I have said in the past, that players that score 30 goals and fight will be a premium some day. I still stand by the assertion. The one dimensional goons (that can only fight) are going to be a thing of the past. Moving forward, in the years ahead, players will need to actually play hockey and contribute to their team in some way. The John Scotts of the world are going to be on the NHL's unemployment line, very soon. There will still be fighting, just less of it.
Fluto Shinzawa, Boston Globe -- But it takes an agreement to fight. If a skilled team doesn’t have a slugger, the opponent’s tough guy has no dance partner. Through attrition, the fighter is becoming irrelevant. Heavyweights such as Thornton, Scott (Buffalo), Micheal Haley (Rangers), George Parros (Montreal), Mike Rupp (Minnesota), Cam Janssen (New Jersey), Steve MacIntyre (Edmonton), Ben Eager (Edmonton), Paul Bissonnette (Phoenix), and Kevin Westgarth (Calgary) will become unrestricted free agents this summer. Some of these players may be on their final NHL contracts.
“The fisticuff trend — this doesn’t characterize Thorty as just a fighter, because he’s contributed on that line and that line has had a lot of success in the past — we’re definitely trending away from that style,” Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said.
The Bruins are in transition. Thornton is doubtful to return. Paille and Campbell will enter the final year of their contracts. This could be the beginning of refreshing the fourth line to keep pace with Chicago’s innovation.
Paille is a good No. 4 left wing. He’s fast, kills penalties, and is good in battles. Justin Florek could replace Thornton on the right side. Florek is big and smart. He’s strong on the walls. He can also kill penalties.