…for ANY significant move by the Boston Bruins this summer.
Wait, why the hell are we talking about the Bruins in August?
The Red Sox are done…and we’ve covered them more than enough based on that fact alone. The Celtics have done absolutely nothing of note since we last wrote about them about a month ago. We chatted about the Patriots last week, but what more is to say about a team one week into the preseason schedule? Nothing. Well, Danny Etling just got released. Guess he isn’t the next Julian Edelman. Whatever…
And if you want me to comment on Tom Brady’s contract “extension” then you came to the wrong place. Go hit the local radio airwaves if you want non-stop chatter about that. Who cares if he is selling his house? Furthermore, do people realize that going into next season Brady will be 43 YEARS OLD?!
Listen, the guy is a legend and likely the greatest NFL player of all time. But if you are asking me to worry about a 43-year-old QB, you came to the wrong place. I love the guy as much as anyone. But we really don’t know how much he has left. He could plummet as soon as this year. After all, Bill Belichick has seemingly “loaded up” on the running game, defense and has like 10 mediocre (ie: “blocking”) tight ends in camp now. Oh, and not many receivers either. Looks like he may be thinking ahead about Brady regressing, no?
In any event, SHOULDN’T you go “year to year” with a guy like that? Yup. And if he is pissed, well, I am sorry. He could’ve battled the Pats harder over the years to get more money if that is the underlying issue. And maybe he absolutely should have. But since he didn’t, why are we talking about it now?
Some of the greats finished their careers on other teams. Maybe Brady does too. I really don’t think he will be going anywhere. Highly doubt it. But I am not sure the topic is even worth discussing at this point. Let’s see how this season plays out at age 42 and then take it from there.
Ugh…I know, I just got caught up in it…
As for the B’s…well, despite the run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals last season, as far as I am concerned, there is a great reason to be well, concerned.
I will tell you. Did you think otherwise??!!
Here’s the first reason(s): Maxime Lagace, Brendan Gaunce, Brett Ritchie, Par Lindholm, Pavel Shen…
These guys are the free agents brought in by the team since the start of the signing period.
You may be like, “well, they only lost Noel Acciari (replaceable) and Marcus Johansson (oft-injured and expensive)”, so they are basically bringing the whole team back that came within a game of winning the whole thing!”
And I will retort, “it was a huge f’ng mistake to bring back basically the entire team after actual championships for the 2019 Boston Red Sox and 2012 Boston Bruins, did we forget?? Complacency, fatigue, all that crap??”
But that isn’t even the biggest issue.
The B’s still have 2 kind of huge restricted free agents sitting out there in Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.
Ok, nevermind. The re-signing of Steven Kampfer and Connor Clifton should offset that.
HAHAHAHAHAHA…just kidding my friends!!
I’m still not even sure why they re-signed Kampfer. To a TWO year deal, to boot. Assuming the two aforementioned d-men come back in the fold, Kampfer will then be at least the eighth defenseman. Well, I guess ninth, now that they re-signed Clifton too? Then they have some kids in Providence that seem to be on the cusp of the NHL, such as Urho Vaakanainen? Maybe Jeremy Lauzon too, but perhaps not Jakub Zboril…
I don’t get it.
Maybe that means they are dangling some of the “top seven”? McAvoy, I would doubt. Carlo too. No one wants John Moore’s contract. Or Kevan Millar’s injury history. Someone would take Zdeno Chara, despite his age, but he is going nowhere. Matty Grzelcyk? Sure. But what happens if Torey Krug leaves after the upcoming season as a free agent? Gryz may be a natural replacement…and far cheaper.
Trade Krug before he walks away for nothing? Something I would strongly consider. But all indications are that the team has no interest in that. And Krug wants to be here. So maybe he signs a “team-friendly” extension at some point.
There are a lot of capable D-men signed. And let’s face it, Carlo and McAvoy will eventually sign as well. Their options seem to be kind of limited. I just read where Chaz can’t even sign an offer sheet with anyone. Had no idea about that. In any event, it’s nice to have depth. But 10-11 deep? I don’t know. And please don’t give me, “well they used 12 defensemen last year…” That has to be an aberration. Plus, Urho and Zboril only played 2 games apiece, so really it was 10.
All that being said, they can keep all these D-men if they want. It won’t hurt them, no question.
In net, expect a regression from Tuukka Rask. Bet on it. But at least he and Jaroslav Halak should form a pretty good one-two punch in goal…at least for the regular season.
Me? This would appear to be a GREAT time to trade Tuuks (would be even better if the Bruins won the Cup, but alas…). But we already know that ain’t happening.
Forwards? Ugh…this is where the issues lie.
As noted above, the B’s signed a bunch of 4th liners/Providence type dudes. Not scintillating to any degree.
Oh, and they made sure they gave Danton Heinen 2.8 per for the next 2 years. Why? You got me. They love the guy though. I guess he plays awesome defense. Because he is less than mediocre on offense. At least last year he was…and he got some run on the Patrice Bergeron/Brad Marchand line. Not good.
So we still have that Bergy/Marchy/David Pastrnak line. All well and good.
But here we go with the second line issues again. David Krejci centering Jake DeBrusk and…who? I guess the leader in the clubhouse would have to be Karson Kuhlman. Kid showed some flashes. But are we ready to anoint him?
I think we can assume Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen make up 2/3 of the 3rd line. With Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner and Joakim Nordstrom starting out as the 4th line. In my eyes anyway.
So who gets that last spot on the third line?
Would you believe David Backes and his 6 mil per year are still around? I am absolutely astonished at this fact. He should have been bought out the first day that was possible. At this point, is a buyout still even an option? The front office has led us to believe that he will not be bought out. Why is this?
So Backes HAS to get that spot, no? What, are they going to waive him (of course he will clear) and send him to Providence? Healthy scratch every night? No and no.
This absolutely pains me. I understand that General Manager Don Sweeney probably doesn’t want to eat 3 mil the next two years against the cap (half of Backes’ salary, which is what I think would be the case on the buyout…but maybe I’m wrong). And I get it, as they already have a smidge over 3 mil in dead cap money for the upcoming season tied to former greats Matt Beleskey and Dennis Seidenberg. Actually, Seids was pretty good. I just thought this wording was smooth! And Beleskey did suck badly. Anyway…
Then all these other guys apparently are out of luck. Ritchie, Lindholm, Shen, Anders Bjork, Peter Cehlarik, Trent Frederic, blah, blah, blah…I guess we don’t really care unless Bjork or Cehlarik or a guy like Jake Studnicka (a new “name” that has picked up some steam recently) can, you know, actually play.
I don’t know man…I would have loved to have seen a little turnover in the forward group. A little more turnover overall actually. There is limited cap room to sign McAvoy and Carlo. Not only should Backes be gone, but one would figure there would be other trades to free up room.
But nothing…yet. And I don’t feel like that other proverbial “shoe to drop” is going to happen. I was absolutely convinced it would in June. Doesn’t seem that way now.
It has been eerily quiet over there, however. Does that mean that this could be a calm before the storm? I truly do not think so. But something has to give with those two D-men needing to re-up.
There is still some offseason left. I won’t completely lambaste the front office at this point. But it’s clear I am leaning that way.
Hope I’m wrong. Goes without saying, I guess…
…is my impression of the Boston Bruins’ moves at the trade deadline.
Sorry, that’s the best I can come up with.
What, you guys are fired up about Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson? Doubtful.
Look, getting veteran players and putting them in places where the rotating group of kids not named Jake DeBrusk or Danton Heinen weren’t getting it done is probably not too bad of a thing. Maybe they can be a lot more helpful. They can’t be worse. I think we can say that much.
Popular opinion was that the Bruins needed a third line center and a second line winger. Again, the Sean Kuraly/Noel Acciari/Chris Wagner line is now really the teams’ third line, but we will go with them as still the fourth line since everyone else is.
Technically, Coyle and Johansson can fill those slots. Fine enough. Could they have aimed higher? Surely.
But I will say that General Manager Don Sweeney did a pretty good job of not giving up roster players in his attempt to improve the team as well. The only player given up was Ryan Donato, who had played 34 pretty uneventful games for the big club earlier this year but was down at Providence at the time of the deal for Coyle. A fifth round pick was tossed in for Coyle, as well as a second and a fourth for Johansson.
People rail on Sweeney for giving up picks and generally tossing them around like the what the patrons at Orchids of Asia toss around down in Jupiter, FLA. We even mentioned it in the last Bruins piece here, where we talked about the trade for Coyle.
But come to think of it, how many draft picks has Sweeney used in recent years, acquiring all these kids that were supposed to blossom? And are STILL supposed to blossom? They are all still here, other than Donato. Well, in Providence anyway. So why does he need a fourth and a fifth? And then the second can be chalked up to the cost of doing business.
He really doesn’t. Especially if very few of those previous picks ever pan out. We don’t want Donnie Hockey blowing any more of them in that case. But that is a story for a different day.
So give Sweens props for not giving up much. Though Donato has 4 points in 3 games with the Wild. That will bear watching. As previously noted here, Ryan was the kid we probably least likely wanted to trade. Because he showed something last year. Could be an impressive offensive player, especially in today’s NHL. Then again, if he doesn’t put on weight, he may not last in any kind of NHL. Seems like he got pushed around a little bit, especially in the playoffs last season, where everyone’s flaws are usually exposed.
But let’s not bad mouth Donato here, because yes, we would still have liked to hold onto him to see how he developed over time.
So should Sweeney have swung for the fences here? Depends on who you ask. And depends on who was available. The Bruins have plenty to offer in the form of young talent. But undeveloped talent that may never make it. And who wants that? Perhaps no one really did want some of that supposed “young talent”? Boy, that would be a telltale sign.
If they were truly going after REAL difference makers, then are you talking about giving up roster players such as DeBrusk and Charlie McAvoy. No thank you. And who else is on the actual roster are you giving up in a trade? No one that will actually bring anything back. Torey Krug? Very useful piece, but probably not getting a ton in return. Despite what people may want to tell us. Offer up Kuraly and Wagner (and Backes!!) all you want, but they ain’t bringing studs back either.
Also consider the fact that, despite the Bruins having the 3rd best record in the league, they are light years behind the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sure, in the playoffs, anything can happen. But, barring injury or something else catastrophic, this may be Tampa’s year since they are so far ahead of everyone.
Plus…what are the odds that Tuukka Rask gets hot like a goalie can and steal you a Cup? You know what I think…
So give Donnie Hockey some credit there too. Why empty the cupboard when your available talent to give up is either too far along to trade, not ready at all or may never be ready. And when you may not have a chance based on a juggernaut existing in the league. Especially when you are probably relying on a goalie that has no stones anyway.
Let’s not even revisit what we spoke about last time as well…David Pastrnak’s injury. How long will it take to come back and what he will look like when (if?) he does. Does the team know something we don’t?
In any event, all we can do now is see how it plays out. I mean, the team is 10-0-4 in its last 14 games. Seems pretty good.
Let’s see where Pasta ends up when he comes back too. There could be some mixing and matching. Does he go back to his normal spot with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron? Does he pick up where he left off on the David Krejci/DeBrusk line?
I’ll tell you one thing: If Coyle plays on the line like he did last night, with David Backes and Joakim Nordstrom, then it won’t matter how good Coyle is. That third line is still going to stink. And Danton Heinen may be better off playing with Marchy and Bergy, because you may then get something out of him. Backes/Coyle/Heinen could stink too. And Heinen didn’t exactly work out well with Krejci and DeBrusk either early in the season.
Sssssoooo…time will tell…just like with anything else. But I raised the question last time, to ask me Monday night (or I suppose anytime right after the deadline) if I thought the Bruins were true contenders or not.
The answer? I still don’t know. They are better than before the deadline. But they need Pastrnak to come back full strength. And of course, no other injuries. Major ones anyway.
But to get off the fence, I would normally say that, yes, they are true contenders. I feel like this team can make a run. But then I remember that Rask is in net. And I have zero faith in him come playoff time. Unless Tuuks really craps himself down the stretch, he will be the guy in April. And that scares the bejesus out of me.
I am hoping that if Tuuks is bad at any time in the playoffs, Coach Bruce Cassidy will have no hesitation in going to Jaroslav Halak. Cassidy seems to be the type of guy that will have no problem pulling the trigger. But that remains to be seen when push comes to shove.
Then again, if a team is juggling goaltenders in the playoffs, that cannot bode well…