Boston Bruins’ Craig Smith Hitting His Stride

When the Boston Bruins signed Craig Smith as an unrestricted free agent, they seemed to be getting one of many largest steals of the offseason. A participant who might instantly are available in and enhance scoring, Smith was seen as the proper participant to assist repair a serious crux of a lineup that’s usually gone so far as the highest line might take them.

With the mixture of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak making up the majority of the Bruins means to attain lately, the staff has struggled to constantly produce offense with out them on the ice. This has been an ongoing challenge that merely wanted a repair if the staff was going to compete with their present core of gamers.

Craig Smith has hit is stride with the Boston Bruins as of late. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

On paper, bringing Smith in made all of the sense on the earth. He was additionally signed to a team-friendly three-year, $9.3 million deal that made his addition to the staff even sweeter. Nonetheless, even with Smith within the fold, the Bruins offense would proceed to battle to provide with out the aforementioned prime line on the ice.

Although Smith was doing his half to attempt to assist clear up this drawback, nothing appeared to present for the Bruins or for his or her latest addition. It could be a stretch to say that Smith wasn’t enjoying nicely early in his Bruins’ tenure as he was doing nearly every thing the staff might have requested of him. The one factor that was lacking, nonetheless, was the constant manufacturing on the scoresheet.

Bruins Rely Closely on Smith’s Offensive Manufacturing

Over the primary 26 video games of his Bruins’ profession, Smith would take 61 pictures and rating 4 targets and 9 factors. Every of his 4 targets and 4 of his 5 assists would come at even power. Basically, when he was producing, he was serving to the staff once they battle essentially the most, particularly once they aren’t enjoying both up or down a participant and are skating at even power. Nonetheless, the Bruins have been going to wish greater than 9 factors in 26 video games in the event that they deliberate on profitable something this season.

That is very true when contemplating the truth that, in these 26 video games, the Bruins have been 6-1-0 when Smith recorded some extent. Sadly, meaning he did not document some extent in 19 of his first 26 video games with the staff.

Over the past 10 video games, nonetheless, Smith has discovered himself producing at a much more constant tempo. Being held off the scoreboard simply 4 instances in that stretch, Smith has scored three targets and 10 factors. The Bruins at the moment are 12-1-0 when Smith data some extent and curiously sufficient, they have been 0-2-2 within the 4 video games that Smith did not register some extent.

It’s straightforward to take a look at the Bruins and say that the staff is closely reliant on Bergeron, Marchand, Pastrnak, David Krejci, Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk to create offense and win video games. With out Smith producing, although, the Bruins have struggled mightily and undoubtedly want him to be constant simply as a lot as they want their different prime stars.

In want of scoring and discovering a strategy to get some extra out of his gamers, head coach Bruce Cassidy determined that enjoying Smith alongside Bergeron and Marchand made sense as it could then slide Pastrnak all the way down to play with Krejci. In principle, this might give the Bruins a extra balanced assault and assist get others going.

The transfer has definitely created a constructive change for Smith on the scoresheet, however consistency for the lineup as an entire should still be a problem. The Bruins, even with Smith, have been all the time going to be no less than yet another top-six ahead away from competing.

They have been fortunate that the departure of Torey Krug wasn’t disastrous with Grzelcyk stepping up and enjoying his half nicely. The staff can also be lucked into Nick Ritchie showing to lastly be enjoying at a degree that many thought him able to when he was drafted with the tenth decide within the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. With out these two issues occurring, the Bruins scenario might be far bleaker.

Associated: Bruins’ Nick Ritchie Proving Doubters Fallacious

This staff might use a serious splash on the NHL Commerce Deadline and although they seem like energetic in the marketplace, the necessity to purchase no less than one main participant on offense and probably an affect participant on protection might finally be too tall of a job for basic supervisor Don Sweeney to tug off. It takes two to tango and although Sweeney could wish to make a deal, the chance has to current itself.

The hope is that the precise deal materializes for the Bruins and that Smith received’t be seen as the one new Bruin being tasked with such immense strain to provide.

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