Three Bruins Win NHL All-Star Honors

( Photo Credit: The Associated Press )

By: Andrew Taverna | Follow me on Twitter @andrewtaverna

With the NHL Awards in the books this year, three Bruins have been given the NHL All-Star honor. David Pastrnak won first-team honors while fellow teammates Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask both received second-team honors. These awards mark the end of a relatively successful award season for the Bruins, with Cassidy winning the Jack Adams and the Rask/Halak net-minder combo winning the Jennings Award.

David Pastrnak – First-Team

David Pastrnak won first-team honors for the first time in his NHL career. He is only the second Boston Bruins right-wing in team history to win this award and joins the elite Ken Hodge, who received the honors during the 1970-1971 season and the 1973-1974 season.

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The 24-year old who earlier this offseason co-won the Rocket Richard Trophy with Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin for leading the NHL in goals scored with 48, had a stunning regular season. In addition to his 48 goals, he had 47 assists totaling 95 points in a shortened 70-game campaign.

Brad Marchand – Second-Team

For the third time in his career, Brad Marchand won the All-Star honor, and the second time in his career, he has won the second-team honor.

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Named to the first-team in the 2016-2017 season and the second-team in the 2018-2019 season, his third win comes this season. Leading the team with 59 assists and contributing 28 goals, Marchand certainly provided plenty of upside to the Bruins offense this year with 87 points. Marchand also provided solid defensive play leading him to place 9th in voting for both the Selke Award and the Hart Trophy.

Tuukka Rask – Second-Team

Tuukka Rask has won his second All-Star honor. His first coming in the 2013-2014 season when he made the first-team All-Star. Rask played in 41 regular-season games during the 2019-2020 season with a record of 26-8-6. He finished the season with a .929 save percentage and a 2.12 goals-against average. The Bruins finished the season with the highest number of points, and Rask personally had the best goals-against average, making him a strong choice to win the award. As mentioned previously, in addition to winning his second-team All-Star vote, Rask and Halak won the William M. Jennings Trophy earlier this month for “having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it.”

(Video Credit: BNG Hockey)

With all of Rask’s success this year, his win is another highlight in what has been an outstanding career. With a career .922 save percentage, Rask holds third place on the all-time career save percentage list. The only two goalkeepers ahead of Rask since shots have been recorded in the NHL are all-time greats Dominik Hasek and Johnny Bower.

There’s reason to believe that this team will continue to win for years to come, but with the core getting older and what is likely to be a wild offseason, it’s good to see the Bruins get recognized for their individual contributions to the team and the NHL as a whole.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 195 that we recorded below on 9-21-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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Why The Bruins Might Be Able To Sign Taylor Hall

(Photo Credit: CHRISTIAN PETERSEN / GETTY IMAGES)

By: Andrew Taverna | Follow me on Twitter @andrewtaverna

The Bruins are en route to a massive offseason. With rumors flying that Jake DeBrusk could be a trade chip, the Bruins are checking in on Oliver Ekman-Larsson, which would likely lead to moving Brandon Carlo. All signs point to the Bruins are gearing up to make a splash on the market. Additionally, with Torey Krug’s contract negotiations being up in the air, one of the most intriguing scenarios this season would be Taylor Hall coming to Boston.

First mentioned by Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan in their ESPN article on each playoff team’s offseason, the idea of Hall to Boston is a “pipe dream.”

“Our favorite Bruins pipe dream? That Taylor Hall decides to take a page out of the NBA and chases a Cup for one season in Boston, serving as the talented left wing Sweeney has coveted in his lineup for years,” they write.

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While I understand the idea may be a “pipe dream,” as Wushynski and Kaplan describe it, there are two scenarios where this could potentially work. If Hall is willing to take a short-term, one-year deal to play for a Cup contender or he would be willing to take a mid-term deal in a higher pay range, the Bruins could feasibly be part of that conversation.

One-Year Deal Scenario

A one-year deal seems like pure insanity, but Hall put that rumor out there himself by insinuating a cup is more important to him than the money, especially during a flat-cap year. More specifically, when speaking to the media, Hall said, “Any player at this stage in their career that has had the career that I’ve had, 10 seasons, only make the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs twice, that’s really what I’m after,” The 28-year-old continued to say “But yeah, I’d say it’s pretty much all winning. I don’t think the money’s going to be what it was maybe before COVID or before the season, but that’s fine. I think we get paid a lot of money to play a game, and we’ll see what happens.” There’s a lot to unpack here, including the usage of phrases like “I don’t think” and “pretty much,” but at the end of the day, if Taylor Hall is serious about going to a Cup contender, Boston could be an option.

Why a one-year deal? Hall is coming off arguably two of his worst seasons since joining the NHL ten years ago and has taken a significant slide since his 2017-2018 Heart Trophy, 93-point season. That kind of performance for a top-line scorer could lead to him wanting a gap year while the world settles down around him. If that is the case, the Bruins are in their prime to be making a final push, and Hall would undoubtedly help add that offensive upside missing from the last two seasons. The question then comes down to, would Sweeney prefer to pay Krug or Hall 7.5 – 8 million?

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Mid-Term, High Dollar Deal

The second scenario, and one I think is slightly less realistic, is a multi-year deal in the 8 million dollar range. Scott McLaughlin from WEEI puts it best, “The Bruins certainly won’t be the team that offers Hall the most years or money. But if they don’t re-sign Krug, they could potentially jump into that pool of Cup contenders who might be hoping Hall is willing to take something along the lines of five or six years worth maybe $8 million a season in order to have a real shot at winning the Cup.”

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With many teams in tight situations and the Bruins looking to potentially do something dramatic, signing Hall and letting Krug walk is a valid option. Hall could help bring down the team’s age slightly and solidify scoring on the team’s core for a few more runs at the ultimate prize.

Ultimately, if Hall’s goal is to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup high above his head, the Bruins are a legitimate team where he could do that. The value he’d bring to the table with his ability to score and his ability to allow the Bruins to shuffle lines around might be just enough for Don Sweeney to make a move.

It may all seem like a “pipe dream,” but if the Bruins are looking to make a splash in the UFA market this offseason, then they should explore this opportunity.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 194 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Could Boston’s Brandon Carlo Be On The Move?

( Photo Credit: Paul Vernon / Associated Press )

By: Andrew Taverna | Follow me on Twitter @andrewtaverna

There’s been a lot of speculation that Brandon Carlo could be on the move this offseason. Judging by all of the responses on social media, this idea has and will have plenty of criticism. 

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The idea, though, is one that requires a bit of attention. Let’s take a minute to break down why the Bruins may or may not want to make a deal.

A Solid Defensive Game

Carlo was drafted 37th overall in the 2015 draft. Since his time with the Bruins organization, he has undoubtedly made an impact on the team. He is a 6’5″, 212lbs, 23-year-old, right-shot shutdown defenseman. As mentioned in Fluto Shinzawa’s article on the Athletic, “Carlo is a big, smooth-moving, low-maintenance right-shot defenseman. Players with such skill sets are always in short supply.” The Bruins themselves need that type of player, and while they have a few prospects in their system that might fill that role, none of them have a proven track record.

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Carlo provides a solid defensive game. With a regular-season career plus/minus of plus-57, he has proven himself to be a top-tier NHL caliber shutdown defenseman. This type of play will become critically important as the Bruins look towards a future without Zdeno Chara. Admittedly, with Chara closing in on retirement and Krug one foot out the door, it seems like the Bruins could genuinely use a defenseman like Carlo to anchor the blue-line with McAvoy for years to come.

Little Offensive Upside

Carlo may be a valuable asset to the Bruins, but if they don’t think they can find a reasonable deal by the end of the upcoming season, it might be time to move on, and it sounds like Don Sweeny is open to all possibilities this summer. 

“There’s been plenty of talk of teams trying to move pieces around and players to improve their own clubs,” Sweeney said. “We’re going to do the exact same thing. Having conversations, I’m pretty aware of how teams are valuing players on our roster. So I have to look at it and say, ‘OK, does that mean we have the internal growth available to fill that spot?’ Anytime you look at moving players in and out, you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul in that situation.”

While Carlo provides a reliable defensive option, one major challenge with him is he offers little offensive upside.

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Carlo arguably underperformed during this year’s playoff run and only put up one point in 13 games. Career-wise he only has 51 regular-season points and five post-season points in four seasons. With Krug in all likelihood leaving, the Bruins will need more offensive production if they plan on solving their 5v5 woes, and that’s going to include additional production from their backend. 

If you look past needing the offense and assume you’ll fill that gap a different way, the other major factor to consider is Carlo’s contract situation. He’s currently coming into the final season of his two-year 5.7, million-dollar gap deal. That means it’s time for the Bruins to give him both term and money. For the Bruins to reasonably do that, they’ll either need to use some of the space they gain this offseason or consider moving additional pieces. The last position the organization wants to find themselves in is having two top-tier defensemen walk away for nothing in return on the open market. 

Where Does This Leave The Bruins?

While the scenario exists, I don’t think the Bruins are going to want to trade Carlo. With Chara getting close to retirement. The Bruins need players to play those shutdown minutes. Carlo seems like the perfect fit for that role within the organization. It’s now up to Don Sweeny to find a way to get the deal done.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 193 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!