Way-Too-Early Grades for New Boston Bruins

Chris Blanchard@@BlanchardNHLContributor IIIOctober 15, 2013

Way-Too-Early Grades for New Boston Bruins

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    Loui Eriksson
    Loui ErikssonBrian Babineau/Getty Images

    Boston Bruins fans are just getting used to seeing Jarome Iginla, Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith in black and gold, but the small sample size won't stop us from handing out some way-too-early grades. 

    The trio of wingers have been highly visible in Boston's 3-2 start to the season, and though they've been far from perfect, they have looked very promising alongside their new teammates. 

    Here's a look at each new Bruin's early performance: 

Jarome Iginla

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    Brian Babineau/Getty Images

    Grade: B

    Through five games, Jarome Iginla's stat line has been disappointing to say the least. His only point so far came as a short-handed assist on Chris Kelly's goal against Columbus. However, the numbers don't do the longtime star justice. 

    Iginla leads his new team with 19 shots on goal. Though his finishing could use a little tightening uphe has been robbed by goalies on numerous occasions. 

    Iginla's tough luck has been especially apparent in Boston's losses. Colorado's J.S. Giguere and Detroit's Jonas Gustavsson combined to stop 12 Iginla shots to hold Boston off in a pair of very close games. 

    The B's new number 12 has paired very nicely with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, and he has looked even better teaming up with Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug on the power play. The future hall of famer has consistently found superb positions for one-timers, and eventually the puck will have to start finding the twine. 

    Even the best scorer's get snake-bitten from time to time. Eventually the results will reflect the quality play that Iginla is providing. 

    In the midst of his scoring drought, he has contributed in a number of other ways. A huge fight win on opening night and an inspiring stick-less penalty kill effort against Columbus stand out as prime examples of his leadership on the ice. 

Loui Eriksson

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Grade: B+

    Loui Eriksson was fairly quiet in his first few outings, but he is starting to hit his stride. With two goals in his last two games, Eriksson is well on his way to becoming a Beantown fan favorite. 

    The Swede didn't get much going in the first few games, but his comfort with center Patrice Bergeron has grown game-by-game. 

    Without a point in his first three contests, Eriksson faced considerable pressure to find the score-sheet, and he did just that against Columbus. With a perfect back-handed shot, Eriksson flashed the immense potential of his partnership with Bergeron. 

    Two days after netting his first of the season, the winger was credited with a goal once again for banking a Johnny Boychuk blast in off his knee. Though deflections depend heavily on luck, Eriksson earned the point by setting an excellent screen. 

    While he has played well in his first few games with the Bruins, he is capable of producing even more. He'll look to set up teammates and pick up some assists in the next few games. 

Reilly Smith

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    Brian Babineau/Getty Images

    Grade: A

    Reilly Smith is being graded on a curve, but that shouldn't take anything away from his exemplary marks. 

    Acquired in the Tyler Seguin trade, Smith won a heated battle in training camp for a spot on Boston's third line, and he has looked excellent in his new role. 

    With three assists in his last four games, Smith ranks fourth on his new team in points. He probably won't rank that high at season's end, but his early contributions have been excellent. 

    The former Miami of Ohio captain has done a superb job winning the puck in traffic and mining opportunities out of the corners. 

    A goal or two would be nice to see, but Smith looks like a qualified replacement for Rich Peverley so far. 

    In recent action, Smith has even skated on Patrice Bergeron's line while Brad Marchand tries to find his stride on line three. Though Marchand is almost certain to return to top-six duty eventually, Smith has a golden opportunity in front of him playing with star linemates.