Training camp preview: let the position battles begin

Let’s face it, when Bruins wingers get to training camp they all try to line up next to Savard as badly as they want to get interviewed by Heidi Androl when they play at Los Angeles. Most predict a pair of Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton would work best with Savard. But there’s no doubt Julien is going to try plenty other combinations before settling on his opening-night lines. Maybe Seguin would be a good fit playing alongside the team’s best playmaker and the rugged Lucic. Playing next to Savard might reboot Ryder or Wheeler’s careers. There are a few options and the chance to be on the receiving end of Savard’s dishes will be a coveted opportunity by many all camp long.

*Wingers vs. wingers to play with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi

It’s doubtful Julien would want to break up this pair of veteran forwards, who formed two thirds of Boston’s best two-way line all last season. This would be Sturm’s spot if healthy. Some have considered Seguin a solid fit here because he could learn under two of Boston’s best leaders. Wheeler finished last season here, and maybe he’s ready for more responsibility. If Julien decides he just wants the most defense possible on this line, he could go back to Daniel Paille. For me, I’d like to see Wheeler get this chance. Maybe the extra responsibility would empower him to truly grow this season.

*Defenseman vs. defenseman to be on the roster

With six NHL defensemen on one-way deals, the Bruins are pretty much set one through six. Julien typically likes to have a seventh guy around for practice and competition when the salary cap allows. As an incumbent, Adam McQuaid seems like the front-runner to be the spare D. But he could get challenged by Jeff Penner, Andrew Bodnarchuk or newcomer Nathan McIver. Beyond just trying to make the team, could one of these players – or even a rookie – make a push to force Matt Hunwick or Andrew Ference out? We won’t know until we see if Hunwick can find his form after an inconsistent sophomore season and see how Ference holds up to the rigors of the game with two surgically repaired groins. I’d expect the top six to stay as is and McQuaid to stick around, at least at the outset of the season.

Let’s get ready to rumble! … For positions, that is.

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