It wasn’t long into the offseason before the Boston Bruins started wheeling and dealing.
Trades were made, free agents were signed and even more moved on from the team. The head-spinning flurry seems to finally be calming down, and its time to take a better look at who the Bruins lost in the last month.
Unrestricted free agents Jaromir Jagr and Andrew Ference were not re-signed by management. Backup goalie Anton Khudobin signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Hurricanes. Though the plan was to bring him back, Nathan Horton bolted to the Columbus Blue Jackets when they offered him way more money than the Bruins could have given.
Topping all of that, former first-round pick Tyler Seguin was dealt along with Rich Peverley to the Dallas Stars. This move was by far the most shocking, especially due to the fact Seguin was once labeled “the future.”
So, with a new batch of former Bruins starting the season on different teams, which one will Boston miss the most?
Jagr won’t be missed terribly. Not so much because of his lack of skills, but more due to the fact that at 41-years-old, his age was often made apparent. Only contributing two goals in two months, he clearly wasn’t worth re-signing. Peverley was expendable, especially because he wasn’t earning the new deal he signed last offseason. He was a grinder, but didn’t bring a ton to the table when it came to offense.
Though Khudobin was a quality backup option for Tuukka Rask, the Bruins had other signings they needed to complete before they could shift their focus to him, and Carolina moved in. This shouldn’t hurt Boston too badly as they have a couple of options available to replace him.
It’s when we get to the next three players that things get interesting.
Ference was expendable — there’s no way around that. However, he was huge for the Bruins locker room. An incredibly likable defenseman, it was Ference who was coming up with the various playoff traditions in the past few years, such as the Bruins jacket being passed along to the game MVPs in 2011.
Horton had a tendency to fade away throughout the regular season. He would go on a scoring tear for about a week, then wouldn’t net a goal for the rest of the month. However, he would truly shine in the postseason. Horton had more than a few memorable goals throughout the Bruins’ cup run in 2011.
Seguin is just a weird story all together. A former prime prospect for the Bruins, Seguin went from future superstar to problem child in a three-year span.
He never scored at a pace he was capable of, and even though he shined overseas during the lockout, he left that scoring in Switzerland. Then, in this past playoff run, the rumors of late night partying ran rampant. GM Peter Chiarelli went from criticizing Seguin’s play to dealing him in the span of days.
But which of these former Bruins will the team miss the most?
Ference will definitely be missed in the locker room. His leadership was huge and without it, the team may find that it’s missing a certain something throughout the upcoming season. Horton certainly has the opportunity to make the Bruins regret not re-signing him if he goes off in Columbus. If the Blue Jackets make the postseason, it’ll hardly surprise anyone if he becomes a source of clutch scoring.
That said, if I had to bet, I’d say it’s Seguin who the Bruins may find themselves pining for.
Think about it; he’s just had his name dragged through the mud throughout New England. Boston media has had a field day trying to make him look like he’s terribly immature. What do you think that’s going to do for his motivation?
If he does get his act together, he’ll be out to prove that the Bruins made a mistake for dealing him. He’s still barely scratched the surface of his potential, and this recent ordeal may be the flame that lights the fuse.
These are the issues every team deals with during free agency. The potential for dismissed players to make their former teams look stupid occurs every year, and if Seguin finally discovers his true abilities, he’ll be the one the Bruins regret dealing this offseason.