Final grades: Steve Begin

Begin/By S. Bradley

In bringing in Steve Begin to, in essence, replace Stephane Yelle, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was trying to make his fourth line younger, faster and more forceful without suffering a drop-off on the penalty kill. In that respect, Begin fulfilled his role with the 2009-10 Bruins.

However, the offensively challenged Bruins could’ve used a little more finish from their grind line center, and Begin could’ve made up for his lack of scoring with more stretches of physicality on the forecheck.

Stats: 77 GP. 5-9-14, 53 PIM, minus-8

Season highlight: With a playoff berth hanging by a thread, the Bruins really needed a win at home against Carolina April 10. Proving that their penalty kill could do more than snuff out opposing power plays, the Bruins erupted for an NHL-record three shorthanded goals on one kill, all in just 1:04 of game time. Begin scored the third of those goals on a snap shot off the rush after a long pass from Dennis Wideman. That goal proved to be the game-winner in a 4-2 victory.

Season low-light: After scoring a goal Dec. 30, Begin failed to register a point in his first 27 games of the 2010 calendar year. To be fair, Begin missed five games with injury during the score-less stretch that ended March 23, so there’s no telling how banged up he was. But if you’re healthy enough to play, you should be healthy enough to hit the score sheet with at least a fluke second assist over a 27-game span.

Grade: B-minus

While Begin lived up to his end of the bargain as a proficient penalty-killer (for Boston’s third-ranked PK), his physical presence came and went with the tides. Even if he wasn’t able to add a little more offense to the Bruins’ cause, he could’ve earned more than just three fighting majors along the way.

The crystal ball says … Begin, an unrestricted free agent, will continue his career elsewhere, as the Bruins let him walk to make room for the likes of Brad Marchand, Zach Hamill and Jordan Caron in their lineup.

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