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01-20-2013, 02:00 PM
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It really depends on what you mean when you talk about an eventual Thornton replacement. He's a smaller guy who handles legit heavyweight enforcer duties. But despite being decent enough as a player, he really is an enforcer and a pretty good one.

1. If you mean that the Bruins will need a competent player who is tough and will fight his fair share, that's one thing. Maybe Camara develops into that role (or more) at the NHL level. Matt Martin, suggested above, fits this category too. I would actually like to see such a player in the lineup in addition to Thornton, not as an alternative to him. Either way, you are simply not going to put Matt Martin out there to fight Jody Shelley, John Scott, George Parros, Brian McGrattan, night after night.

2. If you mean that the Bruins will need a guy to match up reasonably well with the toughest top fighters in the league, that's something different. I don't see anybody in the Bruins system who is likely to fill that role at the NHL level. I'm sure some will say "that's MacDermid" but sorry, no it isn't. He's somewhere between #1 and #2 IMO. They don't have a guy destined to be a "true heavyweight" in the NHL to follow up Thornton.

And of course many fans, whether it's 30% or 79%, will say that #2 is irrelevant and don't even care about filling that role - which Thornton does do right now.

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