Pros And Cons If The Bruins Were To Acquire Forward Evgenii Dadonov In Free Agency

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By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter! @andrewlindrothh

The Boston Bruins once again fell short of their ultimate goal of raising the Stanley Cup. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has his work cut out for him this off-season, and the possibility of Torey Krug not re-signing with the Bruins seems to becoming a reality. Sweeney didn’t hold back during his press conference regarding much-needed changes for the team, “We’re looking to make some changes in our group. I feel very good about the overall organization, where we are, and how competitive we are. But I’m not doing my job if I’m not looking to improve our hockey club on a daily basis, without being dissatisfied.”

If Krug does not re-sign with the Bruins, that will leave a significant amount of cap space left-over, and one of the priorities for the Bruins should be looking for a top-six forward. One soon-to-be unrestricted free agent that the Bruins could undoubtedly benefit from having is Evgenii Dadonov. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons if the Bruins were to acquire Dadonov.

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Pros

The 5’11, 185-pound forward is a top-six winger that can bring significant secondary scoring for the Bruins. This past season, Dadonov scored 25 goals, marking his third straight 25+ goal campaign (28 goals each of the previous two seasons). Although he is a left-shot, he primarily plays on the right-wing so that would compliment David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk (if the Bruins re-sign him) very well. If the team chooses not to re-sign DeBrusk, it’s a possibility that Dadonov could be slotted onto the left-wing with Ondrej Kase on the right-wing.

Dadonov produced 47 points in 69 games played this past season but has proven to be capable of much more than that. Once he returned to the NHL in 2017-2018 after a five-year stint in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), he contributed 65 points in 74 games. The following season, Dadonov suited up for all 82 games and scored 70 points. There is no doubt he can eclipse 70-80 points if he were to create chemistry with Krejci and DeBrusk/Kase.

Dadonov could also contribute on the power-play but hasn’t shown anything special that he would make a significant difference for the Bruins, who have one of the top power-play units in the NHL. This past season, the forward potted 11 power-play goals and 17 power-play points. His main contribution (and an area that the Bruins need significant improvement) will be his offensive ability during 5-on-5 situations.

Also, Dadonov rarely sees time in the penalty box ,and coaches love a player they can utilize on the ice at all times due to strict discipline. In the past three campaigns, the winger has accrued only 26 PIM in 225 games played.

Cons

One of the most significant setbacks for Dadonov joining the Bruins is his age and how much money he will demand. The 31-year-old forward is coming off a three-year deal worth $4M AAV. With that being said, Dadonov does not play on the penalty-kill, and his defensive game is sub-par compared to his offensive abilities.

For the Bruins, asking for more than $4M AAV is entirely unrealistic, especially if he is only playing second-line minutes and some on the power-play. With three strong seasons under his belt, Dadonov could easily command more than $4M+ AAV in free agency. Another issue is that if the Bruins keep DeBrusk and Kase, then acquiring Dadonov may not be as crucial. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy could slot him on Charlie Coyles’ line, but $4M+ per season is a lot of money for a third-line winger.

Another critical factor to consider is the lack of playoff experience Dadonov has at the NHL level, and the incredible pressure of playing for the Boston Bruins compared to the Florida Panthers. It’s also important to note that although Dadonov isn’t considered undersized, but he is certainly not the physical forward the Bruins have been searching for (example, the Ritchie brothers).

Conclusion

Overall, Dadonov would be a great offensive option for the Bruins. But with young talent such as; Anders Bjork, Jack Studnicka, Trent Fredric, Zach Senyshyn, and Karson Kuhlman looking to make the jump to the NHL, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a vacant spot for Dadonov. The forward certainly checks the boxes as the offensive talent the Bruins are looking to play alongside Krejci.

Despite his offensive abilities, Dadonov is 31-years-old and will most likely command more than $4M AAV in free agency. Unless the Bruins can talk him into a team-friendly deal, I don’t think his offensive abilities alone are worth it for the Bruins to spend that much money. It will be exciting to see what moves Sweeney makes soon. The free-agent market will open at noon EST on October 9th.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 195 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.

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Could the Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild be making a trade this off-season?

( Mandatory Photo Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports )

By: Dan Anderson | Follow Me On Twitter @DanAnderson5970

One of the noticeable trends in the NHL over the past decade or so is the amount of ex-Boston Bruin players and or management hired into management positions for other teams. The Minnesota Wild are not an exception to this trend, having hired Bill Guerin to be their general manager in August of 2019. Bill was born in Worcester, MA, grew up in Wilbraham, MA, and played at Boston College before turning professional. He spent most of two seasons (2000-2001, 2001-2002) playing right-wing in Boston. Might he be “friendly” to making a trade with Don Sweeney and the Boston Bruins? 

It’s clear from recent moves, including refusing to sign Mikko Koivu, the franchise leader in games, assists, and points, plus the only full-time captain the Wild have ever had, that the Wild are going full rebuild mode. Minnesota also traded productive 35-year-old center, Eric Staal, to Buffalo for Marcus Johansson, who is six years younger. I would consider a team in rebuild mode a trade target for the Boston Bruins, who are looking to put together a team to win the Stanley Cup now rather than later. 

While having Guerin in Minnesota might be helpful down the road, I don’t see a good fit for trades right now. Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and perhaps Mats Zuccarello or Marcus Johansson might seem attractive. Between salary cap hits, no-movement clauses, and in Johansson’s case, having just arrived and destined to play center; these are not viable trade options for the Bruins. Zach Parise is a 36 year old left-wing with a no-movement clause and contract that pays $7.5M through 2024-2025. Ryan Suter’s deal is the same as Parise’s, except he’s 35-years-old and a left defenseman. Zuccarello would be another small forward who could play either wing but is 33-years-old with four years remaining at $6 million per season with a no-movement clause.

How about other players the Bruins might be interested in acquiring? Kevin Fiala, Jordan Greenway, formerly of Boston University, and perhaps Alex Galchenyuk could be options. Galchenyuk, if the Bruins want to take a chance on him, is a UFA come October 9th. Alex has had two seasons of twenty plus goals, but if he signs with Boston, he would be on his fifth team in nine seasons. He’s also not likely to crack the top two lines, so he would likely be hindering Anders Bjork’s development. Galchenyuk arrived in Minnesota via a trade with Pittsburgh on February 11, 2020, along with defensive prospect Calen Addison and a first-round draft pick for Jason Zucker. 

It would appear Guerin is not interested in retaining Galchenyuk. Fiala and Greenway are 24 and 23-years-old, respectively, and the kind of players Guerin is likely to want to build a team around, not try to move. Greenway is a potential power forward type at left-wing. He’s 6’6 and 225-pounds, while Fiala is a former first-round pick who could be a perennial twenty goal scorer. There is no puck-moving left defenseman or clear upgrade upfront that the Bruins could use currently on Minnesota’s roster. I don’t see a trade occurring between these teams this offseason. 

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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The Bruins Are Chasing The Lightning

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By: Tyler Smith | Follow Me On Twitter @foxboro_ty

Where do the Bruins go from here? After being ousted from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in two of the last three years by the Tampa Bay Lightning, it’s clear the Bruins are chasing the Eastern Conference Champions. This offseason is a make or break time for the Black and Gold. Don Sweeney needs to build a roster this off-season that can compete with, and ultimately defeat the Lightning if they want to achieve their ultimate goal of winning a Stanley Cup.

Currently, the Lightning has a deep, talented team without any real weaknesses. Tampa Bay has speed and skill with the likes of Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Steven Stamkos. They have a big mobile defensive group commanded by perennial Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman. At the trade deadline, the Lightning addressed their needs for more grit within their group with the additions of Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman to go with Yanni Gourde to form an effective, grinding, third line. The Bolts bottom-six production was a strength for them, and a matchup nightmare for opponents in the playoffs. The Lightning has all the ingredients to play any style. Tampa can outscore you, outskate you, outhit you and grind you down. The goaltending is pretty good too, with Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy between the pipes.

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The Lightning is facing a cap crunch next season. Tampa has only 15 of 23 players on their roster under contract for next season and around 5.33 million dollars to spend. With this cap space, the Lightning need to resign RFA defencemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak as well as forward Anthony Cirelli. All three players will be getting raises, with Sergachev looking for a significant bump from his entry-level contract. These three players alone will probably eat up all of the cap space, and Tampa will still need to fill in the rest of their roster. The Lightning is going to have to move someone off their current squad to be able to fit all of these contracts. Tampa Bay General Manager Julien BriseBois will have to make some good players available. I think anyone not named Kucherov or Pointe will be made available.

The roster decisions looming in Tampa will give the Bruins the opening they need to close the gap on the Lightning. The Bruins are in much better salary cap shape than the Lightning, with more than $14.43 million to spend and only needing to fill four spots on their NHL roster. The B’s have four UFA’s (Krug, Chara, Nordstrom, and Kevan Miller). The Bruins and Krug appear to be heading for a parting of the ways. Both the club and the Michigan native need to do what’s best for them. Chara will be back on a team-friendly one year contract as a third pair, penalty-killing defenseman, that will play to his strengths. The black and gold will let Nordstrom and Kevan Miller both test free-agency as the Bruins have similar players that can step in. That brings us to the RFA’s, Matt Grzelcyk and Jake DeBrusk.

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Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney will try to resign both players, but the rumors regarding DeBrusk and his asking price led Sweeney to make DeBrusk available. Boston may include the young winger in a trade to get them a first pairing left-shot defenseman. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Noah Hanifin are both possibilities, and either would be a welcome addition to the Bruins backline. The Bruins have the cap space to add a piece or two after they take care of Grzelcyk’s contract. The B’s need to add a legitimate scoring threat to the top six, a second-line right wing. There have been scoring wingers mentioned with Taylor Hall, Nic Ehlers, Josh Anderson, and Evgeni Dadonov, the most notable names.

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What does all this mean? The combination of the Lightning having to move some players and the Bruins being able to add to an all-star core will close the gap for the Bruins. Boston must improve their left side defense and add scoring punch to the top six. With those improvements, the Bruins could have a legit shutdown pair with a new number one left defenceman to go with Charlie McAvoy, and a new wingman to create some scoring balance within the top-six forward group. A new top pair left defenceman allows players to slot in more naturally behind him. Grzelcyk would go from the third pair to the second pair, which is a better fit for him. The scoring winger pushes Kase, and Bjork, and some others who have been on the second line carousel down to the third line. The Bruins depth would be improved substantially within the top nine and would still have Kuraly, Wagner, and possibly Frederic to create havoc on the fourth line. The Lightning still has depth and talent, but with some strategic moves, Don Sweeney should be able to position the Bruins as their equal.

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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Is Josh Anderson The Answer For The Boston Bruins?

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by Matt Barry | Follow me on Twitter @oobcards

The rumor is mill is humming with Boston Bruins trade talk as general manager Don Sweeney looks to revamp the roster in preparation for the 2020-21 season. As the Stanley Cup Finals wrap up, look for the Bruins to be active almost immediately. There have been whisperings that the Bruins have inquired about Oliver Ekman-Larsson from Arizona and Brock Boeser from Vancouver. But the name that seems to build the most momentum is Columbus’, Josh Anderson. To say I am a little apprehensive is an understatement.

Haven’t we just seen this story unfold before? The Bruins needing some size on the wing and overreaching and overpaying for a big body who does not produce offensively and becomes a liability more than an asset. Sweeney traded Danton Heinen for Nick Ritchie during the 2019-20 season in hopes that Ritchie would be that player. At 6’2″, and 235 pounds, Bruins fans, who love big, physical hockey players, thought that Ritchie was the answer. However, the 24-year old never brought the type of massive game that the team so desperately desired and was a passenger more than a driver.

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Anderson is 6’2″ and 222-pounds and scored 27 goals for the Blue Jackets in the 2018-19 season. That season he was a +25 and played like the immense power forward he should be. But this past season, injuries prevented him from duplicating what was by far his best season. In twenty-six games, Anderson scored just one goal with four total points. The big question mark with the Burlington, Ontario native is whether Anderson can get back to the form that had him improving year after year or has his peak come early. The Jackets seem willing to trade the big winger, and the Bruins have been in serious talks to acquire him.

The Bruins should look to trade for Anderson if the cost is not too prohibitive. Would the Jackets take maybe Anders Bjork and a pick for Anderson? I might get behind that. Or it could be that a young defenseman like Jakub Zboril or Urho Vaakanainen with Bjork or Karson Kuhlman could get it done. I just do not think you trade a Jake DeBrusk or Brandon Carlo for Anderson and would be too disappointed if that scenario happened. The Bruins need a legitimate second-line scorer, and Anderson would have to be a top-six forward if acquired. The risk becomes great if the assets sent to Columbus are aplenty.

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If Josh Anderson were to be obtained on a favorably deal and the Bruins could acquire another offensive threat in another trade, then my feelings may change. For now, Anderson seems to be the name most linked to Boston, and now Bruins felt they are left to wait to see who exactly will be sent away for Anderson services. In past deals, the Bruins have given a little too much in return. Maybe the third-round pick for Zac Rinaldo in the 2015-16 season is giving me some flashbacks of terrible trades past. I want to believe that Sweeney and team president Cam Neely can reload this roster with savvy moves, but I have my doubts. I have been wrong before and would love to be wrong again.

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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Looking Back At The 2014 NHL Draft

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By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge

When it comes to drafting, it can be very hit or miss in the National Hockey League. Scouts and general managers do extensive scouting and research on players that they feel can make an impact on their club in the near future.

When we as Bruins fans mention a draft a few years back, everyone points to the 2015 draft and how much of a “failure” that was. I personally believe it is still too early to call that a failure as Zach Senyshyn and Jakub Zboril still has the skill and have made impacts in Providence. However, it is a tough pill to swallow watching guys like Matt Barzal, Travis Konecny, and Kyle Connor making considerable contributions to their respective teams.

The reason I want to take a look back at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft is that the Bruins had a sneaky good draft for what was considered a “weaker” draft. Let’s look at the first round in general first. The first round produced only four all-stars to this point. The 2015 first-round had TEN all-stars to this point. So it is safe to say that 2014 was on the weaker end.

With the Bruin’s first-round pick, they took none other than David Pastrnak, and I can speak for everyone in saying that this pick turned out pretty good. He is arguably the best player in this draft, competing with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl for that honor.

( Photo Credit: John Tlumacki / Globe Staff Sports )

So yes, the Bruins stole a great player with pick number 25 in the first round, but they didn’t just stop there. In the second round, they drafted Ryan Donato, who made some contributions for the Bruins and got traded with a fifth-round pick for Charlie Coyle. I would be confident in saying that it is another successful pick.

Even in the later rounds, they found players who have made contributions in the NHL when even some of the first-round picks like Michael Dal Colle, Conner Bleackley, Nikita Scherbak, etc. have failed to make meaningful contributions in the big leagues. The Bruins selected Danton Heinen with their fourth-round pick and Anders Bjork with their fifth-round pick. They selected Emil Johansson with their seventh-round pick, and he has yet to make an NHL start. The Bruins also didn’t have a third and sixth-round pick.

( Photo Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports )

All in all, they had a great draft. Four out of their five draft picks made NHL appearances for the Boston Bruins. David Pastrnak is a superstar, and there is no other way to say it. They nailed the first-round pick. They now have Charlie Coyle from Ryan Donato, and that is continuing to work well. Danton Heinen was a great two-way player for the Bruins until he was traded to Anaheim for Nick Ritchie. As far as the draft is concerned, that is a great pick. Anders Bjork is still with the Bruins, and even though he has yet to find his offensive game consistently, he is a great two-way player with great skill. As far as I am concerned, that is a fantastic fifth-round pick.

So while people can look so negatively on the 2015 draft, I like to look at the positives and say they had a stellar draft the year before. Can you imagine the Bruins without David Pastrnak? I sure can’t.

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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Three Bruins Win NHL All-Star Honors

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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!

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!

The Bottom Six For The Boston Bruins Needs To Be Top Notch

( Photo Credit: Charles Krupa / The Associated Press )

By: Matt Barry | Follow me on Twitter @oobcards

For the Boston Bruins to compete for another Stanley Cup, their offensive production will have to improve from all four lines, particularly in even-strength situations. The talk has mostly been about adding a capable scoring threat at right-wing for the second line with center David Krejci. This is a significant need along with a left-shot defenseman to potentially replace Torey Krug, who may not re-sign with Boston. However, the Bruins also need more production from the bottom two lines and will need to solidify who will play regularly in those roles.

A big question mark that needs to be answered entering into next season is whether young players such as Anders Bjork, Karson Kuhlman, and Jack Studnicka can progress into productive NHL players. The hope is that Studnicka can be the spark the second line needs and use his talents to become the next Bruins star. He might even be a fit on the top line with David Pastrnak moving down to play with Krejci. Kuhlman is a restricted free agent who has shown great speed and a decent skill set but needs to be more consistent to remain in the lineup. However, general manager Don Sweeney has to decide if Kuhlman’s potential is worthy of a contract. The feeling is that Bjork will get a long look as a third-line winger with Charlie Coyle at center.

If the makeup of the roster does not significantly change and management believes that holes can be filled with in-house prospects, then this is what I would like to see for line rushes as the 2020-21 season begins in December or early January:

Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jack Studnicka
Jake DeBrusk (if re-signed)-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Anders Bjork-Charlie Coyle-Ondrej Kase
Trent Frederic-Sean Kuraly-Chris Wagner

Ondrej Kase was a midseason addition who did not produce as much as the team had hoped and then missed some time when the group entered the bubble. He never seemed to get himself into a rhythm, and his point production suffered. I think he may be better suited for the third line with Coyle as both players have had good puck possession numbers.

The fourth line is very intriguing and could be a real strength for Bruce Cassidy’s team. Wagner and Kuraly have both shown an excellent ability to hunt pucks and provide some offense while in the lineup. The addition of Frederic could ultimately complement them well. The former University of Wisconsin star has shown promise at the American Hockey League level with Providence. He is a grinding player who can play center and wing and has a feisty side which the Bruins would welcome on their roster. Frederic would replace unrestricted free agent Joakim Nordstrom, who will more than likely sign elsewhere. Par Lindholm is also in the mix with one year remaining on his deal. The time is now to see what the Bruins have in Frederic.

With all of the uncertainty facing the Bruins this offseason, the team may be in an excellent position to roll out two good bottom-six lines to begin next season. This will be paramount in terms of competing with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who made significant changes to their bottom-six this past season. With talk that the Bruins may not spend to the cap limit going into the upcoming campaign, the organization’s player development program will be on full display in 2020-21 and could be the reason the window stays open one more season for the Boston Bruins.

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!

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!

Evaluating The Bruins Leadership Group

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By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge

On-ice performance, at the end of the day, is what people tend to judge a hockey team by. However, what if I were to tell you that the on-ice portion of a hockey team is actually a minimal part of what goes on with a hockey team?

As a college hockey player myself, I can say that what goes on in the locker room plays a huge part in how the team plays on the ice, and it all starts with a strong leadership group. Sure, you can argue that the head coach can control all of that, but the fact of the matter is they can’t. If you have a great coach but poor leadership and character in the locker room, it just isn’t going to work.

This is where I love the Boston Bruins. On the ice, they’re a great team, and no one is disputing that. Off the ice, they’re an even better team. That group of guys in that locker room is so tight-knit that the usual bumps and bruises that teams go through don’t seem to faze the Bruins, and it starts with the captains.

Zdeno Chara is a world-class human being. Everything you hear about that man is positive and upbeat. He has been the captain of the Boston Bruins ever since he stepped in in 2006. To be able to lead a team for that long and for all the success they have had, he deserves a lot of credit.

( Photo Credit: Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images )

Leadership doesn’t just mean the captain, however. There is also a man by the name of Patrice Bergeron. Ever heard of him? Bergeron would be the captain on almost every other NHL team, but since Chara has been there and been the captain, he is the alternate captain. Bergeron doesn’t complain about his role at all, which is what makes this group so unique.

Further down the list, you have the other veterans such as David Krejci and Brad Marchand, who split time wearing the ‘A’ on their sweater. Notice anything about all of these guys? They are all veterans and are on the backside of 30 or 40 in Chara’s case. Chara is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and there is some uncertainty about whether he will be back. Krejci is entering his last season on his deal as well. So, who is up next to lead this team?

Barring anything unforeseen, Bergeron will be wearing the ‘C’ for the Boston Bruins when Chara does eventually hang them up. After that, it can get interesting. Marchand and Krejci will still be leaders, but I am interested to see what happens with the younger core. Does a guy like David Pastrnak turn into a leader and prove he can teach the even younger guys?

The one player that I believe will take a huge step not only in developing his own game but turn into a big leader moving forward is Charlie McAvoy. That is one asset of hockey you can’t really teach, and he just has it. He was an alternate captain in his sophomore (yes, you read that right, sophomore) year at Boston University. He was named the alternate captain to the United Staes world junior team that won gold in January of 2017. He has been a leader before, and I believe the Bruins are in good hands with this younger core.

( Photo Credit: Claus Andersen / Getty Images North America )

As I mentioned, the off-ice leadership plays a huge role in the team’s success. Bruce Cassidy has stepped in and turned this team into contenders right away, but he doesn’t take all the credit for himself. “I think this leadership group is second to none,” Cassidy said, entering the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. “I’ve said that probably since my second week on the job here. Those guys are fantastic, and they sure make a coach’s job a lot easier.”

With all the speculation about who the Bruins will add to the roster, it can be tough to remember who they do have. They have a great core of leaders now, and they have a great core of upcoming leaders. Try not to stress Bruins fans; they have a good thing going and look to continue that for years to come.

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!

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!

Is Pasta a 2nd Line Dish That Could Be Served For The Bruins In 2020/21?

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by Matt Barry | Follow me on Twitter @oobcards

When the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, production was coming from all four lines. Even in 2019, the additions of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson provided depth and solid 5 on 5 play from the third line. But the second line has provided inconsistent play and was a detriment to Bruce Cassidy’s team in the second round against a deeper Tampa Bay Lightning team this past season. A major offseason focus should be to finally get David Krejci a legitimate scorer on the right-wing. Could it be that the answer is already on the roster?

The “Perfection Line” of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak is widely considered one of the top lines in the National Hockey League. In recent seasons, the trio has dominated 5-on-5 play and had been a threat to score nearly every shift. However, this past season, the Bruins production numbers at even strength dipped which included their top line. The Bruins scored just five even-strength goals in their five-game series with Tampa Bay. The power play was excellent all season, but even-strength play will need to improve for the Black and Gold to get back to contending for a Stanley Cup.

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General manager Don Sweeney will certainly attempt to address this need in the offseason. The Bruins could look outside of the organization to fill the second line right wing hole or try to give Ondrej Kase more time to build chemistry with David Krejci. The more creative move might be to move Pastrnak, one of the top goal scorers in the league, to the second line and give Krejci his first real goal-scoring threat since Nathan Horton. If Jake DeBrusk is re-signed, Boston could have a second line of DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak. This would be more effective if someone like 21-year old Jack Studnicka, who showed flashes of being a top-six forward at the NHL level. The team could also deal DeBrusk and try to get a more consistent scorer who can possess the puck.

I would not advise the team to move third-line center Charlie Coyle up to the second line. Coyle has been terrific on the third line with his size and physicality. Ideally, Anders Bjork could continue to develop with Coyle or coach Bruce Cassidy could possibly slide Kase down to third-line duty. It will be imperative for Sweeney and team President Cam Neely to create more offensive attack across all four lines. The fourth line should still have Chris Wagner and Sean Kuraly providing good puck pursuit and some scoring ability. Former University of Wisconsin star Trent Frederic could slot in on that line as Joakim Nordstrom will probably not be retained. Par Lindholm has one year left on his deal, but did not provide much offensive production.

Having Pasta play with Krejci on the second line could create the offensive balance the team seeks. Much of this scenario depends on Studnicka. The thought here is that the team gives Studnicka a long, hard look on the first line. If it works out, it could provide a much better result than the team could find elsewhere, and at a much cheaper cost. If not, the Bruins will need to use money and, possibly, resources to find a linemate for Krejci.

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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.

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Potential Boston Bruins X Factor?

( Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images )

By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge

All over social media, you’ll find rumors circulating around the Boston Bruins. Within the Boston media, this tends to happen. You’ll hear the Bruins are chasing this player or have expressed interest in this player. There will almost certainly be changes coming to the roster for the 2020-2021 season, but what if I said that a player that can make a huge impact is right under our noses?

By now, every Bruins fan knows who Jack Studnicka is. Studnicka was drafted in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in the 2nd round after the Bruins took Urho Vaakanianen with their first-round pick. Studnicka has been impressive ever since. In his first season after being drafted, he put up 72 points in 66 games as the Oshawa Generals captain in the Ontario Hockey League. After Oshawa was eliminated, he got a taste of the American Hockey League, putting up five points in five games with the Providence Bruins.

Jack Studnicka Oshawa Generals
( Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images )

It was at this point where Studnicka started to make some noise about competing for a roster spot. The problem, and it’s a great problem to have, is that the Bruins have a decent amount of depth, so it was challenging for Studnicka to crack the NHL roster at 19 years old.

He ended up getting sent back to juniors and didn’t miss a beat. He put up 83 points in 60 regular-season games between the Oshawa Generals and Niagara Ice Dogs. He even added a gold medal to his trophy case, winning the World Junior Championship with Team Canada.

Entering training camp again, he showed off his confidence. “My goal every year is to play in the NHL; it’s every player’s dream. I just want to be as comfortable as possible, limit my nerves, and play well,” Studnicka said. He got looks on the top line with Pastrnak and Marchand in some preseason games. Again, the depth was too deep for Studnicka to make an immediate impact, but he took some valuable lessons. “The leadership in that room speaks for itself, the older guys are really nice and made it really easy on the rookies and draftees. Being on a line with Marchy and Pasta was really cool, they were talking and trying different plays with me,” Studnicka said. “The biggest difference I noticed is the players, the pace is higher than juniors. It’s amazing how they just keep working and play at a high level so consistently. You can’t take a stride or two off otherwise, you’ll get beat.”

( Photo Credit: Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images )

He ended up going back to Providence and having a tremendous 2019-2020 season in Providence leading the team with 23 goals and 49 points in 60 games. He played well enough to make his NHL debut and even added an assist in his two games in the big leagues. He even impressed so much in the bubble that he got into some playoff action.

Here is where I and every Bruins fan should get excited. The kid has raw talent that you just can’t teach. He kept up and even looked good in his NHL games. Keep in mind, he is only 21 years old. I like to compare his development to that of David Pastrnak’s. In no way am I setting some unreachable limit for Studnicka because that is a pretty hefty comparison, but let’s look as how far Pastrnak has come. Pastrnak spent some time in Providence and took to the NHL being smaller and having a tough time adjusting to the NHL level. Studnicka is in that same spot right now. What happened next? Pastrnak got older, gained experience, got bigger, and bloomed into a superstar. I think this offseason will be huge for Studnicka to get stronger and really be at that prime NHL level.

( Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer / Associated Press )

We all know Studnicka has the skill and the heart to succeed. I had the pleasure of talking to him in his junior days, and I can tell this player is confident, loves being in the Bruins organization, and wants to succeed. I firmly believe he can be a massive asset for the Bruins next season and the years to come.

Get ready Bruins fans, the future is here.

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!!