With the recent return of Milan Lucic and Marc Savard expected back Monday night, it will be interesting to see what Claude Julien’s lineup will look like. Will Wheeler be moved from the left side and moved up to the top line with Savard? I’m not sure that would be a smart decision, based on how well Wheeler-Krejci-Ryder have been playing together. It is also very apparent Wheeler plays his best hockey on the left wing. Assuming that line stays intact that leaves Recchi, Lucic, and Sturm as potential forwards to skate on the top line. As we have seen, Sturm on the right wing just hasn’t worked, which means Recchi will most likely be the top line right wing. That now either leaves Lucic or Sturm to play the left side with Savard and the other to play on the third with Bergeron. Now where does that leave Daniel Paille, Byron Bitz, Vladimir Sobotka and Shawn Thornton? Since Paille can only play the left side, he may now be moved to the fourth line and Sobotka’s inconsistent play may push him to the bench. So, going by Claude Julien’s thinking this is how the lineup will look:
Now my question is why not give Bergeron a look on Savard’s wing? Recchi obviously isn’t a first line winger and Bergeron has been the Bruins best forward all season long. I know most of you will say, Bergeron has the best faceoff percentage on the team. Well Bergeron often takes faceoffs for other lines then gets off the ice anyway so nothing would change there. Looking back over the past five games, Sobotka, the current third line center, has averaged only 5.8 faceoffs taken per game. 6 faceoffs per game really will not make much of a difference and now with Savard back the Bruins could even throw him out there for the faceoffs then take him off just like they do with Bergeron. Here is a look at what the lineup could look like
I know it is wishful thinking and will never happen but it might be worth a shot. I really have no confidence in Recchi playing on a top line and really do not think Julien should break up Krejci’s line, which has looked great lately. The top line could also be used to match up against opponents top lines. Hey if Recchi and Axelsson can get looks on the first line, why not Bergeron?