The Latest Bruins Trade Buzz

( Photo Credit: NBC Sports Boston )

By: Michael DiGiorgio  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BostonDiGiorgio

The NHL trade deadline is 20 days away, and the Bruins are the center of attention.  Pierre LeBrun, a senior NHL columnist for The Athletic, posted an article giving his perspective of plausible trades throughout the NHL.  He predicts Chris Kreider to the St. Louis Blues, Tyler Toffoli to the Calgary Flames, and Ducks’ Ondrej Kase to the Boston Bruins.  

The hypothetical deal would send Kase to Boston in exchange for a 2020 third-round pick and prospect Oskar Steen.  Steen is a former sixth-round draft choice in 2016 out of Karlstad, Sweden.  Oskar is currently playing on Boston’s American Hockey affiliate team, the Providence Bruins.  Steen’s scouting report has centered around his feisty play combined with a lethal shot.  He was able to show off that shot during a Bruins pre-season game in September 2019.

Bruins Coordinator of Player Development, Jamie Langenbrunner, has given his take on Steen’s abilities. “He should be a very effective player for us in Providence to start, and we’ll see how quickly he can translate that to be on the radar for [Bruce Cassidy] and the guys [in Boston].” He has 16 points in 47 games as he transitions from the bigger Swedish ice surface to the NHL-sized rinks.  European hockey leagues play on Olympic sized rinks (200×100), where the AHL and NHL play on 200×85 sized rinks.  Once Steen adapts to the smaller arena, he could be an effective piece for an NHL franchise.

Another Athletic NHL writer, Scott Wheeler, ranks NHL teams’ prospects pools each year and where each player ranks within each system.  He ranks Steen fourth-best in the Bruins’ prospect pool behind Jack Studnicka, John Beecher, and Urho Vaakananien.  “Steen has underperformed. We rarely see players his age have the kind of impact he had for Farjestad last year. He was consistently their most dangerous forward shift-to-shift.”  He goes on to say Steen is on his way to be a complementary piece on an NHL roster.

If you’ve watched more than three Bruins games this year, it’s clear the Bruins have a plethora of complementary players.  The Bruins are still searching for their top-six forward.  It would be a welcoming surprise if Steen could surpass the complementary piece trajectory and become a top-six winger.  Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney has been doing his due diligence throughout the year.  There have been reports that the Bruins have a “back-pocket deal in place for Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli.  LeBrun has Toffoli heading to Calgary, so if LeBrun’s predictions hold true, the Bruins would need to look elsewhere.

The Anaheim Ducks have had an extremely trying season.  They fired their coach and bought out the second-best winger in Ducks history (Corey Perry) this past off-season.  NHL analysts predicted their youth would carry them into a playoff spot.  Unfortunately, the Ducks sit 27th in the league standings, second-to-last in the Western Conference.  Their team has been depleted with injuries and a lack of consistency.

They have a few bright spots, due to strategic drafting.  Rickard Rakell is in-line to be their number one forward and John Gibson has been a highly-regarded goalie throughout the league.  Kase was once seen as a key cog in the Ducks’ future plans, but with how their past few seasons have ended, their General Manager could be looking to shake things up.  The Bruins would prefer Rakell but would have to offer a better package.  Anaheim is more likely to part ways with Kase.

Ondrej Kase was the Ducks’ 205th overall draft choice in 2014.  He spent his early hockey career in the Czech Republic and two invitations to the World Junior U-20 Championships.  Both years, he played alongside Bruins leading goal-scorer David Pastrnak.  The 24-year old winger is a versatile player who is featured in all of the games’ situations.  He currently plays on right-wing on Anaheim’s second-line.  He is featured on their second powerplay unit and has logged 30 minutes penalty kill time-on-ice.  He’s even registered one short-handed goal for the Ducks.

Kase showcased his incredible speed during this play and slick hands.  He is a shifty 5’11 forward who could fit nicely in the Bruins system.  In his first year with the Ducks, Kase recorded 15 points in 53 games.  The following year, he ended with 38 points in 66 games, but the injury bug started to latch on.  He would miss a few games due to a concussion and illness.

In his third year with Anaheim, he was on pace for a 55 point-season when he tore his labrum in his shoulder and would miss the next six months.  Fast forward to the current season, he has stayed relatively healthy playing in 46 games amassing 21 points.  His 21 points would rank eighth on the Bruins, tying him with Danton Heinen.  If he continues on his current pace, he will end the season with 37 points.

The point total is low, but he is playing on a horrendous team, and a change of scenery has paid dividends for players.  Charlie Coyle had endured a few consecutively rough seasons in Minnesota before being traded to Boston.  He was an immediate impact in the Bruins deep playoff run and is on pace for the third-highest point total of his career (41).  Kase could benefit from the same situation.  Kase would also be under the Bruins cap control through next season.  He is half-way through his 3-year, $7.8M deal and will be a restricted free-agent in 2021.

Don Sweeney has been wary of sending high draft picks to teams for rentals.  Chris Kreider is atop the NHL’s most expensive trade asset at the deadline.  It is almost a foregone conclusion the New York Rangers will net a first-round draft selection and a prospect for the impending unrestricted free-agent.  Most teams will likely be scared off by the high ask.  Tyler Toffoli is a name to watch if you’re a Bruins faithful, but the Calgary flames have also expressed interest.  If the Bruins want to avoid a bidding war, Kase could be their best option.

If LeBrun’s asking price is a third-round pick and Steen, Sweeney could be enticed enough to take the chance.  Anaheim may counter with a second-round pick instead and in that case, which is still a fair deal to be made.  Kase is not a rental, and he could potentially stop the Bruins’ top-six winger merry-go-round.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 164 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 Game 6 Preview: Anaheim Ducks

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PHOTO CREDITS: (USA TODAY Sports)

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

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our Canadian Bruins fans (including myself) and a Happy Columbus Day to all of our American Bruins fans. To celebrate, the Boston Bruins have their first matinee game of the 2019-20 season – a home game against the Anaheim Ducks. The Bruins were victorious, 3-0 over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night and look to win their second consecutive game today.

On the other side of the rink, the Ducks will be equally ready. The Ducks matched the best start to a season in franchise history with a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday. To begin the year, Anaheim is 4-1-0 and is 2-1-0 on their four-game road trip that ends today against the Bruins.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 1-1-0 1.53 GAA .957 SV% Last Game: 32 Saves in 4-2 Loss vs COL

ANA: John Gibson (Likely) 3-1-0 1.26 GAA .961 SV% Last Game: 26 Saves in 2-1 Loss vs PIT

Who’s Hot:

Another game, another strong performance for Brad Marchand and his season-starting hot streak is continuing full steam ahead. In Saturday’s win over the Devils, Marchand scored the eventual game-winning goal in the first period while adding in an assist later in the game for his second multi-point game of the year. Marchand now has 4-3-7 numbers in five games.

After five games played, there is one lone player atop the Anaheim Ducks player stats – 23-year-old winger Ondrej Kase. The 205th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has one goal and three assists this season and continues to look to play better and better, especially considering the fact that he missed a large portion of the 2018-19 campaign after undergoing shoulder surgery. The former 20-goal scorer can be a threat in this league and has done well throughout ’19/’20 thus far.

Patrice Bergeron scored his first goal of the season against New Jersey, extending his point streak to four games. Bergeron has been apart of the dangerous first line of the Bruins and has been dominant on the faceoff dot as well – to no one’s surprise, winning 55.77% of faceoffs taken this season. On the season now, the 34-year-old has 1-3-4 numbers in five games and will look to extend it against Anaheim today.

Who’s Not:

At one point in his career, Adam Henrique was a 50-point scorer in the National Hockey League, most recently hitting the plateau in the 2015-2016 season. Last season, the 29-year-old scored 42-points for the Ducks but has only one goal to begin the 2019-20 campaign – keeping him on a three-game pointless streak. Henrique has seen a jump in ice time over the past two games, so a breakout is possible soon.

Charlie Coyle was brought to the Bruins roster at the Trade Deadline last year and had himself a playoff run to remember, scoring big goals and adding depth scoring to the Boston team that helped push them to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Unfortunately this season, Coyle has only one assist in five games and has not found great chemistry at this point in time. We are still early on in the year, but the lack of offensive production should hopefully end soon.

Other than those two, not too many players on either roster are struggling. Both teams are near the top of the NHL right now and both teams bring their own style and strengths – looking good early to cap it all off.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Patrice Bergeron is one assist away (495) from tying Rick Middleton (496) for 6th-most assists in Bruins history

Anaheim Ducks:

  • F Adam Henrique is playing in his 600th NHL regular-season game
  • F Ryan Getzlaf is one even-strength goal away (176) from tying Paul Kariya (177) for 3rd-most even-strength goals in Ducks history

Bruins vs Ducks Outlook

Being in opposing conferences, the Bruins and Ducks only meet twice a year, but each game brings a different story and usually produces an entertaining hockey game. In 36 games between the two franchises, the Bruins have a 15-18-2-1 record against the California team – winning both games (3-0 and 3-1) in 2018-19.

On the official NHL standings today, both the Ducks and the Bruins are in the top-six in the league in points and with identical records, have the same amount of points. The Ducks have a better goal differential in comparison to Boston, scoring eleven goals while only allowing six against. Boston has scored twelve goals but allowed eight against over five games played.

Anaheim is known for being a big, physical team who, when hot, can be a hard team to pick up a win against. Goaltender John Gibson is expected to get the start, even though he has not been confirmed to be the starting netminder as of 11:45am EST, making it a tough matchup for the B’s. Gibson has a 3-1-0 record with a 1.26 goals-against-average and a .961 save percentage.

Specialty teams are a big factor in hockey games throughout the past few seasons and this game is evidence of that as well. The Bruins boast a 23% success rate on the power-play, (17th in NHL), and a 78.6% success rate on the penalty-kill (17th in NHL).

Anaheim is one of four teams to have yet to score a power-play goal, coming up short on all ten man-advantages presented to them. However, that is balanced out somewhat by their third-ranked penalty-kill percentage, killing off 93% of the penalties that they take. It should be interesting to see the battle of the strong Bruins power-play to Anaheim’s strong PK.

Bruins Lineup:

Bruins forward Brett Ritchie will lace up the skates against his brother, Nick Ritchie, today as well. Puck drop is scheduled for 1:00pm EST from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 149 that we recorded on 10-11-19 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!