Rich Peverley practiced with the Bruins today for the first time since he was acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers. Claude Julien addressed where Peverley might line up and stated,
“We’ll probably play him to start with on the wing with Kelly and Ryder, so basically just jumping into Wheeler’s spot. For now. We’ll look at how everything unfolds. Both Peverley and Kelly can play center and wing, which is good to have as versatility.’’
Julien recently has also stated he likes what he has seen from the Paille-Campbell-Thorton combination and did not want to see that line broken up. Even with the strong play of Tyler Seguin in the past few games, it will be unfortunate but it appears he will be a healthy scratch.
Does scratching Seguin, Kelly center the third line, and Peverley skate on the wing make sense? Absolutely not. A potential Seguin-Peverley-Ryder combination would have been a fun line to watch, especially because of the speed and offensive abilities of the three. Would the defense on that line be lacking? Probably somewhat, but Peverley basically replaces Wheeler, who was nothing great defensively either. In addition, Peverley has taken 1020 faceoffs and has a 55.5 faceoff winning percentage. In comparison Kelly has taken 726 faceoffs and has a 50.1 winning percentage. As the stats show Peverley is clearly the better center when it comes to taking faceoffs especially since his numbers rank almost identical to Patrice Bergeron (1078 taken 56.4 winning percentage), who ranks 3rd in the league among centers who have taken at least 850 faceoffs.
Not to take anything away from Chris Kelly, but from this perspective during the regular season at least, Peverley centering Seguin with Kelly centering the fourth line make the Bruins a much more dangerous opponent than having Kelly centering the third line and Daniel Paille skating around aimlessly, missing the net by 10 feet on every shot he takes. Come playoff time obviously it will be a different situation but having Seguin learn from a skilled centerman like Peverley makes perfect sense.