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Dennis Seidenberg’s season-ending knee injury suffered in December was a huge loss for the Boston Bruins, one they couldn’t overcome in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs.
His absence from the blue line forced Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton to play more minutes than the team probably would have liked. It also didn’t help that Adam McQuaid — a defensive defenseman like Seidenberg — also missed significant time with injuries in 2013-14.
Fortunately for Boston, Seidenberg is healthy again and back in the lineup. He’s looked a little rusty in the preseason, but there’s no reason to be concerned because the German D-man is a workout warrior who stays in fantastic shape throughout the season.
2013-14 Stats: 1 goals, 9 assists, 10 points in 34 games
Contract: Expires after 2017-18 season, with a $4 million salary-cap hit each year
What He Will Bring The Team
Seidenberg is a prototypical shut-down defenseman. He’s well positioned, plays a physical game, has a high hockey IQ and defends opponents’ top forwards (he had an impressive 28.5 Quality of Competition rating in 2013-14) at a high level for over 20 minutes per game. The veteran blueliner also is a strong penalty killer and his 2:24 of short-handed ice time per game ranked third on the team last season.
In addition to his defensive skills, Seidenberg also provides between 20-30 points of scoring production from the blue line. His all-around skill set is quite impressive, which is why he was difficult to replace after his injury last season. Chara shouldn’t have to play as many minutes as he did last year (team-high 24:39 per game) with Seidenberg back in the fold.
Weakness That Must Be Improved
The only real weakness to Seidenberg’s game is his speed, which really isn’t something that can be improved much at age 33. He’s never had elite speed, and he’s made up for that by being so well-positioned in all three zones. With that said, smaller and faster forwards are able to give him problems at times.
Expected Role For 2014-15
Seidenberg will play on the first or second pairing and play an important role on the penalty kill. He likely will play alongside Chara on the top pairing during the playoffs — a duo that played a key part in Boston advancing to the 2011 and 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
Seidenberg is one of the league’s most underrated defenseman, and his presence on the blue line will give Boston a better chance to win the Stanley Cup compared to last season.
Projected 2014-15 Stats: 6 goals, 19 assists in 78 games
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