Toucher & Rich

BOSTON (CBS) – 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich had on CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty Tuesday morning to talk some Bruins.

The first line of Milan Lucic – Ryan Spooner – David Pastrnak has given Boston a much-needed infusion of talent and speed since the David Krejci injury, but what does coach Claude Julien do when the veteran centerman returns?

Haggerty says what he would do and what Julien will do are likely two different things, but if it were up to him he’d keep the first line intact, and move Krejci to the struggling third line.

“That [third] line has struggled. Carl Soderberg hasn’t scored in 23 games. Chris Kelly has never been an offensive player. He hasn’t scored a goal in a while either. That line was so productive and so consistent in the first half of the year when the rest of the team was really struggling. I think what you have to hope for is when David Krejci does come back that it kind of sparks that line a little bit,” said Haggerty.

With Krejci sidelined, better defensemen can be assigned to stop that third line, which is another reason for their collective struggles.

“This confirms to me what I’ve always thought about Carl Soderberg: he’s a good player, but he’s a third-line center on a good team and he’s never going to be a top two-line center — he’s going to be paid as such when he hits free agency at the end of the year. With Krejci out a couple times this year, you’ve put him in a position to really become a bigger factor and he hasn’t been able to do it.”

There’s a large enough sample size now to form an educated opinion about Carl Soderberg and fellow countryman Loui Eriksson. Haggerty is simply not convinced they fit the Bruins mold, and wouldn’t be surprised to see them playing elsewhere in 2015-16.

“Every time the physicality goes up, and every time you have to fight to get the space on the ice, I just don’t feel like they are as effective,” Haggerty said of Soderberg and Eriksson.

“I feel like at times they get invisible and you don’t notice them as much. That’s what happens to them as players. That may be why both of those players aren’t with this team next year, because they’ve seen enough evidence that that happens and they’re going to try and find a different solution for the third line.”

There’s still 13 games left in the regular season and (hopefully) a playoff series or two in store for Boston, but if Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson don’t start showing something more, Haggerty believes the third line will look much different next season.

Boston returns to the ice Tuesday night at TD Garden against Buffalo.

Listen below for the full discussion:

Hear every game of the 2014-15 Boston Bruins season on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the Boston Bruins. Pregame coverage with Dave Goucher and Bob Beers begins 30 minutes prior to every game!


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