One of Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli’s two focuses at March 4’s trade deadline was a puck-moving defenseman that could add depth to his club. With injury-prone veterans Andrew Ference and Aaron Ward seemingly always one blocked shot away from an extended absence, it was wise for Chiarelli to look in that direction.
Whether the trade of Petteri Nokelainen for Steve Montador was a winner for Chiarelli, we won’t know until the Nokelainen has completely developed his game and/or Montador returns to Boston and contributes in the future. But Montador turned out to only be a moderately helpful addition to the Bruins, who were sometimes thrown off by the veteran’s panicky puck play and questionable decision-making.
Stats: 13 GP, 0-1-1, 18 PIM, plus-3 (with Boston) regular season; 11 GP, 1-2-3, 18 PIM, plus-5 playoffs.
Contract status: UFA July 1.
Season highlight: With Byron Bitz parked in front of the Carolina net and the Bruins already leading the Hurricanes, 1-0, in Game 6 of the Bruins’ Eastern Conference semifinal series, Montador scored his first goal in black and gold with a blast from the left circle. The Bruins went on to a season-extending 4-2 win over the Hurricanes.
Season low light: With the Bruins protecting a 1-0 lead in pivotal Game 3 against the Hurricanes, Montador made an inexcusable blunder by passing the puck to the middle of the Boston zone while trying to kill a penalty. Carolina star sniper Eric Staal took the pass on his tape and beat Tim Thomas to tie the score. The Hurricanes went on to a 3-2 overtime victory.
In summation … Montador took a while to get comfortable with the Bruins and wasn’t nearly as adept at moving the puck as they needed him to be.
Grade: C-plus. Montador’s best games as Bruin were actually played at forward, although he continued his trend of losing more fights than he wins — by a lot.
The crystal ball says … Montador will probably find a better fit elsewhere because Boston needs backliners that can better play its system with consistency and poise.