Why The Bruins Can’t Afford To Mess Up The Torey Krug Situation

Torey Krug Boston Bruins

(Photo Credit: (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports))

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

It’s no secret that Torey Krug’s role on the Bruins is a pretty vital one. Being the power-play quarterback, top scorer from the back end, and a high-energy player, Krug is tasked with quite a bit.

One of the main storylines this offseason has been what to do with Torey Krug down the road, as he is set to hit unrestricted free agency next July. Whatever ends up happening, it needs to be executed a certain way, in my eyes. Things could end up panning out a few different ways.

The ideal solution: A long-term deal

Ideally, the necessary moves and negotiations are made to accommodate Krug. While ideal, it won’t be easy. Krug’s stock continues to trend upwards as time passes by due to his consistency. His stock as a free agent has never been higher after another great regular season and a stellar playoff run.

His 53 points in the regular season and 18 in the playoffs were best on the team amongst defensemen. While points aren’t everything when it comes to evaluating defensemen, they certainly don’t blemish a player’s image.

For an undersized defenseman, Krug proved this year that his size won’t affect his ability to be an effective defenseman in his own zone and in the physical aspect of the game. He also continued to show why he is one of the most effective power-play quarterbacks in the entire league, amongst a great first power-play unit that included David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron.

Additionally, Krug further established excellent chemistry with Brandon Carlo. Their differing styles actually complement one another very well. Carlo often cleans things up defensively, as that’s where his expertise lies, allowing Krug to effectively carry the puck and create offense. Having that comfortability and chemistry is huge for Carlo, and vice versa, as he is still developing into a shutdown defenseman at 22-years-old.

When it comes to comparables, CapFriendly has a great tool for drawing contract comparables on their website. Some of the contracts they list as comparables to Krug are Tyson Barrie ($5.5M AAV), Jared Spurgeon ($5,187,500 AAV), and Matt Dumba ($6M AAV).

While I think Krug will make north of $6 million per year in his next deal, whatever the exact amount may be, these are potential starting points for contract comparables that could come up in future contract negotiations to stay in Boston.

With things very much up in the air right now surrounding how much Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo will make, proper accommodations need to be made to make Krug’s next contract fit under the cap. Not only will however much Carlo and McAvoy make factor into the cap, Matt Grzelcyk, Jake DeBrusk Chris Wagner, Joakim Nordstrom, Charlie Coyle, Brett Ritchie, Zdeno Chara, and Kevan Miller will all be looking for new deals next summer.

Don Sweeney has his work cut out for him in that department.

If you can’t keep him, trade him

Do everything you possibly can to keep Krug long-term, but if you can’t, you have to trade him if you’re Don Sweeney. If you don’t trade him in this case and lose him for nothing as a UFA, it’s bad mismanagement of assets.

A player of Krug’s caliber could fetch a large haul on the trade market. Whether a trade revolves around a top-six right-winger to play with David Krejci, or picks and prospects, a large haul could be obtained.

With Krug’s pending UFA status, it’s anyone’s guess as to what Sweeney could get in return for him. But as mentioned previously, in a perfect world, Sweeney doesn’t even have to seriously consider having to move on from a player of Krug’s caliber.

How The Bruins Stack Up In The East For 2019-20 Campaign?

(Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer – Getty Images)

By: Ian Frazier  |  Follow Me On Twitter @ifrazier95

With the offseason in full gear, teams around the league have started preparations for the 2019-2020 season. The Bruins, while having a quiet offseason so far, have made a couple of minor moves to help their depth out like bringing back Steve Kampfer and Connor Clifton as well as signing free agent Brett Ritchie and Par Lidholm. While we await the news on both McAvoy and Carlo lets take a look at how the Bruins match up with the rest of the eastern conference as of today.

Atlantic Divison 

The Bruins’ division so far this offseason have made upgrades and has some question marks too. The Tampa Bay lightning are the favorites to win the division again, and it would be silly to think the Bruins are on their level after the last regular season’s finish. While the Lightning did lose a key defenseman in Stralman, they added a decent defenseman in Luke Schenn as well as Nolan Foote in the draft. They also signed ex-Hurricane goalie Curtis McElhinney and ex-Devil Scott Wedgewood. They still have the rest of the original gang from last season returning with the question mark being Point and how much will Tampa Bay pay him and for how many years? As it stands right now, the Bruins goaltending duo of Rask and Halak is right on par with Tampa’s, but Tampa still has better forwards up and down the roster, and their defense is a bit stronger than the Bruins so don’t expect the Bruins to pass them for the division crown this year.

The Bruins’ other closest opponent the Maple Leafs right now is a bit of a question mark team. Their additions of Kerfoot and Barrie give them a much-needed boost on both offense and defense, however, they lose Kadri and are still waiting for the shoe to drop on Mitch Marner who seems to want to get a huge payday. Berrie provides a nice offensive game to the Leafs defense and skates well, but with the loss of Zaitsev to Ottawa and the failure to address their back end this offseason, the Leafs defense is once again hit or miss. Expect the Bruins to take advantage of this as the Leafs will have to rely on offense (again) to carry them which will help the Bruins slip past them in the standings as the Leafs drop some important games down the stretch due to a weaker than average defense.

As far as the rest of the division goes, nobody knows. Buffalo, Ottawa, and Detriot are not in the same stratosphere as the Bruins right now, and while Florida has signed Bobvrosky, they still have many holes which won’t be enough to catch the Bruins, but maybe could sneak them into a wildcard spot. We will have to wait and see.

Metropolitan Division

The Metro is where things get dicey in the east. New Jersey went on a spending spree adding Wayne Simmonds and P.K Subban to go along with Taylor Hall and Travis Zajac. They buffed their depth with taking a special talent Jack Hughes with the first overall pick. Expect New Jersey to be right in the mix along with the Bruins as their offense just became more dynamic, and their defense became stronger with the addition of Subban. The Washington Capitals, as we know, have been the Bruins’ biggest kryptonite the past few seasons and will once again be in the mix for a top seed along with the Bruins. It is imperative the Bruins solve Holtby this year, which is a tall task for them, but it can go a long way with later down the line when the Bruins have to play for seeding. The New York Rangers also became a bigger threat after drafting Kappo Kako and sign Panarin. With Lundqvist still in the cage, the Rangers are no slouches to contend for a wildcard spot. Bruins have more depth and firepower than the Rangers but expect them to be right in the thick of things.

The rest of the division is a toss-up. In honesty, every single team in the Metro could make the playoffs this year, and the Bruins have separated themselves from half the division, they still have to keep two sets of eyes on it just to make sure no one is sneaking up behind them or they have an early playoff matchup with one of the teams.

It’s hard to exactly judge where the Bruins will stand towards the end of the season, but as of right now they are still a top 5 team in the east, but they need to make sure the Carlo and McAvoy contracts get done if they want to stay that way. Look for Boston to be right in the playoff mix by midseason again with basically the same core and goaltending duo.

How Last Season’s Deadline Changes Sweeney’s Approach?​

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( Photo credit: Steven Senne / Associated Press )

By: Ian Frazier | Follow me on Twitter @ifrazier95

As most Bruins fans know, the deadline for NHL season is always an interesting time for the black and gold. Many players have been traded for and never panned out like Andrej Meszároš or the infamous Zach Rinaldo, both of which were quick experiments that failed to deliver any results. As more trade deadlines came and went, Bruins fans started to wonder if there was a repeated pattern of trading for non-impact level players as well as swinging and missing out on some bigger names they have been linked to.

During the 2019 season, however, that all changed. During the week of the trade deadline at the end of February, the Bruins traded prospect Ryan Donato to the Minnesota Wild for Charlie Coyle, a player who hasn’t really lived up to his potential in Minnesota. Many Bruins fans at the time questioned the move as they seemed to surround themselves in the hype that was Ryan Donato. They ultimately in the short term were proven right as Donato would go on a mini point streak with the Wild and Charlie Coyle looked invisible on the ice.

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Then on deadline day, the Bruins acquired Marcus Johansson from the New Jersey Devils for a second-round pick in the 2019 draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft. Many Bruins fans were puzzled with this one as many saw that JoJo (Johansson’s nickname) was injury prone and also was on the receiving end of a controversial hit involving Brad Marchand earlier in the season that sidelined him for a while. After playing a couple games with the Bruins, JoJo got hurt and was sidelined again for a bit which left fans wondering was giving up two draft picks at the time worth it for what possibly was going to be a rental?

As the Bruins punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs, they were eager to go on a deep run with this core and believed they had the depth to do it. All of a sudden, Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson were a dynamic duo helping the Bruins redefine their offensive attack with a now solid third line! As the playoffs rolled along, the two additions quickly became fan favorites as they contributed to most of the team’s scoring output when the top line had a bad night or a bad shift. Head coach Bruce Cassidy finally had multiple lines up and down the roster that he could roll out and go on a deep run with and that’s exactly what the Bruins did.

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While the Bruins didn’t capture the ultimate prize at the end, the trades of Coyle and Johansson provided a much-needed jolt of offense that was critical to reaching game seven of the Stanley Cup final. Knowing how well their trades worked and how far the Bruins went general manager, Don Sweeney has to be feeling pretty good knowing he traded for a rental that brought them within sixty minutes of a title and a nice depth piece in Coyle who is versatile and still under contract for the 2019-2020 season. Sweeney always has the team’s best interest in mind and would be willing to stand pat or make trades as needed to improve the lineup. Knowing Sweeney struck gold at this past trade deadline as well as being awarded GM of the year, expect Sweeney to enter next season’s trade deadline with a different attitude which maybe could land the next big thing in Boston, who knows?

How the Boston Bruins Constructed their Stanley Cup Roster

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Jake Debrusk puts on a team jersey after being selected as the number fourteen overall pick to the Boston Bruins in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

(Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

There’s no denying that this Bruins Stanley Cup roster is incredible, but how did they all get to the Bruins? Let’s take a look at their journeys to Boston.

Brad Marchand

Drafted by the Bruins in the 3rd round, 71st overall in the 2006 NHL Draft. The Bruins actually acquired this pick from the New York Islanders during the draft for their 4th and 5th round picks (who amounted to a whole lot of nothing).

Patrice Bergeron

Drafted by the Bruins in the 2nd round, 45th overall in the 2003 NHL Draft.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27: David Pastrnak is selected twenty-fifth by the Boston Bruins in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

David Pastrnak

Drafted by the Bruins in the 1st round, 25th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Jake DeBrusk

Drafted by the Bruins in the 1st round, 14th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.

David Krejci

Drafted by the Bruins in the 2nd round, 63rd overall in the 2004 NHL Draft. Krejci was actually another player the Bruins traded up to the draft. They acquired this pick during the draft for a 3rd, 4th, and 9th round pick.

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(Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports Images)

David Backes

Originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues 62nd overall in the 2003, Backes left the Blues and signed with Boston July 1st, 2016, signing a five year, $30 million deal.

Marcus Johansson

Originally drafted by the Washington Capitals 24th overall in 2009, Johansson was traded to the New Jersey Devils in the 2017 offseason for a 2nd and a 3rd round pick. He was then traded to the Bruins at this trade deadline in exchange for a 2nd and a 4th round pick.

Charlie Coyle

Drafted by the San Jose Sharks 28th overall in 2010. He was a key piece in bringing Brent Burns to San Jose, getting dealt to the Minnesota Wild with a 1st and Devon Setoguchi for Burns and a 2nd rounder. Right around the trade deadline this year he was dealt to the Bruins for Ryan Donato and a conditional 4th rounder.

Danton Heinen

Drafted by the Bruins in the 4th round, 116th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft.

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Joakim Nordstrom

Drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 3rd round, 90th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. He was later traded to the Carolina Hurricanes before the 2015 season with Kris Versteeg and a 3rd rounder for a couple prospects and a 5th round pick. In 2018 he signed a two year, $2 million deal with the Bruins.

Sean Kuraly

Drafted by the San Jose Sharks in the 5th round, 133rd overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. He was traded to the Bruins before the 2016 season

Noel Acciari

Acciari was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Providence College in 2015.

Chris Wagner

Drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the 5th round, 122nd overall in the 2010 NHL Draft. After a small trade to Toronto and a couple of waiver claims later, Wagner ended up back on the Ducks. At the trade deadline last year he was dealt to the New York Islanders for Jason Chimera and after the season, he made his way to Boston, signing a two year, $2.5 million contract.

Karson Kuhlman

After four seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Kuhlman signed with the Bruins in 2018 as an undrafted free agent.

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(USA TODAY Sports Images)

Zdeno Chara

Originally drafted by the New York Islanders in the 3rd round, 56th overall in the 1995 NHL Draft. He was traded with Bill Muckalt and the 1st round pick that became Jason Spezza for Alexei Yashin. As a UFA in 2006, he signed with the Boston Bruins and has been with them ever since.

Charlie McAvoy

Drafted by the Bruins 14th overall in 2016 NHL Draft.

Torey Krug

Another undrafted free agent signed by the Bruins in 2012 after three years at Michigan State.

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Brandon Carlo

Drafted by the Bruins in the 2nd round, 37th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Matt Grzelcyk

Drafted by the Bruins in the 3rd round, 85th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft

Connor Clifton

Originally drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the 5th round, 133rd overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, Clifton never signed a deal with the Coyotes and elected to sign with the Bruins in 2018.

(James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)

John Moore

Originally a 21st overall pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2009 NHL Draft. He was involved in a big trade when he went to the New York Rangers with Derick Brassard, Dereck Dorsett and a 6th rounder for Marian Gaborik. He was later dealt to the Arizona Coyotes with Anthony Duclair, a 1st and 2nd rounder for Keith Yandle and was signed by the New Jersey Devils in 2015. He finally made his way to Boston in 2015, signing a 5 year, $13.75 million contract.

Steven Kampfer

Kampfer was actually drafted in the 4th round, 93rd overall in 2007 by the Anaheim Ducks and ended up being basically gifted to the Bruins in a trade in 2010 for future considerations. After a couple years (and a Stanley Cup win) Kampfer was traded to the Minnesota Wild for Greg Zanon in 2012, and was signed by the New York Rangers in 2014. He was traded again later that year to the Florida Panthers for Joey Crabb and in 2016, was traded back to the Rangers for Dylan McIlrath. Kampfer was brought back to Boston before this season with a 4th and a 7th round pick for Adam Mcquiad.

(Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Tuukka Rask

We all know the story here. Originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs 21st overall in 2005, Rask was traded to Boston before playing a game with Toronto for Andrew Raycroft.

Jaroslav Halak

First drafted in 2003  in the 9th round, Halak spent a lot of time with Montreal until he was traded in 2010 to the St. Louis Blues for Ian Schultz and Lars Eller. He was then traded three times in 2014, the first being to the Buffalo Sabres along with William Carrier, Chris Stewart, a 1st and 3rd round pick for Steve Ott and Ryan Miller. Halak was then flipped to the Washington Capitals with a 3rd round pick for Michal Neauvirth and Rostislav Klesla. Finally, his FA rights were traded to the New York Islanders for a 4th round pick before free agency began. In 2018 he signed a two year, $5.5 million deal with the Bruins.

In all, this Bruins team is made up of 37% (nine) drafted players, 21% (five) acquired through trade, and 42% (10) free agency signings, although it is worth noting that four of the ten free agency signings were college free agents.

No Brainer For Next Providence Bruins Team Captain

( Photo Credit: @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

With the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins season over with the first-round Calder Cup Playoff elimination to the hands of the AHL’s best Charlotte Checkers, next seasons team will obviously see some new additions, but roles could also change when talking about leadership. Current Captain Jordan Szwarz who just finished his third season with the Providence club and posted 66-82-148 numbers in 185 games in that timeframe is on an expiring contract, and future playing in the Ocean State is uncertain.

The 27-year-old Szwarz who joined the Providence team as a free agent signing before the 2016-17 campaign immediately took on a leadership role with his arrival wearing the assistant captain label for his first two-years ultimately being named to the highest honor of captain for the length of last season.  So with the potential departure of Szwarz who’s played a significant middle depth role with the Bruins organization in emergency situations seeing 12 games in Boston earning three points, who could step into that role and lead the 2019-20 Providence Bruins?

His Name Is Weymouth, Massachusetts Native Paul Carey

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Carey, a 30-year-old versatile forward came to Providence on January 11th, 2019, when he was traded to the NHL Bruins from the Ottawa Senators straight up for defenseman Cody Goloubef. This was Carey’s second tour of duty with the AHL Bruins as he played 17 games after being traded from the Colorado Avalanche to Boston on March 2nd, 2015. In those 17 games, Paul posted seven points but the second trade that landed him in Rhode Island this year had him on the better part of the score sheet and made an immediate impact upon his arrival.

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While in Ontario, Canada with the Ottawa Senators organization, Carey’s numbers were different as he seemed heavy on the “pass first” motto with 5-22-27 numbers in 29 games with the AHL’s Belleville Senators but with his addition to the Providence lineup and solid 30 games going the opposite from his days in Belleville posting 22-11-33 numbers to end the regular 2018-19 season. His first ten games with Providence was certainly a “system shock” and a time of adjustment posting 5-4-9 numbers but his last 20 games were honestly a pleasure to watch going 17-7-24 to end the year.

Here’s Why Paul Carey Is My Pick For The Next Providence Captian

Carey’s stats as a journeyman AHL’er are 106-136-242 in 346 career games so at his age the trend is to decline on the stat sheet and overall game, but in Paul’s situation as a player in his 30’s, the anomaly of him getting better especially with his point production is astonishing to me. Another thing that caught my attention has been the powerful words of the developing depth talking about leadership in Providence and members of that team who’ve gone out of their way to be a solid pro and lend advice to players about to cross the threshold of professional hockey careers at the highest level.

A perfect example was in an April 3rd, 2019, article by Boston Bruins reporter Eric Russo when he interviewed first-time recall Zach Senyshyn who had these positive things to say about the leadership core in Providence with mentions to veteran forwards Carey, Szwarz, and Lee Stempniak as seen below from Eric’s article quote below.

“I’m still a young kid and really learning from the older guys,” said Senyshyn, who posted back-to-back 40-plus goal campaigns with the Soo Greyhounds in his final two seasons with the club. “Having guys like Lee Stempniak and Paul Carey and Jordan Szwarz, learning from those guys, has really helped me take my game to the next level. A lot of that has to do with them.”

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As a Boston Bruins fan and one that follows the lower developmental depths of this NHL organization, naming Carey as the next captain of the Providence Bruins is a no brainer for me. Remains to be seen if Szwarz is brought back and the recent two-year, two-way contract agreement between the B’s and Carey just lines up this tremendous honor for me and believe if he’s not in the mix of the NHL Bruins lineup next season after training camp he’d be a solid pro and will do what it takes to continue to be a mentor in Providence.

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Four Boston Bruins Players That Could Win The 7th Player Award

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PHOTO CREDITS: (NHL.com)

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

Every year, the New England Sports Network, better known as NESN, releases a fan vote where fans of the Boston Bruins can vote for who they think should be awarded with the annual 7th Player Award. The 7th Player Award is awarded to the Boston Bruin who “has performed above and beyond expectations”. In years past, the team honour is handed out at the end of March, so the countdown is on for the winner.

Before we get into who should win the award for the 2018-19 season, let’s take a quick look at the past winners of the last decade. Information regarding this is courtesy of Ice Hockey Fandom.com. 

  • 2008-09 David Krejci
  • 2009-10 Tuukka Rask
  • 2010-11 Brad Marchand
  • 2011-12 Tyler Seguin
  • 2012-13 Dougie Hamilton
  • 2013-14 Reilly Smith
  • 2014-15 David Pastrnak
  • 2015-16 Brad Marchand
  • 2016-17 David Pastrnak
  • 2017-18 Charlie McAvoy

Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Charlie McAvoy are the most recent winners of the award and for good reason. Marchand exploded three years ago with a 37 goals and a new career-high in points with 61. David Pastrnak also had a great year when he won it back in 2016-17, scoring 34-36-70 numbers from his 26 the year prior. Finally, last year, Charlie McAvoy scored 32 points in his debut NHL season and truly came out as one of the best young offensive d-men in the league.

In the past, the award has been handed out at the end of March, just ahead of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in April. We are already over a week into the third month of the new calendar year, so now is the perfect time to take a look at some of the players who can with the 2018-19 7th Player Award.

Jaroslav Halak -> 18-10-4, 2.33 GAA, .924 SV%, 4 Shutouts

When Anton Khudobin did not agree to a new contract with the Boston Bruins following the 2017-18 season, the concern came as to who the Bruins were going to fall on for the role of the backup goaltender position. Ideas of younger, prospect goaltenders from either the Providence Bruins or other affiliate teams were thrown around, but it was the free-agent market that would provide the solution for this new-found problem.

Boston signed journeyman goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract with an annual average salary of $2.75 million. Last season, Halak finished up his fourth season with the New York Islanders, the fourth NHL team of his 13-year career. Halak finished last season with a 20-26-6 record, a 3.19 GAA, and a .908 save percentage – not great numbers.

Lucky for Bruins fans and himself, Halak turned a new leaf while wearing the Spoked-B sweater and is showing glimpses of top-level play, the type of play that we saw from him during his time with the Montreal Canadiens. Early on this season, starting goaltender Tuukka Rask was not on his game. He was struggling in net and was losing more often than he was winning. However, Jaro Halak made an appearance and took over the show in the meantime, keeping the Bruins afloat in the NHL’s Eastern Conference playoff race.

jaroslav-halak

PHOTO CREDITS: (NBC Sports)

Head Coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned the fact that he may look to split the number of games that Rask and Halak play down the final stretch and that shows that Halak has done enough to earn starts when it matters. When the original signing was made, many people, including myself was not a fan mainly due to his performance in the previous season but he has exceeded everyone’s expectations and should be a favourite for the 7th Player Award because, without him, Boston may not be second in the Atlantic division.

Chris Wagner -> 66GP, 12G – 6A – 18P, 4th Liner

Chris Wagner never once scored ten goals in his five-year NHL career. In fact, he never scored more than 15 points in a single season, a mark he once hit in 64 games with the Anaheim Ducks last year in 2017-18.

When the Bruins signed Wagner, the Walpole, Massachusetts native to a two-year deal on the opening day of free agency, the signing of Joakim Nordstrom and the hope that the young, up-and-coming players within the Bruins organization will get more NHL minutes, it seemed like Wagner was going to be a spare tire – a depth piece for injuries or for a replacement for a player who is struggling but no, Wagner has become a near-permanent member of the 2018-19 Bruins.

Part of the reason for his success is the help of his linemates, Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari, who have helped bolster the game of Wagner to a level never seen before in the NHL. The trio has brought a high level of intensity and energy to the bottom-six while being able to add in a few goals here and there. Additionally, Wagner leads the Bruins with 226 hits, a stat that ties him for 6th most in the National Hockey League.

In today’s NHL, all four lines of any team need to have the ability to score goals when they are so required to do so, yet provide a level of physicality and defence that can keep them in the thick of things. Chris Wagner has been a big reason for the success of that line and he deserves to be in the conversation for the 7th Player Award. No one expected the performance of Wagner to be this solid and a brief stroll in past Twitter comments will highlight that.

David Krejci -> 69GP, 19G – 41A – 60P, +3 Rating

Without a doubt, David Krejci is one of the best second-line centres in the NHL and is one of the best playmakers in the league for the past few seasons. It may seem hard for a player of that stature to win an award that presents the player that has exceeded expectations, but he needs to be in the conversation.

Since putting up 17-46-63 numbers in the 2015-2016 campaign, Krejci seemed to be on a decline for point production. In 2016-17, Krejci scored 54 points in a full 82-game season followed by a 44-point year last year in only 64 games played. However, with the growing chemistry with left-winger Jake DeBrusk, Krejci is on pace for just over 71 points this season. That total would be the second-highest single-season point total for Krejci since his 22-51-73 effort back in 2008-09 – ten seasons ago.

In that 2008-09 season, Krejci averaged 0.89 points-per-game. In comparison, Krejci is averaging 0.87 points-per-game, the third-highest PPG average in his 13-year NHL career. Krejci has found 15 of his points on the man-advantage, meaning the bulk of his numbers have come from five-on-five play, a huge attribute to take into consideration.

Throughout the past few seasons, the Sternberk, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) native has been on the receiving end of hard criticism but quite clearly, he has used that as motivation for his success this season. The 32-year-old has three game-winning goals this season, including the overtime goal in the 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on March 5th. Linemate Jake DeBrusk said the following about his chemistry with Krejci right after the game versus Carolina.

“I think when you play with a guy for almost 2 years now, you generate that w just games played & different things like that. He’s been playing great all year. He’s the biggest reason why I’ve had success personally as well. To have a guy like that in my corner is something that I don’t take for granted.” – Quote from Shawn Hutcheon (@ShawnHutcheon on Twitter)

David Krejci exceeded the expectations that were placed on him back in September before the puck dropped to begin the regular season. His name is back in the minds of teams across the league if they so happened to forget about him and he has been a factor for the success of the Bruins.

Sean Kuraly -> 66GP, 6G – 11A – 17P, 4th Liner

Sean Kuraly joins linemate Chris Wagner on this four-player list because, in a way, they have to be. Kuraly and Wagner, with the inclusion of Acciari, have surprised most Bruins fans and hockey fans throughout the league with their energy, tenacity, and offensive capabilities while throwing in the occasional hit or fight.

Sean Kuraly came to Boston on June 30th, 2015 in a trade with the San Jose Sharks that sent goaltender Martin Jones off to California and Kuraly with a 2016 1st Rounder (Trent Frederic) to Boston. Martin Jones was acquired by the B’s from the L.A. Kings in exchange for beloved Bruin, Milan Lucic only a few days prior.

Kuraly didn’t play with Boston until 2016-17, skating in eight games, scoring a single point. Kuraly was given an opportunity in the 2017 Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals against the Ottawa Senators and he earned his way into the hearts of Bruins fans all over with two massive goals, one of which in the second overtime session in Game 5 of that series, forcing a Game 6.

After that remarkable game for Kuraly, he ended up playing 75 games during the 2017-18 season, scoring six goals and eight assists for a total of 14 points. In the offseason of this past year, Kuraly signed on the dotted line to a three-year, $3,825,000 contract extension, securing himself a position on the NHL roster for the time being.

Kuraly has done that and more. The Dublin, Ohio, USA native has matched his career-high in goals (6) and set a new career-high in points (17) and has played in twelve less games than in last year’s season. The threat of the fourth-line could be courtesy of the always hard-working Sean Kuraly. Kuraly still possesses that clutch goal-scoring talent, scoring two game-winning goals so far in 2018-19 – both coming in back-to-back games against the Sabres on December 29th and the Blackhawks in the Winter Classic on January 1st.

Kuraly has been one of those quite but deadly pieces to the puzzle that is the 2018-19 Boston Bruins – which can come across as a pleasant surprise for him, the management, and the fanbase.

My Winner: Chris Wagner

It seems like when the Bruins are down a goal late in the hockey game, scrambling to find their legs and score the tying goal or even the winning goal, Chris Wagner is inadvertently in the thick of things when the goal eventually crosses the red line. Wagner has scored the game-tying goal on three different occasions, two of which in the third and final period. Also, in each of those games where he scored the tying marker, the Bruins went on to either win the game or lose in a shootout.

I’ll be 110% honest here – I was fully anticipating Chris Wagner to be scratched for more games than he played and to see limited ice time when he is indeed in the lineup. Losing out on Tavares and Kovalchuk in free agency, at the time, it appeared as though Sweeney and the rest of the B’s management staff had no one else and wanted to go for depth. Tim Schaller, the now Vancouver Canuck, did not re-sign, but it looked like Nordstrom would replace him. Instead, the Bruins have a physical, gritty fourth-liner that has been big when scoring meaningful goals this season.

Chris Wagner is my personal pick to win this year’s 7th Player Award, who do you think wins the annual accolade? Was it one of the players I listed or does another player come to mind? Let me know via Twitter (@tkdmaxbjj) or on FaceBook comments!

Side Note: In the poll above, I listed D Brandon Carlo as an option, yet he is not on my list. I personally expected Carlo to be good this year, so he did not necessarily ‘exceed’ my expectations, but he has been great.

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Providence Bruins Acquire Stuart Percy In Exchange For Austin Fyten

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( Photo Credit: Jason Scourse / Belleville Senators

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

The Providence Bruins have acquired defenseman Stuart Percy from the Belleville Senators in exchange for forward Austin Fyten. Percy is a left-shot defender who has jumped around from Belleville, the Rochester Americans, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins after spending five years in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, mainly with the Leafs’ AHL-affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.

Percy, 25, is listed at 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, and will add depth to the defense of the P-Bruins, who are gearing up for another run in the Calder Cup Playoffs. The former 25th-overall pick in 2011, Percy has only played in 12 NHL games–all with the Maple Leafs–registering three assists, two penalty minutes, and a minus-6 rating.

In 322 games played in the AHL, Percy has a total of 20 goals and 125 points to go along with a plus-19 rating and 177 penalty minutes. In 67 games played with the Rochester last season, Percy had a career season, with totals of 7-27-34 and a plus-7 rating, career-highs in all four categories.

This year, through 41 games-played with Belleville, the Oakville, Ontario native has 2-17-19 totals. In 37 games played during the Calder Cup Playoffs, Percy has totals of 1-9-10 with a minus-6 rating.

In 45 games played for the P-Bruins, Fyten has three goals and six assists for nine points to go along with 55 penalty minutes and a minus-11 rating. In addition to Providence, the 27-year-old has spent time with the Texas Stars, Oklahoma City Barons, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and Hershey Bears.

In 274 career games in the AHL, the Sundre, Alberta native has 23 goals and 65 points in addition to 307 penalty minutes and a rating of minus-20. With Oklahoma City in 2013-14, Fyten set career-highs in goals, assists, points, and plus-minus, with totals of 7-13-20 and a plus-7 rating.

Fyten (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) has been a part of two playoff runs, one with Texas and another with Oklahoma City. In 14 games played in the playoffs, the left-handed center has numbers of 5-1-6 with a rating of plus-2.

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Grading The Bruins’ 2019 Trade Deadline

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(Image: Fred Kfoury III / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

The NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, and the Bruins made three additions in total, trading for Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle in addition to signing Lee Stempniak. Here are my grades for each of the Bruins’ Trade Deadline moves:

Bruins acquire Marcus Johansson for a 2019 2nd-rounder and a 2020 4th-rounder

Grade: B+

Just as it looked like the Bruins were going to let the deadline pass them by without adding another player, news of this trade broke. Johansson brings skill and versatility to the Bruins’ top-nine (likely the second or third line) as he can play center and both wings. Although not the big name Bruins fans were clamoring for, he can still be an effective player for the Bruins down the stretch.

This season, Johansson has 12-15-27 numbers in 48 games played, on pace for 17-21-38 totals in 68 games played. However, if Johansson were healthy all season, the 28-year-old would be on pace for 21-26-47 totals in 82 games played, for what it’s worth. Johansson also has 6-6-12 numbers in his last 13 games played.

Over his nine-year career between Washington and New Jersey, Johansson has scored at least 20 goals twice and has totaled at least 40 points five times to go along with one 50-point year. Just two years ago, the Swede had 24-34-58 in a career season, his final with the Capitals.

New Jersey will retain 40% of Johansson’s salary too (he now has a cap hit of $2.75-millions), which helps the Bruins avoid overages that could eat up cap space for next season. These overages could have been a possibility given the number of players the Bruins have on entry-level deals who are eligible for bonuses based off individual and team performance.

As for what the Bruins gave up, the second-rounder is the key piece for the Devils while losing the fourth-rounder doesn’t hurt too much, considering the prospect pool is still pretty well-stocked. What’s important here is that Sweeney was able to hold on to the first-round pick this year without surrendering significant prospects, so that’s a win.

Bruins sign Lee Stempniak

Grade: C+

On Sunday, the Bruins signed Stempniak to a one-year, $650,000 contract; the 36-year-old had been skating with the Bruins all season during practices before recently joining Providence on a PTO. Shortly after signing, the Dartmouth College product was placed on waivers with the purpose of being assigned to Providence.

Stempniak suited up in a few preseason games with the Bruins and had a goal and two assists (his power-play goal is at 1:43 of the video below). In Providence this year, Stempniak has 2-2-4 in four games played. The winger is also two seasons removed from 16-24-40 totals with Carolina after a year in which he had 19-32-51 between New Jersey and Boston (three goals and 10 points with the Bruins in 19 games played). So, he might even be able to chip in a few goals like Brian Gionta last year.

This move isn’t much at all, really. Think of Stempniak as last year’s Gionta; he’s a cheap, depth insurance policy, who costs nothing but cash and may step in for a few games in a pinch. Stempniak gets another shot to live his dream, and the Bruins add to their depth; a status quo move–no issues to be had here.

Bruins acquire Charlie Coyle for Ryan Donato and a 2019 conditional 5th-round pick

Grade: B

The first domino to fall for the Bruins, Coyle has already played a game for the Bruins while Johansson will play tomorrow. The 26-year-old always seemed to leave something to be desired in Minnesota, in spite of flashes he’s shown here and there.

The Boston University product has 10-18-28 totals this season in 61 games played and is on pace for 13 goals and 37 points. Like Johansson, Coyle brings versatility to the Bruins’ lineup as he can play anywhere in the middle-six at either wing or center, but in a different way as Coyle is a bigger, heavier player. The East Weymouth, MA native, had a decent outing in his Bruins debut, including this slick shootout goal:

Coyle has previously scored at least 15 goals twice, including one twenty-goal year, and has totaled at least 40 points twice, including one fifty-point season. So, he’s shown flashes of what he can do. The forward has a cap hit of $3.2-million through the end of next season, so he adds flexibility to the Bruins’ salary structure for next season as well.

In terms of what the Bruins surrendered, it sucks to see Donato go, honestly. The Harvard product is still a fine prospect with an elite, accurate shot. The 22-year-old isn’t necessarily the fastest skater, and is a one-dimensional player as of right now, though; however, the Bruins did not really do much to develop his weaknesses and defensive inefficiencies. Also, Donato was never really in a position to thrive with the Bruins as he was merely utilized on either the third or fourth lines and the power play, really.

As for the pick, it can become a fourth-rounder in 2019 (NYR) if the Bruins advance to the second round of the playoffs. I won’t lose sleep over giving up a fifth or fourth-round pick, but what is annoying is the condition put on it since the Bruins had a solid chance of winning a round in the first place.

Overall Trade Deadline Grade: B

While the Bruins did address there two most glaring issues this season, you can’t help but feel a little disappointed after the Bruins reportedly lost out on Gustav Nyquist and did not acquire a big fish, like Mark Stone, who they were reportedly very interested in. However, adding Coyle, Johansson, and Stempniak only adds to the depth of the team as Coyle and Johansson could be very impactful players for the Bruins with Stempniak as insurance.

All in all, not a bad Trade Deadline for Don Sweeney and the Bruins, but not a great one either–just solid. With the Bruins hitting their stride lately with a 13-game point streak, adding to this rolling team just makes it that much more formidable going forward, We’ll just have to wait and see how things pan out down the stretch and into the playoffs for this year’s Bruins team.

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Boston Bruins: Marcus Johansson Is Not A Bad Consolation Prize

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images-Mike Stobe

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

He may not be Mark Stone or Artemi Panarin, but Marcus Johansson is a solid addition to the Boston Bruins. At the final minutes of the Trade Deadline, the Bruins finally brought in their much needed forward. To secure Johansson’s services, the  Bruins parted ways with this season’s second-round pick, as well as their 2020 fourth-round pick. This is a pretty small price for a player of Johansson’s caliber. In 48 games this season, Johansson has 12 goals and a fairly impressive 27 points.

One important factor to note about Johansson is that he has been playing on a Devils team that has struggled immensely to put up any offense. This is displayed by the fact that they are in the bottom portion of the Eastern Conference standings. However, Johansson truly could see his offensive numbers spike, especially with him expected to join the second-line. This may change when David Pastrnak comes back, but that is not expected to occur for at least another two weeks. That is a major reason why a trade for Johansson needed to happen now.

When observing this roster all season, it has been clear that secondary scoring was desperately needed. Nobody has been able to slot into the second-line effectively, but Johansson should be able to do so. In a worst-case scenario, Johansson could end up playing on the third line with the newly acquired Charlie Coyle. That certainly would not look bad either, as it is clear that they have added a significant depth piece to this fine roster.

Johansson also is a player who has had a lot of playoff experience because of his tenure with the Washington Capitals. Although he was not part of the team during their Stanley Cup win last postseason, he played in them consistently since the start of his career. In 72 career playoff games, he has registered 30 points. That definitely does not scream clutch, but it is essential to remember that his playing time was limited throughout a lot of their postseason runs. His best postseason came in 2017 when he registered 8 points in 13 games, due to the fact that he had a much bigger role that year. Oh, and he scored the series-winning goal against the Leafs that postseason.

There is absolutely no question that the idea of adding a superstar to the team this Trade Deadline was one that many fans were yearning for. Although the Bruins are legitimate contenders, they have a serious uphill battle with teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning in their way. However, they clearly made the right call with this move. Instead of throwing away at least one top prospect, a roster player and their first-round pick for a rental, they kept the team together and made them far deeper. This is a trade that has far less of a risk factor than last year’s Rick Nash one as well.

At the end of the day, it is exciting that Johansson is part of the team. He has a wonderful chance to play with some spectacular players in Boston. There is no question that Jake DeBrusk will love to have another passer on his line. This will provide him with more scoring opportunities. When looking at this team now versus a week ago, they truly are far deeper and are poised to make some noise in the postseason. Overall, General Manager Don Sweeney does deserve some praise for this last-minute deal, instead of the harsh criticism that seems to be coming his way.

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Bruins Game 63 Preview: San Jose Sharks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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

The Trade Deadline has officially past and the road to the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs is upon us. The Bruins’ seven-game winning streak game to an end on Saturday in a loss to the St. Louis Blues – a shootout loss, to conclude the five-game western road trip. Finally, the Bruins are back at home after earning nine-out-of-ten points on the road swing. The Bruins are narrowly holding onto the second Atlantic division spot, a mere point ahead of Toronto.

The San Jose Sharks lost to the Bruins last week in a controversial, but entertaining 6-5 overtime game. Since then, San Jose shutout the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0, then lost two nights later 4-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, followed by a 5-3 win over Detroit on Sunday. The Sharks are three points behind the Calgary Flames for first in the Pacific division and hold a 13-point lead over the Golden Knights.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 16-9-4 2.33 GAA .924 SV% Last Game: 31 Saves in 3-2 win vs VGK

SJS: Martin Jones 29-12-5 2.92 GAA .897 SV% Last Game: 19 Saves in 4-0 loss vs CBJ

Who’s Hot

Jaroslav Halak had a tough time to begin 2019, going 1-3-1 in the opening month of January, but since, the 33-year-old goaltender now has three straight wins in net for the Bruins, including a thirty-save shutout over the Anaheim Ducks on February 15th. In those three starts, Halak has not had a save percentage below .939, solidifying his hot stretch. This season, Jaro has a 2.33 goals-against-average along with a .924 save percentage.

Brent Burns is on pace for another Norris-contending season as one of the best defencemen in the entire league. The Barrie, Ontario, Canada native has 2-5-7 numbers in his last five games including a three-point game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Burns leads the Sharks for most points this year with thirteen goals and fifty-seven assists for seventy points in sixty-three games.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Marcus Johansson, the lone player acquired by the Bruins on deadline day has had a solid last five games for his old team, the New Jersey Devils. The 28-year-old forward has five points in those five games including a two-point outing against the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 19th. Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced that the newest addition to the roster will play alongside David Krejci in his Boston Bruins debut tonight.

Joe Pavelski has had two, three-point nights in the past four games. On February 15th, Pavelski scored a goal and two assists against the Bruins in the 6-5 defeat and more recently, scored a hat-trick in Sunday’s victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Pavelski has the most points by a forward on San Jose this year with 35-24-59 numbers in 63 games.

Who’s Not

Marcus Sorensen is one of the younger pieces to this San Jose Sharks team, but the 26-year-old forward has only a single assist in his last six games, coming against Boston. Sorensen’s ice-time has been decreasing over the last few games due to the lack of production and the Sharks are hoping that he can somehow turn it around for them.

Joakim Nordstrom is back in the lineup for Peter Cehlarik tonight, but the Swedish forward has not found success in a longtime for this Bruins club still searching for more consistency when trailing down the forward core. Nordstrom has not scored a point in his last seventeen games played, keeping his season totals at 5-2-10. While not known for putting up high numbers, he is getting third-line minutes on most nights and he should be producing more than he has been.

Gustav Nyquist was recently traded to the San Jose Sharks in one of the first trades of the Trade Deadline, coming to the Sharks from the Red Wings. Nyquist, who was on the struggling Wings, has only two points in his last five contests, even when averaging close to twenty minutes per game on that stretch. His lack of scoring as of late may change with a new environment like the Sharks, but that is to be seen when he makes his debut with the Teal and Black tonight.

Milestone Watch

Boston Bruins:

  • D Zdeno Chara is one goal away (199) from 200 career NHL goals
  • D Charlie McAvoy will be playing in his 99th career NHL regular season game
  • F Patrice Bergeron is three points away (790) from tying Wayne Cashman (793) for 6th most points in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one even-strength goal away (203) from passing Peter McNab (203) for sole possession of 8th most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one short-handed goal away (24) from tying Rick Middleton (25) for most SHG in Bruins history
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PHOTO CREDITS: (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images North America)

San Jose Sharks:

  • F Melker Karlsson is three points away (97) from 100 career NHL points
  • F Kevin Lebanc is two points away (98) from 100 career NHL points
  • D Brendan Dillion is four points (96) from 100 career NHL points
  • F Tomas Hertl is one even-strength goal away (81) from tying Marco Sturm (82) for most even-strength goals in Sharks history
  • D Brent Burns is one power-play goal away (42) from tying Jeff Friesen (43) for 7th most PPG in Sharks history

Bruins vs Sharks Outlook

The Boston Bruins are finally back in the walls of the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts for a home game after the successful five-game road trip through the Western Conference. The Bruins faced the Sharks last week and walked away with a 6-5 win on the road. Boston once held a 3-0 lead in the opening period, but with a late first-period goal, the Sharks managed to claw their way back to eventually take a 5-4 lead. A tying goal by Chris Wagner led to the game-winning goal in overtime by Charlie McAvoy gave the Bruins a hard-fought “W” in the win column.

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Neville E. Guard/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Boston still has the second-best power-play in the NHL (26.4%), while San Jose has the 5th-best at 25.0% on the man-advantage. On the PK, the B’s have the eleventh-best, killing off 81.0% of the penalties against compared to the Sharks who have the seventh-best penalty-kill percentage in the league at 81.9%.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7pm EST in the TD Garden. Boston will look to earn at least a  point for the fourteenth consecutive game. Below are the lines for the Bruins tonight. Forward Charlie Coyle makes his TD Garden home debut while Marcus Johansson makes his debut with the Spoked-B sweater on. Defenceman Kevan Miller is out day-to-day with an upper-body injury, John Moore will replace him. David Pastrnak remains out for at least another two weeks (thumb). Also, Joakim Nordstrom replaces Peter Cehlarik.

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