Boston Bruins 2017-18 preview

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It’s already August, and we are finally starting to approach the one month mark until NHL preseason action begins.

The Bruins have their first preseason game on September 18th, with a good ol’ fashioned original six matchup, against the Habs at Videotron Centre in Quebec City.

So, get ready to take those nights off work and clear those schedules!

This past offseason, GM Don Sweeney raised some eyebrows (mine included) regarding how he used our cap space and did nothing to benefit our team for the upcoming season.

If you start to look at the offseason transactions, they aren’t that bad.

Yes, we didn’t gain much of anything, but it still isn’t too bad.

First, the biggest loss (in my opinion) was probably Dominic Moore, who signed a one year, one million dollar contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Moore was probably one of my favorite pick ups of the last off season and proved to be very valuable to the Bruins’ fourth line this season. I haven’t seen the fourth line this decent and consistent since the “Merlot Line” of Paille, Campbell, and Thornton. Moore played in all 82 games this season, finishing with 11 goals and 14 points.

Here is what I like:

While Sweeney didn’t acquire much of anything this season, the team showed flashes of a playoff contending team last season. The lines that were once inconsistent are now starting to gel, and David Backes and Riley Nash (2 of last off-season’s pickups) are starting to be very valuable. The Bruins also have a good amount of prospects in Providence (like Gabrielle and Kuraly) who can benefit by doing some time in the NHL this upcoming season.

I also kind of like the contract for Ryan Spooner, the one-year, 2.85 million one. Spooner wasn’t super impactful this past season, but he is someone I still enjoy having on this team. The one year contact is a “show off” contract, and hopefully, that can be what he needs to motivate himself to score more and work harder hopefully. He finished with 11 goals and 39 points this season in 78 games.

The NCAA talent we have coming this coming season is super exciting. We were able to see Charlie McAvoy do his thing in the playoffs, and see JFK in a game last season also. We are also super lucky that Anders Bjork concludes his college career and sign with the Bruins. The Bruins are starting to go younger like the league is, and it is something we have been waiting for.

Here is what I (DON)’t like:

you like the pun, don’t you?

Also, we still have Anton Khudobin on the roster for one more year. While I enjoy the fact that we are going to have depth in the goal but is it really necessary?

In the system, we have Tuukka (who obviously is the starting goaltender), Dobby, Malcolm Subban (who kind of needs to develop a lil more), and Zane McIntyre. We also have a young prospect in Daniel Valdar. Both Subban and McIntyre signed contracts this offseason, both 2-year, 1.3 million.

Subban has been in the system for a while now, when is it his chance to shine?

Goalies take a while to develop to be NHL caliber, but leaving one in the AHL long enough can stunt development and growth (see: Jack Campbell). Subban did play a game in the NHL this season, but McIntyre could prove to be the next future backup after playing in 8 games with a better GAA and SV% than Subban. But, I would love to see Subban maybe play a game or two of NHL action this season to see what he has been working on and for him to know what needs to be worked on. Also, it would allow other teams to look at him in the NHL scene if he was ever to be used for trade bait.

Not gonna lie, next year’s free agent list looks pretty awesome.

With all the Bruins chatter rounded up, let’s discuss the line predictions for the upcoming season!

FORWARDS:

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As for the first line, Bergy and Marchy gotta stay together. The Bruins need that chemistry to have a successful first line. Bjork would be great on the right wing and can compliment Bergeron’s defensive play. We could also see Pasta and Bjork switch places throughout the season, as the lines with them switched could work perfectly as well. Bjork might need to be eased into the NHL with a top line with Bergeron and Marchand.

For the second line, Krejci needs consistency. However. I believe that Beleskey gonna have a bounce back year after showing inconsistency last year. Many people forgot that both Krejci and Beleskey were either hurt or recovering from injury last season.  Having Pasta and Krejci together is great too, and they also showed great chemistry. As I said, Krejci needs consistency to stay consistent himself. Pastrnak has played with Krejci multiple times, and they have shown great chemistry.

The third line is always a mixed bag. Spooner and Vatrano are still trying to prove themselves into the lineup, and Backes is trying to show that he is worth his massive contract. I like Backes with Spooner because he provides that defensive support that Spooner may need, and can take defensive zone face-offs if needed.

The fourth line is meant for grit and physicality, not showing prospects and giving them a chance to grow. But, last season proved that the fourth line could have a good amount of chemistry and offensive play. This line played together last season, and it was shown to work. Nash is a very reliable, and not flashy, but he plays the offensive game well. Acciari is somewhat new to the NHL game and was injured for a good chunk of the season. Schaller is a great center that can bring it together like he did last season. I hope to keep this line consistent for not just the season, but next season also.

DEFENSE:

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The first pairing of Chara and McAvoy is very similar to the Chara-Carlo pairing last season. Chara is the best veteran defenseman, and as a veteran, he needs that young gun to mentor. Charlie McAvoy is that young gun. McAvoy proved to be good in the games he played in the NHL last season and has shown that he is ready for the NHL.

Torey Krug has to have a bigger, physical defenseman on his pairing due to his sparks of offense and size. This pairing of Krug and Carlo can prove to work for the team. Carlo is a defenseman that, along with McAvoy, is showing the fans a glimpse of what the future can look like for the Bruins.

Kind of like the fourth line, we have that 3rd pairing which is useful, but also made with more grit and physicality than the other two. Kevan Miller and Adam McQuaid fit the bill and prove to be deadly together.

The goalies are rather easy and common sense.

Tuukka is going to be number one, with Anton Khudobin as the backup.

We could see the Backup goalies rotating, like this past season. As I mentioned before, it would be good to see more of McIntyre and Subban, just to see a sneak peek of what the future can look like. Khudobin’s contract expires after this year, and I honestly don’t see him being re-signed in Boston.

That is the preview for the 2017-18 preview!

Making lines is kinda like Tetris, you want to have the players in places that make sense, while also utilizing their skills properly.

I’m pretty stoked for this season; the past season looked promising, and the offseason kind of went by fast, which is good.

See you next month!

^AHC

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Bruins Trade Rumor Ramble

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Let’s just say that the Claude Julien firing started everything, okay?

Anyways, the Trade Deadline is approaching pretty fast, and I haven’t even discussed trade rumors yet!

For those living under a rock (and by rock, I mean Las Vegas), the Trade Deadline is literally the most stressful day of the year for us hockey fans.

This is also probably the day when sleep goes down and coffee consumption skyrockets.

I’m not kidding.

o

The Bruins have probably had so many rumors about them this year, so if you’re a Bruins fan, you might want to put on your seat belts. You are about to go on Don Sweeney’s WILD RIDE.

One of the biggest names this season is probably (in my own opinion) is Brandon Carlo. Carlo has been mentioned a bunch with the Colorado Avalanche, involving a trade for Gabriel Landeskog, who we really don’t need.

Seriously, though, HOW MANY YEARS HAVE WE STRUGGLED ON DEFENSE.

Last year was seriously a shit show.

It is rumored that the Avs could go for a 1 for 1 deal involving both of these players.

Here is why it shouldn’t happen (because it shouldn’t):

While Landeskog wouldn’t work for the Bruins, he could work for another team. He is a valuable asset to the Avs, and because of this, he has a high trade value. He may be a powerful left wing that we might want, the Avs are also very weak in that area, and losing Landeskog may prove to be deadly for their already terrible system.

That being said, he could work for another team’s system, but Colorado needs to wait to deal him as it could make everything horrible.

Carlo is just now getting the hang of things. He’s playing top line minutes with veteran Zdeno Chara. He’s 20 years old and playing a role that no one expected him to do this season. I actually didn’t even have him on my depth charts for this season AT ALL. With the responsibility that he has every game, it’s easy to forget that he’s only 20. He is still learning, and the support that he has in the Boston system is miles better than what he would have in Colorado.

Being in Colorado could hinder his development, and Colorado wouldn’t get the player they were expecting.

But, I’m still scared because there was a picture that surfaced of Don Sweeney and Joe Sakic having an “intense” talk after the Boston/Montreal game.

Lord help us.

Another name being mentioned a bunch is David Krejci, who is CONSTANTLY being mentioned with the Saint Louis Blues and Kevin Shattenkirk.

These rumors are absolutely ridiculous, as David Krejci has a freaking NMC and a massively long contract.

But here we are.

The talk on this trade has slowed down quite a bit, but I still wanted to talk about it.

The Blues really need a top six center and the Bruins need a defenseman. It’s that simple.

Not gonna lie, though, I do like this trade, but it is unrealistic as there is an NMC on Krejci’s contract and there is no guarantee that Shattenkirk will resign at the end of the season. Shattenkirk is going to be a UFA at the end of this season and is due for a massive payday.

The trade would work a lot better if a Shattenkirk contract is signed before the trade. Plus, the blues would not only ask for Krejci but for a top prospect as well. This trade could potentially make us lose Charlie McAvoy (who is having a great year this year) or Brandon Carlo (see above).

As for who I want:

Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks): It might be easier to move Fowler during the offseason, but I just wanted to throw his name in here. Fowler probably won’t be a cheap name to acquire, but a deal like this could get rid of smaller names, like Ryan Spooner or Frank Vatrano. He is still young (25 y/o), having a great season, and his current contract isn’t that bad for what we could be getting.

Darcy Kuemper (Minnesota Wild): I thought I should discuss one position that a bunch of people seems to forget about: backup goalie. The Bruins have been inconsistent in the backup position for a while now, ever since Chad Johnson left two off-seasons ago. We started with Niklas Svedberg, then got Jonas Gustavsson, and we are now stuck with Anton Khodobin and Zane McIntyre. Also, the backup goalies this season have two wins all together this whole season so far. Kuemper has more experience at the backup position and has decent stats, which could possibly help reduce heart attacks from our fanbase. He currently has a 6-3-3 record on the season with a .904 SV%.

Patrick Eaves (Dallas Stars): Eaves has a small place in my heart, I’m not gonna lie. A lot of Dallas players do, except for Tyler Seguin that is. Eaves is on the last year of his contract and is currently looking at a career high season at 32 years old. We may not need much at the right wing position, but he could look great paired with Pasta and Backes and could resign at a one year deal next season if he ends up working out.

Jarome Iginla (Colorado Avalanche): While I get yelled at by the fanbase for this one, hear me out, okay? Anyways, with the new coaching change turning out better than expected, I see us making a run to the cup. Cassidy is making this team significantly better, and it shows. Iginla is on a team that has no chance at making the playoffs, and he’s not getting any younger. The Bruins could be one team that can give him a legit chance at winning the cup.

I wanted to add a minor leaguer here so, Matej Stransky (Dallas Stars): Currently on a career year and the all-star game, Stransky is starting to become the player that the Stars expected. I watched him play in Texas the past two seasons, and he is looking to become a skilled left winger. He reminds me a little bit of David Pastrnak. He’s great offensively, just needs to work a little bit on his defensive attributes and hockey sense.

fear the bear

^AHC

 

 

Is this it for Claude Julien?

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This season, Claude has been getting hate as the sole reason for underperformance.

Not gonna lie, I kinda agree. The organization isn’t wanting to give the Bruins “time” to “figure things out”.

The clock is (pretty much) up.

To repeat the fans at the TD Garden, “WE WANT PLAYOFFS!

clap clap clapclapclap

The Bruins acquired some new talent in the free agency and offseason, and we still sit on the bubble of a playoff spot. Toronto (never thought I would say that) and Ottawa sit pretty close to the Bruins and are also fighting for a coveted spot in the playoffs.

Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are having great seasons, and Tuukka is also having a great season. The Bruins have league leading Corsi percentage. The team itself hasn’t given up, but the points and standings say otherwise.

For the past two seasons, the Bruins have had to wait until the last day of the season to determine if playoffs are happening. Both seasons, we lost on the last day (very bad, I might add) and we painfully watch as a team that came from behind enjoys the added publicity and extra hockey.

I’m not kidding, I yell at the TV the past two years on the last day of the season.

curse you Peter Chiarelli and your horrible contracts and drafting skills

Players (other than Brandon Carlo ugh) have not been in trade rumors often this year. The Bruins themselves are playing quite well, and show that they have the energy to make it into the playoffs if it ever does happen.

So, the only thing that we as fans can point to as factor of the losses is coaching and staff.

And one name that has been discussed has been our coach, and pride & joy, Claude Julien.

Not trying to drag CJ under the bus, he’s actually not the only coach that is on the hot seat. Lindy Ruff from Dallas has also been rumored that he’s gone if his team doesn’t make the playoffs.

So, here is what we are looking at here:

The 2014-15 season had a 41-27-14 record (96 points) and missed the playoffs sitting in 5th place in the Atlantic. They lost the wild-card spots to Ottawa (99 pts)  and Pittsburgh (98 pts). Because of no playoffs, Peter Chiarelli was fired (and then hired by Edmonton) and we lost free agents Jarome Iginla (a good winger for Looch and Krejci), Shawn Thornton (the definition of Bruin), and Chad Johnson (who hid his awesome goalie skills from us). We traded Milan Lucic, Dougie Hamilton, and Carl Soderberg for draft picks. To somehow replace them, we signed Jimmy Hayes (aka a massive headache) and Matt Beleskey.

The 2015-16 season had a similar record. The Bruins posted a 42-31-9 record, and totaled 93 points, good enough for 4th in the Atlantic. However, the one spot increase in the standings didn’t help, as the Metro division became a powerhouse. We lost the wildcard spots to New York Islanders (100) and Philadelphia (96). We also completely got rid of the final 2 members of the famous “Merlot Line” (Soupy and Paille). Lastly, Sweeney made the awful decision of signing Kevan Miller for more than he probably needs and deserves. Sweeney actually made progress during the free agency period, signing David Backes, Dominic Moore, Riley Nash, and Tim Schaller.

Even with all of this happening, the fans were always told that “Julien is safe, for now.”.

When does “for now” become “never”?

That time could be soon.

The Bruins have been a successful season for the past decade. Before missing the playoffs in 2014-15, the Bruins never missed the playoffs under Julien, and haven’t missed it since the 2006-07 season.

For a reminder, that was when Marc Savard was still playing (and leading the team in goals) and the goaltending tandem was Tim Thomas and Hannu Toivonen.

And who was that coach?

It was Dave Lewis, a coach who was newly hired for that season.

And, what happened to him?

Well, he was fired by Peter Chiarelli and hasn’t had an NHL head coaching job since.

And the coach for that no-playoff season before that? Mike Sullivan, the Stanley Cup winning coach for the Penguins last season. He was fired after that losing season.

What is all this trying to prove?

If we have no playoffs this year, the fan base should be prepared for a new coach next season. He’s already on thin ice, and another disappointing season will not help.

I’m just hoping Mike Milbury doesn’t find a way to coach the Bruins next year.

I would probably scream.

fear the bear

^AHC

Boston Bruins 2016-17 Season Preview

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It’s September, and we are finally starting to approach the one month mark until NHL action begins.

The Bruins have their first home game on October 13th, playing the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.

So, get ready to take those nights off work and clear those schedules!

(I already know that I will be off work haha)

This past offseason, GM Don Sweeney raised some eyebrows (mine included) regarding how he used our cap space and did nothing to really benefit our team for the upcoming season.

If you start to really look at the offseason transactions, they really aren’t that bad.

Yes, we didn’t gain any defense, but they still aren’t that bad.

First, the biggest signing was forward (and pig lover) David Backes from the Saint Louis Blues. Backes was fourth on the team in scoring and lead the Blues in penalty minutes (83). In 79 games played, he had 21 goals and 24 assists, totaling 45 points.

Fun Fact: Zac Rinaldo (ugh) had 83 penalty minutes also, but played only 52 games!

we already won there!

Here is what I like: While Sweeney didn’t acquire any defense this offseason, he gained a defensive forward in Backes. He plays a similar style to Bergeron (Bergeron is better, though), but I consider this an upgrade. He doesn’t replace Loui Eriksson, but he does fill that hole we needed to fill.

Backes is also a very versatile player because he can play multiple positions. This is kinda what I liked Chris Kelly for, but Backes is obviously a better version of Kelly. Backes can play both center and right wing, and could fit as a third line center, or as a winger on the Bergeron-Marchand line. The line of Marchand-Bergeron-Backes could prove to be a great line for the B’s, as that line has been missing a piece since losing Seguin via trade in 2013.

Backes is no Seguin either, but could be the missing piece on that line.

Here is what I (DON)’t like:

you like the pun, don’t you?

I don’t agree with the contract length. This is something kinda small to argue, but it is really long for his age. We don’t have him till he’s 40 (Chara) but we have him for 5 years until he is 37. The way he plays can prove to make his play decline rapidly, which kinda  scares me.

 

Also this offseason, we signed Riley Nash from Carolina and Anton Khudobin from Anaheim. I enjoy the fact that we are going to have depth in the goal, but is it really necessary?

In the system, we have Tuukka (who obviously is the starting goaltender), Dobby, Malcolm Subban (who Don seems to forget about), and Zane McIntyre. We also have a young prospect in Daniel Valdar.

Subban has been in the system for a while now, when is it his chance to shine?

While we did see him in action against the Blues in 2015, we haven’t seen much from him after that. Last season in the AHL, he posted a 14-8-5 record, with a .911 SV% and 2.46 GAA. This isn’t that bad, as I consider the AHL to be a high shooting league, and I attend games in Texas on the regular.

Anton Khodobin spent time in the AHL last season as well (I saw him play with the Gulls) and he posted similar numbers to Subban. He posted a 19-8-3 record, with 2.46 GAA and .921 SV%. The Gulls lost in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs and beat the Texas Stars (cries) in the first round. The Providence Bruins also made the playoffs (and lost in the first round), but Subban did not take part in playoffs, as he was still recovering from his larynx injury. Jeremy Smith and McIntyre took care of the Baby B’s during playoff time.

Goalies take a while to develop to be NHL caliber, but leaving one in the AHL long enough can stunt development and growth (see: Jack Campbell). But, I would love to see him have a game or two of NHL action this season to see what he has been working on and for him to know what needs to be worked on.

Lastly, I want to discuss the last signing from the offseason, and that one is the signing of former New York Ranger Dominic Moore. This signing was later in the offseason, and because of that, it caught me by surprise.

This is a low impact deal. Moore will be receiving $900,000 for the next year. This is a pretty decent deal for a veteran presence on the fourth line that has been a mixed bag since the departures of Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, and Greg Campbell.

The Bruins brought a good ol Harvard boy home!

Anyway, Moore played 80 games last season, and scored 6 goals and totaled 9 assists. He’s not the savior we were looking for (like Vesey lol), but he could prove to be a good fourth liner, and the Bruins really need that line consistent again. That hurt them last season, especially with the Kelly injury that had him out all last season. Moore could be a great replacement for Kelly, centering on the fourth.

With all the new additions rounded up, let’s discuss lines!

FORWARD:

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As for the first line, Bergy and Marchy gotta stay together. The Bruins need that chemistry in order to have a successful first line. Backes would be great on the right wing, and can compliment Bergeron’s defensive play.

For the second line, Krejci needs a physical winger. He has always had Lucic on his wing, until the Kings trade. Beleskey is the perfect fit, and they showed great chemistry together last season. Having Pasta and Krejci together is great too, and they also showed great chemistry. Krejci also acts as a veteran to Pastrnak, as he is still kinda new to the NHL.

The third line is something I may see, but Claude may not. While CJ may play the vets on this line, I want to use this line to showcase our up and coming players that are ready for the NHL and show our future as a team. Frank Vatrano had a fantastic rookie season last year and has shown that he can be ready for a full-time job in the NHL this season. Griffith has shown tremendous growth in the AHL, and through various NHL stints, he has shown that he can compete for a job in the NHL next season.

The fourth line is meant for grit and physicality, not showing prospects and giving them a chance to grow. Dominic Moore has the stats and the veteran presence to work on the fourth line. Jimmy Hayes brings that little bit of scoring to that line but is also very physical. Riley Nash is someone I don’t know much about. Nash is a very reliable, and not flashy, but he plays the offensive game well.

DEFENSE:

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The first pairing of Chara and Chiller is kinda similar to the pairing last season with Chara and Trotman. Chara is our best complete defenseman, and as a veteran, he needs that young gun to mentor. Colin Miller is that young gun. Last season, Colin Miller wasn’t used properly, and often sat in the press box or played bottom pairing minutes. WithZach Trotman and Dennis Seidenberg gone, this can be his time to shine and claim a full-time NHL job.

Torey Krug has to have a bigger, physical defenseman on his pairing due to his sparks of offense and size. This pairing of Krug and McQuaid was used a lot last season, mostly because it was the one pairing that actually kind of worked.

While Liles isn’t a flashy player, he does work his butt off on the ice when needed. This is needed when you are going to be paired with Kevan Miller. While Kevan Miller has proven to be a physical player (by breaking Joe Vitale’s face), he has had multiple mistakes on the ice that could have cost a team the game. Killer makes the mistakes and Liles is going to be there to try to correct them. It’s a win win (I hope).

Here is Killer breaking faces like a boss:

 

The goalies are kinda easy and common sense.

Tuukka is going to be number one, with Anton Khudobin as the backup.

Duh.

That is the preview for the 2016-17 preview!

Making lines is kinda like a puzzle, you want to have the players in places that make sense, while also utilizing their skills properly.

I’m pretty stoked for this season, and the offseason kinda went by fast, which is good.

See ya next month!

^AHC

 

Is David Backes really the answer?

 

david pig

David Backes and a pig. (photo credit)

 

The Boston Bruins were pretty active this free agency period.

Don Sweeney didn’t get any defense (which we really needed) but was able to get some forwards to add on to our already exciting lineup for the next season.

One of our main additions to the B’s was former Blues captain David Backes, a right winger and 2012 Selke trophy finalist.

That’s right, he was nominated for the same trophy that Bergy, his new teammate, WON.

With that addition, we lost Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly (who I kinda forgot about), so we also have that little hole to fill when it comes to the forward core.

Is David Backes gonna really fill that hole?

Last season for Saint Louis, Backes played 79 games, scoring 21 goals and 24 assists while doing so. Loui Eriksson played 82 games (the only Bruin to do so) and had 30 goals and 33 assists.

So, no, Backes doesn’t fully fill that hole point wise. But, he seems to fill up the hole in everything else. Here’s why:

The two-way style of play.

Not only does David Backes have that Selke nomination, but he shows two-way play, which is something the Bruins should welcome. The defense core isn’t gonna get better (I think), so having this should help. I love Eriksson (even though he is now a Canuck, ew) but he wasn’t really that defensive offenseman that we kinda needed. Marchand is starting to prove his worth as a high-scoring forward. With Backes, we have a forward with a career plus-minus of +65. That, I really like seeing.

The physical image.

Back in the day, the “Big Bad Bruins” were not a team to be messed with. That image has kinda gone away with time, but it is slowly making a comeback. Eriksson was a player that didn’t play physically. He hasn’t been in any major fights or penalties and was even nominated for the Lady Byng trophy, which is the trophy for the player with essentially the least penalties in a given season. Eriksson is always at the low end of the spectrum for penalty minutes. The Bruins got rid of the passive Eriksson, for the physical and in your face Backes. The B’s are trying to get more and more physical, ever since the addition of Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes in 2015. This signing allows us to get closer to that goal. Backes is more of a Bruins type player than Eriksson and gives fans the physicality and intensiveness that they want to see.

Not just a center.

While the center is the natural position for David Backes, he also has experience playing on the right wing. With the Bruins stacked on center with Krejci, Bergeron, and now, Backes, it is good to look at all the options. There have been multiple ideas to how we can utilize Backes. There was the Krejci for Shattenkirk rumors, to open up a top 6 centerman spot. There is also the talk of putting him on the right wing, and slotting him with Bergeron and Marchand. Hearing all of these options is a good thing. Backes has even said that “If you want to call me third line, I completely respect that,” , which shows that trading Krejci doesn’t have to happen to make Backes actually work with the lineup.

I’m not gonna lie, I was surprised when I heard about this trade. Even though the length and salary isn’t something to boast about, Backes is a player that could reasonably fit into the B’s system.

For those who don’t know Backes’ contract is a five-year, $30 million. He is 32 years old and the contract is set to expire when he is 37 (which isn’t that bad).

What is really funny is seeing all the people who got upset about how the B’s should have signed Eriksson because “he is younger”.

The contract Eriksson got was a 6 year, $36 million one. He is 31.

So, Vancouver has Eriksson for a longer term than we have Backes. Eriksson one more year, but he is also one year younger than Backes.

So, it looks like both Vancouver and Boston are stuck with 37-year-olds. Eriksson’s contract  is kinda the same as Backes, just one extra year (which will probably bite VAN in the butt).

I’m also not gonna lie when I say that I like this contract.

Does anyone know if the “Roar Bacon” pig was included in the contract?

I’m asking for a friend

 

see you in October!

^AHC

Boston Bruins Draft Preview

 

2016 NHL DRAFT preview-

The Bruins missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

This means we were entered into the NHL Draft Lottery, and like last time, we got chosen to pick 14th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo.

Being 14th overall doesn’t sound very interesting, especially when the most talked about prospects in the draft include the likes of Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, etc. Trust me, I was one of the many who believed in our 1.0% chance of getting the first overall pick, and bringing Auston to Boston.

The fourteenth overall pick doesn’t mean they won’t make a difference in the NHL the following season, either. The Pittsburgh Penguins had their second round pick in 2015, Daniel Sprong, play a decent amount of time in the NHL this season, scoring his first NHL goal. David Pastrnak was chosen 25th overall in his draft year, and proceeded to score 10 goals and 17 assists in the following season.

This pick could make a difference for the Boston Bruins in the coming season.

Today, Bruins at the Gahden wants to share their picks for which players the Bruins should pick at 14th overall.

The Bruins desperately need youth on the blue line, and strength at left wing. Bergeron, Krejci, Spooner, and Khoklachev (if he doesn’t go to the KHL) make the Bruins strong at center, and the right wing position is also pretty strong.

MJ

  • Max Jones (London Knights-OHL, LW): In my opinion, Max Jones is very similar to the play of Milan Lucic, but faster.  Jones is a physical, yet skillful, power forward who  puts a great amount of pressure on his opponents by creating a great deal of impact with every shift. This kid screams “Bruins”, as he has the physical and creative style of play that Don Sweeney loves having. In 60 OHL games played, Jones had 25 goals and 24 assists, while totaling 104 penalty minutes on the season. Jones is ranked 14th among all North American Skaters in the 2016 NHL Central Scouting Rankings.
  • Olli Juolevi (London Knights-OHL, Defense): The main (and only) problem with Olli Juolevi is whether or not he will be available at #14, as he is ranked at #5 among North American skaters in the draft. He is a complete all-around defenseman, with great hockey sense and defensive capability. In his first season of OHL play, he had 7 goals and 27 assists in 48 games played. His offense stats don’t sound stellar, but he stands out on the defense side. The Bruins need a player like him. But, to be realistic here, he probably won’t be on the board by the time the Bruins pick, as he is currently in top 10, maybe even top 5 conversation. It is good to dream.

KB

  • Kieffer Bellows (USNDP-USHL, LW): Look, I love me my power forwards, and I know Don Sweeney does too. Bellows is a power forward who can dominate both his opponents and the net. He’s great at forechecking, working along the boards, and great offensively.  Big body who can also play on the center if needed, which can be really helpful for the Bruins in the long run. In 23 USHL games with the USNDP, Bellows recorded 16 goals and 16 assists, with a +17 average.
  • Dante Fabbro (Penticton Vees-BCHL, Defense): Here is a defenseman with offensive capability. At the beginning of the season, Fabbro was expected to be a late first round draft pick, but has since moved his way up to #18 among all North American skaters in the draft. Fabbro is a mobile and refined player who has been developing into a great two way defender. Fabbro reminds me a little bit of Torey Krug or Tyson Barrie. Even though he has been playing in the BCHL, he scored 67 points in 45 games played. He is ranked #2 against all skaters eligible for the draft from the BCHL, behind Tyson Jost.

 

Those are my four picks, what are yours? Let me know down in the comments below, or on twitter! (@bruinsatgahden)

The 2016 NHL Entry Draft is held in Buffalo, New York, June 24th and 25th.

see you in october

^AHC

 

Are the Bruins in a Free Agent Pickle?

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The situation the Bruins are in after the season is slightly interesting.

If we don’t make the playoffs again, we know we will see a change in the team as a whole, and we will see a new team suit up for us next season.

If we do make the playoffs, we will see little change in the team as a whole and we can continue breathing as usual.

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One of the things that can make or break a team is free agency. Making a splash during the off season allows a team to change the face of the team, and give us flexibility in cap space. Last season, clearing cap space was one of our problems, and we kind of fixed that in trading away Milan Lucic (Kings), Carl Soderberg (Avalanche), and Dougie Hamilton (Flames). With these trades, we were able to sign Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes, and resign Torey Krug and Ryan Spooner. 

Off season is going to be a tad bit different this season, with bigger names available for Don Sweeney to sign, and a few contracts coming off the books for the Bruins.

Let me visualize it for ya:

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(All Salary and UFA/RFA status was taken from generalfanager.com)

The first of two charts shows the pending UFA’s and RFA’s playing for the big club as of April 4th 2016. The green means that they are pending UFA’s and red means RFA. Let’s discuss some of the BIG names:

Loui Eriksson (Right Wing, 30y/o): Loui is probably one of the biggest names coming out of Boston this free agency. After having his best season in Boston, he is expected to get a big contract to match his point output. Eriksson has been with the Bruins since the 2013-14 season, and was acquired in the trade that shall not be named. Eriksson is a great two-way player, and is starting to get used to the play in Boston more and more.

The only problem with Eriksson is if we can give him the contract he wants. There has been no movement in talks between the two parties. The Bruins didn’t get the offers they were looking for during trade deadline, and decided to keep him to see if the talks would intensify, and they have not.

2014/15: 81GP 22G,25A (47Points)  2015/16: 80GP 29G, 32A (61 points)

John-Michael Liles (Defenseman, 35y/o): Liles is one of the newest Bruins on the current roster. In his 15 games with the Bruins after being acquired in a trade with Carolina, he has 5 assists, and has been a great addition to the blue line. With our blue line starting to get younger, it is good seeing a veteran in the mix with Chiller, Morrow, and Trotman.

2014/15: 57GP 2G, 20A (22 points)  2015/16: 79GP 6G 14A (20 points)

Torey Krug (Defenseman, 24y/o): Krug has been with the Bruins organization since the 2011-12 season, and has yet to sign a long-term deal. Coming of a one year, $3.4 million deal signed with Chiarelli as GM, his goal production has decreased, but has remained a fixture on the second and third pairings. He may be an undersized defenseman, but he is a great skater, and is capable of being physical. His increase in assists this season demonstrate his smart play and terrific passing skills.

2014/15: 78GP, 12G 27A (39 points)  2015/16: 79GP, 3G, 38A (41 points)

Lee Stempniak (Right Wing, 33y/o): Stempniak was literally my favorite Trade Deadline acquisition. With his low cap hit and career production, he has done great things since coming to Boston. He’s fast and speedy, and shows great skill all-around. He seems like one of those players who down to playing anywhere, he just likes playing hockey. He has played for 9 teams in his career so far, and is making a great name for himself this season.

2014/15: 71GP, 15G 13A (28 Points)  2015/16: 80GP, 18G 32A (50 Points) Almost DOUBLING his production over the course of one season!

Chris Kelly (Center/Left Wing, 35y/o): Kelly barely played any of the season, due to a broken femur that has kept him benched since early November. In the 12 games he did play this season, he had 2 goals, for a total of two points. He was a fixture in the bottom six, playing with Kemppainen and Randell a lot early on in the season.

2014/15: 80GP, 7G 21A (28 points) 2015/16: 12GP, 2G 0A (2 points)

With goaltenders literally knocking at the door in the AHL, I do not see the Bruins resigning Jonas Gustavsson. Malcolm Subban has been developing for a while in the AHL, and Zane MacIntyre is showing great promise in his first professional season.

Kevan Miller, Tyler Randell, and Landon Ferraro are all big question marks for me. I love watching Ferrero, he is a very energetic player and makes great plays. Miller has been off and on all season, and has been scratched from time to time throughout the season. Randell is a perfect fourth liner for the Bruins, with lots of grit and physicality. It all depends on the contracts they are offered and the contracts they want/demand.

All though I am not discussing the next chart as in depth as the first one, I also wanted to share whose contracts are up next season in Providence:

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Interesting names to look at: Colin Miller (D), Jeremy Smith (G), and Alex Khokhlachev (F)

PLEASE SWEENEY. I BEG OF YOU. PLEASE RE-SIGN CHILLER. please.

Alex Khokhlachev remains in the top 5 of AHL scoring as of 4/4/2016, with 59 points (21 Goals, 38 assists), and was called up to the NHL once this season. He was the Bruins’ 2011 second rounder (40th overall).

Jeremy Smith has shown great promise in the AHL, but has yet to start his first NHL game. He has been a fixture in the ECHL and AHL since the 2009-10 season, his first season of professional hockey.

This season was Colin Miller’s first season in the NHL, having spent the first two seasons of his pro hockey career with the Los Angeles Kings organization, playing for the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. Miller has shown that he is ready to make the jump to the NHL, and has 3 goals, 12 assists (15 points) to show for it. He just needs to be on a team with space on the blue line for him to get playing time, which was his main problem this season.

Once free agency gets closer and closer, and contracts are signed more and more, I will make a post regarding who we should pick up for our space (like last year).

Hey Sweeney! Lucic might be a free agent.

Bring him back, maybe?

fear the bear

^AHC