I was just wondering today if the Bruins were in the market for one more defenseman they could acquire without subtracting anything from their current blueliner corps.
After all, in 2008-09, the top-seeded Bruins went into the Eastern Conference playoffs with eight defensemen and by the time Matt Hunwick and Andrew Ference had suffered injuries, Boston was down to just the minimum six. The Bruins are currently carrying seven defensemen and have been just about all season.
So then news trickled across the continent from Vancouver today and I had my answer. Veteran Shane Hnidy, who skated in 108 games over the course of the ’07-08 and ’08-09 seasons for the Bruins, showed up at practice today and it was announced he would stay with the team on a tryout basis.
Hnidy, a 35-year-old solid, stay-at-home defenseman, was known for two things in his Bruins days: his ability to pummel an opponent with his gloves off if provoked and a knack for stepping into the lineup after long layoffs and contributing.
He started this season with Phoenix on a tryout, but suffered a shoulder injury. According to the Twitter feed of NESN reporter Naoko Funayama, Hnidy could still be about a month away from being game-ready. He played last season with Minnesota.
Considering the Bruins’ tight salary-cap situation, if Hnidy’s willing to sign up for a prorated portion of something around the league minimum salary, and he can prove to at least be close to what he was during his previous stint in Boston, he could be a huge boost to a club that knows all too well how quickly the injury bug can infect a defense corps.
And he’s a great guy in the room, according to pretty much every one of his former teammates. Plus he can keep Shawn Thornton company at dinners now that Stuart is gone.