Bruins Reportedly Among Suitors For Undrafted Free Agent Justin Brazeau

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(Photo Credit: Tom Martineau / BayToday.ca)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Reports surfaced yesterday about several teams around the National Hockey League that are interested in Justin Brazeau, an undrafted free agent currently with the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League. Among those teams? The Boston Bruins and general manager Don Sweeney. TSN’s Darren Dreger had the scoop during TSN’s “Insider Trading” in addition to a tweet from Bruins Network earlier yesterday:

Dreger mentioned that the other teams aside from Boston included: the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Vegas Golden Knights, the St. Louis Blues, and the Nashville Predators. It is no wonder so many teams are interested; North Bay’s captain has been absolutely dominant, to say the least, this season as a fourth-year OHLer with 61 goals and 52 assists for 113 points through 68 regular season games played this season (yes, you read that right).

His 61 goals led the entire OHL in the regular season while his 113 points were the second-most among OHL skaters. Additionally, Brazeau registered 314 shots on goal, third-highest in the league.

Brazeau has seemingly been building towards a career season like this throughout his time in the OHL, too. In his rookie season as an 18-year-old, Brazeau had totals of 6/7/13 through 65 games played. In 67 games during his sophomore campaign, the then 19-year-old bested his previous marks with totals of 22/15/37. Just last season at age 20, the New Liskeard, Ontario native posted point per game numbers with 39/36/75 in 68 games played. For those of you keeping score at home, Brazeau has 128 goals and 238 points in 268 OHL contests on his career.

Production aside, take a look at the size of this kid: 6-foot-6, 225 pounds. Safe to say that Brazeau, 21, is an absolute moose on the ice. The power forward plays a heavy game and has obviously produced a ton in the last two seasons. With so many teams worried about having to deal with players like Tom Wilson, it is quite obvious why there is a good amount of interest in the right-shot right-winger.

The one knock on Brazeau’s game seems to be that he is not necessarily the strongest skater. However, the forward has been able to use his size to his advantage wonderfully between his reach and physicality.

While the number of teams reportedly interested in Brazeau certainly is not shocking by any stretch of the imagination, the Bruins’ competition in the sweepstakes could be even stiffer. This is due to the fact that Brazeau had participated in the Blue Jackets’ development camp back in 2017, as well as the San Jose Sharks’ 2018 development camp; although, the Sharks were not among the teams mentioned by Dreger.

Dreger also noted that in a perfect world, these teams would ink Brazeau to an AHL deal; however, considering his production and the positions these teams are in (all headed to the playoffs in all probability), the winger is looking for an entry-level NHL contract.

“There will be five to seven teams at Thursday’s game when they [North Bay] open the playoffs against Niagra,” Dreger said. As fans may know, one of the Bruins’ prized prospects, Jack Studnicka, who has also had himself a fine season in the OHL, plays for the Niagra Ice Dogs, North Bay’s first-round opponent. So the matchup between Studnicka and Brazeau will certainly be an interesting one to watch.

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Bruins Assign Trent Frederic To Providence

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

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Just before puck-drop for Saturday night’s game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced that the team assigned Trent Frederic to the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL-affiliate. The announcement comes after Frederic went minus-3 in the Bruins’ last two games since being recalled from Providence.

Frederic has suited up in a total of 13 NHL games on his career, all this season. In those contests, the St. Louis, Missouri, native has compiled 17 shots, a minus-4 rating, and five penalty minutes (a fighting major). In fact, that fighting major came in his NHL debut as a result of this heavyweight bout with Brandon Tanev:

The 6-foot-2, 203-pound center spent two seasons at the University of Wisconsin after the Bruins drafted him 29th-overall in the first round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. During his time at Wisconsin, Frederic amassed 65 points (32G, 33A) in 66 total games played.

This season with Providence, his first full professional season, Frederic has totals of 11/9/20 in 45 games played to go along with a plus-4 rating and 65 penalty minutes. After joining Providence towards the end of last season, Frederic totaled five goals and three assists for eight points as well as a plus-3 rating and 11 penalty minutes in 11 regular season games before adding an assist in three playoff games. The 21-year-old will look to continue what has been a strong developmental year, joining a P-Bruins squad in a heated battle for playoff position.

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Bruins Recall Trent Frederic From Providence

d7fff791-615e-4250-836c-20a10a25c5d4-nhl_fight_fredericPhoto Courtesy Of USA Today

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced Tuesday morning, that the team has recalled forward Trent Frederic from Providence on an emergency basis.

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Frederic has skated in 11 games for the Bruins this season, making his NHL debut on January 29th in Boston against the Winnipeg Jets. The 21-year-old has also skated in 45 games for Providence this season, posting 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points. He also skated in 13 games for Providence last season, posting five goals and three assists for eight points. Frederic spent two season at the University of Wisconsin, totaling 32 goals and 33 assists for 65 points in 66 career games.

The St. Louis, Missouri native was selected by the Bruins in the first round (29th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Frederic played pretty solid hockey in his time with the varsity club, despite not posting any points. With the Bruins needing an extra body after sending down Lee Stempniak yesterday, Frederic got the call. It’ll be interesting to see where the young forward slides into the lineup but it’s probably assumed he takes up the third line center spot. This should mean that we see Charlie Coyle on the second line tonight against Columbus.

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Coyle and MoJo Make Bruins’ PowerPlay Even More Lethal

( Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports )

By: Cam McCusker | Follow me on Twitter @CSthinks

 

The forward depth and secondary scoring were issues that the Boston Bruins needed to address between the start of the season and the playoffs. While the play of the team itself had certainly improved prior to the trade deadline, the Bruins’ recent acquisitions put them over the top.

Fans who scoffed at the names Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson because neither was pursued heavily by cup contenders are frustrating at best. These fans also have likely never watched either player at length to effectively assess what it is they bring to the table.

I could go for days on how Dirty Don swindled the entire league by flying under the radar to stealthily scoop up two of the most attractive forward options at the deadline. Charlie Coyle brings a puck possessing, playmaking grittiness to the Bruins’ middle 6. Marcus Johansson brings a smooth skating, puck-possessing, playmaking style of hockey to the Bruins’ middle 6.

( Photo Credit: The Athletic )

Hey, look at that! Our middle 6 just got twice as good. What were those issues we were talking about earlier? Forward depth and secondary scoring? Smell ya later.

Power Play Bonus

But what goes unnoticed with these two is just how deadly they’ll make the already prolific Bruins’ powerplay, which currently sits at 3rd in the league in efficiency.

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Charlie Coyle is a smooth skating big body who makes plays and has a silky set of mitts. Marcus Johansson is a proven playmaker who was raised on the power play. I’ve heard several reports that his first word was “sauce.” Put a big body like Coyle in front of the net or in the slot (catch ya later, Backes), or let him make plays from the half wall. Tell Johansson to post up on the goal line and have fun. I mean the guy’s name is MoJo—I’m pretty sure he knows how to thread the needle through a few triangles.

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Is it shocking that two proven power play contributors will get time on the powerplay? Absolutely not. But what the rest of the league might not be ready for is the depth that Coyle and Johansson bring to the Bruins’ second unit. Until recently, the B’s have essentially utilized their first powerplay unit. Not exclusively, but it wasn’t unlikely to see Torey Krug’s unit on the ice for more than a minute and a half of a 2-minute peeper.

Granted, the unit had proven to still be effective when tired or when deep into a powerplay. But the additional minutes that the first PP unit has played due to the once massive drop off in efficiency between the two units certainly has the potential to creep in during crunch time. If you’re fuzzy on this phenomenon, maybe watch the game film of the Bruins’ last few overtime games. Holy flatness.

Now that there’s a second unit that can wheel and deal, expect the Bruins’ to continue dummy PK units that are forced to share the same ice surface. Two effective units mean shorter, more fast-paced shifts that will wear down opposing defensemen and penalty killers while keeping the Bruins’ top dogs fresh for later in the game when the bench shortens.

That’s just about as simple and abbreviated as anyone could make the positive effects that Coyle and Johansson have on the Bruins’ lineup.

But I’m a simple man.

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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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Bruins Update: Pastrnak Out Two More Weeks

 

Image result for david pastrnak(Photo Credits: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

The Boston Bruins announced an update this afternoon on right-winger David Pastrnak in regards to his recent thumb surgery. General Manager Don Sweeney stated that the 22-year-old Czech-native will be in a cast for two more weeks, at which time he’ll be re-evaluated. If all goes well, Pastrnak is expected to be fitted with a splint and “it will be a matter of comfort” for a return tot he lineup.

“He’ll be in a cast for two more weeks. An then after that-he started skating today-after that he’ll be fitted for a splint and it’s just a matter of comfort, when he’s able to be most comfortable. He won’t have any restricitons at that point and time”

-General Manager Don Sweeney

At this morning rushes, Pastrnak skated for the first time without holding a stick. Team doctors have been pleased with the progression and it was previously reported that Pastrnak has been in good spirits following the surgery.

With their top scorer out of the line-up, the team had to adopt a  “next man up” attitude. Boston has seen a recent surge of offensive plays from their second-year players such as Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen. The Bruins have closed out a very successful western trip and enjoyed a seven-game winning streak. Boston luckily has not lost their step without number 88. Without Pastrnak, the Bruins have seen their scoring go from 2.88 goals per game to 3.66. The boys in Black and Gold have also posted a 5-0-1 record sans Pasta and are on a 13-game point streak.

Pastrnak has missed six games with the team since his thumb surgery on February 22nd-an injury stemming from an accidental slip after an event. Pastrnak still leads the team with 31 goals and is second in points (66) behind Brad Marchand (who has 71 points). Boston is second in the Atlantic Division with three points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

david-pastrnak-101318-getty-ftr.jpg(Photo Credits: The Sporting News/Getty Images)

As far as when Pastrnak is looking to get back on the ice, Sweeney had this to say to the media:

“I mean clearly he’s going to be working with a splint or brace, so it’ll be a level of difficulty. But he’s a tough kid that wants to play hockey and you aleady saw him skating today. And first thing he said to me is, ‘I’ll be back sooner than what anybody expects.’ I think he’ll be perfectly fine. It’ll be different because he’s had a procedure done. But he’ll get past that, he’ll be fine. I spoke to the doctors today and he feels good about where David’s at.”

As he continues to recover from surgery,  today’s acquisition of New Jersey Devils’ forward Marcus Johansson will hopefully add some more production to the top-lines.

“…I think for us Marcus represents a lot of versality and production in a top-nine role, and thats something that we felt coming down the stretch that we still could use that.”

-General Manager Don Sweeney

The Bruins end February at home when they face the San Jose Sharks and the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have dominated the league with an unprecedented 98 points, so far. With 20 games left to the season, the Bruins will hopefully see the return of their star-winger sooner rather than later.

Enjoy some “Pasta” highlights:

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Bruins Acquire Wild Forward Charlie Coyle

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By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

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

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

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

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

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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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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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Boston Bruins Recall Providence’s Kuhlman

Image result for karson kuhlman(Photo Credits: 13thForward)

By: Liz Rizzo | Follow me on Twitter @pastagrl88

Today Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced that Providence forward Karson Kuhlman had been recalled. He was signed by the B’s to a two-year contract last April. In his first professional season with the Providence Bruins, Kuhlman has had a decent outing so far playing. He has 25 points in 50 games as he notched 12 goals and 13 assists with a plus-22 rating.

The 5-foot-11, 190 forward played a full season in 2013 for the the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the Unites States Hockey Leagues (USHL). He tallied 25 goals with 19 assists for 44 points in 56 games. He was elected to play in the USHL All-Star Game. As a freshman for the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, he recorded eight goals with 10 assists for 18 points, thus earning a bid in NCAA tournament. In his sophomore year, he was named alternate captain in which he netted 12 goals with eight assists for 20 points.

Image result for karson kuhlman(Photo Credits: WEEI.com)

Kuhlman, a native of Cloquet, Minnesota,  served as an alternate captain in his junior year accumulated six goals and 16 assists for 22 points in 42 games-a career high. That year, the Bulldogs advanced to the Frozen Four, but ultimately fell to Denver in the final. In his senior year, Kuhlman served as captain of the Bulldogs where he netted 13 goals and seven assists for 20 points in 44 games. The 23-year-old was named MVP in the 2018 NCAA tournament where he lead Minnesota with a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win over Notre Dame. Kuhlman has played 166 consecutive games in the NCAA-tying a record in NCAA history (he’s tied for seventh).

With the upcoming western roadtrip, the Bruins may be looking to have another extra body upfront as the organization looks to fill a roster spot created by the David Pastrnak injury. Described as tenacious with the puck during rookie camp in September, Kuhlman could serve as a possible winger, even though he is a right-shot center. General Manager Don Sweeney is quoted as describing Kuhlman as “a dog on a bone” when it comes to his puck-hunting.

Related image(Photo Credits: AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

His two-year deal with the Bruins would guarantee him a minimum of $315,000 over the two years, with an NHL level salary of $750,000. He will join the team as he skates in his first varsity practice in Anaheim. Although he is there as an extra forward, fans may get to see Kuhlman make his NHL debut this weekend.

At last year’s camp, the versatile Kuhlman aimed to make make an impression on the B’s brass:

“This is a great organization and that’s why I chose to come here in the Spring…I want to come in and show them the way that I play hockey. I’m taking it day by day, not worrying about too far into the future. That’s something you’ve got to do at a camp like this, especially when there are so many guys that have NHL experience that are here in this room right now. So I’m just trying to play my game and hopefully going from there.”

When the Bruins varsity team headed to China this past summer, Kuhlman was able to take advantage and played in two preseason games. During the Prospect Challenge at the rookie tournament in Buffalo, Kuhlman had an opportunity to get some more hockey in his repertoire. Coach Bruce Cassidy, who had a chance to see Kuhlman in Buffalo before leaving for China, described Kuhlman as a “Swiss Army knife.” With David Pastrnak out for a few weeks, the Bruins could use a “jack-of-all-trades” type player, especially during these last few months to the season.