic has indeed come out of hibernation he’ll provide a physical presence that can’t be ignored and with Seguin’s speed the two could be just as complimentary if not more than Lucic and Kessel were.
Bergeron and Marchand are still together. I’m not sure if this is pure chemistry or if Bergeron is supposed to smack Marchand in the head when he gets out of line and there is no coach in reach but either way the two will now be skate with the man picked up when Wideman was jettisoned. Nathan Horton’s size is certainly an upgrade to Peverley. While Horton isn’t as speedy as Peverley he’s the highest scoring winger to land on Bergeron’s wing in his career. Bergeron and Horton are two of the top ten scoring forwards from the treasure trove known as the 2003 draft and putting them together could be magic.
David Krejci’s and Rich Peverley split time at center between Pouliot on the left and Caron on the right. Assuming it finally shakes down to Caron-Krejci-Peverley you have Peverley’s top shelf speed, Caron who plays a similar game to Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders and Krejci’s high level passing and solid shooting, when he remembers too. With Pouliot the Bruins have what today looks to be a slightly smaller, slightly faster Byron Bitz. Hard working, reliable within certain parameters, but not the horse you’re gonna ride to the winners circle.
With the new line configurations you get back to something like the balance you had last season. Krejci has a better shot than he is given credit for, mainly because he seems to forget he’s allowed to shoot it. Rich Peverley has not ever played with centers as good as Bergeron and Krejci has still had solid numbers. If management is right and Pouliot can contribute at the level of Peverley or Marchand then he’ll be a great addition to this line, if he can’t he’s on a one year contract and development of Caron and other prospects should take priority.