Yesterday, the Bruins cut four guys. John Bishop right now
has it on his blog that Vladimir Sobotka has been assigned to Providence, making it five. This one took me by surprise because Sobotka ended last season on a high note and had a great preseason. Bishop also mentioned that Nate Thompson was claimed off waivers by Scott Gordon and the New York Islanders. Peter Chiarelli must have foreseen this. Thompson was Gordon's captain last season in Providence.
Anyway, I'm happy with the Bruins current 22. Tomorrow night is the first game of the season, and it looks as if Axelsson-Savard-Ryder
will be the top line. This line should produce. Savard is a great playmaker, and Ryder is a great finishers. I know we all thought that about Murray, but Ryder is younger and in better shape. Ryder should rebound from last season and be a major contributor. Meanwhile Axelsson is a tremendous two way player. Axelsson's defensive minded attack will allow Savard and Ryder to take more risks. The second line looks as if it will be Sturm-Bergeron-Kessel
. This should be another high producing line. Bergeron is ready to have a career year, I'm thinking 90 points. Sturm has a 30 goal potential now that he's next to Bergeron again, and Kessel has improved his two way game and should be an asset to the team. The third line should be Wheeler-Krejci-Kobasew
. Another solid line! Chiarelli told every player in camp that if they were good enough, they would make the team. Wheeler showed he was good enough and Chiarelli gave him a spot in the lineup. Wheeler is a tough player and can battle for pucks and battle for garbage goals. Meanwhile, Krejci and Kobasew showed last season that they can skate and score. Lastly, the fourth line will be Lucic-Yelle-Thornton/Nokelainen
. This is obviously an energy line. Lucic and Thornton playing together will hopefully lead to competition, and by competition I mean a competition to see who will rack up the most KO's.
On defense, Chara and Wideman
should see the most ice time. They are tough to score against and contribute in many ways on offense. Ward and Stuart
will probably play together. Aaron Ward is injury prone, though, and Shane Hnidy or Matt Hunwick will likely see time with Stuart. When I say Ward is injury prone, I don't mean it as a bad thing. Ward is a puck blocker who does everything he can to make sure the puck does not reach the net. He's a great defenseman, but when that many pucks hit you, you're bound to spend some time healing injuries. Lastly, Andrew Ference and Andrew Alberts
will probably play together. The two played well with each other last season before an extremely illegal hit by Scott Hartnell led to Alberts missing most of the remainder of the season.
I won't discuss the goalies. We have two great goalies in Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez and I have no idea who will start or who will see the majority of the playing time. When it comes to the latter question, I doubt Claude Julien even knows the answer.
Game 1 is Thursday at 10:00 PM on VERSUS.