The Arms Race In The East, And How It Affects The Bruins

( Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer )


By: Lucas Pearson  |  Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

 

With just days to go until the Trade Deadline, the dominos have already begun to fall. Teams have been gearing up for the great battle that is the Stanley Cups Playoffs. In the West, we’ve seen a few moves to bolster some already strong roster. The Canucks went out and acquired Tyler Toffoli, the Jets nabbed Dylan Demelo from Ottawa and Vegas added Alec Martinez. But the biggest story as of now has been the massive arms race that’s been shaping up the in the Bruins’ Conference.

On February 5th, the arms race began and has already paid dividends for the teams involved. The Toronto Maple Leafs kicked it all off when they fixed two of their biggest issue, toughness and backup goaltending. They received that aid in the form of Kyle Clifford and Jack Campbell from LA. In doing so, they gave up young forward Trevor Moore and a pair of 3rd rounders (one of which has the chance to bump up to a 2nd if conditions are met). The two have fit right in, Jack Campbell is 3-0-1 between the pipes and Clifford has added nice grit in their bottom-six.

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 23: Minnesota Wild left wing Jason Zucker (16) screens Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) on the power play during a game between the Boston Bruins and the Minnesota Wild on November 23, 2019, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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

A few days later, we saw the always active Jim Rutherford and the Pittsburg Penguins find a replacement for the injured Jake Guentzel when they acquired Jason Zucker from the Wild. Minnesota received a nice haul for the forward with a 2020 1st round pick, Calen Addison (a top prospect in Pittsburgh’s system) and the struggling Alex Galchenyuk. Zucker has been awesome since sporting the Penguins’ colors and has three goals and an assist in four games.

After losing Adam Pelech to injury, the New York Islanders shored up their defense and gave veteran Andy Greene a new home, sending a 2nd rounder and Dave Quenneville to the New Jersey Devils. Greene has helped off the bat, contributing an assist in his first game. The hottest team in the league, the Tampa Bay Lightning, made a big splash with the aforementioned Devils when they acquired Blake Coleman for the big package of Nolan Foote and a 1st round pick. And just recently, the Capitals added the physical Brendon Dillon from the Sharks for a 2nd and 3rd rounder.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins

( Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports )

So with three of the four top teams in the East (as well as two contenders) all making moves, it’s crucial the Bruins don’t fall behind. The acquisitions of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson last season proved that when moves are made right, they have huge pay-offs. The Bruins yet again need to make a move to keep up, and that move needs to be for some help upfront.

With Tyler Toffoli recently dealt to the Canucks, that leaves one less option for Boston to add, so what’s left? For guys that can play in the top-six, we have Chris Kreider, Mike Hoffman, and my personal favorite, Kyle Palmieri. As we’ve seen from the trades already made, the prices for impact players are as high as they’ve ever been. You’d have to think that the three listed would go for a 1st rounder, plus a variety of players, prospects, and picks.

If the Bruins choose to balk at those prices, some second-tier options would be the likes of Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Josh Anderson, Ondrej Kase a the duo of Predators in Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith. I’d assume the baseline for these players would be similar to the price the Bruins paid for Marcus Johansson at last year’s deadline, a 2nd rounder plus a sweetener. Some help in the bottom-six (which really shouldn’t be a priority) could have options like Vladislav Namestnikov, Derek Grant, Barclay Goodrow, Wayne Simmonds or maybe even Joe Thornton. Much of the East has already made improvements so Boston, you’re up.

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The Bruins’ Last Minute Trade Options

(Photo Credit: Yahoo! News / news.yahoo.com)

By: Andrew Lindroth | Follow me on Twitter @andrewlindrothh

The clock seems to be ticking for Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney as breaking news alerts continue to show another potential trade target being shipped off to another team. Even though big names like Blake Coleman, Tyler Toffoli, and Brendan Dillon are now off the market, there are still more options available on the trade block for Sweeney to make a move before the deadline. The one name the Bruins nation is waiting on, Chris Kreider.

The Big Names Still On The Market

Kreider not only brings the talent and speed that makes him a top-six forward in any lineup, but he brings a large 6’3″, 226-pound frame that will surely help the Bruins in games against heavier teams like the Washington Capitals or St.Louis Blues. Even though Kreider seems like an excellent fit for the Bruins, he does carry a cap hit of $4M+, which may hurt the Bruins if they were to try and re-sign him in the off-season as he’s projected to make around $7M+. Kreider has been on a tear recently, potting 3 goals and 4 points in his past 5 games while maintaining a +2 rating. The original asking price for Kreider is a first-round pick, a possible conditional draft pick, and an NHL ready prospect. Because of recent trades, Kreider’s trade value has skyrocketed, making it more difficult for Sweeney to negotiate a deal that doesn’t involve giving up too many valuable assets.

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Another rumored trade piece still on the market for the Bruins is Kyle Palmieri. The 29-year-old, 5’11 195-pound natural right-winger is one of the most underrated players this season. Even on a struggling Devils’ team, Palmieri has produced 22 goals, and 41 points with a +2 rating in just 55 games played this season. Palmieri also has 10 power-play goals this season, only one away from his previous high of 11. He is also maintaining an impressive shot percentage of 16.5% this season, so far surpassing his previous high of 13.5% in the 2016-2017 season.

With Palmieri currently averaging a career-high 0.75 points a game this season, the Bruins could use his scoring depth to strengthen the Krejci or Coyle line. Palmieri would be more than a rental, as he has one year left on his $4.65M contract. His current contract may not seem too threatening to the Bruins cap space at first glance, but with less than $20M in cap space available after this season, it will still be difficult for the Bruins to re-sign players like Debrusk and Krug, with or without Palmieri’s cap hit. Since New Jersey traded forward Blake Coleman, the Devils now may not have a reason to part ways with their top producer anymore.

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Other Potential Targets That Could Help The Bruins

There are other potential trade targets the Bruins could engage in that may not require surrendering too many valuable assets.

For scoring depth, the Bruins have had their eyes on 5’11, 186-pound right-winger Ondrej Kase since January, and for the right price, Kase could be the best option if the Bruins were to pick up another forward. While Kase’s numbers may not look pretty on-paper, he has a fantastic set of wheels that could match DeBrusk’s speed and also gives the Bruins another option on the penalty-kill and possibly the power-play as well. Kase has yet to play an entire 82-game season though, the most games he’s suited up for in a single season was during the 2017-2018 season with 66 games played. During the 2017-2018 season, Kase’s sophomore season in the NHL, he eclipsed 20 goals and 38 points with an impressive +18 rating, proving he’s a defensively responsible forward as well. So far this season, Kase’s point production stands with 7 goals and 23 points with a -7 rating in 49 games played with the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks.

Other than scoring depth, the Bruins may also look into players that will add size and grit, especially for the playoffs with Kevan Miller most likely out for the remainder of the season. Forward Josh Anderson is currently on the trade block, and according to Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports, the Bruins have been keeping a close eye on Anderson.

Josh Anderson, the 6’3, 222-pound winger was an absolute force last season producing 27 goals, 47 points, +25 rating, and an astounding 214 hits. Unfortunately, he has only played in 26 games so far this season due to a shoulder injury. Although his production severely regressed so far this season (1 goal and 4 points), it was proven last season and during the playoffs that he is one of the hardest players in the league to play against. Not only will Anderson bring the size and physicality the Bruins need, but he brings promising offensive talent that could fill the hole on the right-wing beside David Krejci.

Go-All-In Or Trust The System?

It’s no secret what the Bruins are looking for to improve their team before the deadline, but will it be worth giving up possible valuable assets for a rental? The Bruins proved last year that they have enough roster depth overall to survive the injury bug that left players like Pastrnak, McAvoy, Bergeron, etc., out for considerable time and continued to win games with the “next man up” mentality.

Although Boston’s core players are not getting any younger, there is still a lot of risk in going all-in for one player, especially after the 2018 Rick Nash trade that ended up going sideways due to Nash’s concussion problems. The Bruins have the competitive spirit and hockey talent from both their NHL and AHL rosters, to climb back up to the Stanley Cup Finals if they can rally around each other and continue to trust the system. The Bruins may not have the luxury of avoiding Tampa and Washington in the playoffs again, but they certainly have the talent to beat any team in the NHL.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 166 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins’ McAvoy Suspended One Game

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(Photo: CBS Boston)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has suspended Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy for one game for his illegal hit to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson. It was reported earlier today that the 21-year-old would receive a hearing for the incident, which occurred in the second period of last night’s 3-0 Game Six victory to eliminate Columbus.

McAvoy was only given a two-minute minor penalty for an illegal check to the head during the game. Anderson was injured on the play, but returned for the third period. The young defenseman has been among the best players for the Bruins through the first two rounds of this year’s playoffs.

In the video explanation of the suspension, which can be viewed by clicking this link, the DoPS cited Anderson’s head being the principle, yet avoidable, point of contact as the main reasoning behind the decision. The video also noted how the angle of approach that McAvoy took caused him to drive into and up through the front of Anderson’s body, rather than his core or shoulder. This comes as the first discipline that the Long Beach, New York native has received from the league through 117 career regular season games and 31 playoff games.

With last night’s win, the Bruins advance to face the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final. McAvoy will miss Game One, which will take place in Boston on Thursday night at 8:00 pm, making an already intriguing series much more interesting.

Bruins McAvoy To Have Hearing With Department Of Player Safety

Boston Bruins v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Six

( Photo Credit: CBS Boston )

By: Yanni Latzanakis  |  Follow Me On Twitter:  @yanlatz

On Monday night, the Boston Bruins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in game six of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series by a score of 3-0 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2013. However, the Black ‘N Gold might be without Charlie McAvoy to begin the series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

With 20 seconds to go in the second period, Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy illegally laid out Blue Jackets’ forward Josh Anderson. McAvoy leaned into Anderson and finished the hit upwards in which McAvoy’s shoulder made contact with Anderson’s head and leaving the Columbus forward on the ice in pain.

After a lengthy discussion between the referees, McAvoy was assessed a two-minute minor penalty for an illegal hit to the head. As a result, McAvoy will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety on Tuesday and could be suspended for the hit.

Fans and members of the media believed that the hit was worthy of a major penalty but instead was only called a minor. Many believe that because it was the playoffs and the recent controversial major penalty call on Cody Eakin in Game Seven between the San Jose Sharks and the Vegas Golden Knights that the referees refrained from calling a five-minute major on Charlie McAvoy.

Stay tuned for the Department of Player Safety’s ruling on the Charlie McAvoy hit.

Five Potential Scorers For Bruins Outside Of Big Ticket Artemi Panarin

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

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

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

Mark Stone

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

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

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

Ryan Dzingel

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

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

Tyler Toffoli

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

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

Gustav Nyquist

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

Mats Zuccarello

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

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

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

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