As soon as he arrived in a deadline-day trade from Minnesota, Greg Zanon looked like a Bruins-type player.
Once he hit the ice, he lived up to his reputation as a gritty, hard-nosed performer with solid body checks and tons of blocked shots. Unfortunately, those attributes weren’t enough for him to overcome the miscues he made while adjusting to Boston’s system, or to get out of the way and avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
For a third-pair defenseman, Zanon made a few too many mistakes for a guy who was supposed to be keeping things simple in limited minutes.
It’s pretty apparent that Boston’s depth won’t leave any room for a Zanon return as a free agent. Whether the Bruins will regret the two-month rental of Zanon will depend on Steven Kampfer’s development as a NHL defenseman. However, considering the situation Boston was in in February, there was little reason to quarrel with general manager Peter Chiarelli’s move at the time.
Sometimes these deals are key to long runs, and sometimes the player becomes just a blip in a team’s history. That will probably be Zanon’s legacy.
Regular season: With Boston, 17 GP, 1-1-2, plus-3
Playoffs: 7 GP, 0-1-1, Even
Contract status: UFA 2012
Regular season recap
Highlight: A late-season win over Ottawa was served host to Zanon’s best night in black and gold. He scored a goal and was plus-3 in a 3-1 win April 5. Zanon blocked 10 shots, including a Colin Greening shot with his shoulder. Zanon logged 21:47 of ice time and landed two shots on net.
Lowlight: Zanon’s regular season was littered with goals against that deflected off one of his body parts or went through him while screening Tim Thomas. In a 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers, Zanon dove and deflected a Carl Hagelin backhand pass into Boston’s net. Zanon was minus-2 for the game in just 12:36 of ice time.
Playoff recap: Zanon was on the ice for Joel Ward’s series-clinching goal. He lost a battle in front of the Boston net on a Troy Brouwer goal in Game 2, which evened out Zanon’s ledger after his solid defensive play helped set up Chris Kelly’s overtime game-winner in Game 1. He was minus-3 over the course of the last three games of the series.
Grade: B-minus. It’s hard to come down too hard on a third-pair D. But after Zanon looked like a perfect fit for the Bruins, he turned into nothing special and hurt more than he helped over the course of his whole tenure.
Carnac predicts … Zanon will land elsewhere with a job as a third-pair D making a couple mill and be one of those guys five years ago you say ‘Wow, I forgot he played for the Bruins.’