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Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli shook-off his conservative reputation with a set of very aggressive off-season moves. On July 4, he responded to Nathan Horton's departure by trading Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley for Loui Eriksson and three prospects. The following day, future hall-of-famer Jarome Iginla came aboard on a one-year deal.
Now it's time to see if the big summer risks can pay off.
Boston's preseason lines have matched expectations. Eriksson, who can play on both wings, will play on the right side of Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, and Iginla will take Horton's spot next to Milan Lucic and David Krejci.
The Marchand-Bergeron-Eriksson line should now be Boston's clear number one unit. The trio projects to be an elite two-way group. Eriksson's offensive numbers have regularly exceeded those of his Bruins teammates in recent years, and he ought to challenge for the team points lead.
An exemplary defensive winger, Eriksson should post an elite plus-minus rating alongside Bergeron, who is a perennial Selke Trophy favorite. The 28-year-old Swede should be a perfect fit.
Iginla should also have no trouble establishing chemistry with David Krejci and Milan Lucic. The 36-year-old is similar in style to Nathan Horton, but he is even more offensively gifted.
The question about Iginla is his age. In the twilight of his career, he is no longer an elite goal-scorer. However, his success in Pittsburgh late last season was encouraging. After snubbing Boston at the trade deadline, Iginla potted five goals and 11 points in just 13 regular seasons games with the Pens.
Iginla improved significantly following his move away from Calgary. He benefited significantly from playing with Evgeni Malkin. Though Krejci is no Malkin, he is still a better playmaking center than Iginla ever had in Calgary.
The 530 goal-scorer won't have to be the star in Boston, and that should allow him to excel despite his age. Don't forget that he is just two seasons removed from a 43-goal, 86-point campaign.
The former-superstar scored twice in his preseason debut with the Bruins, and he has looked very comfortable so far. As he continues the long hunt for his first championship, he could turn in a vintage season.
Both Iginla and Eriksson should factor on Boston's power play. Scoring with the man-advantage has been very difficult for Boston over the last few seasons, and the new guys can only make it better.
If both stars meet expectations, Boston's offense is in for a major boost.