Q: How much do you think Jarome Iginla has left? I know he wasn't great against the B's in the playoffs but I really like the signing. I think he'll fit right in on that first line and also be a great guy in the locker room. -- JT (Cape Cod)
A: I think Iginla definitely has enough to make a positive impact on the Bruins this season. As you pointed out, he was not effective against the Bruins in the playoffs, but he did have 12 points in 15 playoff games with the Penguins and he wasn't the only superstar shut down by the Bruins in the playoffs.
I also believe that more than a couple of months playing in the same system will allow Iginla to find his game again. Let's not forget that he didn't have much time to adjust to the Penguins after playing with the same team for 16 seasons. Now Iginla can come into training camp, adapt to his new team and city and be properly integrated into the Bruins' system. That combined with his skill, experience and leadership should help both him and the team. If he can stay healthy, I truly believe this is a good fit for all involved and I agree with you that he should find chemistry with Milan Lucic and David Krejci.
Q: Just curious for your take on the Tyler Seguin trade. Seems to me like at least for next season the Bruins will probably be fine -- Loui Eriksson might even be better for that one year than Seguin, at least more consistent -- plus, he's a true wing, which is what the Bruins really needed. But I just can't help feeling like the Bruins are going to regret giving up on Seguin as early as they did. Maybe he'll never realize his full potential, but if he does, he's a superstar. -- Rick (Hartford)
A: I'm very conflicted on this trade, as well. It immediately brought me back to the Joe Thornton trade. For a variety of reasons that may be very justified, the Bruins came to the conclusion that Tyler Seguin just wasn't going to reach his potential as a member of the Boston Bruins. As Thornton did, Seguin may very well -- and I believe he will -- reach superstar status. That may be with the Stars or even another organization.
But the Bruins decided there were too many cons in keeping Seguin around to see if it would happen here while he was to eat up $5.7 million against the cap per season. Already they were able to use that money to help lock up Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron long term, and no one will argue that those two players are more important to the core than Seguin. So this wasn't just about the off-ice shenanigans by Seguin that we heard and read about. This had to do with deciding where to spend their cap money now and over the long term.
I would have given Seguin a bit more time but: (A) if his new contract kicked in and the on- and off-ice issues weren't corrected in the first or even second season of his new six-year contract then his value would diminish, and (B) I'm not the GM of the Bruins for a good reason and based on his track record, I trust Peter Chiarelli's decision-making.
Q: I really like Tuukka Rask, but I just think it's crazy to give any goalie an eight-year deal? I guess at the end of the day the market is what it is, but I have to think Chiarelli had a little knot in his stomach when he finally agreed to go eight years. -- Matt (Natick, Mass.)
A: At first, I reacted the same way. Actually not just to the term but also the money they gave Rask. But the more I thought about it, I changed my view. Rask has proven himself and is a young and elite goaltender. As you said, the market really does dictate such contracts and the goaltending position in my eyes is the most important in the game. Just ask the Philadelphia Flyers. So when you have a chance to lock up a young and proven goaltender and secure that position for nearly a decade, you need to do it. I'm confident that -- health permitting -- Rask will become even better and will be worth the contract.
Q: What are your way-too-early projections for what the Bruins' four forward lines will look like on opening night? And might as well go all the way and give the three defensive pairings too. Do Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski all make the opening-night lineup? If they do, who sits, Adam McQuaid? -- Nathan (Springfield, Mass.)
A: Yikes! Nathan, I'm still trying to move on from what was a very lengthy "shortened" season. But what the heck, I'll delve into the crystal ball. Here you go:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Loui Eriksson
Matt Bartkowski-Dennis Seidenberg
Adam McQuaid-Torey Krug
Q: I am a huge Joe Thornton fan (still have not quite recovered from losing him all these years later). Do you ever envision the B's taking a run at him when he is a free agent? [Editor's note: Thornton has one year left on his current deal.] We have an entirely new management that had nothing to do with his departure. Probably would only cost a two- to three-year deal and he could be a spark come playoff time. -- Chris K (Boston)
A: That's a very interesting thought and it would be pretty ironic after this Bruins management team just pulled off a trade (Tyler Seguin) with a similar feel to the Joe Thornton trade -- not to mention they wear the same number. You're right, things are much different now and Thornton is a much different player. However, one thing that may prevent that is the Bruins still have plenty of depth at center and unless they didn't bring back David Krejci when his contract expires after two seasons I don't think it would be a good fit.
Q: What's up with the backup goalie situation? Why did we get Chad Johnson? Is Svedberg not ready yet? -- Dom (Hamilton, Mass.)
A: I, too, was a bit surprised at the Johnson signing, not because the Bruins picked him up, but that he was given a one-way contract. Like you, I was under the impression that Nicklas Svedberg will be given every shot to assume the backup role this season, and Chiarelli said as much in his news conference after development camp. So how will there be room for both with Johnson on a one-way contract? I am a big fan of Svedberg and I think he should be backing up Rask this season, but we shall see.