The Boston Bruins are coming off their Stanley Cup run, and through it all their philosophy remained “defense first.” With Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg leading the way, it was the Bruins’ defense that led them to their Cup win.
Most of their defense looks to return next season, with Tomas Kaberle their only free agent defenseman. Kaberle was viewed as a disappointment, not improving their weak power play and as a whole not contributing all too much. He became a Dennis Wideman-like scapegoat, called “soft” amongst other things even worse. Much of his ice time came during the power play, and so he didn’t offer much defensively.
Kaberle will likely not be back in black and gold last season. The Bruins were shopping his rights the other day, a sign they are no longer interested in his services. Steven Kampfer could be a candidate to step in, as he played 38 games last season, but there may be some free agent options they like.
James Wisniewski’s rights were traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and he has until Friday before their exclusive negotiations rights are up. Wisniewski is what the Bruins might have thought Kaberle was going to be. At 27 years old, he has enough experience and youth to help this Boston squad. He can move the puck around and would be great on the power play point with Chara. He is also capable of penalty killing and playing five-on-five defense very well.
A tough player, Wisniewski doesn’t back down and he seems like a perfect fit with Boston to me. He has 148 career points in his career with Montreal, Chicago, the New York Islanders and Anaheim. In 2010-11 before being traded to the Canadiens, he was a career low minus-18. His highest career plus/minus was with Anaheim in 07-08, in which he was a plus-12.
The Bruins might also like Christian Ehrhoff, but to me, Wisniewski seems like a good fit. He can play in all areas of a defenseman, and he would really solidify the Boston defense even more. I can see him signing with Boston this Friday as their biggest splash.