So, apparently my last take on NHL officiating fell on deaf ears. So, I’m back to help the zebras do their job correctly…
Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer (AP Photo)
Back in late September, I made predictions (Here’s the link) about who would be the leaders for the Bruins in different stats categories. I also did a mid-season check-in (Link here) halfway through the season. Now that the regular season is over, it seems like it’d be a great time to look back at the season that was and see what predictions I hit, and which ones I missed by a mile. Halfway through I had 6 of 14 categories right.
All stats from NHL.com
My Original Prediction: Brad Marchand (40 – 43)
Final Outcome: David Pastrnak (35)
This one is kind of surprising. Marchand is known as the Bruins top pure goal scorer, but David Pastrnak really stepped up this season. It also helps that Pastrnak played the full 82 games (Tim Schaller was the only other Bruin to do so) while Marchand played 14 less with 68. I do believe that if Marchand had played all 82, he could have hit the 40 goal threshold, but that wasn’t the case.
My Original Prediction: Torey Krug (44 – 47)
Final Outcome: Brad Marchand (51)
Krug was close with 45, but that wasn’t enough to top Marchand’s 51. While Krug did play an important part of the Bruins offense, Marchand’s role was bigger. Brad actually had more assists this year with fewer games played than last year (46 in 80 in the 2016-17 season) so it was a big offensive year for Marchand.
My Original Prediction: Patrice Bergeron (18 – 21)
Final Outcome: Brad Marchand (25)
With Marchand’s incredible offensive production this season, this is no surprise. A lot of points usually mean a lot of pluses to your +/- rating. Simple math.
My Original Prediction: David Backes (220 – 230)
Final Outcome: Kevan Miller (164)
Miller is one of the most physical players on the team. His physical presence is his best defensive tool, which he uses to turn plays into offensive opportunities. Backes missed considerable time because of the colon surgery and leg injury that he had during the season.
My Original Prediction: Patrice Bergeron (57.5% – 59.75%)
Final Outcome: Patrice Bergeron (57.3%)
This is probably the one that I expected the most. Bergeron is a wizard in the faceoff dot and has made a career of winning important draws. While he was hurt and practicing with Providence, the young players there all gathered around him to learn from the master. (Ryan Donato had a 75% on 12/16 draws, but I didn’t count that as a full season of playing center)
My Original Prediction: David Pastrnak (9 – 11)
Final Outcome: David Pastrnak (13)
Pastrnak has become a staple on the Bruins first power-play unit. He has been the Bruins one-timer guy on his off wing at the top of the faceoff circle all year. He isn’t like Ovechkin yet and I’m not sure he ever will be, but he has the makings of becoming a very dangerous and consistent part of the Bruins special teams.
My Original Prediction: Charlie McAvoy (21:50 – 23:00)
Final Outcome: Zdeno Chara (22:54)
This came as a bit of a surprise after Chara’s season last year, as it looked like he was going to be slowing down and taking fewer minutes. But this season has shown just how well his body is holding up. It’s also no surprise to the people who have read the Sports Illustrated feature on him that claims that he once asked the Ottawa Senators coaching staff to play the full 60 minutes in a game. I personally think he could have back then.
My Original Prediction: Brad Marchand (84 – 87)
Final Outcome: Brad Marchand (85)
One goal behind Pastrnak and a six-assist lead over Krug for a five-point total lead of 85 points. Marchand is elite. End of story.
My Original Prediction: David Pastrnak (26 – 28)
Final Outcome: David Pastrnak (26)
Pastrnak is almost always on the ice during power plays. This resulted in all of his goals, and his ability to rotate the puck down low and across the ice led to lots of points off of assists.
My Original Prediction: Brad Marchand (9 – 10)
Final Outcome: Brad Marchand (8)
Marchand is known as a clutch player, and this stat directly helps that argument. Wheather it was from all of his OT goals or good timing, Marchand got the job done when needed.
My Original Prediction: Sean Kuraly (2 – 4)
Final Outcome: Brad Marchand (5)
My original prediction was WAY off. Boston had six overtime goals, and the only other player to score was Charlie McAvoy. We saw Marchand single-handedly take over games in OT, mainly due to his ability to transition and pivot incredibly well while controlling the puck which is a great type of way to play in 3-on-3. Puck control in overtime is key.
My Original Prediction: Patrice Bergeron (290 – 310)
Final Outcome: David Pastrnak (246)
This result was pretty much due to injury. Pastrnak played all 82, but Bergeron only played in 64. Bergeron is known as someone who takes good shots and hits the net. Pastrnak is known as a full-throttle shooter, so it isn’t unexpected that he’d lead the team. The Marchand/Bergeron/Pastrnak line had a total of 652 shots this season and were all in the top four in shots for the Bruins (Krug is the only other with 197)
My Original Prediction: Brad Marchand (85 – 89)
Final Outcome: Kevan Miller (70)
This is pretty easy to break down. Miller had four fights, while Marchand didn’t have any. While Marchand did have a pretty high total, the second most at 63 PIMs, he stayed away from the big numbers, which kept the total low. The way that Miller plays usually leads to lots of penalties, so it’s understandable that he leads the team in PIM’s.
My Original Prediction: Riley Nash (6 – 8)
Final Outcome: Brad Marchand (4)
Tim Schaller showed us all just how valuable he is on the PK this season. He was regularly asked to play hard minutes and came up clutch. I definitely overestimated the number of points that the Bruins would get.
That just goes to show you how different a season can make. Injuries, replacements and the emergence of different stars. Or I’m just not that great at predictions. Maybe it’s a little of both. Oh well, onto the playoffs.
Take a look at the Bruins’ defense corps this year. 300-year-old Zdeno Chara is logging significant minutes, while his toddler of a partner, Charlie McAvoy, looks like he’s been in the league for nearly a decade. I’ve already gone in-depth with our good friend Brandon Carlo, which you can read here, but he is a steady, young, Top 4 guy. Torey Krug is one of the most dynamic blueliners in the game, which I discuss in depth here. If anyone told you Kevan Miller had developed into a reliable two-way weapon, you would have booked them a one-way trip to a mental institution. Adam McQuaid, well, you can read my feelings on him here. They really haven’t changed much since then. They just made a deal for Nick Holden, who I give some thoughts on here. You forgot Paul Postma existed. That leaves Matt Grzelcyk, the pint-sized Boston native who forced his way into the lineup halfway through the season and has made quite the case to remain there.
That being said, there seems to be a bit of groupthink that Grzelcyk is not very good, and not only should be a nightly scratch in favor of McQuaid or Holden but that he probably doesn’t have a long-term future on the Bruins. There are a few contributing factors here. For one, he’s small. The Boston fan base has had the privilege of watching Torey Krug work his magic for the past 5 years, and have thus developed an unrealistic expectation that every undersized defenseman should be in that mold. To this point, Grzelcyk certainly has not displayed the level of dynamics Krug has. As I have stated in previous articles, I also feel as if the Boston fanbase clings to it’s Big Bad Bruins heritage like it’s a liferaft. Unfortunately, that liferaft has a 3-foot gash in the side of it and has been sinking faster and faster as the years have gone on. It is one of the reasons they are infatuated with Adam McQuaid, despite the countless pieces of information that state he is a below-replacement-level option.
In that vein, I thought I’d put together another one of my excessively long pieces on Matt Grzelcyk to convey to you, the reader, how good he actually is. As always, I used the fabulous database available at Corsica.hockey, and compiled them filtered datasets into my own massive database, simply for the ease of manipulation. This particular data was gathered on March 22nd, 2018, and I limited the data to any defenseman who has logged at least 500 minutes of ice time thus far this season. This, in theory, limits the dataset to defensemen who have played at least half of the season at the NHL level. The secondary dataset is comprised of the pairings data from Corsica, looking at the four players Grzelcyk has spent significant time with as a defense partner this year – Brandon Carlo, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, and Charlie McAvoy. The visuals are created through Tableau. If there is size scaling on the graphs below of the marks, it is by time on ice (pairings data) and time on ice percentage (individual data), the percentage of a team’s total time on ice a player is used in. Phew! That’s a long preamble. Told you I had a rambling tendency!
Let’s get started by looking at the individual-player data. The first graph depicts the relationship between Corsi For per Hour (CF/60) and Corsi Against per Hour (CA/60). Corsi For per Hour is describes shot attempts generated for a player’s team while they are on the ice per every 60 minutes of play, and Corsi Against per Hour is the opposite – the number of shot attempts allowed by a player’s team while they are on the ice. This isolates a player’s impact on shot attempt generation in the offensive and defensive zones. In general, you want your CF/60 to be higher than 50, and your CA/60 to be below 50. Defensemen spend more time in their own end than forwards, and overall more time on the ice than forwards, so it makes sense to see that a majority of them are +50 CA/60 players. It’s a positive that so many defensemen are +50 CF/60 players as well. This would indicate that a majority of defensemen in the NHL who reach at least 500 minutes played are competent two-way players.
What you will likely find interesting is that there are two Bruins I have highlighted that are -50 CA/60 players in addition to being +50 CF/60 players (there are in fact 3, Kevan Miller also falls in this range, but is much, much closer to the 50% line) – Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy. Every other marked player on this graph is a presumptive Norris Trophy candidate this season. So, what does this mean? Well, it means that McAvoy and Grzelcyk are both quite good at generating shots for their team, but they are able to balance that with being two of the best shot suppression defensemen in the entire NHL – as rookies. Not only that but Grzelcyk, at least according to this measurement, is the BEST (no, that is not a typo) shot suppression defenseman in the entire NHL. This comes with two caveats. For one, he has not played a full season in the NHL yet. In addition to that, when he has been in the NHL this season,a he hasn’t started to receive Top 4 minutes until the past week and a half, and that elevation in playing time was in direct response to the rash of injuries the team has suffered of late. Both of these facts contribute tomaller sample size than I would have liked. Regardless, the fact remains that he is a premier defensive defenseman at this point in his career.
“But, wait!” you exclaim. “You just said he wasn’t getting significant minutes, he’s probably being sheltered!” Aha! I see you come prepared. So, I adjusted CF/60 and CA/60 by the quality of competition. This analyzes the CF/60 and CA/60 of all of the players who have been on the ice for the other team at the same time as the player in question. Based on this, Grzelcyk falls around the middle of the pack. You can see that Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug play some of the toughest minutes in the NHL, and Grzelcyk is not a massive amount behind the two. By no means does he play “sheltered” minutes; he just doesn’t have to try to shut down the league’s best on a game to game basis.
Let’s take a peek at the kind of players Grzelcyk has played with so far. Based on this graphic, yes, Grzelcyk does seem to have the benefit of playing with strong teammates. This should come as no surprise – the Bruins have (arguably) the best defensive forward of all time in Patrice Bergeron, and are consistently a strong defensive team. However, he falls in a similar range as McAvoy and Predators captain Roman Josi.
**Sidenote: I feel really badly for Erik Karlsson. Nobody has been forced to play with worse defensive players than him this year, and it isn’t even close. He hasn’t gotten a ton of help offensively thus far either. Looks like Ottawa may want to buckle up, this may take a while to fix.
Let’s take a look at how efficient this group is at converting its expected goal output. Grzelcyk far outpaces the field in this case – he has far and away the highest goals for the percentage of this group, which is a measure of the number of goals that are scored by his team out of all goals scored while he is on the ice. Grzelcyk is near 75% – meaning the Bruins have scored 3/4 of the goals scored while he has been on the ice. His expected goals for percentage is still well above 50%, which tells me that although some regression should be expected, it should not be quite as extreme as one would think.
We’ve discussed his impact on both shots for and against, but how well does he take care of the puck? Well, let’s take a look at takeaways and giveaways per hour. Surprisingly, he falls into the defensively sound quadrant here, as he averages more takeaways than giveaways per hour. Contrast that with Norris candidates such as Drew Doughty, who falls into the risky quadrant (more giveaways than takeaways), and Grzelcyk falls firmly into the upper echelon of NHL defensemen. He actually is better at taking the puck away from his opponents than Charlie McAvoy, Victor Hedman, PK Subban, Torey Krug, John Klingberg, and the aforementioned Doughty. Pretty good company.
Well, is he benefitting from sheltered zone starts? As compared to his peers, only slightly. I want to point a few things out though. He gets SIGNIFICANTLY fewer offensive zone starts than Torey Krug (who, rather absurdly, gets nearly half of his zone starts in the offensive zone), and in fact, receives fewer than Charlie McAvoy. Additionally, he is THE BEST defenseman concerning shots for percentage, which is the percentage of all shots taken by his team out of the total number of shots taken while he is on the ice. When he’s on the ice, the B’s are taking nearly 60% of the shots.
I mentioned earlier that Grzelcyk had benefitted from playing with high-end defensive-forwards such as Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. But what about his defensive partners? Well, looking at CF/60 and CA/60 of the 4 defensive pairings he has been a part of, all of them fall into the -50 CA/60 and +50 CF/60 quadrant. He and McAvoy may be one of the most dominant defensive pairings we have seen in Boston in quite a while.
How dominant is the McAvoy/Grzelcyk pairing? The former Boston University Terrier teammates have nearly 90% of the goals scored by either team while they are on the ice. He did the impossible and made Adam McQuaid look like an offensive threat. Kevan Miller has been a brilliant compliment.
Let’s take a look at their Corsi differential and Shot Differential. He and Carlo give up more shots than they generate, and are *ahem* less than good regarding Corsi. While the McQuaid pairing is decent as it pertains to shot differential, they are not very good regarding possession. Unsurprisingly, the McAvoy/Grzelcyk duo has been good in both aspects. However, the more surprising thing might be the sheer dominance the Miller/Grzelcyk pairing has shown. They are comfortably a definite possession pairing, but they obliterate the competition when it comes to shot differential. That’s absurd.
Who’s still with me? Well, congratulations – you’re one of the few. Let’s attempt to take all of this information, and answer the question I posed at the beginning: What do the Bruins have in Matt Grzelcyk? Based on my statistical analysis, Grzelcyk looks like an elite two-way defenseman, which is excellent at taking the puck away from his opponents and one of the best in the league at shot generation and production. Based on the vaunted eye-test, I see a young defenseman who realizes he is undersized and is able to use a ludicrously high hockey IQ to compensate for his physical limitations. His stick positioning is consistently brilliant, and he might make the best outlet pass in the league. No, that’s not hyperbole. He seems to be gaining confidence offensively, but he is a little tentative when it comes to jumping up into the rush. I expect this will come with time and experience. Grzelcyk might be the 2nd best defensive prospect the Bruins have, and I’m aware of how ridiculous that sounds. But yes, I think he’s better than Jakub Zboril, better than Jeremy Lauzon, better than Urho Vaakanainen, and better than Brandon Carlo. It’s not overly close. The only thing standing in his way is the perception that he is just another small defenseman.
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Photo: Elise Amendola, AP
Last nights 6-5 overtime win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings marked the beginning of the stretch-run for the rest of the regular season. It was also the first of what will be a Bruins game every other day until the end of the schedule. This will no doubt be a trying and tough few weeks for the Boston Bruins as it includes a lot of travel and hard opponents including two trips to Florida to face the Panthers who are hot as of late and sitting just two points out of a wild card spot. While in the area, the B’s will face the conference leading Tampa Bay Lightning twice as well. Additionally, both teams from the sunshine state will make at least one trip to the TD Garden — Tampa Bay for one game, Florida twice (one being a make-up game) — so we’re looking at 7 of the final 18 games against just them alone.
Tomorrows contest with the Philadelphia Flyers whom are 6-2-2 in their last 10 and sitting in 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division. Looking ahead at the schedule at other games against playoff / playoff caliber teams include Columbus at home, plus Minnesota, Winnipeg, Dallas, Philadelphia and St. Louis on the road.
So feasibly, what can we expect for the Bruins in terms of record at the end of the season? Earlier this week I put up a twitter poll in preparation for this article and the results were quite definitive.
The Bruins have 19 games remaining in the regular season and currently sit at 88 points. How many do you think they will end up with when they close out the schedule on April 8th?
— Thomas Nyström (@nahstrom) March 5, 2018
Before I layout my prediction we must consider a number of contributing factors, first let’s take a look at the remaining schedule:
Thu. March 8 7pm vs PHI
Sat. March 10 1pm vs CHI
Sun. March 11 12:30pm @ CHI
Tue. March 13 7pm @ CAR
Thu. March 15 7:30pm @ FLA
Sat. March 17 7pm @ TBL
Mon. March 19 7pm vs CBJ
Wed. March 21 8pm @ STL
Fri. March 23 8:30pm @ DAL
Sun. March 25 7:30 @ MIN
Tue. March 27 8pm @ WPG
Thu. March 29 7pm vs TBL
Sat. March 31 1pm vs FLA
Sun. April 1 12:30pm @ PHI
Tue. April 3 7:30pm @ TBL
Thu. April 5 7:30pm @ FLA
Sat. April 7 7pm vs OTT
Sun. April 8 7:30pm vs FLA
So lets start right off the clip with the biggest story of the week: Charlie McAvoy missing time due to his left MCL sprain. Remember this: Charlie is being evaluated in 4 weeks. Until then he’s expected to be in a brace and not skating. Best case scenario is that the next month goes by and he’s cleared and he’s right back on the top pairing with Zdeno Chara. Bad news, that isn’t going to happen. We would all love to see it, but the idea of McAvoy returning by April 1st at Philadelphia is probably an unreasonable ask for him. If he gets looked at, feels right enough to get some work in then we might see him for the final weekend of the season when the Bruins finish off the season with Ottawa and Florida. Silver lining here is the defensive depth is going to get quality time in, and in no short supply with the brutal schedule the Bruins are staring in the face.
Patrice Bergeron is also being evaluated in a few weeks, and with the fracture that he suffered is also unable to skate. We’re well aware of the fact that Bergeron is a professional and will not take much time to get right back into game shape following his hiatus. Possibly looking at some reduced minutes initially, or perhaps just simply getting a few extra games off leading up to the playoffs.
Lastly, just consider the quality of opponents and the on/off schedule Boston has left. Some less than desirable travel days loom, and there will not be a lot of time to rest up. There will be more injuries, hopefully nothing major but there are going to be guys banged up without question. It will be interesting to see how coach Bruce Cassidy handles his rotations and scratches over the next few weeks.
Boston Bruins record as of Wednesday, March 7th is 41-15-8, with 90 points.
All that said, here’s where I see it:
The most anticipated and undoubtedly important games remaining come against the Tampa Bay Lightning. 18 games left for a maximum of 36 points out for the taking. With 3 games against conference leading Tampa Bay, I predict the Bruins will go 1-1-1 head-to-head in March and April. The Lightning are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games including a current win streak of 3 games. This team is legit, no one doubts that. The Bruins are no slouches either, and will take three points out of the Bolts. It’s not an easy call to predict an OT loss with Boston’s recent success in extra frames, but Tampa Bay will take it if that one is on their home ice. Contrarily, I feel the same that if a game went to overtime in Boston, it would be the Bruins taking the extra point.
Another key matchup would be the two games remaining against Philadelphia. One home on March 8th and one on the road April 1st. The Flyers are a more dangerous team than their record may suggest. Certainly their goal differential isn’t ideal at +4, but this team can surprise people. Although they failed to use the deadline as a way to bolster their roster for the playoffs with GM Ron Hextall admitting the prices for rentals were too high for his liking stating they were in this ‘for the long haul’, and he wasn’t going to make ‘emotional decisions’. Probably the correct play on his part as Philadelphia aren’t necessarily considered true cup contenders — but they sure are built to play spoiler if teams aren’t careful. I believe the Bruins have enough depth to take the full 4 points from them, but wouldn’t be shocked if they split the difference with the Flyers.
A stretch we should also be looking at is March 21st through March 27th where within that seven days the Bruins travel to St. Louis, Dallas, Minnesota, and Winnipeg who are all strong teams in the West. Only the Blues are currently on the outside looking in with regards to the playoffs — however they only sit 2 points outside of the wild card. If the Bruins come to each of these games and match the hunger and compete level I would call taking 5 out of a possible 8 points as being a ‘win’ for that road trip. Oh, and incase you were wondering their next game coming off that is against Tampa Bay. Are we all starting to see how insane this schedule is about to be? Good grief.
And now my prediction:
The final stretch: 10-7-1 in the final 18 games, good for 21 points.
Overall 2017-2017 record: 51-22-9, with 111 points.
Here are some other predictions from our BNG Staff:
Court LaLonde 53-19-10, 116 points
Lauren Campbell 52-22-8, 112 points
Spencer Fascetta 50-22-10, 110 points
Mike Cratty 52-21-9, 113 points
KG 51-20-11, 113 points
If McAvoy and Bergeron were were healthy then the prediction would be 117 points on the nose. I even believe thats still possible, as predicted by our own Court LaLonde, because of the depth, and players like Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk getting hot. Brad Marchand being — well, himself. The 4th line being one of the best and most productive in the NHL. Even the defensive depth like Nick Holden and Matt Grzelcyk getting increased playing time is not a bad thing if you take into account that the ultimate goal is a deep playoff run.
Regardless, playing slightly above .500 hockey which is below our true expectations for this team but reasonable for what they face over the next 4 1/2 weeks. If the Bruins play .500 hockey from tomorrow’s game and through the end of the season we shouldn’t be surprised, though I’m sure panic would rain down on hockey twitter in the form of blaming a goaltender, an aging defender, or unproven youth. Remember folks, when they’re hot you love every single piece of this team — as you should.
Let’s all take this final stretch for what it really is. It’s a test. A test that Sweeney and Cassidy appear ready to handle.
Thomas Nyström, Contributor.
Follow me on Twitter @nahstrom
By: Spencer Fascetta Twitter: @PuckNerdHockey
The Bruins have acquired a player from the New York Rangers.
No, not that one.
Nope, it’s not a forward.
Nope, wrong defenseman. This is way more difficult than it should be.
Yeah, I didn’t have them picking up Nick Holden either.
The Boston Bruins acquire defenseman Nick Holden from the New York Rangers, in exchange for defenseman Rob O’Gara and a 2018 3rd Round Draft Pick. Holden, 30, is in the final year of a 3-year contract he signed with the Rangers, at an annual cap hit of $1.65 million per year. Originally an undrafted free agent signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets, he has 12 points in 55 games this season and is coming off a career year of 11 goals, 34 points in 80 games. O’Gara, 24, was a 2011 5th Round Pick of the Bruins and is in the final year of his 2-year entry level contract after a full four years at Yale, where he won the first National Championship in school history. The third-year pro has yet to record a point in 11 career games at the NHL level and has 8 points in 43 games for Providence this season.
But, what are the Bruins getting? Well, Holden is, to put it lightly, a replacement level depth defenseman. This is the best case scenario. While it was unlikely that Rob O’Gara would have passed all of Jakub Zboril, Matt Grzelcyk, Brandon Carlo, Jeremy Lauzon, Urho Vaakanainen, AND Charlie McAvoy, and therefore didn’t really have a place on this team long-term, he still has value as a young, defensively sound defenseman. What the Bruins REALLY are doing is upgrading Paul Postma. As their 8th defenseman. In exchange for a 3rd Rounder and a mid-level prospect.
Are you out of your mind?
Before everyone jumps down my throat, here is what I am talking about as it relates to Holden. Here is what he looks like from a puck possession standpoint as compared to the 8 defensemen who have seen regular time this year for Boston.
As you can see, he is the only one of the group who is less than 50%, which means when he is on the ice, the other team possesses the puck more than his team does. Not only is the only one, but he is also the only one by quite a margin. But, as some Holden fans will tell you, you get good offense from him.
Unfortunately, no. Only Adam McQuaid is worse than Holden at producing goals for his team, and they are the only two who, in general, allow more goals against than they generate for per game. While it is unsurprising that McQuaid struggles with this, Holden is clearly less than ideal.
As a fun aside, I took a peek at his penalty differential per hour – essentially, the number of penalties he takes in comparison to the number he draws per 60 minutes of ice time. While this is the only area where he is demonstrably better than Paul Postma, he is still second worst, and it is a bit concerning that he is below Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller, two players who see much of their penalty taking come from fisticuffs.
But, it’s ok. We don’t need him to be world breaking, we just need him to fill a spot in the lineup. Right? RIGHT? Anyways, as you can see below, he almost exclusively starts his shifts in his own end. So, it is not encouraging that a player who starts in his own end most of the time cannot move the puck effectively out of his own end.
In all seriousness, he is the 8th best defenseman on this roster. A 3rd and a decent prospect is a lot to give up for a guy who is going to be your 8th best defenseman. And I could stomach him remaining in that role for the rest of the year, as this is probably a pure rental. But the concerning part is that there is a population of fans who seem to think Nick Holden is a new Top 4 defenseman who will supplant either Torey Krug or Brandon Carlo in that role. I hate to break it to you, but that is definitely not the case. Unfortunately, the price paid by Don Sweeney makes me think he falls into this camp. And if he isn’t, then he gave up a lot of value for a mediocre depth guy. Either way, the Bruins lost this trade. But at least they didn’t give up half of Causeway Street for McDonagh and/or Nash…
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