GAUGING THE BOSTON BRUINS DEFENSE ONE WEEK AT A TIME NOVEMBER 7, 2021

I have no clue on where to begin. But here we are.

There’s no point in breaking down the defense against Detroit because, well, they are the Red Wings. But if there’s one conclusion to come out of that game as well as the Saturday night contest with the Toronto Maple Leafs is that Coach Bruce Cassidy has virtually given up on the Mike Reilly and Brandon Carlo experiment.

I have discussed in previous articles already that the pair just doesn’t seem to be clicking like it was last season and Cassidy has made the switch and moved Matt Grzelcyk onto the second pair with Carlo, at least predominantly in the last two games. And their underlining numbers have been pretty decent over those two games.

That left Reilly to pair predominantly with Connor Clifton and their underlining numbers also faired pretty well.

Here are how the pairs matched up over the previous two contests:

That brings us to Charlie McAvoy and Derek Forbort.

The pair was great against Detroit but they are the Red Wings and they were missing arguably their best player in Dylan Larkin. On Saturday, to say it was an abysmal pair is an understatement.

If the Grzelcyk/Carlo pair and the Reilly/Clifton pair continue to be worthy of sticking together then Cassidy and his staff better find a way to make the Forbort/McAvoy pair work.

The options here are minimal. If you want to pair Forbort with Clifton, they haven’t been bad. But personally, I wouldn’t pair Reilly with Carlo with how they’ve faired this season. Do you give them time to work things out? I would be tempted to keep Grzelcyk with Carlo, at least for now and that leaves you the opportunity to pair Reilly with McAvoy. Through nine games they’ve skated together for 13:09 time on ice and have done pretty well.

Unless they are bringing in Jakub Zboril in for Tuesday’s matchup against the Ottawa Senators or recalling John Moore, I would be tempted to try the following pairs:

Reilly – McAvoy

Grzelcyk – Carlo

Forbort – Clifton

Something has to give because if the status quo just isn’t getting the job done.

Here are the defensive pair underlying numbers for the season:

And here are the individual defenseman’s stats for the season:

Let’s hope I’ve got more to say (with more positivity) next week.

By the way, the Bruins are heavily into analytics and they are hiring. Perhaps it may be something for one of you? https://www.teamworkonline.com/hockey-jobs/boston-bruins-jobs/boston-bruins-jobs/developer-boston-bruins-1996099?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Follow me on Twitter @dominictiano

Published by Dominic Tiano

Following the Ontario Hockey League players eligible for the NHL Draft. I provide season-long stats, updates and player profiles as well as draft rankings.

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