Looking at how Lee Stempniak, John-Michael Liles will fit with Bruins

DJ Bean
February 29, 2016 - 7:02 pm
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The biggest name the Bruins came away with at the trade deadline was the one they kept in Loui Eriksson. After that, they made the questionable decision to double down as buyers and add a couple of veterans that figure to take the spots of young players down the stretch. It's debatable whether the Bruins should have acquired Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles, but what's done is done. Those guys will be used as part of a potential playoff run. Here's our best guess as to how. LEE STEMPNIAK The Bruins probably didn't give up a second-rounder and a fourth-rounder so Stempniak could be a bottom-sixer, so the guess here is that he'll replace Brett Connolly on Patrice Bergeron's right wing. That would bump Connolly to either the bottom six or the press box. Stempniak will provide Bergeron with another scorer on his line, as he has 13 even-strength goals this season to Connolly's six. Here's how Stempniak compares to Connolly in all facets of the game:

JOHN-MICHAEL LILES The 35-year-old left shot defenseman could play on the left side of Boston's second or third pairing. That gives the Bruins options regarding guys like Torey Krug and Dennis Seidenberg who can be bumped to the left side, and the guess here is that his presence will push young lefty Joe Morrow out of the lineup. Liles stands at 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds. He'll help in the transition game and has good offensive numbers (his six goals would be second to Zdeno Chara among Bruins D), but he won't solve Boston's issues in front of the net. "He's not what I'd call a prototypical shutdown defenseman," Sweeney said, "but [if] you spend a little less time in your own end, you don't have to defend, and hopefully, he can bring that to the table. I think he can complement the offensive part of it at the offensive blueline." If Liles plays the left side of the second pairing, he could provide an upgrade over Dennis Seidenberg, who would be moved to the right in such a scenario.
Mark Divver of the Providence Journal reported Monday night that the B's will recall Noel Acciari from Providence Tuesday. That would likely make him the team's fourth-line center (both Max Talbot and Joonas Kemppainen are currently on the AHL roster), but the guess here is that this is how Boston's lineup will eventually look in the coming days and weeks: Marchand-Bergeron-Stempniak Eriksson-Krejci-Pastrnak Beleskey-Spooner-Hayes/Connolly Connolly/Hayes-Kemppainen/Talbot-Ferraro Chara-McQuaid Liles-Seidenberg Krug-Kevan Miller Rask Does that look like a Stanley Cup contender to you? If it ends up being one, Tuukka Rask will have been a miracle worker.
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