B’s Trade Deadline Primer…Pete, you awake?
Because that is all I expect to hear.
Disconcerting? Probably. Mostly, actually. Ever since Johnny Boychuk got traded for a couple of second round picks before the season…and even before that, when the Bruins could not re-sign Jarome Iginla, or work out a deal with someone comparable…I have been waiting for the proverbial “other shoe to drop”. In no way did I think they’d go 75%+ of the season with no real first line right wing, or the likes of Adam McQuaid playing the role of 4th D-man. Neither did anyone else. GM Peter Chiarelli even said as much when explaining the Boychuk move…something about “making moves now, so you can make moves in the future” type of garbage.
Listen, we all know they were up against the salary cap at the beginning of the year and had to make moves to be cap compliant. We’ve all talked all season about why they couldn’t instead use a combination of Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell, Jordan Caron, Matt Bartkowski and/or others to shave some dough off the roster. Paille and Campbell have historically been nice players and it helps that they can play well shorthanded. But 4th liners are fungible, my friends. Caron is useless…how many more chances is he going to get? Bartkowski has not fulfilled his promise and with Kevan Miller capable of being on the 3rd D pairing and other 7th D-men available such as Zach Trotman, David Warsofsky and Joe Morrow around, what was the need to hand him 1.2 mil? Actually, if Boychuk stayed, Miller and McQuaid would have been 6/7 (or 7/6) and the other names would have been #8, but who’s counting?
And Pete has responded by doing nothing. NOTHING! Wait, he signed Simon Gagne to help at RW…maybe even at some point the plan was to play him on the first line consistently…once he got his legs back from sitting out all of last year. Oh, and he has also rotated guys like Seth Griffith, Matt Fraser, even Craig Cunningham on that line. A murderer’s row. David Pastrnak has played mostly there recently, but as much as many love his talent, is the 18 year old really ready for that kind of responsibility? In reality, Pete should have let “Soup” and Paisy go and not signed Gagne and rotated these guys on the 4th line…in addition to other dudes like Ryan Spooner, Alexander Khokhlachev, Matt Lindblad and Brian Ferlin.
But we know all this.
So what is next?
Again, I say nothing. The Bruins are still up against the cap. And now seem to have more holes than we thought. One solution is to put David Krejci on Long-Term Injured Reserve. Then use his money to go get someone. Reports I have seen on what “his money” is appears to be close to 6 million. Kevan Miller is out for the year as well. He has to be around 1 mil, right? 7 mil or so I suppose could be available. NHL rules apparently dictate that the B’s can put Krejci on LTIR, use his money for acquiring players and have the new guy(s) not count against the cap, then bring Krejci back for the playoffs and his salary still would not count against the cap. Perfect, right?! But in a radio interview yesterday, Cam Neely seemed to indicate that this is not a direction they would pursue. Seemed to imply that the B’s would be manipulating the rules by doing that. WHAT?! It’s LEGAL! And Krejci’s injury is real, not a phantom back injury or something. Didn’t stop Chicago from placing Patrick Kane on LTIR immediately after his injury. Granted, his injury timeline is longer, but still. They still didn’t waste any time in making that an option for their team.
Here’s a few things I have been thinking about as well. What if Krejci’s injury is more serious than they are telling us? And in combination with the stuff he was dealing with early in the year, he really is not going to be back at all. And if he is, he will be at far less than full-strength? Throw this in with the fact that I believe Zdeno Chara has not fully recovered from his injury. Or maybe he is just old. Or worn out because Claude plays him 25 minutes a game in spots he doesn’t need to. Also, Dennis Seidenberg seems to be a lesser guy this year, maybe he is not all the way back? Most of the rest of the roster may be healthy, but most of those guys have underperformed. The defense has not been a typical “Claude Julien” defense overall. Have the players tuned Claude out? Has Cam decided already to move on from Chiarelli, barring some miraculous finish? Throw in the salary cap issues and WHAT IF…the Bruins don’t WANT to spend the money (and leave them more hamstrung against the cap going forward), just do the best they can with what they have and then in the offseason there is a sort of housecleaning? Face it, without Krejci and with Chara and Seids at less than full strength and the remaining underachieving roster…what are their chances in the playoffs anyway? So why go spend more money with only 20 some-odd games left for no reason?
May be a little far-fetched to some. But you have to admit, it is plausible.
The most radical move would be to can Claude at the end of the year, specifically after giving him that 3 year extension a few months back. But if the players don’t listen to him anymore, what choice do they have? Players often need a new voice. It happened to Doc Rivers and the Celtics, Terry Francona and the Red Sox, even nationally to guys like Joe Torre of the Yankees. Sometimes it is just time for change. Some may argue then why it hasn’t happened to Bill Belichick with the Patriots? My short answer is that there are way more players on a football team and that there is often great turnover from year to year, even within the core, so that his voice has the ability to stay “fresh”. Just an opinion…
But everything else seems reasonable. Especially when you see trades happening all over the league recently, well in advance of the deadline. Especially when you hear that Pete was “in” on guys before they were traded (although he loses out on guys every year, so I guess that is not so outrageous).
I expect Pete to do nothing more than get another Corey Potter or Andrej Meszaros, like last year. All year long I’ve been hearing about Chris Stewart. Do you really want to give up a prospect and a pick for that guy? Is he a game changer? Doesn’t seem to be. Honestly, I don’t know who else I would use Krejci’s money on. I don’t know who is available. Hell, I don’t even know half the guys that have been traded over the last week or so. I blame the fact that I don’t play Sega NHL Hockey ’92, ’93 or ’94 24/7 anymore to know all the players in the league (or rather PlayStation or Xbox ’13, ’14, ’15…but let’s not split hairs). But I just don’t see them making a big splash, regardless what the reason ends up being.
The Panthers landed Jaromir Jagr today. Damn, looks like that option is out…I’m sure Pete would have parted with a first rounder or two…
Posted on February 26, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged Boston Bruins, Cam Neely, Chris Stewart, Claude Julien, crickets, David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg, Jaromir Jagr, Johnny Boychuk, NHL, Patrick Kane, Peter Chiarelli, PlayStation, Sega, Trade deadline, Zdeno Chara. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.