The Boston Bruins have stated their “next man up” mentality time and time again this season, and it appears that sentiment almost went to some interesting lengths.
At times this season the Bruins have been decimated by injury, particularly on defense. That led to many prospects getting a look at the NHL level, among them Connor Clifton, who used the opportunity to carve out a role for himself on the right side of the third defensive pairing.
But what about putting a forward on defense? Bruce Cassidy’s thought about it, and not just as an injury contingency.
During media availability Saturday, the Bruins head coach revealed that he actually had considered it, and used Joakim Nordstrom as an example.
After discussing Brent Burns’ transition from winger to defenseman, Cassidy used the Nordstrom example.
“Let’s say Nordstrom, who can get back on pucks, he’s got courage, he can skate, but he’s not filling the net at the other end,” Cassidy said, via team-provided audio. “Could you throw him on defense sometimes if you’re having trouble breaking out because he can get back there? I did a little bit of that in the minors when no one’s watching, but now it’s a little tougher.”
You could do far, far worse on defense than Nordstrom.
The fourth-line winger arguably is the Bruins’ best forechecker and is a great skater to boot. He’s responsible defensively and does a nice job hunting pucks, and has become one of the Bruins’ top penalty killers during his first season in Boston.
But while temporarily converting Nordstrom to a blueliner wouldn’t adversely impact the Bruins in the back end, he’d be a tough loss on the fourth line. Besides, we’re pretty sure Cassidy is pleased with how his defense has performed this postseason, anyways.