BOSTON — With the Bruins’ power play back in a 2-for-13 funk and still ranked just 15th overall on the season, Boston’s coaching staff might be forced to consider some personnel changes for the team’s man-advantage units.
The Bruins’ five-man groups have been pretty static the last few weeks since Marc Savard returned and Steve Kampfer joined the team. Kampfer and Zdeno Chara man the points on one group with Savard, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton up front. Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg works the points on the other group with David Krejci, Michael Ryder and Mark Recchi serving as the forwards.
In practice Wednesday, however, the Bruins added a different wrinkle in the midst of their power-play drills. Rookie forward Tyler Seguin — who spent about the first month of the season working the half-wall on the power play — jumped in at the right point in Kampfer’s place for a couple turns. As surprising as it was to witness from the stands, it was also surprising to do for the 18-year-old.
“I didn’t even know they were going to do that,” said Seguin today after the morning skate in preparation for tonight’s game against Minnesota at TD Garden.
In the interest of full disclosure, Seguin also rotated into Krejci’s center position for a couple turns during the drills. But obviously the idea of him at the point is more intriguing. It could give him the room to utilize his laser-like shot and also open up more opportunities to showcase the passing skills that haven’t really shone through since his NHL career started.
“I like being a playmaker and when you’re at the point, you usually can see everything,” said Seguin, who said he likes being at the point and did it a bit in junior.
But there there’s the other side of playing the point, which can be difficult for any forward — skating backwards and acting as a defenseman on shorthanded chances. It has been a struggle at times even for a sound defensive player like Bergeron. So a rookie who’s still learning the intricacies might really be a liability back there.
However, there are ways the Bruins could protect Seguin while getting the most out of him from the point. Pairing him with Chara is one way. Or they could just make sure that the forwards in Seguin’s group are the type who always know to cover up when a defenseman pinches. With the Bruins’ current power-play approach, which features forwards often rotating out to the blue line to free up the point men to move up, Recchi, Krejci and Ryder have been the most adept at making sure Boston cuts off any shorthanded odd-man chances.
So maybe using Seguin at the point would require a more drastic personnel shuffle than just replacing Kampfer with Seguin. Once Mark Stuart returns, Boston might have to find a replacement for Kampfer, who doesn’t require waivers to assigned to Providence.
If things keep going at their current rate, trying Seguin at the point might be worth a shot.