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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Boston Bruins: Jake DeBrusk Breaking The Cold Streak

PHOTO CREDIT: Maddie Meyer-Getty Images

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

With David Pastrnak expected to miss at least two weeks, it is now time for the Bruins’ secondary scoring to wake up. In last night’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, it is clear that they took a step in the right direction. Danton Heinen has been fitting in perfectly with the first-line and is quickly silencing his critics. However, one must not forget that Jake DeBrusk also broke the ice last night. With him registering three points, it seems as though he is finally heading in the right direction to break out of his slump.

One important factor to note is that once DeBrusk gets going, he has shown that he can play at a very effective level. After starting the year off in a similarly slow fashion, he ended up going on a stretch where he was scoring at will. With that being stated, there is no question that he has the ability to be a difference maker at the NHL level. With Pastrnak out, he is going to receive even more opportunities to shine. It is now time for him to play at a consistent level.

This time of year is crucial when it comes to getting points. Although the Bruins are in a spot where the playoffs seem like a sure thing, history has shown that anything can happen in this league. Scoring from players like DeBrusk and Heinen are a necessity at this point in time. However, in a sense, there is an unsaid high level of expectations toward DeBrusk. He is a former first-rounder who has already shown in spurts that he can resemble an elite sniper in this league. It just is a matter of staying at that level permanently.

The NHL Trade Deadline could also be massive for DeBrusk. There is no question that the Bruins are looking to acquire a top-six winger. Artemi Panarin has been the major name that the team is linked to, but it is not limited to just him. There are plenty of rentals who can slot on that line who could help DeBrusk’s offensive consistency blossom, such as Micheal Ferland and Wayne Simmonds. Bringing in a legitimate second-line winger would be the best action for not only DeBrusk but the entire team in general.

Criticism has been handed DeBrusk’s way during his cold streak, and it is justifiable in a sense. There is no question that the team should expect their second-line winger to produce at a solid pace. At certain points, one may argue that he has looked invisible on the ice as well. However, at the same time, the line has struggled to find solid chemistry all season. When a team is constantly changing up lines, it can leave a negative impact. With him being a young player, it makes sense as to why this has occurred.

At the end of the day, it is quite apparent that the importance of DeBrusk breaking this streak is at an immense level. The Bruins have the potential to do something special this postseason, but they need players like him to play their bests. At one point of the season, it seemed likely that DeBrusk easily could have had a 25-goal campaign. The potential is there, but more importantly, the consistency needs to be as well. Expect these last few months of the regular season to lead to him breaking out. Last night truly was the start of that.

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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?

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You!  

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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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Five Potential Scorers For Bruins Outside Of Big Ticket Artemi Panarin

Image result for Mark Stone(Photo Credit: Jane Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

A persistent storyline for quite some time surrounding the Boston Bruins has been their need for scoring. When discussing the topic, the second-line right wing and third-line center positions are of emphasis. Personally, I feel that the second-line right wing should be the bigger priority, and there are certainly good potential fits out there on the trade market.

Mark Stone

Acquiring Mark Stone would be quite the haul. He brings a great three-zone game to the table and could fit in seamlessly with David Krejci in the middle and either someone like Jake DeBrusk or Peter Cehlarik on the left. Stone leads the Senators in points and is tied in goals with Matt Duchene (25-31-56).

Currently making $7.35 million for this season, Stone is rightfully set for a raise in unrestricted free agency this summer. Despite having buyer’s remorse from the Rick Nash rental trade last season, Stone is a very plausible rental option due to the potential for significant positive impact in all three zones. On TSN’s latest trade bait list, Stone sat at number 10 out of 50.

With all rentals at the time of a trade comes the potential that they feel comfortable enough to in fact re-sign and shed the rental tag over time. For general managers, in this case, Don Sweeney, there is a lot to ponder in these scenarios and Stone will not come cheap. Adding a player of his caliber to the top-six forward core gives the potential for him to join the likes of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Jake DeBrusk, and David Krejci. That immediately becomes a much more terrifying top-six for opponents.

Ryan Dzingel

At first, I wasn’t on board with the idea of Senators right-winger Ryan Dzingel as a rental option if Don Sweeney feels comfortable with such a transaction, but I have come around to it. When looking at players like Dzingel or Stone, acquiring a productive player from a divisional rival may be tricky, but it’s certainly not impossible.

Dzingel is two goals away from matching his career high of 23 from last year through just 53 games and has 41 points. As a rental, capitalizing on a player who is thriving in a contract year might be a smart move. But a rental of a young player like Dzingel having a career year will be pricey. Dzingel punches in at number 34 on the latest TSN trade bait list. Back in early February, TSN insider Darren Dreger said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins made a play on Dzingel. His speed and offensive instincts would fit in the Bruins’ top-six forward core.

Tyler Toffoli

When it comes to a player with term left on their current contract, Tyler Toffoli could be a great option. While he isn’t having a great season, he is playing on one of the NHL’s worst teams. In 55 games, he has scored 11 goals and added 15 assists. Regardless, past seasons should qualify him as a viable target. He has reached the 30-goal plateau once before and scored 24 last season, and is a pretty well-rounded player outside of his goal-scoring ability.

Toffoli is set to make $4.6 million per year for this season and next before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020. He is not on the latest TSN trade bait list, but his name has been thrown around and it could be a route that the LA Kings explore options to improve in the future. Toffoli could fetch a solid package of assets in a trade.

Gustav Nyquist

If Gustav Nyquist is willing to waive his NTC, he is a tantalizing trade option. The 29-year-old winger is currently making $4.75 million before hitting unrestricted free agency this summer. His 14 goals and 47 points in 55 games make him a threat for at least 60 points this season. The 33 assists that he has amassed are best on the Red Wings. Nyquist sits seventh on the latest TSN trade bait list. He’s a pure scoring threat on the wing.

Mats Zuccarello

The Bruins made three trades with the Rangers in 2018. Who says they couldn’t make their first of 2019 by the trade deadline? Mats Zuccarello would be a great piece. With nine goals and 22 assists, good for 31 points in 41 games, Zuccarello is having himself quite the contract year, like Nyquist.

The 31-year-old Norwegian winger is currently making $4.5 million ahead of a possible increase in pay this summer. For the remainder of the season, Zuccarello’s speed and elusiveness, along with a polished skill set would be a great boost to the Bruins’ offense.

Don Sweeney has a lot of options to ponder over the coming weeks as the opportunity to load up before a potential playoff run lies ahead. Roll with what you have, or be bold and make a splash, the direction of this Bruins team lies in Sweeney’s hands, in part.

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It’s Critical That The Bruins Take Advantage of Their Upcoming Schedule

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(Image: AP Photo / Charles Krupa)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

After beating the New York Islanders on Tuesday night in Patrice Bergeron’s 1000th NHL game, the Bruins will embark on a schedule that, on paper, has some favorable matchups for the B’s over the course of the next 11 days.

The Bruins will take on the New York Rangers, the third-to-last place Los Angeles Kings twice, the bottom-feeding Chicago Blackhawks, the free-falling Anaheim Ducks, and the struggling Colorado Avalanche during this span.

First, up for the B’s is a trip to Madison Square Garden tonight as they’ll face-off against the Rangers.

The Rangers sit seventh in the Metro and twenty-first in the league, having gone 5-4-1 in their last 10 games (22-22-8 on the year, 1-2-1 since returning from the break). Head coach, David Quinn’s team, has been lackluster in its own end, allowing the fifth-most goals in the NHL (175). The scoring has not been there for the Blueshirts either as they have the sixth-fewest goals-for in the entire league (148).

All in all, the Rangers’ goal differential stands at minus-27, fourth-worst in the NHL, a result of the team’s inconsistency both offensively and defensively.

Henrik Lundqvist has performed admirably this season, considering the roster the team has iced in front of him on a nightly basis. The 36-year-old has played a ton this year with the eighth-most games played among goaltenders (38)–not ideal for any goalie, let alone an aging legend. However, Lundqvist has struggled lately, allowing three or more goals in three-straight starts.

As for the skaters, the bulk of New York’s offense is only coming from their top guys, namely Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes, and Mats Zuccarello. Zibanejad gave the Bruins fits in the first meeting between the two sides with two goals, but he is the driving force of New York’s offense; shut him down, and you have a solid chance of shutting the rest of the offense down as well.

While Zuccarello’s numbers don’t look gaudy (he only has 29 points), the Norwegian has only played in 38 games after missing some time early in the year. Behind him, only two more Rangers have at least 20 points.

The Bruins may have lost to the Rangers just a few weeks ago, but that was in a game where the team was devastated after Tuukka Rask went down in a bad collision. After Rask went down, the team was flat, and a struggling Jaroslav Halak had to step in unexpectedly.

As for the Kings, they have struggled since the puck dropped on their season. With 158 goals-allowed and 125 goals-for (a minus-33 differential), the Kings have had trouble both scoring and getting a save.

Jonathan Quick has had a down year by his standards when he hasn’t been on the shelf, and Peter Budaj–who has a GAA of 5.02 in three games–lost his job to Jack Campbell as Quick’s backup; he hasn’t played since November.

Offensively, the Kings don’t have much going for them up front, as previously mentioned. Marquee signing Ilya Kovalchuk has been a disappointment with only 11 goals in 43 games while Anze Kopitar is having just an “okay” year according to his reputation–only 16 goals and 40 points in 52 games. Meanwhile, younger players like Tyler Toffoli and Alex Iaffolo haven’t quite taken the reigns like the organization had hoped.

Also, franchise defenseman Drew Doughty has failed to live up to the massive contract extension he signed last summer, and after trading Jake Muzzin, the Kings are already beginning to commit to a long term rebuild.

The Bruins are yet to play the Kings this year but have looked much better in their last two games compared to the two losses after the bye week.

Looking at the Blackhawks, Chicago’s dynasty has come to an end as the Hawks are the last place in the league and are in the pool that’s all about “lose for Hughes” in hopes of being able to take Jack Hughes first-overall this summer.

The Hawks have allowed a league-worst 198 goals-against, but have somehow managed to score the eighth-most goals in the league with 173, making for a goal differential of minus-25, fifth-worst.

While the Hawks have no trouble scoring goals, thanks to their high-powered top-six, led by Patrick Kane, who has been on fire with another MVP-caliber season with 78 points, they just can’t seem to get a save. Corey Crawford had missed significant time due to injury and was not anything to write home about when he was healthy, while Cam Ward has struggled mightily after being thrust into the starting role.

At the same time, young-gun Collin Delia has been fantastic for Chicago as Ward’s backup. It will be interesting to see who goes in net for Chicago and if it’s Ward, which version of him shows up.

After a couple down seasons, Jonathan Toews is on track to have a season similar to that of what is expected from him. As for the bottom-six production, it falls off a cliff once you move down from the top two lines.

An aging defense corps, mixed with an inability to get meaningful depth production makes for a bad combination, especially considering the lack of help on the backend for the declining Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith.

The Bruins have already beaten the Hawks once this year, too. In a 3-1 final at the Winter Classic, the Bruins were able to effectively neutralize Chicago’s top producers while getting strong play from up and down the lineup, hopefully, a sign of what to expect next week.

Moving on to the Anaheim Ducks, who were in an absolute free-fall going into the All-Star break, and still are. The Ducks have lost five straight after winning two in a row following up their 12-game losing streak–for those of you keeping score at home, that’s 17 losses in their last 19 games, yikes.

The Ducks have looked limp almost all year as times have seemingly passed them by in the NHL, not to mention the fact that they have not been able to catch a break with the injury bug.

At 26th in the league, the Ducks have not been able to get quality goaltending after John Gibson has regressed a bit. On top of that, the Ducks have allowed 24 goals in their last four games (172 on the year, tenth-worst), including a nine-spot given up to Winnipeg last week.

Scoring hasn’t been the Ducks’ forte either as 33-year-old Ryan Getzlaf leads the team in scoring with just 34 points in 48 games. Outside of guys named Getzlaf, Adam Henrique, Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, or Ondrej Kase, no one can put the puck in the net–none of those guys listed has more than 12 goals or 34 points on the season.

In total, the Ducks are tied with the Kings for the fewest goals scored in the league at 125, and their differential of minus-47 is the worst in the NHL by a country mile.

With calls for Carlyle’s job and questions about Bob Murray’s management of the team, the Ducks are in turmoil.

Anaheim has already lost to the Bruins this year as well, a 3-1 loss at TD Garden. They were outshot and outplayed by Boston, on top of failing to take away the Bruins’ biggest threats. They allowed two power-play goals as David Pastrnak had a goal and two assists, Torey Krug had a goal and an assist, and Brad Marchand had two assists.

The Bruins will also host the Colorado Avalanche as well, who they lost to earlier this season in a clash between two of the top lines in hockey. That game saw the Bruins lose John Moore, and Zdeno Chara after they were already without Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Kevan Miller, and Urho Vaakanainen.

This matchup will see that same clash once again, but with a healthy Bruins team and a Colorado team that has struggled mightily since the early-season meeting. The Avs have dropped out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference, too, but sit only two points back of Vancouver for the second wild-card spot.

The top line of Colorado needs no introduction. Mikko Rantanen (74 points) and Nathan MacKinnon (72 points) have been other-worldly this season, both fourth and sixth in the league in points, respectively, while Gabe Landeskog (59 points) is en route to scoring 40 goals.

However, the Avs have gotten next to no production from their other forwards. After Landeskog, there is a stark drop off as the next highest-producing forward is Carl Soderberg with 31 points, followed by Alexander Kerfoot with 26.

Colorado’s goaltending has not been up to snuff either. Semyon Varlamov has been the very definition of a pedestrian after a good start to his season, and Philipp Grubauer, who was thought to be the next solution in net when he signed, has just been plain bad all season.

Although they already beat the Bruins this season, the Avs have lost four straight, allowing at least four goals in each loss–five goals twice, and six once. On top of that Colorado has lost 11 of their last 14 and their wins have become more sparse since the first half of the season. When they win, it’s on the backs of the top line; when they lose, it’s due to the first line getting shutdown and ineffectiveness from the other forwards.

From the Bruins’ perspective, no game is an “easy” game or an automatic win these days; everybody knows that. Although they tend to struggle in New York and Anaheim, the troubles of those two teams make those matchups appear very favorable for the Bruins; the same can be said for the Kings as well. While the high-powered top producers for the Avs and Blackhawks have been all-world this year, if the Bruins can shut them down, they should fair well.

The Bruins absolutely cannot afford to take any games off, not just during this upcoming stretch, but for the rest of the season as well. As things currently stand, the Bruins sit just one point back of the Montreal Canadiens for third in the Atlantic with a game in hand and just two back of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

With some enticing meetings over the next few games, the Bruins’ ability to rack up points and potentially catch or surpass the Leafs or Habs is going to be crucial.

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It’s Groundhog Day & Bruins Keep Repeating Mistakes Over & Over

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By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

BING! If Ned Ryerson is everyone on the Bruins who can’t score right now (or practically all season for lines 2-4), then Phil Connors is the coaching staff, management & fan base reacting appropriately:

 

And it keeps happening over… and over… AND OVER, just like the aptly-named comedic classic Groundhog Day. But there’s nothing to laugh at this February 2nd for the Boston Bruins. Their on-ice business isn’t funny at the moment and, furthermore, everyone’s fed up with the funny business happening on the ice right now. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy ain’t pleased with his D-core. The D ain’t pleased with the fruitless forwards. And the goalies, well, they ain’t pleased with anything (excuse the vernacular)!

This is what happens when you lose three in a row after having leads in all three games; when you lose 5 out of 6 after having scored the first goal in every game; when you constantly let important points slip away in a playoff race where EVERY. SINGLE. POINT. MATTERS!

I’m kind of wishing Blades the Bear pulls a Groundhog Day and goes back into hibernation after seeing his shadow. Because if we have to bear 6 more weeks of Winter hockey like this, then it truly is “pitiful” to quote Weatherman Phil (and then some):

 

Yet, for all the moping & groping and whining & pining that Bruins fans do (and rightfully so considering the current climate surrounding the team’s dispirited play… heck, I know I’m guilty of it), the solution is right there for all to see. In fact, Jack Edwards has been screaming it from the booth–and on Twitter–as loud as he can over the past two weeks: EXTEND THE LEAD.

As we’ve seen in the most recent games against Montreal, Philly (twice), New York & Winnipeg, the B’s have had a 1-goal lead with glorious chances to make it a 2-goal lead, be it on the PP, a quick clean breakout, a cycle-pressure turnover or a breakaway. Yet, every player has come up empty when given the chance “to bury it.” Yes, even the only-thing-keeping-the-Bruins-afloat first liners have missed on extension goals, to playfully paraphrase Edwards. As a result, the B’s have gone an abysmal 0-2-3 in those games. That’s right, ZERO WINS in games where they’ve not only had a lead, but a lead in the third period that should’ve been closed out, especially this late in the season (and against teams with inferior records). It’s about as maddening as a cold shower during the Polar Vortex:

So, what’s the solution to this ever-repetitive, ever-repulsive puck performance the B’s are putting us through right now, outside of “extending the lead”? Maybe it’s a trade… a shake-up… a big, bold move from up above!?!? I know a lot of folks on social media are all for this course of action — be it a Panarin-type, a Dzingel-type, or ANY TYPE THAT CAN ACTUALLY SCORE.

No matter what happens on the trade front for the B’s this month, first and foremost they need to survive the Groundhog Day curse. This all-too-familiar trend of repeating the same day/game again and again and again MUST STOP. If Phil Connors can do it, so can the likes of Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask & Bruce Cassidy. Be it checking or Chekov, the Boston Bruins have to turn things around starting February 3rd.

 

Do I sure as heckfire want that to happen? BING!

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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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