Over the course of the Boston Bruins' recent run of success, the club's fourth line was widely viewed as a key component in a winning formula that resulted in two Stanley Cup Final appearances (including a championship in 2011) and a President's Trophy last season.
With Shawn Thornton off to Florida and Daniel Paille penciled in on the club's third line after Loui Eriksson's likely move to the first unit, Gregory Campbell remains the last man standing on Boston's 'Merlot Line', and even he appears set to experience a role change.
The idea of moving Campbell to the wing from the center spot he's held for the past four seasons is being bandied about by the Bruins, and Campbell appears willing to do whatever it takes to help the team remain successful.
Campbell told WEEI.com:
I’ve been a center for the last four years, but I’m not going to [demand anything]. I want to be in a spot where I can complement other guys. If they throw me with whoever it is and I have to play wing and we’re a successful line, then so be it. That’s where I want to be. I have played center for a long time, so it may take me a few games, but I’m sure I can do it.
The move would open up a spot for the likes of seemingly NHL-ready prospects such as Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev, both of whom general manager Peter Chiarelli and Co. believe are better suited for the center position.
“When you move someone to the wing it’s the board work, and that’s what’s really tough,” Chiarelli said back in July. ‘It’s almost like pick your poison a little bit with the young guys, but those two players both have really good sticks and they’re smart, so body position and timing, getting pucks out of the boards, that’s the trickiest part when you move from center to wing."
In 82 games in 2013-14, Campbell registered eight goals, 13 assists and a 45.5 Corsi For rating, so shaking things up on the fourth line may serve to benefit the Bruins' chances heading into a new season.
Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Adam Hunger