Okay, I am wearing my flame retardant clothes today because this is going to be a subject that is so sore you’d think it was hanging off of Tyler Seguin’s upper lip. Renaud Lavoie from RDS tweeted this out today:
And it caused Bruins fans to line up at the Tobin, grab tickets like a deli counter and wait for their number to be called so they could jump into the harbor (or hahbah, whichever works for you). Seriously – go on Twitter and search “Jordan Caron” and read through the lulz.
I’m here to remind everyone of something…
Jordan Caron is a fourth line winger.
I don’t know why we’re getting bent out of shape about a fourth line winger making the veteran minimum. In fact, Caron took a pay cut this year if you compare it to his contract last season. Somehow this kid has become the ‘be all, end all’ when it comes to the Bruins problems – like Jordan Caron being the 13th forward last season was what doomed the NHL’s best team in the playoffs… …ʷʰᵉᶰ ʰᵉ ʷᵃˢ ʳᵉᵃᶫᶫʸ, ʳᵉᵃᶫᶫʸ ᵍᵒᵒᵈ ᵃᵍᵃᶦᶰˢᵗ ᴰᵉᵗʳᵒᶦᵗ⋅
And this is what we’re bickering about. We are bickering about a guy who is, at best, a fourth line winger and, at worst, a scratch on the 9th level. Are you willing to sacrifice a year of Alexander Khoklachev or Ryan Spooner’s development because they’re hanging up on Level 9, pulling a Dougie Hamilton?
Because I’m not. I am of the belief that good players play and sitting the kids in Level 9 isn’t going to season them. On that same note, playing Spooner (out of position on the wing) or Khokhlachev 8 or 9 minutes a night (because neither will kill penalties or play on the power play – so you’re looking at Shawn Thornton minutes) won’t really do anything for them either. They need to log a lot of minutes to get their full talent out of them, which is why if there isn’t a third line roster spot open for either of them… spoiler alert: there is …then they need to stay in Providence. What happened that made Jordan Caron so hated in Boston? Was it a media overhype during the 2012-2013 training camp with little returns? Is it because a first round pick will be playing on the fourth line? I know that doesn’t make sense but first round picks do play on the fourth line.
Oh, right. And here’s the thing – Caron is actually useful. Yeah, useful. In 35 games last year for the Bruins, Caron averaged 40 seconds of ice time short handed. While that’s not a massive number, the Bruins can increase his role in the penalty kill and allow guys like Loui Eriksson or Brad Marchand to rest a little and/or focus on the power play.
This usage chart isn’t pretty, but you’ll notice that Caron really is the stand out of the group. Yes, sample size is an obvious problem given that he has played 35 games and the rest played 70+, but while playing on the fourth line – Caron has held his ground. He faced better competition than Paille and Campbell and his possession numbers where the best out of the group. So lets stop this notion that Jordan is some suck ass failure because in all actuality – he’s never been given the chance. His best year was 48 games in 2011-2012 where he put up 7 goals and 8 assists while going between the third and fourth line. After that, it was just a smattering of games. 23 games here, 11 games there. Have I had my runs at Caron? Yup, because I’m a contrarian and that is what I do best. I think think that we’re going out of our way to absolutely crush a 23 year old kid who hasn’t really been given the chance to prove himself. If he doesn’t prove himself? Fine, whatever. Thanks for the 82 games, hope you get a chance somewhere else. My last thing will be this: This is a very friendly deal for either the Bruins or someone else who could be interested in him. With a Bruins team that is tight up against the cap and working on how to sign Krug and Smith – they needed someone to take the lowest deal possible. Khokhlachev ($817,500) and Spooner ($815,000) would both cost more than Caron and get about the same amount of playing time. In a year where every dollar counts, this contract is just what Boston needed.