Clearly the Boston Bruins are prepared to replace, or at least replicate, much of what former captain Zdeno Chara brought to the ice.
Jeremy Lauzon is slotting into Chara’s vacant spot on the left side with Charlie McAvoy, and the ardent belief is that the 23-year-old rugged defenseman will bring strength and snarl to the penalty kill while competing hard in the battle areas. The former second round pick has shown the potential to develop into a solid shutdown defenseman at the NHL level, so the real question at this point is if he can do it while playing big minutes against the other team’s best offensive players.
Only time will tell if Lauzon is up to that challenge while skating with McAvoy, and he’ll need to do it while bouncing back from a so-so training camp where he was clearly trying to do a little too much.
“[Lauzon] was sort of forcing it early on in camp and the last few days he’s really settled in to be more of… a guy that we’re looking to offset and playing with Charlie or wherever he plays in the lineup,” said Don Sweeney. “We’re going to try and do it as an entire group. I think we have to be more effective in those [defensive] roles as well as on the offensive blue line.”
One area where the Boston Bruins might be in for some struggles, though, is in the toughness and intimidation department. Subtracting a 6-foot-9, 250-pound defenseman that’s arguably the most feared player in the league in Chara is going to have a sizeable impact, and it’s not really expected to be a welcome one for the Black and Gold.