While no one expects the Boston Bruins to abandon their attempts to have the most suffocating defense possible, the swap of Aaron Ward for Derek Morris in their defense corps means there should be added emphasis on offensive production for the back end.
That could mean that Dennis Wideman, coming off a career year statistically, could see his numbers increase beyond those levels. Back at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., for informal practices, Wideman was already looking forward to the new-look group of blueliners.
“I think with the addition of Morris, he moves the puck pretty well, skates well, and (Matt) Hunwick is one year older, he moves and skates really well. So I think with that we should be a bit more mobile defense corps and hopefully move the puck faster and get it up to our forwards hands a little better than we did last year,” Wideman told TheBruinsBlog.net after one morning session.
Offseason tidbit: Now 26 years old, Wideman said he’s at the age that all of his friends are going married. He figures he attended at least six weddings this summer.
Position battle: A mainstay on the Bruins’ power play last season, Wideman spent a lot of time on the second unit. He could battle Derek Morris and Patrice Bergeron (if the forward is still being used a point man) for first-unit playing time. Wideman could also emerge as a candidate to play alongside Zdeno Chara on the top pair.
Projection: In order to maintain balance, the Bruins will probably keep Wideman on the second man-advantage and also on the second pair. This should work to the veteran’s advantage and he should be able to surpass the 50-point plateau he reached last season.