Speculating options for the Bruins opening night lineup
We’re a little more than 48 hours away from the start of the 2015-16 Boston Bruins season. But there’s still some questions that need answers before their first matchup of the year versus the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night at the TD Garden.
For starters, Zdeno Chara was retroactively placed on Injured Reserve back on September 24th. The Bruins captain has been dealing with an upper body injury for the past couple of weeks. He’s been skating on his own over the last few days and joined his teammates for practice this morning for the first time since the first week of training camp.
Speaking of the blue-line, it appears that Claude Julien will have eight defensemen on the opening night roster. With the uncertainty of Chara’s status and the injury to Dennis Seidenberg, the Bruins D could have some major shoes to fill right off the bat. Adam McQuaid would become the longest tenured B’s defenseman for the time being if the 6-foot-9 Chara were to miss any action.
Jonas Gustavsson, who signed a one-year contract this weekend after coming to camp on a PTO, has earned his spot behind Tuukka Rask. Jeremy Smith, who had a pretty good preseason following a career year down in Providence, was placed on waivers on Monday — along with Max Talbot — according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Speaking of Talbot, another spot has seemingly opened on the fourth line has opened up after the veteran grinder was put on waivers (although he did join the team for practice this morning). That leaves Joonas Kemppainen and Tyler Randell vying for that spot to skate with Zac Rinaldo and Chris Kelly.
Everything else looks in place for opening night. So here are a couple of guesses on what the Bruins opening night lineup will look like with or without Chara.
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Loui Eriksson
Matt Beleskey-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Jimmy Hayes-Ryan Spooner-Brett Connolly
Zac Rinaldo-Chris Kelly-Joonas Kemppainen
Zdeno Chara-Zach Trotman
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Matt Irwin-Kevan Miller (or Joe Morrow)
It’s anyone’s guess on Kevan Miller or Joe Morrow if Chara is healthy enough to play. Either one will slot in with Matt Irwin on the third pairing.
As for the extras, Randell and Colin Miller — barring any last minute roster changes — will likely watch opening night from the press box.
We’ll see how things shape out over the next couple of days. For now, the speculation of how the Bruins opening night lineup will look continues.