Boston Bruins Mailbag: Just Checking In Edition

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By: Andrew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter @justyouknowhyyy

How is everyone feeling? Better than two weeks ago I hope.

After a 1-0 loss to the New York Islanders that saw the Bruins fail to score an even-strength goal for the third straight game, I tweeted this:

In through the nose, out through the mouth.

Since then the Bruins are 4-0-1 and have looked every bit the contender that most prognosticators pinned them as.

Now that we are at that eight-game checkpoint, I had Bruins fans check in with me, fitting with the most inquisitive fanbase in all of the National Hockey League, you still had questions that needed answering, and this is the perfect time to answer them. Here we go!

All questions were edited or expounded upon for clarity.

Should the Bruins Pick up Tony DeAngelo? – Sam Zarccado

Oh boy.

Short answer: No.

Long Answer: It would not behoove the Bruins to pick up someone who has quickly become the NHL’s problem child. His outspoken political machinations (which, to be 100% clear, have absolutely nothing to do with this latest incident) notwithstanding. DeAngelo’s issues have graduated to either punching or getting punched by teammates. Making the admittedly offensively gifted rearguard persona non-grata for the Black and Gold.

It is telling that New York would rather let DeAngelo twist for the rest of the year. DeAngelo was put on waivers knowing there would not be a trade market for him even after signing a team-friendly two-year contract extension just four months ago. Showing him to be a depreciated asset too toxic for anyone to touch, let alone Boston.

Update: DeAngelo has cleared waivers without a claim. Not surprising.

How long do we let Jake Debrusk be inconsistent before making a move? – Michael Digiorgio

You guys are extra today.

Though Debrusk’s inconsistencies are well documented in this corner of the internet, I am not convinced that his start to this year should be part of this conversation.

Despite being on the top line, it is undeniable that Debrusk played out of position on the right side out of pure necessity before getting hurt. Not everyone can fully adjust to being on their off-side wing. Debrusk has never looked comfortable there at any point in his career. Luckily it seemed like he was starting to put it all together before being put on the shelf.

So my answer is to let this year play out. Debrusk has either averaged or paced out at 25 goals the last three years with positive play driving analytics. So let him right the ship first this year.

( Photo Credit: Boston Globe )

Are Matt Grzelcyk’s injuries a concern? Should we think about moving Zboril on the second-pair and move Grzelcyk to the third pair to lessen his workload? – Robert McNeil

As I said on the latest episode of the Short Shift Podcast this past Saturday: They are absolutely a concern.

Over the first eight games of the season, Grzelcyk played in only five, left two early due to two different injuries, and missed another with a third separate injury. While he has been on the ice, he has shown that he can handle bigger minutes tactically with a larger offensive role. 

However, this early season is showing that Grzelcyk may not be able to handle the physical grind. It is early, so the jury is still out. I would give it a little more time.

As for Zboril. Do not mess with what is working. His play on the third pairing with Kevan Miller has been mostly rock solid. Please do not break it up.

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Should Charlie McAvoy be on the top Power Play unit even when Grzelcyk returns? – Danielle P.

Yes. Absolutely.

McAvoy shows what many Bruins fans had earmarked for him when he was drafted in 2016: He is a legitimate NHL Number-one defenseman with a bullet. If McAvoy wants that mantle, he has to prove that he can also play top powerplay minutes and his 22-24 minutes a game at even strength and the penalty kill. 

Two of the last three games have seen McAvoy eclipse the 3:30 mark in time on ice on the power play. With the extended look, he has responded with three points in his last four games. 

The Number-one defenseman on any team should be playing on the top-units whether they are the power play or the penalty kill. McAvoy is proving early that he can handle the workload.

( Photo Credit: Matt West )

How can the Bruins acquire Aleksander Barkov?

– Kyle S

Blood sacrifice. Or minority ownership. Since the former is more likely than the latter: Do you think Jeremy Jacobs knows an Aztecian High Priest?

( Photo Credit: Getty Images )

And that’s it! The Bruins may be over their slow start, but there is never a shortage of questions when you are talking about the Boston Bruins. Never stop asking them! 

Can’t wait in between mailbags? Be sure to tune in to The Short Shift Pod Starring Thomas Nystrom and me! We answer questions and have a guest from an opposing team every week! Until next time. Go, Bruins!


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