By: Andrew Thompson Twitter: @godwentwhoops
Boston Bruins forward Ryan Spooner has been the epitome of a Jekyll and Hyde player. When he’s on his game, he’s an outstanding center and a solid playmaker. When he’s not, his offensive and defensive lapses lead to the other team scoring goals.While he’s still an excellent player with great potential, the B’s never know what player is going to take the ice until the whistle blows.
Do the Bruins want (or need) to spend that kind of money on a player who is still getting the kinks out of his NHL game.
Spooner can put up some pretty goals for the Black and Gold.
But Spooner’s game still has problems. Claude Julien didn’t like his defensive game at the start of the season. When Julien was canned in favor of Bruce Cassidy, it seemed that Spooner was going to get a fresh start in Boston. That didn’t work out as well as planned, for Cassidy didn’t like Spooner’s offensive game at the end of the season.
Don Sweeney wasn’t exactly pumped about bringing back Spooner at the end of the season last year.
“To be determined,” said the B’s general manager about Spooner’s status at the end of the season press conference. “We’ll look at our roster and what our options are. [Spooner] has options as well as an RFA. We’ll have discussions with his representatives and see where there’s a fit.
“Ryan’s a talented player. He’s had a lot of success. Our power play is better when he plays as well as he’s capable of playing, and he can really be a good complement to our group.”
The Bruins seemed to be ready to move on from Spooner. The talk coming out of the TD Garden seemed to have JFK (short for Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson) into the third-line center slot next season. It seemed the B’s were looking to low-ball Spooner in an attempt to spur a better performance out of him.
If that was their plan, it didn’t work out so well.
The 25-year old Spooner filed for arbitration just before the deadline. He’s expected to meet with the arbitrator and the B’s front office on Wednesday, July 26. Spooner is expecting a serious raise (He’s coming off a two-year, $1.9 million dollar contract.). He did put up 88 points (24 goals) in the last two seasons for the Black and Gold as a mostly third-line center. So, what kind of payout will Ryan Spooner expect, and what dollar value will the Boston Bruins be willing to accept?
Spooner is likely looking for a three-million dollar deal. The Bruins are probably hoping for something in the low-two range. The Bruins can certainly afford three million. They still have plenty of cap space thanks to Sweeney being thrifty during free agency. On the flipside, Sweeney’s frugality in free agency is the reason why he’ll likely agree to any reasonable amount assigned by the arbiter.
The Bruins will pony up for Spooner on Wednesday. (Unless the arbiter goes over $3.5 million.) I can’t see Sweeney giving up a player who could be a good trade option down the line.
Once the arbitration is over, it will all be on Spooner. If he solidifies his game, then everything works out for the best. If he has another Jekyll-and-Hyde season, then the B’s will likely give JFK the third-line center job and use Spooner (and perhaps Malcolm Subban or Daniel Vladar) to get the B’s a consistent left-winger for their second line.