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The Boston Bruins defense was once again one of the best in the NHL, as the team finished with the highest team goal differential at plus 67 over 82 games. It starts and ends with the captain Zdeno Chara, who had a stellar season and should have brought home some hardware, but the young phenom from Ottawa had one of the best offense seasons from a defensemen we have seen in a while.
With a stud prospect in Dougie Hamilton getting ready to join this cluster of good players, this group is only going to get better.
What a season it was for the captain. He had a career high in points and tied a career high in plus/minus, all while playing 25 minutes a game against opposing teams top lines. That’s what the best defenseman in the league does (sorry Senator fans, but Erik Karlsson probably doesn’t crack the top 3 defensemen in the division, let alone the NHL).
Bruins fans can almost expect 40 points and a plus/minus rating above 20 next season from Chara. That is simply what he does.
Boychuk has earned a spot playing with Chara, during the regular season that is. With 15 points and a plus-27 rating, there can be no complaints about Boychuk. He plays hard, plays the right way, drops the gloves when he needs to, takes the body whenever he can, and of course the Johnny Rocket cannon right-handed slap shot from the opposite side of Chara is a perfect fit for the top pairing.
He could find a new partner next season with the highly talented Dougie Hamilton joining in this mix.
After having an excellent playoffs during the cup run, Seidenberg backed that up with another solid season for the Bruins. Playing 24 minutes a game against one of the top two lines every night, Seidenberg has shown that he is capable of being a shut down defensemen. The power pairing of him and Chara during the playoffs is one of the best duos the NHL has to offer.
It was a new career high in goals with 6 this season for Ference, who not much of an offensive producer, but his most valuable characteristics might be off-ice things. His team-first attitude and willingness to have a teammate’s back at all times is key. He also was the man responsible for the chain given out after winning a game in the playoffs. Those kind of things are huge for hockey teams.
Ference is one of the best guys to have in the locker room and not to bad on the ice either, logging nearly 19 minutes a game.
McQuaid is one of those guys that opposing players make sure they don’t start a scrum with. He’s one of the toughest guys on the team who will mix it up with anyone who challenges or steps out of line. Another guy that doesn’t score a lot of goals or put up a crazy amount of assists, McQuaid plays 15 minutes and can be trusted in any situation.
He collected 10 points and a plus-16 rating before he suffered an eye injury and a concussion that had him miss the end of the season and the playoffs. At only 26 years old, McQuaid has room to grow to be more of an offensive catalyst.
On paper, Corvo had a roughly average year and would be deserving a better grade, but watching the games made it clear that his 25 points and plus-ten rating are very misleading. The one piece that just didn’t fit and it might not be just Corvo, his offensive puck-moving style does not work with the Bruins. We have seen several players come in for one or two years and be offensive minded and fail miserably on the defensive side. Corvo was often nowhere near where he should be and couldn’t adjust all season.
He is a free agent now and there is no way he will be back in Black and Gold.
Mike Mottau and Greg Zanon played some defense for the Bruins this year, but didn’t have a large enough sample size to be graded.