Bruins regular-season final grades: the defensemen

Chara/By S. Bradley

The first 82 games are in the books. Now the games really count. Before the start of the playoffs, here’s a look at how the Bruins graded out during the regular season.

While the Bruins might’ve boasted the best defenseman in the entire NHL on their back end all season, their defense corps as a group had a roller-coaster season at both ends of the rink.

The Bruins’ system, however, continued to play to most of the individuals’ strengths on the back end, and the defensemen chipped in for Boston’s 2.30 goals-against total (second-best in the NHL) and at the offensive end.

Here are the final regular-season report cards for the Bruins’ defensemen

Zdeno Chara

First-quarter grade: A

Midseason grade: B

Third-quarter grade: A-minus

Final grade: A

He didn’t set a career high for points or even finish in the top 15 among NHL defenseman in scoring. Still, 44 points is a pretty impressive total for a guy who was plus-33 while averaging more than 25 minutes of ice time per game and matching up against the cream of the crop of the league’s snipers. The way Chara handled the aftermath of the Max Pacioretty Affair while hardly losing any of his edge from his play showed not only his elite status as a player but also validated him as the team’s emotional leader. No one puts the team ahead of himself more than Chara. A second Norris Trophy in three years should be on its way in order to put him in the conversation for fourth-best defenseman in franchise history.

Dennis Seidenberg

First-quarter grade: B-plus

Midseason grade: B-minus

Third-quarter grade: B

Final grade: B-minus

If you were grading Seidenberg based on living up to his No. 2 defenseman salary, you’d probably have to be harder on him. But as they say, you can’t blame the player for taking the money. Seidenberg led the team in blocked shots and set a new career high with 31 points. His struggles moving the puck out of his own end and working the point on the power play contributed to general manager Peter Chiarelli’s desire to up the ante in pursuit of Tomas Kaberle. Seidenberg needed to contribute more at the offensive end and do a better job of deciding when to go for the block and when to let the goaltender see the shot. That he managed to play 81 games with his rugged style was quite an accomplishment.

Ference/By S. Bradley

Andrew Ference

First-quarter grade: B

Midterm grade: B-plus

Third-quarter grade: B-plus

Final grade: B-plus

Fears that Ference’s fragility would prevent him from contributing the way the Bruins needed after re-signing him last spring were mostly allayed, as Ference logged 69 games – his most since 2006-07. While he was best-suited to playing on the third pair, Ference held down the fort well in the top four when Johnny Boychuk was injured. Ference struggled the last couple weeks of the season but was still plus-22 with three goals (his most since 2005-06).

Adam McQuaid

First-quarter grade: B

Midseason grade: B

Third-quarter grade: A

Final grade: A-minus

Page 1 of 2 | Next page