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 Pastrnak Injury Should Change Sweeney, Bruins Deadline Plans

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(Photo Credit: wbur.org)

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter @yanlatz

On Tuesday, February 12, the Boston Bruins and Don Sweeney announced via a press conference at Warrior Ice Arena that David Pastrnak underwent successful surgery to repair an injured left thumb. Pastrnak injured his thumb after leaving a sponsorship dinner with teammates when he reportedly fell, and he will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

David Pastrnak has been one of the league’s best goal scorers this season. He was honored at the 2019 NHL All-Star Game in San Jose due in part to his 31 goals and 66 points which are tied for 7th and 9th in the league respectively. He also ranks second in the league in powerplay points with 29, just behind Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov who has 32 power play points.

It is no secret that David Pastrnak has been a huge part of the Bruins success this season. However, even with David Pastrnak in the lineup, the Bruins have had an up and down season so far. With this latest injury, Sweeney should swing for the fences.

There have been multiple reports linking the Bruins to superstar forwards like Artemi Panarin and Wayne Simmonds ahead of the February 25th NHL Trade Deadline in which I think the Bruins should revisit with the Pastrnak injury.

However, during Sweeney’s press conference, he stated that Pastrnak’s injury will not change his deadline approach. If this is the case, this is not good news for Bruins fans. Ahead of Tuesday’s matchup with the streaking Chicago Blackhawks who have won 7 straight games and sit just 4 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, Jake DeBrusk will be joining David Krejci and Peter Cehlarik on the left side in place of David Pastrnak.

Jake DeBrusk has been in a big slump in his sophomore season putting up just 14 goals and 5 assists for 19 points in 47 games played. This is down from his outstanding rookie campaign with 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points along with a +13 rating last season. The Pastrnak injury is a chance for DeBrusk to step up and get back into his scoring ways, but the Bruins still need a trade now more than ever.

With David Pastrnak in the lineup and many injuries this season, the Bruins have done a great job hanging onto a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. However, even with David Pastrnak, we have seen this team give up leads in games as well as just flat out not score. If I were in Sweeney’s shoes, I would make a trade for a big name forward like the aforementioned Artemi Panarin or Wayne Simmonds. But, the asking prices are reportedly very high for Panarin who has already stated that he wants to test the market come July 1st. If the Bruins want to make any kind of splash in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, they need to add another piece (or 2) at the deadline to improve the forward group and add more depth scoring.

As reported by Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic, an ask for Columbus could be the Bruins 2019 First Round Pick, Trent Frederic, and either Donato or Vaakanainen.

Again, this is just a rental at this time because Panarin said that he wanted to test the market this summer. However, who knows? What if he loves Boston and the Bruins make a deep run with him and decides to sign here? Giving up Donato and Frederic, two players who haven’t shown a ton of promise this season, as well as a first-round pick for a superstar forward, would be a great move to improve the top two lines for the Bruins. This is a gamble move for Don Sweeney but I think it would be a good risk to take that could help this team compete with Eastern Conference supremacists Tampa Bay Lightning.

Wayne Simmonds would also be a good gamble in my opinion. He has shown to be a good performer in the past although he only has 24 points this season. He has had a strong career with the LA Kings and Philadelphia Flyers and has built a reputation as a tough player who can put the puck in the net. Most importantly, it would be a cheaper price for Don Sweeney to play than for Artemi Panarin.

With the aging (yet still productive) veteran core in Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, and Brad Marchand, the window is closing for the Bruins to win another Stanley Cup. Therefore, Sweeney should take a swing for a big name forward at this year’s trade deadline, especially with the latest David Pastrnak injury.

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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?

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With David Pastrnak Sidelined Two-Weeks, Should Bruins Be More Aggressive At Trade Deadline?

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(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

By: Erin Walsh | Twitter: @ewalsh90

It was announced Tuesday that David Pastrnak will be out of the lineup for at least two-weeks with a thumb injury. Pastrnak fell at a sponsorship event on Sunday and needed to have surgery on his thumb.

With Pasta unexpectedly out of the lineup, will Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney be more aggressive at the trade deadline?

Sweeney said in a press conference on Tuesday that Pastrnak’s injury will not change how he will approach the trade deadline, but should it change his ways?

With the Bruins leading scorer out of the lineup, the B’s will need to rely on their secondary scoring even more — which they seem to lack as of late.

Secondary scoring has been a real issue in Boston and Sweeney has certainly been working the phones to see what scoring help he can add to his depleted lineup.

Names like Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle, New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello, and Ottawa Senators winger Ryan Dzingel have been linked to the Bruins.

Washington Capitals v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Four
(Photo Credit: FanSided)

Bigger names that have been linked to the B’s include Senators’ Matt Duchene, Columbus Blue Jackets’ Artemi Panarin, Rangers’ Chris Kreider, and St. Louis Blues’ Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The Bruins should be going after a bigger and better player now that Pasta is out for a while.

The time is NOW for Boston. Big name players don’t come around often and you need to snatch them up before someone else does.  Many of these big name players are rentals that will cost the Bruins a first round pick, a few prospects, and possibly a roster player.

At this point, Boston’s first-round pick will be coming in at around No. 20 and could be as low as 31. Giving up another first round pick won’t hurt them too much as the pick is pretty low.

If the B’s give up Danton Heinen, Ryan Donato, Anders Bjork or even Trent Frederic it may be worth it to take a gamble on a rental.

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(Photo Credit: NESN.com)

If Sweeney does end up making a trade, he will most likely have the intention of re-signing the player to a long-term deal.

To make a long story short, I think it’s worth it for the Bruins to now make a trade for a big name player. Duchene, Tarasenko, and Panarin could make a huge impact on this lineup.

If they don’t make a trade for a big name player, they should at least try to acquire a few players to address the needs they have. Right now, the B’s need a second line winger, third line center, and possibly a defenseman to even out the group.

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(Photo Credit: NHL.com)

Boston’s biggest division rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs, added John Tavares during the offseason while another division rival, the Montreal Canadiens, have added Nate Thompson, Dale Weise, and Christian Folin this past week.

Both the Maple Leafs and Canadiens have addressed needs within their organization while the Bruins have done nothing.

It’s time for Boston to address it’s needs and find some scoring help.

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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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Early Trade Targets for the Boston Bruins

( Photo Credit: Jeff Wilcox / Boston Herald )

By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

The Boston Bruins are sitting at 10-5-2 and are tied for 4th in the NHL in points and are on pace for a 106 point season. Even though the Bs are well on their way to a successful season, there has been early talk about trade and according to Darren Dreger, “the Bruins might shake things up a bit. Now that could mean absolutely anything, so I’m going to go through some potential trades.

The Bruins main target at the deadline will be some sort of a top 9 forward. I don’t believe the Bs will go after a defenseman as they’ve shown to have incredible amounts of depth on the back end early in the season. With regulars Kevin Miller, Torey Krug, Charlie Mcavoy and even Matt Grzelcyk missings time this season, Stephen Kampfer, Urho Vaakanainen and Jeremy Lauzon have all been pleasant surprises when they have stepped in for the main guys, showing that the Bruins realistically have 10 defensemen that have proven that they can play in the bigs. Outside of the first line and some flashes from David Krejci, their offense has been dry. Now before I would make any trade, I would try breaking up the first line and try out some new line combos but that’s a story for a different day, in this article I list a few players for the Bruins to target at the deadline.

Kevin Hayes

kevin_hayes.jpg( Photo Credit: AP / New York Post )

Now calm down, I know we’re all a bit scared from the name Hayes in the past. Jimmy Hayes (Kevin’s older brother) was acquired by the Bruins in 2015 for Reilly Smith (oh boy what a good fit Smith would be in the top 6) and long story short, he was a failed experiment. Kevin is a much better player than his older brother. Playing for the New York Rangers, Hayes had averaged about 18 goals and 44 points a season with a career-high of 25 goals last season. He can play center or wing and can slot into the middle 6 quite nicely as a big body wing for Krejci or as a 3rd line center that the Bruins have been searching for this entire season. The price for Hayes would be something around a second round pick, similar to what the Rangers received for Michael Grabner and a step up from what the Edmonton Oilers received for Patrick Maroon who was traded for a 3rd round pick last season. Both players had similar stats to Hayes.

Chris Kreider

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Another Ranger UFA to be. A local kid from Massachusetts who’s style of play fits how the big bad Bruins want to play. He’s a better player than Hayes and would be a really good fit on the 2nd line with Krejci. He’s more of a goal scorer than Hayes, scoring over 20 goals three of the past four seasons and was well on pace to surpass 20 last season before getting injured. The price for Kreider will certainly be at least a 1st round pick, around what the Buffalo Sabres got for a similar player in Evander Kane

Artemi Panarin

usa_today_10722850.0.jpg( Photo Credit: Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports )

This one is a toughy. Obviously, Panarin is one of the top wingers in the entire NHL, averaging just under a point per game and a UFA to be. The Bruins inquired on the young Russian in the summer, and apparently, the price was Charlie Mcavoy and Jake Debrusk for a sign and trade. If I’m the Bruins, I can’t give up Mcavoy in any deal, he’s already a game changer at 20 years old and will only get better as he ages. Obviously, at this point in the season till the deadline, Panarin’s price would go down a bit, but I would assume it would still be something like Debrusk, Carlo/ Vaakanainen, and a pick, probably a 1st rounder. It’s an incredible price to pay for an incredible player, I’m just not sure the Bs would be willing to give up all of that for one winger.

Jordan Eberle

JordanEberle.jpg( Photo Credit: Adam Hunger/AP )

Someone we’ve seen in Bruins rumors for a few years now, dating back to his days in Edmonton. When the Oilers were testing the market for Eberle in 2014, apparently they were looking for Chris Kelly, Matt Bartkowski, Malcolm Subban (or another young prospect), and draft picks from the Bruins. This obviously seems like a slam dunk now, but it’s a different time. A couple years after that, Boston offered them Ryan Spooner, Joe Morrow and a 1st and it was rejected (which surprises me considering they traded Eberle to the Islanders for Ryan Strome) Eberle is a consistent 20+ goal scorer and 55 point guy who would help even out the top 6. The Islanders have been a good story to start the year and are playing very well, but they weren’t supposed to be a good team, if they slide, expect the pending UFA Eberle to be shipped out for a 1st +.

Mark Stone

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The Ottawa Senators are a team that started off really hot but have tailed off as of late. Both Matt Duchene and Stone are UFAs at the end of the season. Stone would fit perfectly with the Bruins, he an incredible defender, a big bodied wing who is a shoo-in for a 60 point year, he actually averaged above a point per game last year in 58 games. In my opinion, Stone would be the perfect guy for the Bruins to go after, a sign and trade is an option, I’m assuming they would want Debrusk if there were a contract added, without it, the price would likely be a 1st and a prospect.

Jeff Carter

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This one has sprung up pretty recently. With the Kings struggling heavily and Bruins looking for some veteran forward help, the concept certainly fits. Outside of an injury-plagued season last year (he still totaled 22 points in 27 games) he had three straight 24+ goal and 60+ point seasons. On top of that, in the Kings deep playoff runs he has proven that he has a lot of playoff success. What isn’t a fit is the contract and the age. Carter is 33 and makes $5.272 million a year for another three years; with players like Mcavoy, Carlo, Heinen and other young players looking for raises in the next couple of years, the cap wouldn’t really work. If a trade were to happen, the cap would have to be eaten by the Kings and a player like David Backes may have to go the other way. Maybe Danton Heinen and a pick go the other way. I love the player, but considering the contract and age, I doubt we’ll ever see Carter in the spoked B.

Other forwards the Bruins could target: Mats Zuccarello, RW (NYR), Brock Nelson, C (NYI), Ryan Dzingel, C/W (OTT), Wayne Simmonds, RW (PHI), Gustav Nyquist, RW (DET)

Bruins Struggling Through Sophomore Slump

 

boston-bruins-jake-debrusk-100617( Photo Credit: NBC Sports)

By: Jamie Gatlin     | Follow Me On Twitter: @JamieGatlin1217

Last season the Bruins were successful in large part because of how their rookies performed. So far this year things have not gone as smoothly. Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen, and Anders Bjork have combined for only four goals through the Bruins first 13 games. Ryan Donato who burst onto the scene late last season was sent down to Providence after recording one goal in eleven games. This has put pressure on Bruins management to a make move. Regardless of any changes, this team makes getting their young players back on track is key to this teams success.

Of these three DeBrusk had the highest expectations coming into the season. As a rookie, he had 16 goals but shined in the playoffs. His two goals in the Game seven against Toronto propelled the Bruins to the second round. His gritty style of play made him a fan favorite as did his scoring ability. So far this season he has yet to find his scoring touch as he only has 3 goals in 13 games. He is a key piece to the Bruins second line and showed last year he could be an impactful top six forward.

While DeBrusk has struggled Heinen, has virtually been non- existent. The Bruins forward was impressive in his rookie season finishing fifth on the team in points. In 12 games this season he has only three assists and has yet to record a goal. His 14 shots on goal are far behind his total at this point last season. He is not a thirty point scorer however he does create opportunities for his teammates. So far this season Heinen has been unable to do that on a consistent basis. He made the Bruins third line a strength last season and will to do the same going forward.

Unlike his fellow teammates, Bjork has yet to see anytime in the Bruins top six this season. He has only two points in 12 games but has been more effective of late. Against Dallas Bjork appeared to have his second goal of the season before a quick whistle caused it to be overturned. Although he is known for his speed Bjork, showed grit by battling for the rebound. Each game Bjork has improved after shoulder surgery ended his season last year.

If the Bruins are to be successful this season, they will need all three to step up. They currently are third in the Eastern Conference and are coming off one of their best games this season against Dallas. It has, however, been five games since someone not on their top line has scored. The Bruins cannot be carried by their top line all year and expect to repeat last seasons success. For these three it’s only a matter of time as their slumps will not last all season.

In order to solve their scoring woes, the Bruins will need to make changes. One name they have been linked to is Artemi Panarin. He would not come cheap as the Bruins would most likely need to part with one or two of these players. While the move would certainly be an upgrade, the Bruins would rather see these players succeed. How these players perform will dictate just how far this team goes.

Boston Bruins: Sweeney Staying The Course

Sweeney

Photo Credit: Angela Rowlings, Boston Herald

By: Drew Johnson   |    Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob

The Boston Bruins created quite the buzz this offseason. It started with reports indicating that General Manager Don Sweeney was looking to make a big addition. The Bruins were in the running to sign both Ilya Kovalchuk and John Tavares. Even though they went down swinging, it indicated that Boston was willing to pull the trigger on a potential home run.

But missing out on the home runs didn’t discourage Sweeney. In fact, it allowed him to add a few minor pieces to the puzzle. In addition to re-signing restricted free agent (RFA) Sean Kuraly, the Bruins brought aboard Jaroslav Halak, Joakim Nordstrom, Chris Wagner, and John Moore. They weren’t exactly blockbuster deals, but is a blockbuster really what the Bruins need right now?

Bruins’ Road Ahead

Tavares and Kovalchuk are stellar players. So are the Buffalo Sabres’ newest addition, Jeff Skinner, and the consistent subject of trade rumors, Artemi Panarin. They would be great Bruins for sure, but there is a plan that Sweeney must see through.

It should not be forgotten that the Bruins have a healthy pool of prospects. It’s almost as if Boston has found the Fountain of Youth. With this in mind, adding a big, long-term player is not a necessity. These young skaters need time before we can pinpoint exactly where they will land within the roster in their respective primes.

Sweeneymeister

Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Adding a rental at some point may bode well, however. The Bruins, unfortunately, gave up a lot for Rick Nash who has turned out to be just that — a rental. If Boston finds they need to bulk up heading into the playoffs, then giving up one of their prospects (which at this point could be considered to be a surplus) and a mid-to-late-round pick may land a seasoned veteran with skill but also locker room presence. We’ve seen these types of deals across the league, often between a team in the running and a team looking to rebuild.

Outside of those circumstances, adding a big piece just doesn’t make much sense. Boston would likely have to give up quite a bit, and that is not something they need to do right now. They’ve successfully avoided a rebuild, and why risk that by trading a bunch of prospects and early picks in order to land a guy who they may not be able to afford to keep around? The Bruins must re-sign Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Ryan Donato, and Danton Heinen next summer. It will be an expensive task, and handcuffing himself to a big contract isn’t something Sweeney ought to explore. It would force the Bruins to pursue bridge deals — short, mid-money deals that lead the way to larger contracts — with some of those RFAs mentioned above when they should free themselves up to give them long-term deals.

Boston has mastered the transition game — one that doesn’t take place on the ice but in the office. By the time the likes of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask are ready to retire, Boston’s wealth of prospects will be reaching their primes. This will keep the Bruins competitive for the long haul, and a Stanley Cup feels almost imminent within the next few years. There is no need to abandon that road. So be patient, and wait for this plan to fully unfold.

Boston Bruins: The Pros & Cons Of An Artemi Panarin Trade

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA Today – Adam Hunger)

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

Oh, the offseason. The best time of the year for all of the craziest rumors, trade ideas, and organizational moves as the teams prepare for the upcoming season. With the Boston Bruins, the 2018 NHL Offseason has been filled with rumors from all over the place. From signing big name players such as Ilya Kovalchuk or John Tavares to the more-recent idea of trading for Columbus Blue Jackets forward, Artemi Panarin.

Often, the speculation for certain moves come without any deep thought, as although the player supposedly coming to the roster would bring some amazing talent and would make the team better on paper, there are usually some negative pieces that have to be recognized before that trade. The trade for Artemi Panarin would be no different.

Pro – Consistent 30 Goal/70 Point Scorer

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PHOTO CREDITS: (nhl.com)

Since joining the league three years ago in the 2015-16 season, Panarin has hit the seventy-point mark in every single season, reaching 77, 74, and a career-high of 82 during last season.

The Chicago Blackhawks signed the Russian forward to a two-year contract back in May of 2015 after he posted 26-36-62 numbers in fifty-four regular season games with the SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL. Panarin clicked with fellow Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, a large contributor to the 30-47-77 totals he posted in his debut year. The outstanding year also led to him winning the 2015-2016 Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s best player in their rookie season.

Panarin would continue the success he had from the incredible rookie season to produce another 31 goals and 74 points in 82 games with the Hawks, guaranteeing a pay raise from his contract that earned him $7 million over the two seasons, ($5.375 million in performance bonuses). In December of ’16, Chicago rewarded Artemi with another two-year deal with an AAV of $6 million.

In the following offseason, the Blackhawks would trade away Artemi Panarin, Tyler Motte, and a 6th Round Pick in 2017 to Columbus for Brandon Saad, Anton Forsberg, and a 5th Round Pick in 2018. The move would be considered a salary move for Chicago, but Panarin would have to become accustomed to Columbus for the 2017-18 season.

Without Patrick Kane and the rest of the scoring players on the Blackhawks, Panarin was able to strive in his first year with the Blue Jackets, leading the team in goals, assists, and points with eighty-two in 81 games as well as a career-high +23 rating. The goal scoring for Panarin would be undeniable and would be a great addition to the Bruins roster.

Con – Contract Situation

With one year left on that two-year deal he signed back in December of 2016, Panarin will most likely demand more than the $6 million annual salary (8.22% cap hit) that he is currently receiving with the Blue Jackets. Panarin has been the league’s best scoring players, and with his young age of twenty-six, it makes for the perfect recipe for a new, larger deal.

There is also the uncertainty of whether or not he will even re-sign with the Bruins following a trade unless some sort of sign-and-trade scenario takes place between Boston and Columbus. For the Blue Jackets, it is in their best interest to keep Panarin for the long-term. However, there are reports that he does not wish to sign back with Columbus for a long-term deal because he does not enjoy living in Ohio and would prefer somewhere else.

An article on NHL.com on Friday, July 20th, states that Panarin has given a deadline to Columbus for a contract extension, September 13th, the day training camp begins for the club. Daniel Milstein, Panarin’s agent, said the following to The Athletic.

“Artemi loves hockey. He hates the business side of hockey. When the season starts, the focus can only be on playing. He’s going to play his best and give his best to the hockey club.”

The love for hockey overtakes a lot for Panarin, but his previous doubt for signing a long-term deal could bring along some worry if the Bruins do not have a guarantee of a contract around the seven or eight-year mark. The best possible scenario for the B’s here is to nail in a sign-and-trade with Columbus, making sure that Artemi is okay with joining Boston for an extended amount of time.

Pro – Possible Brad Marchand Replacement

There is no question – the Boston Bruins have been moving more towards a younger, faster lineup over the past few years and Artemi Panarin would fit right into that new system.

At only 26-years-old, Panarin is one of the youngest players to consistently produce the numbers he has so far in his career, something to be recognized in this new league that allows the youth to strive. After he was sent to the Jackets via trade, the doubts began to fill his name, due to the connection with Patrick Kane. However, as previously stated, he would prove the doubters wrong with an 82-point campaign with Columbus.

It seems that Panarin continues to get better as his NHL career progresses and if he can join a team that he is willing to play long-term with, he can be a franchise player. Now, the Bruins happen to have another superstar on the left-wing, Brad Marchand.

While it looks like Marchand is getting better with age, at the ripe age of thirty, there is no certainty that Marchand can keep up his production for the next eight years. At the same time, Marchand has had possibly one too many warnings when it comes to his questionable behavior, and if he is forced to change his act, there is a chance that his production levels could decrease for the future.

This point is not suggesting the Bruins could move Brad Marchand, but it would indeed be nice to know that the Bruins could have a player who can score goals on that left side.

Con – Assets To Columbus

With all of the points that have been covered in this article thus far, the biggest negative to a possible Panarin trade would the pieces shipped out of Boston. Clearly, no insider or hockey analyst has any scoop on players/draft picks that Columbus would receive in a trade with the Bruins, at least not any that I know of as of July 21st.

In my opinion, the Boston Bruins would have to send away forward Jake DeBrusk at the very least. If the Blue Jackets are going to trade away Panarin, a 26-year-old, then they will most likely demand a young left-winger in return. Due to his breakout, (and rookie) season this past year where he put up 16-27-43 numbers in seventy games, Jake could peak the interest of another team, possibly Columbus if the trade is needed.

However, the chance that a one-for-one type of trade takes place in this scenario. The Blue Jackets could very well demand a future First-Round pick and either a defensive or an offensive prospect. When considering Panarin’s point-per-game season last year and DeBrusk’s average rookie campaign, Columbus would have to want more assets in return – especially if the deal includes a sign-and-trade type agreement.

Columbus already has a young defensive core with the likes of Seth Jones (23), Ryan Murray (24), Markus Nutivaara (24) and, Zach Werenski (21) already on their roster, but when taking a look further down in their system, their organization seems to lack defensive prospects. One could argue a defenseman like Jakub Zboril would be in the trade and even maybe a Zachary Senyshyn as well.

Hypothetically, here would be the vague idea of what Boston would be giving up in this deal.

Columbus would possibly receive: F Jake DeBrusk, D Jakub Zboril, F Zachary Senyshyn, 2019 1st Round Pick

Boston would possibly receive: F Artemi Panarin

Again, my idea for how the trade would look may have been inspired by my NHL 18 experience on the PlayStation. However, it is nearly certain that the Boston Bruins would need to sacrifice some big parts. If the two, three, four pieces leaving Boston equal improvement with the addition of Artemi Panarin, then it is the right idea, but there may be a thought of over-paying for some fans.

With that, the debate is open for discussion. Personally, I am a big fan of Jake DeBrusk, mainly due to personally meeting him at a Western Hockey League game in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan as well as his incredible eight points in twelve playoff games against Toronto and Tampa Bay. However, Artemi Panarin could very well be our John Tavares going forward and at a younger age. Sure, it is a big IF, but if the contract could be agreed upon for long-term and the Bruins do not overpay for the Russian, then I am all for it.

Follow me on Twitter (tkdmaxbjj) and tell me your thoughts and opinions on the possibility of trading for Artemi Panarin.