With Savard out for the foreseeable future, it raises the question what to do with the third line center opening. With the lose of Savard, Krejci and Bergeron get pumped up a line with Greg Campbell remaining as the fourth line center. The Bruins have multiple options, mainly due to versatility and the emergence of good, young talent. The options are Blake Wheeler, Tyler Seguin, Joe Colborne, Zach Hamill, and Ryan Spooner.
1. Blake Wheeler. Wheeler played center during his college days but has yet to see any time there in the NHL. Wheeler has the size and the speed to be an NHL center, but does he have the smarts? Wheeler is 24 years old but still hasn’t learned what offsides is. However, moving Wheeler to center opens up the possibility for Jordan Caron to make the team as a winger.
2. Tyler Seguin. Seguin is a natural center and will be a center in the NHL for years to come. Playing center in the NHL is physically demanding and requires a lot more skating than playing wing. For a player trying to learn the league without any AHL experience, a transition to wing may be the best place for an 18 year old.
3. Joe Colborne. Colborne has 2 years of college experience as well as a brief stint in Providence last season. However, his time at center has been limited because he has played mostly right wing the past two years. Colborne has impressed the coaches this camp, but it remains to be seen if he can handle himself at center after not playing the position much recently.
4. Zach Hamill. Being the 8th overall pick in the 2007 entry draft, big things are expected from Hamill. His development has been slower than the Bruins have hoped for. Hamill has played three seasons as a center in the AHL, giving him the most experience on this list. The only question is, will his size be an issue?
5. Ryan Spooner. Spooner has looked unbelievable in the preseason and in the rookie game so far. Spooner was a second round pick and has been praised by Julien for his smarts and ability to play a two-way game. Spooner is undersized at only 172 pounds and it makes you wonder if he can handle the wear and tear in the NHL so soon.
Choosing a third line center will be a difficult task for the coaching staff, especially with so many options. Jordan Caron is said (by Fluto, Haggs, Kirk, etc.) to have had the best camp of the young guys, meaning his strong play may force them to move Wheeler or Seguin to center in order for Caron to make the team as a winger.
UPDATE 1:35 PM : According to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com, Ryan Spooner and Jamie Arniel have been released from camp. Spooner will return to his junior team and Arniel will report to Providence. Tonight’s game may determine who makes the team, whether it be Hamill or Caron, which would have a major impact on where Seguin and Wheeler line up to start the season.