We have almost reached the mid-way point of this 48-game NHL season. The Boston Bruins have played 22 games and have posted a record of 16-3-3. Even though they are among several teams who have played the fewest games in the league, the sample size of games is enough to make a fair judgment of the team.
Members of the media, “die-hard” fans, and even casual fans have pointed out the struggles of the third line this season. This trio has been mostly comprised of Chris Kelly flanked by Rich Peverley and Chris Bourque.
There is no need to keep beating the situation into oblivion, but they have played way below expectations. Kelly, who is coming off of his only 20-goal season of his career, has just six points in 22 games this season. As for the wingers, Peverley and Bourque only have four goals and seven assists combined.
As a third line, especially on this team, the offensive numbers will not jump off the page. They are normally known for their defensive capabilities and solid play in the neutral zone. That, however, has not been the case either as those three players are a combined minus-20.
Bourque has since cleared waivers and has been assigned to the Providence Bruins.
The lack of contribution from this line has prevented head coach Claude Julien from rolling all four lines on a consistent basis, which is something that he likes to do.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli must look at all of his options in order to improve this team. Sure, they have the cap space to go out and sign a player or make a trade. If he decides to handle the matter internally, the answer could already be in the system.
This time last month, the solution could have been Jordan Caron. After suffering an injury prior to the preseason, he was sent to Providence to get his game back. In 44 games played, he only posted 10 goals and five assists. He was recently called up by the big club and skated in his first NHL game this season on Saturday, in which he recorded an assist.
If they are not willing to go after someone with a scoring punch, then they must turn to Lane MacDermid.
The former AHL enforcer has been with the Bruins since the beginning of the regular season. Prior to the lockout ending, he skated in 37 games for the P-Bruins in which he recorded four goals, two assists and 82 penalty minutes.
The 6’3”, 205 pound winger will certainly give the Bruins some much-needed energy and he has shown that in the three games that he has played with the Black and Gold this season. He should skate on the fourth line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.
Daniel Paille, who normally skates on the fourth line, should get the bump up to the third line. He would provide the toughness along the boards and goal-scoring touch.
As of right now, inserting MacDermid into the lineup permanently is the logical solution for a problem that could possibly be solved within the organization. He could benefit by being a regular skater instead of being a healthy scratch and only used if a particular game calls for some muscle.
The B’s also have Jay Pandolfo. He certainly provides some experience, but that is not what the Bruins need. They would like a spark of energy in the form of youth and MacDermid would be responsible for that.
One last option is Carl Soderberg. A report surfaced on Thursday that the 27-year-old forward would join the Bruins after the Swedish Elite playoffs. Soderberg, who led the SEL in scoring, does not need to pass through waivers since he is already property of the Bruins.
In sum, there are a plethora of options available to the Bruins. Let us see how it all unfolds.