Bruins Beleskey Gets First Goal With Providence

( Above Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports )

By: Mark Allred             Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

When it came to Boston Bruins forward Matt Beleskey, the organization ran out of options with him on the National Hockey League roster with his decline in productivity. On December 15, 2017, after successfully passing through the waiver process, the 29-year-old forward was loaned to the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins in an attempt to rejuvenate his offensive capabilities. Matt took this demotion like a true professional and understood the things he has to work on to get back on the NHL Bruins roster as indicated in his tweet below when learning he was being sent to Providence.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The 6′-0″ 203-pound Beleskey hasn’t been involved in an AHL contest since he spent three games with the Norfolk Admirals a former minor-pro affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks who drafted Beleskey in the fourth round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.  In his first game back in the AHL with the top minor-pro affiliate of the Bruins, he went pointless with two shots on goal on December 16, 2017, in a game at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania against the Bears. In last night’s 6-4 loss to the hands of the Hartford Wolf Pack in game-four of the current 2017-18 season-long eight-game road trip, Beleskey got on the scoresheet with a 55-foot snipe to beat newly signed Wolf Pack goaltender Marek Mazanec and get his Providence team to a 2-1 lead in the first period assisted by defenseman Ben Marshall and veteran forward Josh Hennessy.

The Providence team is back in action tonight in Springfield, Massachusetts as they get set to face the Springfield Thunderbirds in game-five of the eight-game road trip. The 18-8-2-0 Bruins are 6-3-1-0 in games that are played on Saturday’s, and the B’s are 3-0-1-0 against a Thunderbirds team that Providence plays 14 times in the 2017-18 regular season campaign. The B’s are 8-2-0-0 in their last ten games and look to remain perfect against a struggling Springfield team that is currently at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and third to last in the Eastern Conference. The next game for the B’s will come after the holiday break when they travel to Utica, New York on Wednesday, December 27th with a contest against the Comets.

Support Your Baby B’s!!!

If you’d like to watch tomorrow’s stars today, I highly suggest you take advantage of the cheap tickets and family atmosphere that’s available at every Providence Bruins home game at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence,  Rhode Island.  You can get ticket information and other great info by clicking HERE to enter the official Baby B’s website.

Also, if you do happen to go and support the team at the Dunk, be sure to stop by the Providence Bruins Fan Club table behind sections 101 and 102. Fantastic season ticket holders and Fan Club volunteers Jenna Labush, Rhonda Labush, and Steven Labush are always there with other valued members to help with any information and questions. You can also use the address below or visit the Official Fan Club page on the Providence Bruins website by clicking HERE. Follow the Baby B’s Fan Club on Social Media!

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/pbruinsfanclub

Providence Bruins
Fan Club

PO Box 40963
Providence, RI 02940
401.426.8277

Boston Bruins And The Future Of Matt Beleskey

 

Matt+Beleskey+Boston+Bruins+v+Anaheim+Ducks+7EJSvlmV3wMl

Matt Beleskey #39 of the Boston Bruins forechecks during the game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on November 15, 2017 in Anaheim, California.
(Nov. 14, 2017 – Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)

By: Andrew Thompson                                                                  Twitter: @Godwentwhoops

When the Boston Bruins placed forward Matt Beleskey on waivers last Thursday, the fan base was generally in favor of the move. He’s spent the majority of the season either on the bottom-six or watching the game from the ninth level. (In fact, many were saying that it was about time.) In the last two years with Boston, Beleskey has only put in three goals in 64 games.

It’s a shame that a player that had so much potential may never play as a Boston Bruin again.

 

“Matt [Beleskey] is very well liked in the room”, shared Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy to the media. “So, no one likes to see a player get waived. The way we look at it as an organization is, he hadn’t played much, and I think the best way for him to get back to helping the Boston Bruins is to get playing,” said Cassidy. “So, he goes to Providence, finds his game, what he did well before previously – from my end, we just thought there were some players in the lineup that outperformed him, plain and simple.

“We are trying to reward the players that earned it on merit and not look so much at maybe contract status, et cetera. You know, within reason. I think some of the young guys have pushed him. We’ve seen it at different positions and that’s as simple as I can make it. Like I said, I like Matt. He’s very respectful of the coaching staff of what we are trying to do. We just felt we had better in the lineup. The team is going well. The decision was made.”

Matt Beleskey was a polarizing figure for the Bruins fan base. While he had a strong first season with the Black and Gold, his performance fell off the radar after that. Two seasons of sub-par play, coupled with injuries gave the front office no choice but to put him on the waiver wire.

The Bruins likely knew that there wasn’t much chance of another team picking up Beleskey. Even the Anaheim Ducks (who are having their own front-end problems) to pick up their former forward. The 29-year old’s $3.8 million cap hit is just too extreme for any NHL team to pick up at the moment.

So where does Beleskey go from here?

Beleskey now finds himself on one of the hottest teams in the AHL right now. The Baby B’s are 18-7-2 and are near the top of the AHL’s Atlantic Division.  He’ll certainly get some playing time in Providence. The team will be able to use his skill and experience at the AHL level.

Beleskey (short of injuries in Boston) will likely finish the 2017-18 season in Providence. The talent pool in Boston is just crazy right now, and it would be very hard for him to break his way back into the NHL this year.  If he stays in Providence, the Bruins organization will get a refund of sorts.  ($1.025 million in savings on the salary cap.)

The Bruins won’t (or REALLY, REALLY shouldn’t) buyout his contract either. To do so would cost the B’s $4.6 million over the next four years. The team is already paying out for Jimmy Hayes (who seems to be doing alright with the Devils), and Dennis Seidenberg (who is happy to be playing with Johnny Boychuk on the Islanders). The Bruins organization can’t afford to be footing the bill for three players not suiting up in the spoked ‘B’.

Now it’s up to Bells. If he has a strong remainder of the season, he can become a trade piece of moderate to above-average value.  He may even fight his way back on the team next season. If he flounders at the AHL level (which seems very unlikely), then the B’s may just wash their hands of him.

 

 

 

 

 

Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast #75 12-11-17

By: Mark Allred      Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Welcome back to episode 75 in partnership with the Grandstand Sports Network. On this week’s show, we talk about the games of last week and schedule for the upcoming week. We went over a wide range of Bruins related topics in this episode and also had the great pleasure of having first-time guest Drew Johnson, a Quinnipiac University Journalism Major. Drew covers the Bruins/NCAA Hockey for The Hockey Writers website. We also have our weekly Bruins prospect update for the week of 12/03/17 to 12-/09/17.

Please follow our new partners over at Grandstand Sports Network Twitter: @Grandstand_SN grandstandsportsnetwork.com

If you’d like to support the show and are an Amazon or Fanatics, shopper, we ask that you, please use our blackngoldhockeyblog.com advertising partner banner located to the right of the screen in our affiliation link area. By going to our website every time you shop we get a commission.

You can also financially support our show by donating $1 and have exclusive access to our new “What Ya Bruin” Mailbag segment where paying contributors get their questions answered with the highest priority. Go to patreon.com/blackngoldhockeypodcast for another way to cut the operating costs.

Follow us on Twitter at:
Mark Allred @BlackAndGold277
Rob Tomlin @Rob40bruins
Court Lalonde @courtlalonde
Podcast Account @BlackNGoldPod

Have a question or a comment for the hosts? Please send us an email at blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com

Thanks for tuning in and all the support! We’ll be back next week for another show of Bruins Hockey related material. Take Care and GO Bruins!!

BFR1 – Games 15 and 16 – Dumpster Fire

By: Spencer Fascetta                                                                          Twitter: @PuckNerdHockey

PuckNerd talks through the disappointing sweep at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’s understandably angry and tries to give you a few potential fixes for the problems he sees. Granted, who actually listens to him? Regardless, he appreciates your eyes and ears!

Bruins Lineup Notes Ahead Of Round Two With The Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: Adam Richins for BSJ)

By Mike Cratty                                     Twitter: @Mike_Cratty

A flurry of lineup news came to the surface ahead of the Boston Bruins first-ever home game with the Las Vegas Golden Knights tonight. The Bruins had an optional pregame skate this morning. Plenty of lineup shuffling has taken place in an eventful season up to this point.

It’s almost hard to believe that something like that could happen to a team so early, but unfortunately, it has, and the Bruins have had to adjust big-time.

Frank Vatrano sits, Matt Beleskey suits up

To start, it appears that Frank Vatrano will be a healthy scratch tonight. This isn’t shocking because Vatrano has yet to tally a point in nine games. Matt Beleskey will return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past three games. Some physical presence from Matt Beleskey in David Backes’ absence could be beneficial against a Vegas Golden Knights team that has turned some heads. Beleskey, like Vatrano, has yet to tally a point this season, but in six games in Beleskey’s case.

Anton Khudobin and David Krejci still out

Anton Khudobin and David Krejci were not on the ice today. Zane McIntyre will suit up tonight in Khudobin’s absence. Khudobin is still dealing with a lower-body injury, while Krejci is still dealing with back issues. McIntyre served as the backup in Columbus and has yet to see NHL action this season. Following Monday’s game against Columbus, McIntyre was sent back down to Providence but then brought back up yesterday due to Anton Khudobin’s current status.

David Backes to IR, Austin Czarnik, and Jordan Szwarz called up

David Backes, on the other hand, was placed on IR earlier today. News broke yesterday that David Backes will miss approximately the next eight weeks due to colon surgery. That’s not what a guy who has already lost time due to diverticulitis wants to see. Jordan Szwarz was also called up as to help lessen the blow yesterday, followed by Austin Czarnik earlier today. Szwarz will play tonight, while Czarnik is a game-time decision.

Czarnik played in 49 games with the Bruins last year and has played in two so far this season. The speedy 24-year-old forward is off to a productive start with the Providence Bruins despite having no points in two games with the Bruins this year. Czarnik is averaging two points-per-game in Providence with four goals and six assists in five games.

Jordan Szwarz set for his Bruins debut

Tonight will be a special night for Jordan Szwarz, as it will be his Boston Bruins debut. Szwarz was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes with the 97th overall pick in the fourth-round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. It has been a rocky career so far for Jordan Szwarz spending the majority of it in the AHL with the Portland Pirates, Springfield Falcons, and most recently the Providence Bruins. Szwarz hasn’t seen NHL action since playing nine games with the Arizona Coyotes in the 2014-2015 season.

In his first season as a Providence Bruin last year, Szwarz earned an “A” on his chest and put up an impressive 22-32-54 stat line in 65 regular season games. All were career highs in his pro career so far. He added to an impressive regular season with six goals, five assist and 11 points in 17 games in the trek to the Eastern Conference Finals for the Providence Bruins, where they, unfortunately, fell to the Syracuse Crunch in five games.

Through six games of the 2017-2018 campaign, Szwarz has five goals, three assists, and eight points in the AHL for the 6-2-0 Providence Bruins.

What the Bruins lineup will look like isn’t a sure thing yet. There will be shuffling in the forward core for sure due to the decimation of a Bruins forward core due to injury. Round one against the Vegas Golden Knights was a tough one to swallow so the Bruins will look for revenge at TD Garden with a different looking lineup.

Bruins Injury Report: 9/21/2017

 

Image result for torey krug

The Bruins will be without arguably their most important defenseman for an undetermined amount of time following a shot-block gone wrong Tuesday in Detroit. Matthew J. Lee, Boston Globe

By: Spencer Fascetta         Follow Me On Twitter @PuckNerdHockey 

Following the Bruins’ preseason matchup against the Detroit Red Wings, they received news of some significant losses due to injury. First and foremost amongst them is Torey Krug, who received a non-displaced fracture in his jaw following a blocked shot Tuesday night against Detroit. He will be evaluated in 3 weeks but is listed as out indefinitely at this time. Doctors often recommend a player does not take a contract for at least a month after a jaw is fractured in order to allow the bone to heal properly, but this timeframe can also stretch up to two months. It is a massive blow to a Bruins’ defensive corps who relies on Krug to operate its top powerplay unit and for Top 4 minutes. This likely forces Charlie McAvoy into a much more significant role as the regular season approaches and offers an opportunity for free agent signing Paul Postma or a combination of rookies Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, Rob O’Gara, and/or Matt Grzelcyk on the opening night roster.

Image result for jakob forsbacka-karlsson

Promising rookie Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson also was unable to escape Detroit unscathed on Tuesday. Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

In addition to losing Krug against Detroit, rookie centerman Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson took an awkward tumble into the boards against the Wings and is currently being listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed upper-body injury. The former BU Terrier appeared in a single regular season game for the Bruins last year and looks to be a front-runner to push for a spot in the lineup this fall.

Injuries continue to stack up for the ever-unfortunate Matt Beleskey. Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports Images

Finally, Matt Beleskey, who must have some of the worst luck in hockey, save for Marc Savard, is struggling through a foot contusion suffered in Monday night’s preseason matchup against Montreal. Beleskey appeared to be injured blocking a shot with his foot (this is one of the reasons why blocked shots is an unadvisable part of the game in my opinion) and is listed as day-to-day. Beleskey struggled with a litany of injuries last year, his second with the Bruins, only managing to appear in 49 games, and never quite looking himself. It is a disappointing start to the season for a player in desperate need of a bounceback year.

Stay tuned for more news and updates here at the BlackNGold Hockey Blog!

Boston Bruins: Two Forwards Who Need a Big Bounce Back Season

 

David+Backes+Ottawa+Senators+v+Boston+Bruins+voH7Zw4KacDl

David Backes #42 of the Boston Bruins and his teammates acknowledge fans after the Ottawa Senators defeat the Bruins 3-2 in overtime of Game Six of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 23, 2017, in Boston, Massachusetts.
(April 22, 2017 – Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)

By Andrew Thompson                                                                   Twitter: @Godwentwhoops

 

The Boston Bruins found themselves in the playoffs after a two-year hiatus from the postseason.  While it was great to see that happen, the Black and Gold only managed to get there in the final week of the regular season, and they found themselves out in the first round.

If the Black and Gold want to find themselves in a deeper run than last year, they’re going to need more of their players playing their ‘A’ game. This includes a big bounce-back season from two of their forwards: David Backes and Matt Beleskey.

The Boston Bruins were looking for a big-bodied power forward before the start of last season. They had hoped they would have gotten that with Jimmy Hayes, but that didn’t go as the B’s had hoped. So, they went out and wooed away David Backes from the St. Louis Blues.

The Boston Bruins were looking for a big-bodied power forward before the start of last season. They had hoped they would have gotten that with Jimmy Hayes, but that didn’t go as the B’s had hoped. So, they went out and wooed away Backes from the St. Louis Blues.

Backes had a semi-disappointing year with the Black and Gold. The 33-year old forward put up just 0.51 points-per-game. While other players did much worse (Hayes again), that marked his lowest average since 2007-08 (0.43), his first full season in the NHL.

To be fair to Backes, he didn’t exactly have things go his way in his first year as a Bruin. Backes was a natural center but played very few games at that position (Mainly because the Bruins are center-heavy, and it’s highly unlikely that Backes would take the center job away from either David Krejci or Patrice Bergeron.) Backes spent part of the season on the right wing of the Krejci line but didn’t seem to have much chemistry with the veteran Czech center.

By the end of the year, Backes found some chemistry in the Bruins top line.  He played with Bergeron and Brad Marchand and finished the season with 38 points (17 goals) in 74 games.

If the Bruins want to see points from Backes, then the Bruins should keep him with Bergeron and Marchand at the start of the season.

Why?

Backes did well with Marchand and Bergeron. The chemistry was there last year, so why muck it up? Also, the Bruins know that the ‘Double Czech’ line of Pastrank and Krejci were solid.  It certainly makes sense to keep them together, and it also spreads out the firepower among the B’s top-six forwards.

Matt+Beleskey+Chicago+Blackhawks+v+Boston+YN38XUf5DTjl

Brian Campbell #51 of the Chicago Blackhawks defends Matt Beleskey #39 of the Boston Bruins during the third period at TD Garden on January 20, 2017, in Boston, Massachusetts. The Blackhawks defeat the Bruins 1-0.
(Jan. 19, 2017 – Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)

Then there is the case of Matt Beleskey.

 

Beleskey earned himself the respect of the fans for being the kind of player that Jimmy Hayes was supposed to be. In his first season with the B’s, Beleskey played a Milan Lucic type of game (without all the fighting majors). During the 2015-16 season, the former Duck forward put up a respectable 37 points (15 goals), good enough to be tied for sixth in scoring that year.

Last season was certainly rough for Beleskey. The 29-year old forward started out slow, and then was hampered by a knee injury. Beleskey spent the next 24 games on injured reserve while he recuperated. Beleskey continued to struggle after his return to the lineup and found himself as a healthy scratch more times than any player wanted.

Beleskey finished the season with eight points (three goals) over 49 games.

Beleskey desperately needs a serious bounce back year as well. He’ll likely start the season as a middle-six winger. Two years ago, Beleskey found some chemistry with the Double Czech line. He’ll have to fight hard in camp to earn that position again.

If Beleskey can return to his 2015-16 game, then he’ll certainly help the B’s down the stretch as they try to become Stanley Cup Contenders again.

 

Boston Bruins Lineup Outlook Heading Into August

By Mike Cratty                                                                    Twitter: @Mike_Cratty

The Boston Bruins lineup has plenty of opportunities for change, mostly in the forward core. A fairly quiet offseason may end up being the proper course of action for this Bruins team, as they have pieces within the organization trying to burst onto the NHL scene or further their cases as legitimate NHLers.

This lineup isn’t set in stone, but it contains where I think players should be slotted into the lineup at this point.

Forwards

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak (RFA)

Anders Bjork – David Krejci – David Backes

Peter Cehalrik* – Ryan Spooner – Jake DeBrusk

Matt Beleskey – Riley Nash – Noel Acciari

Tim Schaller

Forwards that will compete for ice time: Danton Heinen, Frank Vatrano, Austin Czarnik, Sean Kuraly, Zachary Senyshyn, and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson.

*Peter Cehlarik will be recovering from surgery to start the season.

Three spots are up-for-grabs in the top-six, first line right-wing and the second line wings. David Pastrnak is a lock for one of the right wing spots. There is a very slight possibility that David Backes gets a shot at third line center. But a top-six right wing spot is more likely based on last season. The third-line wing spots are up-for-grabs as well. Players that could end up playing on the third line are Danton Heinen, Frank Vatrano, Austin Czarnik, Sean Kuraly, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork, Sean Kuraly, Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, Zachary Senyshyn and David Backes. Long story short, there are a lot of players competing for ice time, especially on the second and third lines.

The third-line wing spots are up-for-grabs as well. Players that could end up playing on the third line are Danton Heinen, Frank Vatrano, Austin Czarnik, Sean Kuraly, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork, Sean Kuraly, Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, Zachary Senyshyn and David Backes. Long story short, there are a lot of players competing for ice time, especially on the second and third lines.

Spooner has looked better at the center position throughout his career, so making him the third-line center from the start makes the most sense.

It sounds as though Ryan Spooner may actually start the season as a Bruin.

Don Sweeney mentioned how he expects to see Ryan Spooner develop into a more productive two-way player:

Many people thought he wouldn’t before he avoided salary arbitration by signing a one-year/$2.825 million deal. This doesn’t completely eliminate the possibility of Spooner being traded though. The quote above makes it sound like Don Sweeney wants to see Ryan Spooner get another shot.

As much as I’d love to see Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson in the lineup, I think Spooner gets first dibs, and if he slips, Forsbacka-Karlsson takes his place.

Although Spooner gets flack from some hockey fans, he is more established in the Bruins lineup. This is partly because JFK has played one regular season game as a Bruin, but the point still stands. JFK could play on the wing, but right now that just seems unlikely.

Frank Vatrano is a guy that could very well start the season outside of the lineup. With plenty of young left-handed players rising, he will really have to prove himself to earn the ice time, like Matt Beleskey, although Vatrano and Beleskey are very different players. Sean Kuraly is one of the left-handed forwards competing for ice time.

It seems like Sean Kuraly may be a perfect fit for the fourth line and he very much could be. Matt Beleskey will likely start in hopes for a bounce back season after tallying a career high in points two seasons ago. Riley Nash and Noel Acciari, on the other hand, seem to have solidified their positions on the fourth line.

Tim Schaller proved to be a solid bottom-six forward, so the 13th forward spot makes sense to start.

Defense

Zdeno Chara – Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug – Charlie McAvoy

Kevan Miller – Adam McQuaid

Paul Postma

Defensemen that will compete for ice time: Rob O’Gara, Matt Grzelcyk.

The defensive core is made up of players who have already proven themselves to some degree. Where these defensemen will play is a toss up.

Zdeno Chara will hold down the first pair with Charlie McAvoy or Brandon Carlo to start. Whoever of McAvoy and Carlo don’t end up with Chara will end up on the second pair with Torey Krug or Kevan Miller

Whoever of McAvoy and Carlo don’t end up with Chara will end up on the second pair with Torey Krug or Kevan Miller.

The third pair is a toss up, with Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller, Paul Postma, Rob O’Gara and Matt Grzelcyk vouching for a spot. Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy could be included in that group of players, but it seems more plausible to play them in the top-four to help them develop. Both players have shown flashes that they can be top-four defensemen.

Goalies

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Goalies that will compete for ice time: Zane McIntyre, Malcolm Subban.

There isn’t much to say for the goaltenders. The one main storyline is the backup position because Tuukka Rask has the starter position locked up.

Anton Khudobin turned things around towards the end of last season. If he struggles like he did at times last season, he could be sent down again, or maybe even traded to a team looking for goaltender depth due to injury or necessity. If any of those things happen, Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban will get the next shot at the backup position.

Bruins NHL Free Agent Frenzy: Who’s Left After Day One?

 

 

Image result for jordan szwarz providence bruinsImage result for Paul Postma

Image result for kenny agostino

Boston signed Paul Postma (right), Jordan Szwarz (left), and Kenny Agostino (center) to 1 year, two-way contracts on Saturday (Photo Credits: Circling the Wagon (Szwarz), The Hockey House (Postma), Stockton Heat(Agostino)

By Spencer, Fascetta                         Follow Me On Twitter @PuckNerdHockey

Bruins fans should come away thrilled with the way GM Don Sweeney handled the first day of his 3rd season at the helm of the Boston franchise. He inked Matt Beleskey to a lucrative contract in his first go-around, added David Backes at a steep price last year, and had Bruins fans waiting with baited breath to see who he would overpay this offseason. Low and behold, he stood relatively pat. Sweeney added former Winnipeg Jets rearguard Paul Postma and reigning AHL MVP Kenny Agostino as inexpensive depth pieces and rewarded forward Jordan Szwarz with a two-way NHL contract after he performed admirably on an AHL-only deal with Providence this season. None of these signings are overtly exciting, yet what they represent should be. Sweeney is willing and able to be patient and allow his young players to compete for roster spots after stocking Boston’s farm system for the past few years. Expect to see names like Noel Acciari, Sean Kuraly, Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson in contention for, and ultimately earning a few of the available forward positions (especially once they finally move Ryan Spooner, which we all acknowledge is both inevitable and necessary). On the back end, he is making room for Charlie McAvoy to make his regular season debut, after he allowed John-Michael Liles and Joe Morrow to walk in free agency, and saw Colin Miller depart in the Expansion Draft.

Image result for Dan Girardi

Dan Girardi inexplicably found a team to give him 2 years and $6 million on Saturday (Photo Credit: RantSports)

Fans of the Black and Gold should also be quite pleased with some of the moves made within the division. Tampa Bay inexplicably gave Dan Girardi a two-year deal worth $3 million a year, despite having a solid defensive corps already and noted salary cap issues. Nobody has any clue what is happening in Florida, who, for the second straight offseason, seems to be blowing their team up. The Sens and Sabres haven’t made any truly mind-boggling moves, and the Maple Leafs scooped up Dominic Moore and Ron Hainsey in two excellent value acquisitions, but Detroit seems to believe that they are still a Stanley Cup contender, and gave 33-year-old Trevor Daley a lot of money for the next 3 years. Montreal is its own conundrum. Karl Alzner was given 5 years and $4.625 AAV after being Washington’s 5th defenseman this season, and Marc Bergevin seems to be taking lessons on how to GM from Dave Nonis and John Ferguson Jr. There is a lot to be excited for in Boston for next year.

Image result for Jaromir Jagr Bruins

Living Legend Jaromir Jagr could potentially return to Boston (Photo Credit: Bruins Daily)

Speaking of next year, there are still some very intriguing names that escaped Day 1 of free agency. While Chris Thorburn, Dan Girardi, and Ondrej Pavelec all found new homes, veterans Jaromir Jagr, Patrick Marleau, Alexander Radulov, and Mike Fisher all remain unsigned. Intriguing youngsters Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko have yet to find new homes. KHL “import” Chris Lee is reportedly interested in finally finding a home in the NHL after a strong showing at Worlds this spring. With the as-yet unsigned RFAs David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner (though the latter should be a sign and trade, or just have his rights traded outright) ought to command approximately half of the $13.75 million in cap space Boston has available, there is still room to add some inexpensive options to provide excellent competition for the bottom half of the Bruins’ roster. The inexpensive qualifier likely eliminates Jagr, Marleau, and Radulov, all of whom will command a significant price in both money and term. Mike Fisher led the Predators to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance this year, and likely will take an inexpensive deal, but almost certainly will stay in Nashville. This leaves three options: Grigorenko, Yakupov, and Lee.

 

Image result for mikhail grigorenko

Mikhail Grigorenko had a season just as poor as the rest of his Avalanche teammates (Photo Credit: WebSports)

Image result for nail yakupov

Yakupov never could find his stride in St. Louis (Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

Mikhail Grigorenko and Nail Yakupov are both offensively gifted former 1st Round picks looking to revitalize their careers. In Grigorenko’s case, he struggled through the tire fire that was the Colorado Avalanche season this year, and at 23, still, has plenty of hockey left in him. He can provide another bottom 6 option with the ability to provide some offense and be responsible in his own zone. The struggles of Yakupov, also 23, are well known at this point. He was never able to find his stride in St. Louis this season after being traded (another Top 5 pick being moved by Peter Chiarelli, I spy a trend…) for basically a bag of pucks, but a large part of his problem has been confidence and a lack of proper opportunity. The Bruins can offer both. He’s a winger with some offensive flair, that ideally would slot in on the B’s 3rd line to start with, and could push players like Frank Vatrano and Anders Bjork for that coveted 6th spot in the top two lines. The Bruins also would provide plenty of veteran leadership for the young Russian, who could turn to the likes of David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, or Zdeno Chara to lean on should he struggle. If Boston can unlock the offensive ability that Yakupov clearly possesses, this could be a steal.

Image result for chris lee hockey

Chris Lee developed into a dominant force in the KHL and is a classic late-bloomer (Photo Credit: KHL)

Chris Lee, 36, never really got shot in the NHL, but not for lack of ability. He was a victim of timing, as the league still overvalued size and physicality when he broke into the ECHL in 2004-2005. A 4 year player at Division III SUNY-Potsdam, Lee bounced around the minors for the next 5 years, never making it past the AHL despite posting impressive numbers for an “undersized” defenseman. He scored 9 goals and 30 assists in his last year in North America with the always dangerous Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2009-10 but decided to take his talents overseas when it became apparent that he was not going to get his shot in the NHL. Fast forward a few years, and he has become a KHL All-Star with Magnitogorsk Metallurg, with increasing offensive output in each of his four seasons. His tour-de-force took place this past year when, at age 35, he scored 14 goals and 51 assists for 65 points in 60 games. Lee isn’t small by the standards of the modern NHL at 6’0″, 185 lbs, and demonstrated that he can absolutely play at this level this past spring with his native Canada at the World Hockey Championships as the only non-NHL representative on a roster that has more options to choose from than any other. He is a left-shot offensive defenseman, and he will likely take something in the ballpark of a 1 or 2-year deal worth around $1-$2 million. The Bruins’ current D-corps looks like this:

Z. Chara – B. Carlo

T. Krug – C. McAvoy

A. McQuaid – K. Miller

P. Postma

I think that Lee is a better option than McQuaid or Postma, and while he doesn’t necessarily have to play every single game, he offers the Bruins a 3rd option on the back end who is able to run a powerplay should Krug or McAvoy falter or get injured.

Granted, while these three are all great options in Boston, Don Sweeney seems to do the opposite of whatever the most sensible option appears to be. He sticks to his guns, no matter what other people may say (*ahem* 3 straight picks in ’15 that all were considered a reach; Trent Frederic in the 1st Round; Signing Jimmy Hayes), but he has so far been able to recognize his mistakes, and correct them as quickly and efficiently as possible. And hey, at least Marc Bergevin isn’t running our team. David Pastrnak would’ve been traded for Tom Sestito and Darren Archibald instead of discussing a long-term extension if that were the case.

Please check me out on YouTube (@PuckNerd) and Twitter (@PuckNerdHockey) for more hockey commentary and analysis. Subscribe, follow, like, etcetera. This week has been crazy. So excited for it to continue!

 

Bruins Release Expansion Protection List

( Above Photo Credit:  1st Ohio Battery )

By Mark Allred                        Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The National Hockey League has officially released every team’s list of players they’ve protected, and players left exposed to the new Vegas Golden Knights franchise set to begin to play in October of 2017. The Expansion rule is that the Vegas team has to select one player from all 30 team’s in the NHL and the draft to select those players will be this Wednesday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Below are the two list’s provided to the NHL by the Boston Bruins and separated by availability to the new franchise and one that’s protected from being selected.

Protected Players

(F) David Backes, (F) Patrice Bergeron, (F) David Krejci, (F) Brad Marchand, (F) Riley Nash, (F) David Pastrnak, (F) Ryan Spooner. (D) Zdeno Chara, (D) Torey Krug, (D) Kevan Miller, and (G) Tuukka Rask

Available Players

(F) Matt Beleskey, (F) Brian Ferlin, (F) Jimmy Hayes, (F) Alexander Khohlachev, (F) Dominic Moore, (F( Tyler Randell, (F) Zac Rinaldo, (F) Tim Schaller, (F) Drew Stafford, (D) Linus Arnesson, (D) Chis Casto, (D) Tommy Cross, (D) Alex Grant, (D) John-Michael Liles, (D) Adam McQuaid, (D) Colin Miller, (D) Joe Morrow, (G) Anton Khudobin, and (G) Malcolm Subban

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js