Bruins GM believes team’s defensemen have to evolve

The Boston Bruins have made some noteworthy changes this summer and to say they’ve been met with mixed reactions would be putting things politely. Regardless of what fans think of GM Don Sweeney’s transactions, the Bruins are going to look a lot different in 2015-16 and that new look may be the most evident on defense as the team attempts to institute a mentality shift.

Via the Boston Globe, the Bruins will attempt to evolve on defense. Specifically, the team will ask more of their defensemen and that includes additional movement and more skating.

“I think they have to,” said Sweeney, when asked if the defensemen will be skating more in 2015-16. “At times, we probably got a little bit too stationary on our breakouts. We need to be in motion a little bit. That means our forwards will be in motion a little bit, because teams were able to smother the walls, pinch, and pre-pinch.”

In previous seasons, forwards were instructed to execute the heavy lifting. They were taught to steer opponents into traps. Defensemen held their ground inside the dots. The idea was to eliminate all threats in the net-front house, construct multiple layers of defensive protection, and launch their rush game by forcing turnovers.

The analysis by the Boston Globe above illustrates some of the reasons why the Bruins were overwhelmed last season. Additional problems persisted around the roster, but too often the team’s defensemen weren’t activated when the Bruins were trying to reclaim the puck. That’s a dated strategy that most of the NHL has moved on from in favor of involving defensemen.

Ultimately, it all comes down to personnel. The Bruins traded away Dougie Hamilton and have decided to roll with Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid as the main defenders on the roster. The rest of the top-6 may already be written in pencil, but training camp should firm things up. Is that group capable of evolving and adopting new tactics?

The Bruins are going to be a fascinating team to watch this season. Will it be for the right reasons?

About David Rogers

Editor for The Comeback and Contributing Editor for Awful Announcing. Lover of hockey, soccer and all things pop culture.