Breaking down the B's roster

One man's position-by-position projection

September 21, 2009, 6:33 PM

By: Matt Kalman

The halfway point of the exhibition season seems like the perfect time to take stock of the Boston Bruins' roster.

As expected, there are only a couple of jobs still available and the predicted combatants are pursuing them. By my count, there are 38 available bodies still in camp. Here's a position-by-position breakdown of how things are shaping up with the regular season 10 days away:

Number in parentheses is total players Bruins probably will carry at the position.

Goaltender (2)

Locked in: Tim Thomas

Odds-on favorite: Tuukka Rask

Odd men out: Dany Sabourin, Kevin Regan

With 59 saves on 61 shots in two preseason appearances, Rask has done exactly what he was expected to do and proved to the Bruins that he's NHL-ready. Sabourin should be hitting the waiver wire on his way to the American Hockey League. Regan will be joining him in Providence.

Defense (7)

Locked in: Zdeno Chara, Dennis Wideman, Derek Morris, Mark Stuart, Andrew Ference

Odds-on favorites: Matt Hunwick, Johnny Boychuk

Odd men out: Adam McQuaid, Andy Wozniewski, Drew Fata, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Jeff Penner

Hunwick or Boychuk will be your No. 6 D-man on opening night, and both could be in the lineup if Ference isn't game-ready in time. Ference's health also could open the door for McQuaid or Wozniewski to stick around as an insurance policy.

Forwards (13)

Locked in: Steve Begin, Patrice Bergeron, Chuck Kobasew, David Krejci (injured), Milan Lucic, Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder, Marc Savard, Marco Sturm, Shawn Thornton, Blake Wheeler

Odds-on favorites: Byron Bitz, Zach Hamill, Brad Marchand

Odd men out: Vladimir Sobotka, Jamie Arniel, Drew Larman, Guillaume Lefebvre, Mikko Lehtonen, Jeff LoVecchio, Kirk MacDonald, Trent Whitfield.

If Krejci isn't healthy for opening night, that opens the door for Hamill to make the team and center the third line, which could feature some combination of Sturm, Wheeler and Lucic on his wings. That's the type of skill the Bruins want their 2007 first-round pick surrounded by.

Bitz and Marchand are on pace to edge out Sobotka for the 12th and 13th roster spots. To me, Sobotka has been one of the disappointments of camp because he's been sort of pedestrian. However, the Bruins might want 21-year-old Marchand to play regularly at Providence to start out the season.

Once Krejci is healthy, the Bruins will have some tough choices. Hamill could play his way into a definite spot, and that could make Bitz or even Thornton vulnerable. Carrying a third-liner such as Kobasew at a $2.3 million cap hit might be a luxury the Bruins can't afford, and he could be tradable.

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