BOSTON (CBS) — Jarome Iginla won’t be scoring goals for the Bruins next season, leaving a giant hole on Boston’s top line.
Iginla signed a three-year, $16 million deal with the Colorado Avalanche shortly after free agency began on July 1, leaving David Krejci and Milan Lucic without a big-bodied goal scorer. Loui Eriksson will reportedly move up to the top line for now, but can he replace Iginla’s 30 goals in 2013-14?
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Bruins analyst Bob Beers joined WBZ-TV’s Sports Final on Sunday night, and said Eriksson will see a bump in his production when he lines up next to points producers like Krejci and Lucic next season. The Swedish forward netted just 10 goals to go with 27 assists, but only played in 61 games in 2013-14 due to a pair of concussions.
“Eriksson is going to be a big key for them this year. They expected a lot from him last year and didn’t get a lot from him, partly because of injuries and partly because of under-performance,” said Beers. “If he’s going to be slotted with Kreji and Lucic you would expect his numbers to be better as this season roles along, but as the domino effect, what happens on the lower lines?
However, with Eriksson’s promotion, Boston’s lower lines may suffer.
“That’s still a work in progress,” Beers said of who will line up on Boston’s third and fourth line, “whether it’s guys coming in from Providence or they make a trade before or during the season to improve in that position. They’re a pretty deep team right now and good enough to get to the playoffs, but where do they go from there and what position are they in when the playoffs start?”
Beers would have liked to have seen Iginla remain in Boston, but without much room under the salary cap the Bruins didn’t really have a chance to match Colorado’s offer.
“Colorado is an up-and-coming team. They’re very young and could use a presence like Iginla in a leadership role and a guy who can put the puck in the net,” he said. “They still have some other holes they need to fill, but Iginla is a nice fit out there. It’s closer to home for him and a lot of money for him; that’s something the Bruins were willing or able to do based on the salary cap.”
Beers also touched on the departure of Shawn Thornton and Peter Chiarelli’s options with a very crowded group of defensemen. Watch the video above for the full segment with Beers, and tune in to Sports Final and Sports Final OT every Sunday night at 11:35 p.m. on WBZ-TV!
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