Name: Mark Stuart
Regular Season, EV: 32.89% w/Dennis Wideman; 29.85% w/Andrew Ference
Regular Season, PK: 44.6% w/Wideman; 27.7% w/Ference
Playoffs, EV: 51.82% w/Wideman; 41.7% w/Ference
Playoffs, PK: 63.64% w/Wideman; 36.36% w/Ference
The Good: A solid stay-at-home defenseman, especially logging the ice time of a No. 5/6 blue-liner. Plays with the physicality and grit needed on the back-end, and arguably the strongest player on the squad.
After being the team’s Iron Man in consecutive games played, 213 straight including the playoffs since the 2007-08 season, Stuart was struck with two separate injuries — sternum, finger — that kept him sideline for 26 regular season games, and nine post season contests.
In 56 regular season games, the 26-year-old RFA still managed to rack-up 103 hits (7th) and 82 blocked shots (4th) while logging just 17:01 of average ice time.
The Bad: Doesn’t play on the power play, non-existent on offense, averaged less than one shot on goal per game, and was a minus-4 in four playoff games.
Perhaps a tad over-aggressive at times. When many people were on their feet chanting Stuart on in his bout with the Flyers’ tough guy Ian Laperierre — Stuart’s second fight of the game — on May 11, I argued with a handful of people that his timing was poor.
When No. 45 danced with Laperriere, the Bruins were up just 2-1 near the midway point of the second period. The puck was in the offensive zone — Brad Marchand had just won a puck battle along the end-boards, and dished is behind the net to Vladimir Sobotka with Milan Lucic drifting through the slot, on Michael Leighton’s doorstep. The fight began, the whistle blew, and a scoring opportunity was blown because of Stuart’s poor decision to fight.
That argument of mine quickly turned moot since the Bruins won that contest, 5-1, but it was still bad timing nonetheless.
Hindered by injuries all season long, Stuart was playing some good defensive hockey in between IR stints. But all-in-all, a “C’ is an average grade for some very average overall play.
Although his overall skills are replaceable, Stuart is one RFA that needs to be re-signed by the Jul. 1 free-agency date. His tenacity, especially in his own end, to punish opponents along the boards and in front of net is an attribute for Mr. Chiarelli to hold on to. Stuart’s physical qualities that he brings to the squad on a nightly basis is a quality that is slowly making him become a team leader.
Next report card: No. 46 David Krejci