Bruins Acquire Wild Forward Charlie Coyle

cutPhoto Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

On Wednesday evening, the Bruins acquired Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle in exchange for Ryan Donato and a fifth round draft choice in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

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Coyle is in his seventh NHL season and has spent his entire career with the Wild. The 26-year-old has skated in 60 games this season, totaling ten goals and 18 assists for 28 points. The East Weymouth, Massachusetts native was originally drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the first round (28th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Donato meanwhile had skated in 46 career games with the Bruins, posting 11 goals and seven assists over the parts of the last two seasons. His most recent game with Boston came on January 17th before being sent down to Providence. The 22-year-old was drafted by the Bruins in the second round (56th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

The Bruins make this move five days prior to the trade deadline and Coyle will likely join the team in the next few days and should be available to play on Saturday in St. Louis when the Bruins face the Blues. Don’t expect Don Sweeney to be done dealing as the Bruins still have some needs as the deadline draws nearer.

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Five Depth Forwards The Bruins Could Consider At The Trade Deadline

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(Image: Perry Nelson / USA Today Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

With all the talk of the Bruins going out and acquiring a big-name trade chip in a blockbuster move, we seem to be overlooking the possibility of Don Sweeney simply making a depth acquisition. In recent seasons, we’ve seen Sweeney go out and acquire a cheap depth player that was completely off of everyone’s radar–like the Tommy Wingels and Drew Stafford trades, or the Brian Gionta signing.

While everyone seems to unanimously agree that the Bruins should avoid expensive rentals wherever necessary, some of the players below who are on expiring contracts likely won’t cost a whole lot–as in mid-to-late round draft picks and middle or lower tier prospects. Some of the skaters listed have not necessarily been linked to the Bruins, so this list is pure speculation on my part, based off what we’ve seen Sweeney do in the past:

Richard Panik

A pending UFA this summer, Panik seems like the most likely Coyote to be moved heading into the deadline. The 28-year-old winger makes $2.8-million and has scored 11 goals and 24 points, on pace for 34 points. Panik has been a bottom-six role player for most of his career, in spite of his offensive outburst for the Blackhawks a few seasons ago and decent output this season.

Although he is unrestricted this summer and likely a “rental,” Panik probably wouldn’t cost an insane amount to pick up. The Czech would be a nice way to shore up the third line and bottom-six.

Magnus Paajarvi

The 27-year-old Swede has been a decent role player for the Senators over the last two seasons with seven goals and nine assists this year. Paajarvi is only making $900,000 this year before he hits unrestricted free agency this summer.

The former 10th-overall pick has not panned out to be anything more than just a depth player for the vast majority of his career thus far. Although he would probably be a rental, Paajarvi would likely be very inexpensive to acquire and can bolster the depth for a playoff run that will presumably see injuries mount.

Alex Chiasson

With the Oilers seemingly having no end in sight for their struggles, it would be wise for the organization to sell off parts for this season with an eye for next year. One of those parts is the 28-year-old Chiasson, who is making $650,000 until the end of the season when he hits free agency.

The Boston University product has 17 goals and 10 assists for 27 points on the year and could be a fine piece to either experiment as a second line right wing, or to plug in on the third unit. It would be interesting to see what Edmonton’s ask would be, though. It probably would not be outrageous, but Chiasson does have a nice contract considering his production.

Artem Anisimov

Anisimov would certainly cost more than the players above, but he isn’t a rental. With the Chicago team that has been looking to get younger, he may be available, according to a report from Pierre LeBrun.

Anisimov carries a cap hit of $4.55-million for this season, and the next two. So, it would be interesting to see the cost the Blackhawks ask for if he is even made available. The Russian center has had three-straight 20-goal seasons playing alongside talented players, like Patrick Kane, but has regressed to a smaller role this season to go along with less production (nine goals and 27 points in 56 games).

While the 30-year-old is certainly a bigger name than the other players mentioned in this article, he would still fill a depth role for the Bruins as a potential third-line center. With that contract, the Hawks would presumably have to eat some cash in order to move it off their books and to entice other teams. While he seems like the Blackhawk that is most likely to be moved, Anisimov has a 10-team no-trade list as well. Making a move like this might not even make sense for the Bruins’ long-term plans passed this year, so Anisimov might just be some food for thought.

Carl Hagelin

Man, has Hagelin lost a ton of value in recent seasons. At 30 years of age and making $3.75-million until the end of the season, the Swede would be a very cheap rental to acquire from the Kings, seeing as the organization likely just wants to get anything it can for the winger.

He only has three goals and eight points this season but is a speedy guy with a decent playoff resume (47 points in 121 games to go along with two Stanley Cups). If Hagelin would be able to find some semblance of the offensive upside he has shown in the past, and continue his speedy, defensively-sound game, he could be a worthwhile addition for the Bruins.

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Five Non-Rental Players The Bruins Can Target At The Trade Deadline

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(Image: Noah K. Murray / Associated Press)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

The NHL Trade Deadline is nearly upon us, and with it comes the rumor mill that has been running rampant all over Twitter. Whether it be about a big fish like Artemi Panarin or a lesser-known commodity like Ryan Dzingel, fans and analysts have shared opinions while insiders have provided reports that have sent Twitter into shambles.

There has been plenty to discuss about the Bruins, given the team’s scoring struggles and the recent loss of David Pastrnak–you can read about the injury in Garrett Haydon’s article breaking the news.

With plenty of concern about trading for a rental player given the Bruins’ recent history with those types of moves in mind (see Nash, Rick), here are five non-rental forwards that the Bruins can target to help the team for now and in the future:

Tyler Toffoli

Toffoli’s name came up in Mike Cratty’s recent article, detailing five scorers the Bruins could target outside of Artemi Panarin. Toffoli has had a down year while playing on the Kings–one of the league’s worst teams–with only 12 goals and 15 assists. The 26-year-old is only on pace for 18 goals and 40 points, compared to last year’s clip of 24 goals and the 31 goals he scored in 2015-16.

However, if given the right situation (alongside a gifted playmaker, like David Krejci), Toffoli could return to that form; he’s currently slotted in on the King’s third line alongside Mike Amadio and Brendan Leipsic–not exactly a combination that sets Toffoli up for success.

Toffoli is locked up for this year and next at a $4.6-million cap hit, and trading him would allow the rebuilding Kings to recoup some assets; it’s just a matter of what the Bruins might have to give up to get the winger.

Kyle Palmieri

The Devils have regressed quite a bit since their playoff birth last season, largely due to Taylor Hall’s inability to stay healthy, the team being ahead of schedule with its performance last year, and not being able to get a save from either goaltender. This gives reason to believe that the Devils may not be totally out of the woods yet with their rebuild.

Since arriving in New Jersey in 2015-16 after a trade from the Anaheim Ducks, Palmieri has been a perennial 20-30 goal-scorer. The 28-year-old has 24 goals and 42 points on a putrid Devils team this season and is on pace for 35 goals and 63 points.

With a cap hit of $4.65-million for this year and the next two seasons with a modified no-trade clause, Palmieri would be a fantastic addition to the Bruins’ top-six as he is not only capable of providing more-than-adequate offense, but he is also an excellent all-around player and leader. The Smithtown, New York, native also lives and trains in Boston over the off-season.

With that being said, we are left with three burning questions. First, would the Devils even be willing to move Palmieri? Second, would Palmieri waive his NTC? Then number three, if they are willing to move Palmieri, what would the asking price be? Presumably, I would guess the price would be high,  considering Palmieri’s age, production, importance to the Devils, and term remaining on his deal–but man, would he look great on the Bruins.

Brayden Schenn

Schenn’s name has been tossed around a bit this season, especially given the St. Louis Blues’ early struggles. The 27-year-old center has had an “okay” season with 10 goals, 25 assists, and 35 points, and is on pace for 16 goals and 51 points.

Schenn had a career season with 28 goals, 42 assists, and 70 points in his first campaign with St. Louis last season; before that, he scored at least 25-goals in two-straight years with the Flyers. Luke Schenn’s younger brother can also play both wing and center, bringing a complete 200-foot game, and doesn’t shy away from throwing his body around.

So, Schenn could be a potential solution at wing in the top-six, as he was featured on his off-side (right wing) during his days in Philadelphia, or he could also play third-line center if the Bruins were to choose to load up down the middle.

Schenn carries a cap hit of $5.125-million until the end of next season. Again, it’s just a matter of what the asking price would be.

Chris Kreider

Much like Schenn, Kreider’s name has been tossed about frequently in the same breath as the Bruins. The Rangers forward and Boxford, Massachusetts, native is signed through next season with a $4.625-million cap hit.

The 27-year-old currently has 24 goals and 43 points for a middling Rangers team and is on pace for 36 goals, 27 assists, and 63 points, all career-highs. The Boston College product is a prototypical power forward for today’s NHL; he can skate like the wind, makes a living in front of the net, uses his body, and can rifle the puck off the rush.

On the Bruins, Kreider would slot in to aid the top-six. Yet again, the predicament arises when considering New York’s willingness to move him, and the potential asking price.

Charlie Coyle

It seems like the Weymouth, MA, native has been linked to the Bruins in trade rumors for nearly his entire career. The Boston University product has 10 goals and 18 assists this season, on track for 15 goals, 26 assists, and 41 points.

At 26-years-old, a 15-20 goal-scorer and 40-50 point-getter is by and large what Coyle likely is at this point in his career. He has scored at least 15 goals twice previously in his career with 18 in 2016-17 and 21 in 2015-16. This season would also mark the third time Coyle has surpassed the 40-point plateau in his career as he had 42 in 2015-16, and 56 in 2016-17.

Like Kreider, Coyle can play a heavy, powerful game at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, and has the ability to answer the bell if he has to.

Coyle is locked up at $3.2-million through the end of next season and is capable of slotting anywhere in the top-nine, whether it be at wing or center. The Wild’s lines have been shuffled around nearly all season as Coyle has been featured at center and right-wing on the first, second, and third lines; a firm role alongside David Krejci or as third line center could provide certainty and do him a world of good.

Bonus/Wildcard: Adam Henrique

After spending the first six-and-a-half seasons of his career with New Jersey, Henrique finished with 20 goals and 36 points last season after being traded to the Ducks. The 29-year-old center has the exact same numbers as Coyle this year with 10 goals and 28 points–on pace for 15 goals and 41 points.

Including last season, Henrique has totaled at least 20 goals three times while reaching the 30-goal mark once. As for as points go, Henrique has had at least 40 points on three occasions to go along with one 50-point campaign.

A center who is defensively responsible and has a solid ability to put the puck in the net, Henrique has a $4-million contract that runs out after this season before a five-year, $5.825-million extension with a modified-NTC kick in. That contract extension alone makes it unlikely that Henrique is part of the “major surgery” general manager Bob Murray is considering that Elliotte Friedman talked about in his weekly 31 Thoughts column. Even with that being said, Henrique is just some food for thought, hence the “wildcard” label.

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Opinion: Boston Bruins Will Not Make A Big Trade At 2019 Trade Deadline

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

PHOTO CREDITS: (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The 2019 NHL Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away and the anticipation of every fan in the National Hockey League is growing by the hour. Similar to every season, in the weeks and days leading up to the February 25th deadline, the trade rumors are through the roof. NHL insiders and analysts alike are scrambling to find the latest, most in-depth scoop on any team involving trade.

For the past couple of seasons, especially this one, the Boston Bruins are one of the main teams in the mix to make a deal at or around the deadline. It is well known that the core of the Bruins – Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, etc. – are not getting any younger and it would be a good send off for some of these players to get another Stanley Cup ring under their belts.

In addition to that, the Bruins have some holes on their roster that need to be filled. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has had an issue with the depth scoring since Opening Day back in October. In the two wins last weekend against the Los Angeles Kings and the Colorado Avalanche, Cassidy had star forward David Pastrnak on the second-line with Krejci and Cehlarik while Danton Heinen joined Bergeron and Marchand in an attempt to spread out the offence and spark offence on other lines than the top one.

Heading into the Trade Deadline, Boston is quite clearly going to push for a top-six winger, most likely to play with David Krejci, so Pastrnak can be reunited with Bergeron and Marchand, if they do end up making that push. With a quote coming from an article published on NHL.com by Amalie Benjamin (@AmalieBenjamin on Twitter), General Manager Don Sweeney does indeed recognize that need.

“My feeling is that we would like to try and add without necessarily giving up what we know is a big part of our future,” Sweeney said in comments provided to NHL.com by the Bruins. “We committed assets last year to take a swing where we felt we needed to address an area of need and we will try and do a similar thing this year. I can’t guarantee that’ll happen. This time of the year, prices are generally pretty high, but we’re going to try. We’re going to try because I think we still need it.”

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

If the Boston Bruins want to be considered a Stanley Cup Contender this season or even just a really solid team coming out of the Eastern Conference, then Sweeney needs to pull the trigger and in my eyes – that is the move to make. Make a trade for a top-six winger who can score. However, even though I’d like to see a move made, I think for a few reasons that Boston will not make a big trade this Trade Deadline.

High Risk – High Reward, Maybe.

To make a trade, you have to send someone the other way – simple equation to all trades in every sport. The Boston Bruins appear to have a large pool of prospects in not only the AHL with the Providence Bruins, but across many different hockey leagues all throughout the world. With that said, the performance of these young players in the NHL this season may be a cause for concern for other General Managers on the other end of the phone call.

Ryan Donato and Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson were arguably the best prospects in the system as we closed in on the 2018-19 season, but with their lackluster performance in the NHL, resulting in their demotion back to Providence, it is a very good chance that the GMs across the league are worried that these prospects are “flops”, which could be completely false, but it is most definitely something they are discussing.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (CHARLES KRUPA / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO)

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Artemi Panarin is without a doubt, the number one player on the market. Boston Globe’s Matt Porter discussed what the idea of what Columbus may be wanting for the pending unrestricted free agent.

“The market for (Panarin) is reportedly a first-round pick, a player, and a prospect. It is a high price, especially for someone who could leave a team empty-handed on July 1. But the Bruins are interested, and they’re not alone,” Porter reported.

If I were a betting man, (I am not), I would imagine Jake DeBrusk having to go to Columbus as well as a Ryan Donato or Trent Frederic and the 2019 1st Round Pick. All that with the added dilemma on what happens to Panarin after the season ends, does he test free agency, or does he sign an extension in Boston? That is a high price for a rental player and it does not guarantee a Stanley Cup for Boston.

Even if it isn’t Artemi, players such as Mark Stone, Wayne Simmonds, Michael Ferland, or Kevin Hayes – the Bruins will have to give up assets that may or may not appeal to the future of this franchise. It has been mentioned that it is a buyer’s market right now, but teams with valued assets will most likely charge an arm and a leg for that player because they can most likely get those same assets back from one of the other 30 NHL teams.

Are the assets going out worth it? That is to be determined, but nothing is official.

Sweeney’s Trade History

Even though GM Don Sweeney expressed his interest in trading, he also said in the same quote that he wants to avoid moving a large part of their future for a possible rental player. When saying that, he wants to avoid a repeat of last year’s deadline acquisition with the New York Rangers.

Put in the same position as this year, the Bruins needed help on the top-six forward core. In what looks like now like a panic move, the Bruins sent forward Ryan Spooner, defenceman Ryan Lindgren, and Boston’s 2018 1st Round Pick (traded to Ottawa for D Jacob Bernard-Docker) to the New York Rangers for forward Rick Nash who played in eleven regular season games (3-3-6 totals) and another twelve playoff games (3-2-5 totals, -7 rating) and then retired this year.

Sweeney moved a lot of youth – mainly Lindgren and that 1st Round Pick for a player that played in a combined twenty-three games in a Spoked-B sweater. Don Sweeney has stated in the past that he does not want to move another first-rounder and if it is for a player that may decide on hitting the free-agent market come July 1st, the chances of him giving in are quite slim.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today Sports)

When considering that, there are teams, such as Toronto, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg, or Nashville that would gladly trade their first-round selection because they believe that they can be a serious Cup contender and that their pick will be a late round pick and in that regard, would not be that hard of a price to pay. Sweeney does not want to make a mistake on a trade nor make a move just for the idea of making a move, leaving some bargaining power off the table.

Free Agency Class – UFAs and RFAs

One thing that a lot of the hypothetical trade targets have in common, is that their current contract expires on July 1st. If the Bruins management decides to make a move for one of these players, it does not guarantee that they will remain on the team for the 2019-20 season. That plus the fact that the B’s will have to trade some pieces, like I have already mentioned, that may not be in the plans of the future.

Here are 10 unrestricted free agent players that could fill the Bruins holes in the free agent market IF they do not re-sign with their current organization and they decide to sign with Boston:

  • CBJ LW Artemi Panarin – 52GP – 21-42-63 in 2018-19
  • OTT RW Mark Stone – 55GP 25-31-56 in 2018-19
  • OTT C Matt Duchene – 46GP – 25-28-53 in 2018-19
  • NYI RW Jordan Eberle – 51GP 13-13-26 in 2018-19
  • OTT C/RW/LW – Ryan Dzingel 54GP 21-20-41 in 2018-19
  • NYR C/W Kevin Hayes – 46GP – 13-25-38 in 2018-19
  • DET RW/LW Gustav Nyquist – 56GP – 14-33-47 in 2018-19
  • NYR RW Mats Zuccarello – 41GP – 9-23-32 in 2018-19
  • ANA LW/RW Jakub Silfverberg – 47GP – 12-8-20 in 2018-19
  • CAR LW/RW Micheal Ferland – 48GP – 15-16-31 in 2018-19

Of course, there is no guarantee that any of these players make it to free agency and if they do decline offers from their respective teams, then there is no guarantee that they are swayed enough by the Bruins management members to come to Massachusetts and join the Bruins. However, the same can be true if the Bruins trade an arm and a leg for these players for them to just leave at the beginning of July. If Boston fails to win the Cup with them, then it is another bad move.

In the same breath, the 2018-19 free agent class has one of the most-skilled RFA class of any year’s past. When sending an offer to an RFA that makes it past July 1st, you must not only get acceptance from the player, but from the team, who has the option to match your contract offer. If the Bruins can land a player that is under a restricted free agent status, then compensation picks that vary on annual salary amount will have to be paid to the team. Under every option, the Bruins right now, are able to offer any amount. It is important to know that all picks are for the nearest Entry Draft so in this case, 2020 NHL Draft unless the compensation is multiple picks from the same round, then it can be from numerous years. Check it out below via CapFriendly Offer Sheet Calculator:

  • $0 – $1,339,575 – No Compensation
  • $1,339,576 – $2,029,659 – One 3rd Round Pick
  • $2,029,660 – $4,059,322 – One 2nd Round Pick
  • $4,059,323 – $6,088,980 – One 1st Round Pick and One 3rd Round Pick
  • $6,088,981 – $8,118,641 – One 1st Round, One 2nd Round, One 3rd Round Pick
  • $8,118,642 – $10,148,302 – Two 1st Rounds, One 2nd Round, One 3rd Round
  • $10,148,303 – ∞ – Four 1st Round Picks

If Sweeney and the Bruins make a move that will most likely have to require that first rounder, it makes a RFA offer less likely because Boston will be without a pick in the first round for three years in a row. The options for Sweeney are a lot, but the questions that are being asked often are the following.

Can the Bruins afford to move the youth and prospects that they have built up for a rental? Will a trade for a longer-term player work out? Will the lack of 1st Round Pick(s) impact the team in a negative manner for the long-term? Should Boston make a real push with Chara, Bergeron, etc., getting older and their time for another Cup running slim?

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

The questions continue from there but with the weeks and days counting down, only the B’s management know what they can get and what they want. We as fans just have to bite the fingernails off as we anticipate the breaking news, or lack thereof.

In one final conclusion, I do not think that the Boston Bruins will make a big, franchise-altering trade at the Trade Deadline this season. If there will ever be a big trade, it will be at the NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver or on the opening day of NHL Free Agency. Don Sweeney’s track record has not been pleasant nor will the assets going the other way for a player that may or may not stay with Boston next season all combined together with the simple fact that nothing guarantees a Stanley Cup. What do you think about the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline?

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Bruins Cannot Afford To Make A Panic Move At The Deadline

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( Photo Credit: Aram Boghosian / Boston Globe )

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

We’re now just about two long weeks away from the NHL Trade Deadline, and after a bit of a turbulent week on the ice for the Bruins, the airwaves of Twitter and radio have been calling for some action on the trade front.

Hypothetical packages for the be-all-end-all trade target, Artemi Panarin, and “#WeWantWayne [Simmonds]” have been strewn all about the internet. Heck, names like Ryan Dzingel have been tossed out there as well. We’re even back to talking about Jeff Carter for some reason (take a look at that contract, woof).

The issue with all three players mentioned above is that they are all unrestricted free agents come July 1 along with the believed asking prices, that’s not even mentioning Kevin Hayes, Mark Stone, or Matt Duchene.

Look, don’t get me wrong, if the Bruins could snag a top-six winger or third line center who would be here for more than a few months without giving up a ridiculous package, then go make that deal. Even Bruce Cassidy daydreams about acquiring a scorer:

However, let’s not go around here ready to mortgage the farm to maybe be marginally good enough to take on Tampa Bay in a playoff series.

On the other hand, I understand that Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and especially Zdeno Chara are not getting any younger, and you don’t get continuous kicks at the can–age could catch up to someone, and there’s the possibility of retirement (Chara).

Looking at the Bruins as a whole, one minute, this team plays as good as any other team in hockey. The next? It looks a lot like the same mediocre, bang-your-head-off -the-wall type of play that caused them to miss the playoffs two-straight seasons in 2014-15 and 2015-16. The footage from Saturday’s win over the lowly Los Angeles Kings is exactly what comes to mind after giving that description of the team’s performance of late:

If you’re Don Sweeney and the rest of the Bruins’ brass in the front office, you’re in a sticky situation. Like I said, you have one side of the argument that looks at the Bruins’ situation with the mindset that Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand, and Chara are all on the wrong side of the age bracket, and that they deserve one more shot at Lord Stanley.

On the other hand, the Bruins have plenty of young talent–Ryan Donato, Trent Frederic, Danton Heinen, Jack Studnicka, Urho Vaakanainen, and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, to name a few–that makes the future seem bright, disappointing seasons aside.

For the Bruins in both the short-term and long-term, Don Sweeney cannot afford to make a deal in haste. A “panic” move that could mortgage the future for a rental or player who does not put the team over the top would be devastating to the team’s long-term plans and short-term success.

Not to mention the fact that selling low on struggling young talent (Heinen, JFK, and Donato) is as risky as it gets. While it may not be clicking right now for those three, it does not automatically mean that they’re “done” or “never going to make it.” We’ve watched it happen before where a seemingly lost young player gets dealt then pans out (see Seguin, Tyler–not to say either of those guys is the next Seguin).

Also, it was well-documented that Don Sweeney was not thrilled at all about being without his first round pick at least year’s draft, and he would be wise to keep it under lock and key.

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Giving up a plethora of young players or picks for a rental only to watch the Bruins fail to make it deep in the playoffs while the prospects that were traded away pan out would be a horrific look for management. A move like that would leave the Bruins with an outlook on the future that is much less favorable than it is now.

If the right deal presents itself, then I trust Don Sweeney to make that move. I say “right deal” as in a move that can give the Bruins a solid chance at actually contending this year when the playoffs roll around without giving up an outrageous amount to acquire said player.

Careful thought and patience from Sweeney (yes, more of it) is going to have to be the key when considering potential trades come February 25th.

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Bruins Cassidy Is Here To Stay As He Nears Two Full Seasons

Boston Bruins vs New Jersey Devils

PHOTO CREDITS: (Matt Stone/ Boston Herald)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

On Saturday, February 9th, Boston Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy will be the main man on the B’s bench for his 164th game – exactly two full 82-game seasons. Recently, individuals around the fan base have been questioning the work of Cassidy and whether or not he is the right head coach for the team moving forward in the years and seasons to come. In the shootout loss to the New York Rangers, Cassidy chose not to put forward Patrice Bergeron in the player-vs-goalie period, once again bringing up the judgement on his decisions.

Then there is the David Pastrnak situation. The Bruins are very much a front-loaded roster when it comes to the offence. Aside from the first line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak, the Bruins do not have much to fall back on when we are talking bottom-nine scoring forwards. David Krejci can put up numbers but always seems to be lacking good wingers at all times. Jake DeBrusk has more recently brought some life to the second line, but a hole remains on the right wing.

During the fast-paced action of a game, Cassidy may put Pastrnak with his fellow countryman, David Krejci and Canadian Jake DeBrusk to “spread out” the offensive firepower. However, not before long, the trio that is a true threat to any team in the NHL is back together and a large pool of centres and wingers are placed alongside Krejci to try and find that seemingly-rare chemistry.

We have yet to see multiple games of consistent Krejci-Pastrnak action unless it is on the power-play which, coincidence or not, is one of Boston’s strongest weapons of scoring opportunities. Krejci and Pastrnak have proven in the past that they can find that chemistry that has been discussed before on many occasions and build some good chances to put the puck past the goal line and into the back of the net.

Although, once they are on together, it brings along a weaker first line, where Marchand and Bergeron lose a highly-skilled scoring player who can make things happen on the ice. Recently in an interview prior to the Kings game on Saturday, Cassidy said that they are going to try out Danton Heinen on that top line. Heinen is not Pastrnak by any stretch of the imagination and has struggled this season after a strong rookie campaign in 2017-18. Cassidy did go on to say that Heinen is more a defensive player and the three of them will not have to worry too much about the top lines of other teams because all of them, especially Patrice Bergeron, are for the most part, responsible defensively.

The lack of depth scoring on the Boston Bruins in February 2019 can also be attributed to the lack of trades by General Manager Don Sweeney and with only a few more weeks until the NHL Trade Deadline at the end of the month, the clock is ticking to make that deal for another scoring player to play on the front end and bring some help to the top-six.

Either way, Bruce Cassidy has done well and continues to do well. In the past few games, the only line that has been reliable offensively has been that first line. In the three games of February so far, Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak have a combined eleven points. After them, David Krejci has two points, Danton Heinen, Jake DeBrusk, and Peter Cehlarik have one, and the rest of the forwards are yet to score a single point in three games.

Dating back to January 1st, the dangerous first line has fifty-three points combined (22 Goals, 31 Assists) with Brad Marchand (7-13-20) leading the way in those 15 games. Only David Krejci has double-digits in points for 2019 and Jake DeBrusk is the next highest with only five points in fifteen games. It does not make the job of Cassidy any easier when they do not have a high quantity of quality players.

Look at the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Tampa Bay Lightning for examples. Both teams have many interchangeable parts on all four lines. Almost every forward on the roster can play on the first line with success and the team will most likely still win games. Do goaltending and defence play a large factor in that as well? One-hundred percent. But the flexibility of those four forward lines makes the job of Mike Babcock on Toronto or Jon Cooper on Tampa Bay a lot easier.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

 

Just like the blame cannot be placed on individuals for a team effort, the blame cannot be solely placed on Cassidy for the position the Bruins are in. On April 26th, 2017, the Bruins named Cassidy head coach of the team – replacing long-time coach, Claude Julien who was fired earlier in the year.

Cassidy coached twenty-seven games for the Bruins, finishing with an 18-8-1 record and leading them to a first-round playoff matchup with the Ottawa Senators in the 2016-17 season, a series that they lost in six games. This led into last season, where Cassidy implemented his faith and passion for the young players of this league, helping lead the B’s to a 50-win season. Bruce was right behind the team for their first-round win over Toronto and stuck by them in the five-game loss to the Lightning. The year for Bruce led to him being one of the three nominees for the Jack Adams Award – awarding the best coach in the NHL for that season. While he didn’t take the award home, the honour of being nominated for it is a great accomplishment.

Again this year, Cassidy has done a great job. It has been a difficult road to manage the struggling youth that once succeeded for him not only in Providence but in Boston during 2017-18 as well, the goaltending challenges of Rask and Halak, and the whole offensive situation that I’ve discussed over.

With the older players such as Chara, Bergeron, Krejci, Marchand, and Backes, being surrounded by the younger players such as Pastrnak, DeBrusk, McAvoy, Carlo, and Heinen, Cassidy has had a challenge of who to play with who at what time and when. For a team that seems to have rough nights, still battles back and is able to fight their way to earn a point or at the very least, remain competitive in the ever-so-difficult Eastern Conference.

Bruce Cassidy has a 97-45-21 record with the Boston Bruins since 2016-17. According to BostonGlobe.com’s Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD on Twitter), Claude Julien, the man who won the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011, had a 94-48-22 in his first 164 career games with the Black N’ Gold.

Julien and Cassidy are almost identical in their wins/losses and they have started almost a decade apart from each other (’07/’08 debut for CJ, ’16/’17 debut for BC). Bruce Cassidy is not only a good coach, but he should remain a coach for the Boston Bruins. He has had success and will continue to have success if the right players are on his lineup. Does he make mistakes time in and time out? Of course, not many coaches in any sport are perfect, (unless you’re Bill Belichick on New England) and it is how he can rally behind the team after a loss and turn it into a win. Bruce Cassidy can do that with the best of them.

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Boston Bruins: The Frank Vatrano Trade One Year Later

PHOTO CREDIT: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

By: Michael DeRosa | Check me out on Twitter @michael_derosa4

It has been roughly one year since the Boston Bruins sent Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers for their 2018 third-round pick. The Bruins used this pick to draft versatile forward, Jakub Lauko. The future looks bright for Lauko, as he is currently playing well with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL.

Yet, it appears that Vatrano has truly cemented himself as a top-six forward at the NHL level with the Panthers.  A huge reason behind this is the fact that the team has given him a chance to thrive in offensive situations. It also helps that he is playing with an emerging two-way center in Vincent Trocheck. However, even with this being the case, Vatrano’s offensive potential has always been present. It was just a matter of him finding it consistently.

In 2015-16, Vatrano truly blossomed as a star at the AHL level when he registered 36 goals in just as many games with the Providence Bruins. This truly is a rare feat and one that warranted immense praise at the time. This would result in the team giving him a chance at the NHL level, and he would secure a spot with the team by providing some solid secondary scoring.

More of the same occurred in 2016-17 from him, but last season was when everything seemed to go downhill. He soon would find himself a healthy scratch with the team, as rookie forwards Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen outplayed him. Vatrano’s offense essentially was gone. He would only register two goals in 25 games with the team, and he failed to thrive in a defensive role. This is why the trade occurred.

When the move was made, it was met with a decent amount of praise. Getting a third rounder for a struggling forward was far more than what was expected. However, as soon as Vatrano arrived in Florida, he quickly found his scoring touch again. This was ultimately the risk of trading him. Management knew that he was a player who had offensive upside, but it simply could not occur with him playing in a bottom-six role.

Now, that is not to say that this move was a bad one. It was evident that Vatrano being scratched every night was not doing anything for his game, nor for the Bruins. However, it is clear that at this point in time, his services would be greatly appreciated. Depth scoring is seriously at a premium right now for the club. Nobody after the first-line, aside from David Krejci, has been able to provide consistent scoring for the team.

When looking at Vatrano stats this season, it is clear that he has been to maintain offensive success. In 49 games this season, he has been able to register 17 goals and 27 points. That is not necessarily an all-star campaign, but it is evident that it would be welcomed in Boston right now. In fact, it honestly can be said that it is desperately needed.

There is no way to prove that Vatrano would have been able to have this success playing Boston this year. In fact, one could argue that it would have been unlikely because of how far he fell down the depth chart. However, in a sense, this just shows how quickly everything can change in a matter of one season. The Bruins were at the top of the league in depth scoring last year, but now are struggling immensely. Meanwhile, Vatrano has gone from a 13th forward to a top-six one in Florida.

If one had to give a verdict on this deal, it is clear that Florida slightly has the upper hand right now. However, Lauko had an impressive rookie camp this year and has an abundance of potential. Also, the real question is if Vatrano can carry this success into later seasons. It is apparent that consistency has been an issue for him so we will see.

At the end of the day, this was just a solid hockey trade for all parties involved.

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Bruins Monthly Recap: January 2019

Bruins-Winter-Classic

PHOTO CREDITS: (Sportsnet.ca)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj 

For the first time in the 2019 calendar year, we take a look at the highs and lows of the month of January. With the NHL Trade Deadline looming around the nearby corner, the Bruins were in a position in this past month to prove their worth and see where exactly these holes are that need to be filled. The thirty-one days had some good moments and some bad ones too and I’m here to recap all of it.

In this fourth installment of Bruins Monthly Recap, we will take a closer look at the surprises, disappointments, and positives of the eleventh calendar month including the best performances, worst games, injury report, and finally, a prediction of the month to follow. Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

The Good Games

In twelve games, the Black n Gold went 6-3-3 – a big fall from the start of the month where they went 4-0-0. Even though some games went sour, here are the ones within the six wins that made Bruins fans a bit happier.

January 1st/19 – vs Chicago Blackhawks (Winter Classic)

Two Original Six teams battling it outside at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana, United States is more often than not an entertaining hockey game and it sure was. The majority of the game was quite close, only one-goal leads took over the game and no team was really running away with the game.

Chicago opened the scoring in the first period, only for David Pastrnak to respond later in the frame to tie it at one. In the second period, Dominik Kahun buried a goal to give the Hawks the lead once again. The trend continued when Patrice Bergeron scored his thirteenth goal of the 2018-19 season, tying it once again.

The third period was very close for the majority, until Sean Kuraly buried a backhand shot past Cam Ward, taking the lead just past the halfway point in the final period. Brad Marchand put the nail in the coffin with just around thirty seconds left to play and the Bruins won the 2019 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic.

January 8th/19 – vs Minnesota Wild

After the Winter Classic win, the Bruins piled on two more wins against the Calgary Flames and the Buffalo Sabres ahead of their game against the Wild on the eighth of the month. In the previous game, the Bruins beat the Sabres 2-1, but it ended on a somewhat unfortunate note. The B’s were leading 2-0 for the whole game until Rasmus Ristolainen scored at the 17:22 mark to end Tuukka Rask’s shutout.

With Rask back in net against Minnesota, the Bruins wanted to get him that shutout – and they did. The Finnish netminder stopped all twenty-four shots against en route to his 250th NHL victory – shutting out the Wild. Danton Heinen, Brad Marchand, Jake DeBrusk, and Patrice Bergeron scored the goals while both Bergeron and Marchand ended the night with a goal and two assists.

The win was also the fifth win in a row for the Bruins who were now making serious ground on the Toronto Maple Leafs within the NHL Eastern Conference Standings. Both goaltenders and the players surrounding them were playing well and the team looked to be rounding out their game.

January 17th/19 – vs St. Louis Blues

The Bruins had four games in the week of January 13th to 19th and before the game against the Blues, the Bruins had lost two games already – an overtime loss to the Canadiens and a tough 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Typically, the second game of a back-to-back is much more difficult to win due to the fact that you are playing hockey on consecutive days.

However in the game against the Blues, the Bruins turned it around almost entirely from the game against Philly. Neither team scored in the first twenty minutes, but in the second period, defenceman Torey Krug opened the scoring for Boston. The Blues answered back with goals from O’Reilly and Gunnarsson, only for former Blue himself, David Backes to tie it late.

The third period was all Boston even though they were out-shot 10-6. First, Chris Wagner scored his sixth goal of the year, followed by Marchand’s 18th and Kuraly’s sixth to bury the Blues and take a 5-2 win. Tuukka Rask made twenty-eight stops to tie Tiny Thompson for the most wins in Bruins franchise history with 252. David Krejci had a three assist night as well.

The Not-So-Good Games

After the four-straight wins to begin the month, the Bruins went 2-3-3 in the eight games played. Within that, the Bruins had some really poor games, games where management and fans alike want new bodies and new players heading into the playoffs. One thing that can be an accomplishment, is that the Bruins never lost a game in the month of January by more than two goals and they only lost by a two-goal margin once – against the Washington Capitals.

January 10th/19 – vs Washington Capitals

Just like I said, the only time the Bruins ever lost by two goals in the entire month of January was against the Capitals, the team that has had the Bruins numbers for the last few years, on that January 10th game.

Boston entered the game having won their last five games, four of which in January and things were running well as a whole. However, a quick goal from Jakub Vrana at the 6:38 mark of the first frame basically ended the night as the Bruins failed to take the lead on the Capitals. Ryan Donato tied the contest in the middle period, but less than a minute later, Alex Ovechkin scored, (surprise), and it became a 2-1 Washington lead.

Again, the Bruins answered back after the intermission. David Krejci scored within the first five minutes on the power-play, but just over a minute later, Niklas Backstrom scored the eventual game-winning goal for Washington. Ovechkin would pot his second of the night and Caps win, 4-2.

The biggest issue in this game, was that the Bruins dominated on the shots, but could not finish the opportunities past Braden Holtby. Boston out-shot the Caps 41-22, including a 17-5 shot-differential in the first period.

January 19th/19 – vs New York Rangers

It was not a terrible game for the Bruins against the Rangers, considering they only lost by a single goal but there were a couple reasons that made this a poor game for the Bruins.

First off, the Bruins failed to get a point at the least against a non-playoff team, an unfortunate trend for Boston as of late, leaving valuable points on the table against teams that are worse than them. Second, goaltender Tuukka Rask was injured, as we all know, on a driving play by Filip Chytil. We now know that Rask is okay and he has since played, but the image of him getting hurt makes this one a tough one.

Individual Performances

Good: Brad Marchand – 7 Goals, 9 Assists, 16 Points, 6 PPP in 12 Games

Unsurprisingly, the top line for the Bruins has been nearly unstoppable this season they have been a big reason to the position that the B’s are facing within the NHL standings. In January, Brad Marchand was the leader of that group, leading the team with 7-9-16 totals in the 12 games of the month.

Marchand now has 19-38-57 totals this season and is on pace for a career-high ninety-one point season. Marchand has had spans in past seasons where he struggles to score, but if he can avoid that in the second-half of this campaign, then I believe that it is possible for him to surpass the eighty-five points he racked up in each of the previous two seasons.

Bad: David Backes – 2 Goals, 1 Assist, 3 Points in 9 Games

One of the biggest struggles for the B’s is the lack of depth scoring and even though Backes is playing third-line minutes most of the time, he needs to produce more and be more of a influential role to the younger players that Boston has tried out. To be making $6,000,000 for the next two seasons after this one, Backes needs to be able to score more than three points in nine games.

The former St. Louis Blue has 5-8-13 totals with a -4 rating and that needs to be better if the Boston Bruins plan on going further than round two in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.

Good: Tuukka Rask – 5-0-2, 1.91 GAA, .938 SV%, 1 Shutout

Tuukka Rask had his struggles early on in the year, but throughout the past month, Rask has been the clear, number one goalie for the Bruins and he is at the top of his game right now. Rask did not lose a single game in regulation and had a less than two goals-against-average.

Tuukka allowed fourteen goals on 226 shots against in the thirty-one January days, putting himself near the top of the NHL for most goaltender statistics in that time. Rask is proving right now that he can play at a high level, even coming back from a concussion. It has been a breath of fresh air when talking about Tuukka, especially considering that he can pass Tiny Thompson with one more win.*

*This article was written before Rask won against the Capitals on February 3rd, 2019. Rask is now has the most wins by a goaltender in Boston Bruins franchise history.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today)

Bad: Danton Heinen – 2 Goals, 1 Assist, 3 Points in 12 Games

Similar to David Backes, Danton Heinen has not done well this season, let alone this month. Scoring only two goals and an assist in twelve games after a forty-seven point rookie season last year is simply not good enough for the 23-year-old forward. Heinen has had many chances, most recently, an outstanding chance to score against the Flyers on January 31st, but he mis-handled the puck and failed to shoot at the wide open net.

Heinen’s two linemates, Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson and Ryan Donato were both demoted to the AHL’s Providence Bruins because of their lack of production. Heinen is on an expiring contract and will become a restricted free agent on July 1st, 2019. After his success last season, many people including myself wondered what he may be worth when he needs to sign on the dotted line, but so far this season, he is showing out to be a cheap player to bring back – if he even is brought back.

Good: David Pastrnak – 7 Goals, 6 Assists, 13 Points in 12 Games

Continuing on the hot-streak, for the fourth-straight month, David Pastrnak is the best player on the Bruins. Clearly. Pastrnak only had four games that he did not score a point, but made up for it with four multi-point games including a three-point game against the Jets on the 29th. Pastrnak scored his twenty-ninth and thirtieth goals of the 2018-19 campaign in the final game of the month as well. He is currently tied with Brayden Point and John Tavares for third-most goals in the NHL.

In addition, Pastrnak won the 2019 NHL Accuracy Shooting Event at the All-Star Skills Competition in San Jose, California – a great moment for him and Bruins fans.

Honorable Mentions:

Good: Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug, David Krejci

Bad: Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Donato, Jake DeBrusk

February Games

Sunday, Feb. 3rd – at Washington Capitals

Tuesday, Feb. 5th – vs New York Islanders

Wednesday, Feb. 6th – at New York Rangers

Saturday, Feb. 9th – vs Los Angeles Kings

Sunday, Feb. 10th – vs Colorado Avalanche

Tuesday, Feb. 12th – vs Chicago Blackhawks

Friday, Feb. 15th – at  Anaheim Ducks

Saturday, Feb. 16th – at Los Angeles Kings

Monday, Feb. 18th – at San Jose Sharks

Wednesday, Feb. 20th – at Vegas Golden Knights

Saturday, Feb. 23rd – at St. Louis Blues

Tuesday, Feb. 26th – vs San Jose Sharks

Thursday, Feb. 28th – vs Tampa Bay Lightning

The month of January had many games within the walls of the TD Garden, however, out of the thirteen games of February, the Bruins will be outside of Boston for seven road games including a five-game road trip that includes the often dreaded California trip. Boston will play the Kings and Sharks two times, the only two times all season.

Boston does not have an easy schedule coming up. Thirteen games in twenty-eight days this month and with the playoffs looming around the corner, each and every possible point on the line has implications on it, deciding who the Bruins will meet in the opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Not only that, but the NHL Trade Deadline is also in February – on the twenty-fifth of the month, making the upcoming weeks all the more interesting.

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What Does The Jake Muzzin Trade Mean For The Bruins?

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(Image: Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

The Toronto Maple Leafs have gotten their defenseman. News broke last night that the Leafs had acquired left-handed defenseman Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Carl Grundstrom, the rights to defenseman Sean Durzi, and Toronto’s 2019 first round pick.

This move shows the world that general manager Kyle Dubas is serious about addressing the Leafs’ biggest issue, defense and that the Kings are on their way to a rebuild or retool of some sort.

Muzzin joins the Maple Leafs as a piece to their top-four defense that has been missing for years, instantly improving the team’s defense. The 29-year-old plays a heavy, responsible defensive game, but can move the puck up the ice nicely and chip in on offense with his booming slap shot. Assuming he slots in on the top pair with Morgan Rielly, guys like Ron Hainsey and Travis Dermott will be able to play roles better-suited to their skillsets.

Muzzin gives the Leafs flexibility, both in terms of roster make-up and the salary cap, since he can play either side anywhere in the top-four and carries a $4-million cap hit for this year and next. A Woodstock, Ontario, native and a Leafs fan growing up, Muzzin also brings playoff experience and knows what it takes to win the Stanley Cup, having won with the Kings in 2014—these assets can be invaluable to a young, inexperienced team like Toronto.

So what exactly does all of this mean for the Bruins?

Well, for one thing, the Leafs addressed their most glaring issue, a defense that the Bruins have been able to expose on a regular basis recently, most notably in last year’s playoffs. So, a Bruins team that has well-documented scoring woes this season may find themselves having a much harder time scoring goals against the Leafs in a potential playoff matchup, at least on paper as of right now.

Another implication is that it may put pressure on Don Sweeney to go out and make a move that addresses the Bruins’ issues, most notably second line right wing, and third line center.

However, since the deadline is still a little under a month away, there is no immediate rush to go out and make a deal. After all, the organization has to have liked what it has seen from Peter Cehlarik so far at second line right wing. Also, not to be forgotten is the fact that the 29th-overall pick in the 2016 draft, 20-year-old Trent Frederic (10G, 7A in 37 games for Providence this season) is making his NHL debut on Tuesday night at third line center, centering Danton Heinen and his boyhood idol, David Backes.

Cehlarik and Frederic are seemingly the only possible in-house solutions left to fix the holes at these positions. If Cehlarik can keep up what he’s done (2G, 1A in three games) and Frederic is able to step in and make an impact, then there is no immediate need to go out searching for a trade–they’re still only a hot week away from catching right up to Toronto, mind you.

On the other hand, if “the Atlantic arms race is upon us” as Ty Anderson said, and these two players fail to make a meaningful impact going forward, then the Bruins cannot afford to stand idly by and not bring in a potential solution via trade if management feels they are truly in the mix for Cup contention this season.

As I talked about in a recent article, the Bruins have a couple possible courses of action they can take. First, the team can go for it and acquire a top-six, big-name winger, or they can simply make depth acquisitions if they like what they see in-house. If management feels that the team is not true contenders this season, they can stand pat, ride out the season, and take their chances with what they’ve got right now.

With reason to believe Kyle Dubas may not be done dealing just yet, considering he had all but told the league that the Leafs are going for it, Don Sweeney and company have some decisions they’ll need to make before 3:00pm on February 25th.

The Muzzin trade only gives Don Sweeney that much more to think about as the deadline creeps closer.

Trade season is upon us, folks! Buckle up.

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Bruins Place G Tuukka Rask On Retroactive IR, Recall G McIntyre

Rask-collision.jpg

PHOTO CREDITS: (Associated Press)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Off the hands of the All-Star Weekend in San Jose, the Boston Bruins have announced some roster moves ahead of their game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, January 29th. In addition to some forward breaking news that can be found on blackngoldhockey.com, the Bruins announced today that goaltender Tuukka Rask has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to January 19th and goaltender Zane McIntyre has been called up from the AHL’s Providence Bruins.

In the final game before the nine-day break, goaltender Tuukka Rask was involved in a scary collision with New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil, resulting in Rask leaving the game with what appeared to be a concussion. Jaroslav Halak replaced Rask in the game and the Bruins went on to lose 3-2 the final score.

The extended break for the Bruins may have been the best thing possible for Rask and the organization. It has been confirmed today that Rask has indeed suffered a concussion from the collision and in today’s NHL, concussions are taken quite seriously as they should be. The time off has allowed the Bruins doctors and trainers to properly diagnose Rask and Rask has not had to miss any games in the meantime.

While the Bruins have ruled Rask out of the game against the Winnipeg Jets tomorrow, they have not ruled out a possible return for Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. The retroactive injured reserve placement means Rask can return to the Bruins lineup whenever he feels that he is ready. To replace him against the Jets, Boston has called up goalie Zane McIntyre on an emergency basis.

McIntyre has played in twenty-seven games with the Providence Bruins, compiling a record of 16-8-3 with a goals-against-average of 2.74 and a save percentage of .887%. The 165th overall selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Bruins has made eight NHL appearances, going 0-4-1 in that time span along with a 3.93 goals-against-average and a .858 save percentage.

In my opinion, Boston will go with Halak against the Jets, as he is the better goaltender and has done well this season. McIntrye will most likely serve as a backup goaltender for the inevitable future but the possibility is there for him to get his first National Hockey League start in goal in the 2018-19 season.

Returning from the All-Star festivities, it is now crunch time for the B’s as we enter the final stretch of the ’18/’19 regular season. Boston currently sits in the first wild-card position, two points behind the Montreal Canadiens for third place in the Atlantic Division, but the Bruins do have two games in hand. Boston also has a five-point lead on the Buffalo Sabres who are the best team that is currently outside of the playoffs. Every game from this point on has its consequences and the healthy return of Tuukka Rask is needed to make that push for the post-season.

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