Torey Krug is gone, meaning there are plenty of internal decision to be made for the Boston Bruins.
Of course, many of those calls are predicated on if the Bruins make any further moves this offseason and what happens during training camp. But nevertheless, Bruce Cassidy and Co. likely are doing some forecasting now about what things could look like in a few months.
So, why don’t we do the same?
The primary hole to fill, obviously, is on the second defensive pairing. If we assume Zdeno Chara returns to Boston, maybe what happens is the Chara-Brandon Carlo pairing reunites as the second unit. They had good chemistry as a consistent duo, and it might be the best allocation of resources.
In doing that, the thought here is Matt Grzelcyk goes to the top pairing and joins Charlie McAvoy. Then you have Jeremy Lauzon, John Moore Connor Clifton and Kevan Miller competing for the two third pairing spots. That list also could grow if guys like Jakub Zboril and/or Urho Vaakanainen make cases for themselves in camp.
While this might bring down the level of each pairing, it’s probably the best way to balance things out. The reality is that losing Krug is going to hurt, so the Bruins just have to mitigate the damage.
As for the power play, it seems likely that Grzelcyk or McAvoy will take over the top power-play unit, while the other commands the second group.
McAvoy presumably should get the role on the top power play, but his hesitance to shoot at times could be what gives Grzelcyk the first crack at taking Krug’s spot. But should McAvoy come out trigger happy next season (which he needs to do in even strength situations, as well), he could make for a useful power-play quarterback.
If not, Grzelcyk’s ability as a puck mover should mean the top unit will be more than fine with things cycling through him. He’s done a nice job recently as the defenseman on the second PP unit.
Of course, this all goes up in smoke if the Bruins go out and sign another defenseman, though most of the guys available now simply are depth defenseman. Regardless, the Bruins by no means are completely hosed following the loss of Krug — in fact, it presents a fantastic opportunity for guys like Moore and Lauzon to step up.
But, the important thing to note of course is that whether or not those players take the opportunity will impact the overall balance of Boston’s back end.