Tag Archives: Trade

Bruins showing promise — Still need scoring help

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli

Trade deadline #1 has come and gone with no movement from the Bruins. Another, more well known blogger, said that the past few weeks acted as  a “dress rehearsal” to what will occur once the trade freeze lifts at midnight on the 28th of February — a good deal of posturing and market testing. The sellers didn’t like the offering price, so we’ll have to wait until March for something to go down.

Rumor has it that the Bruins are pushing very hard for the services of Ray Whitey from the Carolina Hurricanes — Carolina is reportedly looking for a roster player and 1st round pick in return.

Sure, the Bruins have won 3 in a row and are starting to find some real chemistry, but they’re still much closer to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings then they are to the top. That’s not a good place to be in February. The five goal outburst in the first 25 minutes of last night’s game in Tampa surely appears to be an abberation. Still dead last in scoring,  the Bruins have scored 5+ goals just six times (or 10% of their games) this season; compare that to a whopping 16 times (or 37% of their games) at this point last season. Clearly, the Bruins need scoring, and need it badly.

Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli has been very tight lipped with the media all season regarding potential trades/player movement, so I wont begin to openly speculate about whom they might acquire.

That being said, there have certainly been some positive things happening with this club lately — leading me to believe that a quality acquisition could propel the Bruins into at least a 2nd round match-up.

Here a few players that are catching my eye:

Milan Lucic:

At times since Lucic’s return on Jan 7th, he seemed unwilling or unable to take the body. Combine that with his modest offensive skills, and you’ve got a player who isn’t doing much more than taking up space.In the past handful of games he has returned to his body banging ways and even had a bout of fisticuffs with Adam Mair of the Buffalo Sabres. As I’ve been saying all season, Lucic’s physical game opens up tremendous amounts of ice for playmaker Marc Savard. Quite simply, he’s a beast — he’s a game-changer. One of his thunderous hits or ferocious bouts can change the complexion of an entire contest. As much as the Bruins have struggled to score goals, the physical play of Milan Lucic is something the Bruins cannot live without.

Marc Savard

Like Lucic,  Marc Savard’s season has been marred by injury. He appears to be back to full health now with 9 points (all assists — as they should be) in his eight games since returning from a knee injury sustained in that same Jan 7th game against Chicago. Having a healthy and productive Savard on this team seems to have raised the confidence level across all four lines. He is just so calm on the puck. While other Bruins players seem to be squeezing the stick, or feel that the puck is bouncing just out of their reach, the Sultan of the Saucer Pass allows the game, and opposing defenders to come to him — where he picks them both apart.

Tuukka Rask

“Two U’s, Two K’s, Two points.” Seems like I hear Jack Edwards (the Bruins play-by-play announcer) utter this phrase a few times a week now. The young Finnish goaltender has been nothing short of SPECTACULAR this year. Still a rookie, Rask is 3rd in the league in save percentage (.928) and 2nd goals against average (2.09). In a year when reigning Vezina Trophy winner has found himself richer both in salary and goals allowed, Rask has been incredibly solid. In fact, last night’s 5-4 win in Tampa Bay was Rask’s 5th start in a row (3-2, 2.20 g.a.a.).

One more game before the Olympic break. The Bruins will try to make it four in-a-row when they take on the Panthers in Sunrise, FL on Saturday.

Bruins fans — I’ll leave you with a clip I found of the best (or worst) Jack Edwards moments!!

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Can the Bruins grab Kovalchuk?

Ilya Kovalchuk could be on the move

The Bruins could really struggle to play .500 hockey for the rest of the year unless they can make a serious trade, and obviously I’m talking about Ilya Kovalchuk.

The loss of Marc Savard to a torn MCL could force Boston to use one of their valuable draft picks they received in the Kessel trade far earlier than they imagined. In fact, as bad as Toronto is playing, the Bruins may not want to part with those picks at all.The dilemma they face is that by doing nothing right now, I see no way that they can make a serious run in the playoffs, but they will most likely have one of the top 5 draft picks next year. Or, they could put together a package of players and picks to snap up Kovalchuk while Boston still has time to right the ship this season.

As it stands right now, the Bruins have two 1st’s and three 2nd’s in the 2010 draft with the lowest of those picks being 46th overall(thanks to Kirk Luedeke for the info).  In a perfect world, I would package two second round picks, and some combination of Michael Ryder (10-7=17), Blake Wheeler (11-15=26) and the God-awful (IMHO) Dennis Wideman (3-11=14) for Kovalchuck (25-22=47). Ryder is due $4M per season, Wideman 3.8M and Wheeler 2.8M. By moving two of those players, Boston will have between $6.6M-$7.8M to put towards a contract for the talented Russian.

Kovalchuck currently makes $6.3M this season and will most likely ask for upwards of $10M for the rest of his career. I’m no salary cap guru, so I’m not one to say what options are viable and which ones are not, but it does not appear that $10-12M is out of reach for Boston, especially if they want to be considered serious Cup contenders.

It’s nice to speculate about the ins and outs of potential trades, but the fact remains that the Bruins will need to find a way to remain competitive, with or without Kovalchuk, until the walking wounded come back to health. Incredibly, as of January 8th, the Bruins had lost only 77 man games to injury (4th FEWEST in the league), but boy, have they been costly. Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, Marc Savard, Andrew Ference, etc… Too many key players at key positions are getting hurt, one of top of the other.

That’s not to say that the Bruins are done by any means.

During their last game against the Rangers, I saw a Bruins team that was very hungry for the puck, showed great tenacity and gave a full 60 minute effort. Unfortunately, the talent is simply not there and they were bested by a mediocre New York squad. The biggest problem facing the Bruins right now is the inconsistency of personnel on the squad; too many times has Boston been forced to dip into its farm system down in Providence in order to field a full roster. Currently, Trent Whitfield is centering the 4th line and Adam Mcquaid is part of the No. 2 defensive pairing, not to mention Miroslav Satan playing the 1st line even though he was sitting on his couch eating Borscht at this time last week.   There’s no way to expect any team to be able to have consistent performances under these conditions. The effort looks as though it will be there, but the lack of familiarity with the NHL level of play will invariably lead to mistakes, turnovers, and goals against.

The next month or so will be a struggle, but Bergeron comes back in two weeks and Savard won’t need surgery. Until then, the Bruins effort will need to be high and the goaltending will need to be top-notch. We’ll see how it all shakes out. That’s it for now!

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Kessel traded to Toronto

kesselSources are confirming that Phil Kessel has been traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Specifics have not been confirmed, but it appears that the compensation is two 1st round picks and a 2nd rounder as well.

I will amend this posting as I receive more info… More info received!

Phil Kessel has been traded to Toronto. He has reportedly signed a 5-year deal worth $27 million. The Bruins will receive two first round picks (one in 2010, the other in 2011) and a second round pick (2010).

And so it ends…sort of. Time will tell who comes out the winner in this deal.

I believe it’s Boston. Boston already has a glut of young (or not-so-old) talent on the team (Krecji, Wheeler, Lucic, Tuuka!, Savard, etc…) Toronto is in serious need of a rebuild, therefore tying up $27 million and giving up high draft picks has the danger of backfiring. Remember, Kessel has yet to play 82 games in a year and has only reached 60 POINTS once.

I’ll be interested to hear what the talk radio personalities in Boston have to say. (Actually, I’m just glad that they are talking hockey at all around here!)

Thoughts?

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Kessel to be Moved by Saturday

kesselAll indications are that disgruntled winger Phil Kessel will be traded by Saturday to either Toronto or Nashville. The (in)famous Eklund, rumor spreader extraordinaire, is reporting that Nashville is “closing in” on a deal tonight. I’ll believe it when I see it. Even with the questionable validity of the Nashville rumor, multiple sources are confirming that he will be moved sometime this week.

If you have lived in New England for any period of time, you know that the fans and media won’t let this situation die after Kessel leaves town; they will question the move — much more than they questioned Patriots coach Bill Belichick for trading Richard Seymour — and admonish the ownership for reverting to the all-too-farmiliar Jeremy Jacobs style of team management: trading away stars in order to save money.

Hogwash.

Kessel is great player, but he’s soft, which is why he will never achieve true elite status. Players like Ovechkin and Crosby will not only score 40 goals per year, but they will hit you. They will fight you. Kessel on the other hand, needs protection. He just doesn’t fit into Head Coach Claude Julien’s gameplan of tight checking and body-sacrificing.

Peter Chiarelli, Boston’s general manager, has made enough good personel decisions to warrant the trust of the Garden faithful. I’m sure that whomever (or whatever) he recieves in return for Kessel will be more than adequate.

Now we wait…

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What about Phil? — Part Deux.

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Word on the street is that Phil Kessel is no longer actively seeking a to re-sign with the Bruins.

Is this a huge problem? No.

Sure, I would love to see Kessel in Black & Gold for the rest of his career, but he’s not at the price that he is demanding. He’s simply not worth it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good player and boy, can he score goals, but as I said two weeks ago, I think he is simply too fragile to warrant $5M/year — especially with a bum shoulder.

The Bruins should trade him for a high quality, reliable, scoring defenseman, *ahem*, Tomas Kaberle anyone? During last years playoff series against Carolina, the Bruins clearly missed the presence of Andrew Ferrence and Aaron Ward. It was Boston’s inability to get the puck out of their own end which wore them down and cost them the series. The team will continue to score goals with or without Kessel; everyone saw how important quality defensive help can be.

Kessel is a great scorer with natural offensive instincts, but he needs to get over himself. It’s just his third year in the league, and he’s yet to score forty goals in a season — I know he had mono last year — and he only has one move; that toe-drag-inside wrist-shot thing he does. Defenders had that figured out by December. I went to fifteen games last year and I’ve never seen one player have so many shots blocked.

That said, he’s still a good player, and the B’s need to move him while his value is still high.

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