Midseason Grades : Defensemen

Derek Morris – A-: Morris has been a pleasant surprised on the blue line. He gets tipable pucks on net and plays a solid two-way game. Morris has already tied his point production from last season and is on pace to have the second most points he’s ever had in a single season.

Mark Stuart – B+: Stuart plays a solid defensive game as the third pairing for the Bruins. Mostly playing with either Matt Hunwick or Johnny Boychuk, Stuart adds stability to the bottom pairing.

Johnny Boychuk – B+: Boychuk has been everything the Bruins want in their defensemen. He is big, has a great shot, pinches in the right situations, and pretty solid defensively.  When Boychuk gets in trouble it’s usually when he is handling the puck in the defensive zone.  Overall another pleasant surprise back on the blueline.

Zdeno Chara – B: After winning the Norris trophy last season, Chara is clearly not the same player.  He has lost some of his intensity and plays much more passive this season.  In recent play Chara has become more engaged in the offense, but prior to that period of time he was rarely pinching.  Chara continues to be a force on the penalty kill but more overall is expected from the Bruins captain.

Andrew Ference – C+: Ference has had a solid season as a lower pairing defenseman but once again he suffers an injury.  His durability will always be a question mark and the reason the Bruins do not resign him at the conclusion of the season.

Matt Hunwick – C: Turnovers and player confidence are always the issues with Matt Hunwick.  Despite leading the Bruins defensemen in goals this season, his play is inconsistent and has dropped off from last season.  When Hunwick is skating and uses his smarts to jump into plays, it makes the Bruins a dangerous team, so hopefully he can start reverting to the Matt Hunwick of last season.

Dennis Wideman – C-: Too many times this season you will see the number 6 trailing a 2 on 1 going against the Bruins. It is mind-boggling to see how much his play has dropped off since the end of last season.  It appears he lost his speed and his shot because it can never hit the net.


55 Responses to Midseason Grades : Defensemen

  1. Bruins46 says:

    The other day in my NHL 10 GM mode I traded Wideman, Wacey Rabbit, and a 1st rounder for Shea Weber. PC should try to pull this one off in real life.

    Kidding…package something up and get us some offense. WEEEEEE SUUUCCKKKKK

  2. Bruins2010 says:

    Ok so from what i have herd the rumors are
    Bos 1st round 2010
    Tor 1st round 2011


    I guess its because LA’s GM is in ATL to make a deal

  3. psands says:

    kovalchuk wont happen unless we clear a shit load of space. it would be a waste to get him as a rental, because even with him, i still don’t think we would win the cup this year.

    i heard he is going to test free agency no matter what, so maybe we could move some salary at the draft and try to sign him to a long, front loaded contract, but i certainly would not try to trade for this guy, it would set us back for a long time.

    i agree on the defense grades, good job.

    we need to focus on getting a cheaper scorer this year, and pray the leafs keep dropping.

  4. Bruins2010 says:

    Ok so then lets hear about some cheaper scoring options who do you propose

  5. mook says:

    i heard wayne gretzky and gordie howe are going to come out of retirement and play for the bruins.

  6. psands says:

    well for this year i am hoping for a guy like penner, maybe horton if the panthers keep dropping. i don’t think another guy like recchi will get the job done. we need someone younger with a little more offensive punch.

    but if things keep going the way they are going, i would not be surprised if pc had a fire sale, moved some contracts to free up lots of space for next year, and we can have a legitimate cup run. at this point i almost think it would be smarter.

    but i am sure many of you don’t want to do that just yet.

  7. mook says:

    no firesales! this is a good team…just sputtering around with injuries and such. even pittsburgh is shitting the bed…nothing to worry about.

  8. Gcole says:

    bring bobby orr out of retirement, he’ll play offense and defense at the same time, and maybe goalie too

  9. sean says:

    kovalchuk is going back to russia…no way is it worth it to trade anything for him, especially 1’s or wheeler

  10. Pearson says:

    Agreed. Id hold onto the draft picks no mAtter what. Theres better options than giving up that much cap space for kovy. I stiill like penner

  11. Kurt says:

    Make Hunwick a forward, it’s his natural position. Waive Bitz sucking his_ _ _ _ is his natural position. Trade Thomas,Ryder, and our #1 for Kovi.
    Problem solved!

  12. bruinsfanupnorth says:

    interesting rumours on Hendricks.com ref the bruins.
    says the Bs are showing interest in Ray Whitney and possibly sheldon souray.


  13. Bzibziak says:

    Instead of going for Kovy from Atlanta why not keep the picks, make a small trade that frees up some money for next year. The trade I would love to see is either:
    Thomas to Philadelphia for Hartnell
    or Thomas and Strum for Carter and pick

    Love to see them get Thomas cap money off.

    Rask is ready and u can pick up a back-up for a 4 or 5 th rounder

    What do u think?

    • Birdman2403 says:

      Thomas cap money ??? They just signed him to that deal…joke may be on PC !

    • Bruins says:

      as terrific as rask has been, you cant just trade away the vezina winner based on 20 odd games rask has played. i think its very likely that he’ll ultimately turn out great, but theres always that chance he doesnt (toivonen). start talking about that next year or even the year after if rask continues to be better.

    • BosBrn77 says:

      I would not trade a 5th round pick for Hartnell! I just can not stand that guy! I know it is his game…. but everything about him annoys me! He reminds me of Pat Verbeek!!

      What about Ryder and a high pick to Edmonton for Penner?

      OR Ryder and a pick/prospect to Tampa for Malone?

      I think the Bruins need a shot in the arm….. and they need it soon. But there has been rumors of Selanne. Can not remember where I read it… maybe Spector’s…. but just not sure if I’d go that route!

  14. jm says:

    trade wideman for a bag of pucks

  15. psands says:

    im not talking about a complete fire sale, more like trying to replace some of our bad contracts to contenders who are looking for secondary scoring, like ryder and sturm, than try to use our picks and prospects to get a good, more consistent scorer.

    it is a lot easier to get rid of guys like that at the trade deadline, because teams are focusing on a cup run, and sturm and ryder are good secondary threats, who would not cost too much for other teams to get.

    i honestly would not mind seeing us get rid of morris and thomas at the deadline either. if you want to move guys, the deadline is when they have the most value.

    in no way am i giving up on this team, i am just looking at other options. this might be the smarter way to go. with that cap room we could trade for some quality players, and make a legit cup run next season, or depending on the returns we get, go for it this year.

    again it is just an option, i am throwing it out there, but if we are going to to finish 7-11th in the east this year, i would rather gear up for next year.

    • Bruins says:

      i completely agree, although we should make that decision at the deadline. if we get stuart and bergeron back soon, lets see what they can do.

      getting rid of ryder would be a must. sturm could get some good value now. recci could get dealt to a contender as hes been really good this season. even if you make a couple of those moves, it isnt out of the question that the bruins could still cause some damage if they get to the playoffs.

      just think of the monster of a team we could build with clearing up that cap space along with accumulating even more picks, and owning these drafts even more. leafs keep looking worse, so a hall, seguin or fowler isnt out of the question. and that doesnt include everything else we’d have.

  16. goosegoose35 says:

    if im the bruins here are my keepers and here are my trades/cuts


    get rid of
    Recci (im pretty sure hes retiring otherwise maybe keep)


    my reasoning. the keepers are a great core to build around and yes you loose a great goalie but it’s Tuukka time. you cant keep this kid on the bench for 3 more years you just cant. you need to keep stuart, thornton, begin and pallie solely for their toughness and PK ability. you don’t want to be like the capitals and have no tough guys to grind out close games. obviously the rest on the keepers speaks for its self.

    the dumps speak for themselves and the maybes can go either way pending on the moves made.

    just my 2 cents

    • BosBrn77 says:

      I would keep Hunwick, put Paille under the maybe…. and without question I would re-sign Boychuk!!

      • goosegoose35 says:

        yea i forgot about him…bur i guess I am not too far off. i can see paille under maybe but id like to see him stay

  17. Mat Allen says:

    What is the point in going after Dustin Penner? He had a good rookie season but then had two mediocre years. Yes he is on track for having a career year, and is the leading scorer for the Oil at the moment, but the guy has 2 goals in his last 12 games. And besides, to be the leading scorer on a bad team doesn’t necessarily translate well into being a significant point producer on a decent team (Read Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya with the Av’s). If scoring is the question, would Penner be a viable answer?

    • pearson says:

      your right. 40 points in 44 games and a plus 9 is def a guy we shouldnt be going after. not to mention he is a huge guy, and we all know how the management here doesnt like size…………….

    • Mat Allen says:

      Yes, he does have great size, but his point production is declining rapidly, do we want to rely on such a streaky player to solve our scoring woes? From what I can tell scoring is really the team’s only concern right now.

      • psands says:

        yea good point, penner is lousy and too streaky, we need guys who score 50 goals and get 100 plus points year in and out, penner sucks.

        we should go get ovechkin crosby kovalchuk or malkin, cant be that hard, how about sobotka and toronto’s second?? seems fair for anyone of these guys right?

        be realistic, penner is a good fit, who is producing well, management like players like him, he is young and has a solid contract……

      • Mat Allen says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I think Penner would be a great fit for the B’s, but I don’t think that he is going to solve the problems we’re having with scoring goals. I’m not saying he is lousy, but he has been inconsistent, and to hang all of our hopes on one player would be impractical. I think if we were to add Penner, and a player like David Backes, Cory Perry or Scott Hartnell then I would be all for it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to completely overhaul the team. But if we seriously want to address the problem that our team has had with scoring goals, then we might need to make a bigger addition than Penner himself.

  18. mook says:

    who could we convince atlanta to take to free-up salary space? the whole point of them not re-signing kovalchuck is to save money…

  19. pearson says:

    now souray wants out. and yahoo sports has it rumored that the b’s are interested, throw in penner and the b’s would be a perfect fit… plus, theybadly need a goalie.



    toronto 2nd

  20. Cebbie says:

    I dont get some peoples logic – Souray????? semi good offence but another boat anchor on defence – bruins goals against and penalty killing is near the top of the league – we dont need another defenceman – there is no one who can get the puck in the net – our offence sucks from last year – If we could score more than 3 goals a game on average we would be tops in the league again this year – Get someone who can score

  21. Mat Allen says:

    If we trade Thomas, we’re going to be putting a hell of a lot of pressure on Rask. He is having a great start to his career with the B’s, and he’s definitely ready for more playing time, but I think it will be a lot more beneficial to Rask’s development to have another quality starter in net than Rask with Sabourin as the back up. I am not willing to cut Thomas loose just yet.

  22. backbruin says:

    sportsnet/hockeycentral mentioned last night that the bruins were heavy on kovalchuk. They mentioned it being a perfect fir and that kovy would love to play with Chara and SAVARD again….now ya ya salary cap blah blah…i’m telling you we are about the only team that can afford “draft pick”wise a guy like kovy…do you think they want players for him…if they trade him they want picks…no ifs ands or buts…

    stay tuned this could get interesting!!

  23. Ilya says:

    Ryder & a non-roster player (Colbourne) for Kovalchuk. If Kovalchuk signs with the B’s then the B’s throw in the 1st round pick for 2010 and a player to be named later, i.e., current young roster player (bitz, wheeler, sobotka). The Bruins get what they want and the Thrashers can start rebuilding and add to the youth they presently have.

    If Kovalchuk does not sign, we are only out Ryder (big deal) and we obtain the services of Kovalchuk for the remainder of the year for the price of Colbourne. We retain the pick and free up $4M for next year. The Thrashers get Colbourne and a current young roster player to add to their core of young talent and can still pursue Kovalchuk. The only concern i have with this is from the Atlanta point of view. Either way they are stuck with Ryder. Good luck with that!!

    • Bruins says:

      no way the thrashers do that. you have to remember that if they are set on trading him, its so easy to get a bidding war going for him. im thinking it will cost at least a first, colborne, and a roster player like wheeler (even without the condition that he signs back in boston)

  24. backbruin says:

    i dont think i would do it unless we could sign him!!!

  25. Gcole says:

    all you dumbasses saying trade thomas make me laugh.. we need him, so slap yourself in the face and remember how incredible he has been for us, and how we signed him for another four years FOR A REASON! and you dumbasses who think tuukka rask is the next goalie god, GET REAL HERE, hes played about half the games this half season, which means NOTHING. he could be like many other goalies who start out hot and end up mediocre (carey price). cant pressure a rookie goalie, its never good.

  26. Gcole says:

    one thing about kovalchuk though, he has some balls asking for 11 million per season. god dam greedy bastard. you would think if hes that good he would take much less for the sake of the team being able to have someone else on the team that is good, so he wouldnt be playing on an average team right?

  27. jimmy50 says:

    No way we trade for Kovalchuk unless he is signed for market value. Over 8 million is way over budget. Keep dreaming B’s fans. This isn’t the NY Yankees. We have draft, develop, and earn a Stanley Cup.

  28. goosegoose35 says:

    gcole You obviously have never watched rask. Look at his numbers in any league he has been in. Thomas is 36 we are not going to keep him for 4 more years and keep 22 year old rask on the bench. last year was thomas’ career year. I love thomas but it is Tuukka time. He should at least get 50/50 time with thomas. Thomas is not a 90% goalie like brodure or luongo. notice how thomas has always been good as a time share golie. Last year was the one exception. Its going to clear a lot of cap room taking off thomas. i do not see a downside unless thomas is traded for a bag of pucks


    Why is everyone blaming thomas for our problems the defense has been god awful the past two weeks and our forwards wouldn’t be able to score on an empty net.

    • goosegoose35 says:

      I don’t know if you were referring to me, but Its not that I am blaming Thomas, just pointing out you got a great goalie and hes wasting on the bench.

      • guest says:

        I don’t think anyone is putting the full blame on Thomas but he is letting goals in this year that should be easy saves.

        I still think Tukka needs the rest of the year as a back up but it would be crazy to trade him with his upside potential and low salary cap hit


    oh and morris has been alright at best he has been good the last two weeks but before that he was average

  31. bruins4eva says:

    well heres some good news bergeron is skating and shooting….so hopefully he comes back sooner

  32. mook says:

    LEAFS LOST TO THE CANES so that pick is gaining some serious value. I’m beginning to feel like we took them again a la Rask for Raycroft

    • BosBrn77 says:

      And although it doesn’t mean anything, ESPN shows the pictures of the three stars to the game. Aaron Ward is third and is still in a Bruins Jersey! Just some nice karma! LOL


    I miss ward 😦

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