Could Oliver Ekman-Larsson Become A Bruin?

Dylan Strome, Charlie McAvoy - Arizona Coyotes v Boston Bruins
( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images )

By: Lucas Pearson | Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

Oliver Ekman-Larsson would look excellent in black and gold. With the recent news that Arizona is looking to shed salary (and quite a bit of it) I’d think anyone not named Barrett Hayton and Jacob Chychrun could be in play, including their captain. According to Elliot Friedman, the Bruins are interested, and why wouldn’t they be? 

OEL has been a workhorse for one of the worst teams in the league over the past ten or so years. He’s never missed more than seven games a season and absolutely eats up icetime for the Yotes. The Swede has averaged over 24 minutes a game since his rookie season and has hit double digit goals in six straight seasons (and would’ve likely been seven as he finished this year with nine before the shutdown). He’s an excellent skater and would do wonders in a prominent role with the Bruins.

Ekman-Larsson would also benefit one man more than most, that being Charlie McAvoy. McAvoy’s defensive game has improved a ton because of the living legend that is Zdeno Chara, but it’s pretty clear that the Boston University product looks way more dynamic with a partner that can skate (see: Matt Grzelcyk). If the five time all-star was paired with McAvoy, they would be one of, if not the most dynamic defensive pairings in the league. Their superb first pass as well as their legs would make the two dangerous in any zone on the ice. So if you’re Don Sweeney, why don’t you go after Ekman-Larsson?

The Contract

NHL: NOV 27 Bruins at Senators
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So as good of a player OEL is, his contract will certainly scare some people away. He’s locked up for another seven years at a cap hit of $8.25 million. Now if I’m being honest, the cap hit isn’t as big of an issue as it may seem. If we think of OEL as a replacement for Krug, the cap hit doesn’t look too bad. With Krug likely to get upwards of $7 million on the open market, you’d think a guy as good as Ekman-Larsson is worth the (give or take) million more AAV than the more one-dimensional Torey Krug. But the bigger issue is the term. 

At seven years, the contract will take the Swede to his age 35 season, and we’ve learned paying mid-late 30’s players doesn’t really turn out too well. I will say, given how Ekman-Larsson plays the game and his essentially non-existent injury history gives me some hope he would still be able to play at a pretty high level throughout his contract. But it’s still too tough of a gamble to take. 

The Price

Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) scores past Arizona Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper, top, right wing Michael Grabner, right, and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(Photo Credit: AP Photo Ross D. Franklin)

Hefty contract or not, the Coyotes are not going to just gift their captain to any team. You gotta give to get. As for the package for Ekman-Larsson? In terms of recent trades featuring big time defensemen, I look at the deal for Jacob Trouba as a bit of comparison. He’s another dman thats making $8 million a year that was traded to the Rangers after a big year in Winnipeg. He was able to net a 1st round pick and young defenseman Neal Pionk. 

If I’m the Bruins, Brandon Carlo is off limits, I would rather dangle prospect Urho Vaakanainen instead. With the defensive depth in their system and in the NHL right now, moving someone like Vaakanainen isn’t the end of the world, especially when you’re left and right side are pretty full. But I really can’t see the Coyotes doing a deal without getting Jake Debrusk in return. He’s cost controlled and would allow them to trade some of their veteran forwards making hefty money (Derek Stepan, Michael Grabner etc) to regain some draft stock. Add that with at least a 2nd round pick and likely another young forward, maybe Karson Kuhlman or Zach Senyshyn and that is a huge price to pay. 

So ultimately, if I’m Don Sweeney, do I pull the trigger? If OEL’s contract was five years at $7 million, I would think looooong and hard about it, but unfortunately that’s not the contract OEL has. The NHL is a cap league and adding $8 million to your cap isn’t a recipe for success. I hope if Torey Krug leaves, the Bruins can find a suitable replacement, but I don’t think Ekman-Larsson is within the cards. 

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 195 that we recorded below on 9-21-20! 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!

Which Bruins Have Played Their Last Game With The Team?

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By: Lucas Pearson | Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_

The final game of the year always hurts. It’s inevitable that there will be departures from the roster, it’s just a matter of who. After as crazy of a season you can get, it’s going to be a very interesting offseason for the Bruins. Don Sweeney is going to have his work cut out for him. Here’s a list of a few players that we may have seen the last game of them in the spoked-b.

Torey Krug

Everyone knew going into this season it may be Krug’s last in Boston. The UFA to be is going to enjoy a nice pay raise this offseason after years of success. A season after leading the playoffs in assists, Krug was a bit of a disappointment in this year’s postseason. That’s not necessarily all on him however, his usual partner Brandon Carlo also seemed off and their usual superb play was one of the many reasons the Bruins couldn’t reach the cup yet again. It really hurts to type this, but with everything that’s been floating around online, I think TK47’s time with the Bruins has come to an end. I’ll certainly miss him.

Zdeno Chara

From all I’ve seen, I think the big man will be back next season. He wants to be back in a Bruin’s sweater and despite having no legs, he’s still effective in certain roles. Nobody’s saying he’s an ultra-dynamic defenseman, but he continues to be one of the better penalty killers in the league. If the Bruins bring him back for just above a million for a season, I don’t see the problem with it. Let him continue to be a leader, give him 16-17 minutes a night, start him in the B’s own zone and he’ll do just fine. 

Joakim Nordstrom

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Seven
( Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images )

I think we were all surprised how good Nordstrom was. Coming off of a two goal season with the Hurricanes, the signing by Don Sweeney raised a couple eyebrows and those eyebrows stayed up (this time in a good way) after watching him play. There wasn’t a second when Nordstrom wasn’t working his ass off. He puts his body on the line each and every shift whether he’s blocking shots or hitting everything in sight. He was so damn good in their Cup run last season.

But in all honesty, I can’t see Nordy coming back to Boston next season. The Bruins have so many kids vying for spots (Zach Senyshyn, Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, Karson Kuhlman, the list goes on) so it doesn’t really make sense to give a veteran like Nordstrom a raise to play bottom-six minutes (which is why I didn’t really get the Chris Wagner resigning but that’s a story for another day).

Nick Ritchie

To say that the Nick Ritchie trade has worked out would be an understatement. He had three points in 15 regular season and playoff games and just didn’t look good. He was out of shape and simply didn’t fit anywhere the Bs tried to play him. He was acquired to be muscle with a scoring upside but there wasn’t much of the latter. The Bruins have always wanted to gain size, but they’ve always seemed to force a move to fix that issue. Remember Jimmy Hayes? I think that Reilly Smith kid is doing just fine potting 20 a year and averaging just about a point per game in the playoffs with Vegas. But with all that being said, I think it’s too early to give up on Ritchie. He’s making just under $1.5 million a year and a full offseason with the team would do wonders. Get Chara to whip him into shape and I think he could still be a solid player for this team. Remember, he’s still just 24 years-old.

John Moore

Cover Image
( Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports )

John Moore has been a casualty of the Bruins great depth on the back end. With young guys like Connor Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon playing some great hockey, the veteran Moore has been lost in the shuffle. He hasn’t been terrible by any means, but when you have a guy making $2.75 million sitting in the press box more often than not, that’s not a recipe for success. Could they buy him out? Maybe. But I think a team looking to get to the cap floor could give a late pick to the Bruins to get a serviceable dman in return. 

Tuukka Rask

I really hope this wasn’t the last of Tuukka in a B’s sweater. I don’t think he’ll get moved, but there is word out there that Sweeney has gauged the market on Rask. The man had the best GAA and 2nd best save percentage in the league, you don’t trade him if you want to win. It’s a shame that he had to leave the bubble in this year’s playoffs but I can’t see a single scenario where the Bruins are a better team without Tuukka in net. If the Bruins show up in Game 7 last year, Rask walks home with the Conn Smyth and the Stanley Cup and all the stupid “Rask stinks” narratives are out the window.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 195 that we recorded below on 9-21-20! 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!

Are The Boston Bruins Leaning Toward Cheaper Options This Offseason?

( Mandatory Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports )

By: Matt Barry | Follow me on Twitter @oobcards

The Boston Bruins seem to be in many trade conversations from several different sources around the National Hockey League. General manager Don Sweeney has allegedly put feelers out on the interest level of several players. Anders Bjork has been talked about as a player that has drawn interest from the Edmonton Oilers, possibly in exchange for winger Alex Chaisson. Restricted free agent Jake DeBrusk’s name has been mentioned as a trade chip as the Bruins look to add a left-shot defenseman to replace unrestricted free agent Torey Krug, who is unlikely to re-sign with the club. Even Tuukka Rask and David Krejci, each with one year left on their current deals, might be involved in the right move.

The general consensus has been that Sweeney would like to use the over $14 million in salary-cap space the team has to restructure the roster to make another run at the Stanley Cup. However, when the top unrestricted free agents such as forward Taylor Hall are discussed in trade rumors, the Bruins have not been in that conversation much. In fact, in recent days, Boston has been linked to lesser tier players like Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen (RFA) or Nashville’s Craig Smith (UFA). These additions would more than likely cost less than a higher-end free agent or a more high impact trade acquisition.

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The Bruins have spent to the cap or close to it for the last several seasons. Owner Jeremy Jacobs has opened the bank account far more frequently than he had years ago. But, much of the revenue that Jacobs’ company Delaware North generates comes from the concessions that are sold during TD Garden events. Since March, there have been no events at the arena and significantly less money than in a typical year. Many teams are struggling with the prospect of beginning the 2020-21 season in a bubble scenario with no fans. If this happens, there will continue to be very little revenue from events.

So who is to say that, while most people just assume that the Bruins will continue to spend and improve the roster, it could be a case where the Bruins look for cheaper options to try to fill holes in the lineup. Boston could actually use some of their younger prospects like center Jack Studnicka and Jeremy Lauzon and insert them into the NHL roster full time. The Black and Gold could also re-sign Matt Grzelcyk to a more affordable deal and have the former Boston University star play on the top defensive pair with Charlie McAvoy. DeBrusk could sign for a less expensive “bridge deal,” and the Bruins might sign defensemen Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller to one-year minimum contracts. There are also opportunities for buyouts of the contracts of Nick Ritchie and John Moore.

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With all the anticipation surrounding this supposed busy offseason and roster revamp for the Boston Bruins, it could be that Jacobs and Sweeney see an opportunity to keep the payroll down until the league finalizes a plan for the next season. Maybe the team is trying to be proactive and cautious about adding payroll and taking this opportunity to reset the roster some and see what the team has in their young players. Time will tell, but I would not be so sure that Jeremy Jacobs’ Boston Bruins will be spending to the cap just before a season that could be much the same as the last.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 195 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!!

Zdeno Chára|Charlie McAvoy|Time to Pass the Torch?

Photo courtesy of WCVB – Boston

By: Maria from Watertown | Follow me on Twitter @mariaofh2otown

The dates of July 1, 2006 and June 24, 2016 will be part of “this day in history” timeline for the Boston Bruins. On each of these dates, the Bruins procured two players whose paths have intertwined for the last four seasons and will have a lasting impact on the franchise.  One of these players has cemented his legacy as a member of the Boston Bruins, while the other is still working his way towards building that legacy in a Bruins uniform. I’m referring to the free-agency signing of Zdeno Chara and the drafting of Charlie McAvoy.

There is no argument that can be made regarding the significant impact that Chara has had on the franchise since joining the Bruins in 2006. Chara was immediately named Captain and although his early years with the Bruins were a struggle, Chara’s commitment to the organization and his teammates, as well as his sense of community, has never wavered throughout his time in a Bruins sweater. By all accounts, teammates and coaches have nothing but respect and admiration for how Chara has conducted himself both on and off the ice. 

Photo courtesy of the Sporting News

Chara himself proved that commitment by agreeing to a very team-friendly deal this past season while also accepting somewhat of a diminished role on the team.  Great leaders lead by example and do what is in the best interests of the team. Mission accomplished where Chara is concerned. It also doesn’t hurt Chara’s legacy that he was a significant contributor to a team that brought a Stanley Cup back to Boston “after 39 long years”!

Photo courtesy of The Athletic

At the time the Bruins drafted Charlie McAvoy on June 24, 2016, there was nearly a 20-year age difference between Chara and McAvoy. McAvoy was heralded as the future of the Bruins defensive core and it did not take him long to get a taste of playing with the big boys.

McAvoy made his NHL debut in a playoff game against the Ottawa Senators on April 12, 2017 as a result of injuries to key Bruins defensemen, Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug. Talk about being thrown from the frying pan into the fire! It made perfect sense to pair the young protégé with the elder statesman, Chara, and McAvoy did not disappoint. McAvoy logged a little over 24 minutes of ice time during this game, which was second only to the Captain, who logged a tick over 25 minutes of on ice time.

The Bruins went on to win the game and McAvoy reflected back on that experience during an interview with Andrew Mahoney of Boston.com:

“That was incredible,” McAvoy said via Zoom Tuesday. “It was a dream come true, because that was my first NHL game, and that was my entire life. That was all I wanted to do was play in the NHL, and that was my chance. “And to have it in that playoff atmosphere was incredible. The nerves, the excitement. All of it.”

When asked about playing with Chara, McAvoy said the following:

“He’s just such a great guy,” McAvoy said. “He’s our leader, and all that he’s been able to do in his hockey career is incredible. Playing with him has been awesome, and it’s something that I’ll be able to tell my kids about one day, that I was able to play with the big guy.”

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Chara and McAvoy have been relatively steady defensive partners throughout McAvoy’s early career. Both players bring different skill sets to their positions. Chara has never been known for his skating speed, but he makes up for that with his size, long reach and his mere physical presence. McAvoy is fast, generally makes smart decisions with the puck and shows signs of offensive explosiveness.

During the last four seasons, McAvoy has had the privilege of working with and learning from Chara, who will certainly be in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Whether or not the Bruins decide to move forward with resigning Chara, I believe that it is time to hand the defensive torch to Charlie McAvoy and allow this potential beast of a hockey player to be unleashed.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 195 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!!

Assessing The Boston Bruins Salary Cap Situation

( Photo Credit: AP Photo / John Locher )

By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge

Most Boston Bruins fans know the feeling of having their team pressed against the salary cap ceiling. It has actually been a common thing for the Bruins for most of this decade. Due to some bad contracts and having a deep, skilled roster, the Bruins haven’t had too much freedom entering most off-seasons.

The 2020 offseason is going to be an interesting one. For the first time in what feels like forever, the Bruins are actually in an okay spot compared to most teams. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the scheduled increase in the league wide salary cap has been cancelled and will remain the same.

Looking back at the past half decade, the Bruins have had some less than stellar contracts on their roster. By this, I don’t mean the fans that say Tuukka Rask or David Krejci are making too much because at that point, you’re just looking for something to complain about. I mean the David Backes and Matt Beleskey contracts.

( Photo Credit: Minas Panagiotakis / Getty Images )

Before I get into the numerics, in no way am I bashing these players. These are good hockey players that just happened to not work out in Boston. However, with that being said, with that comes a bad contract because the production didn’t equal the value.

For the past few years, the Bruins have been paying Backes $6 million per year, and while Beleskey was with the team they were paying him $3.8 million per year. Both of these players are not with the team so it gets a little more complicated now. Beleskey was a part of the Rick Nash trade back in 2018. Up until just this year, the Bruins were paying some retained salary on that contract. Backes was just moved to Anaheim this year and the Bruins will continue to pay $1.5 million per year in retained salary for the duration of his contract, which ends after next season. What most don’t know either is that until this year the Bruins were continuing to pay Dennis Seidenberg as a result of a buyout.

Now, the only thing on the books in terms of “dead money” is the $1.5 million owed to Backes. This is the best situation the Bruins have had in years. As of September 25th, 2020 and according to CapFriendly, the Bruins have roughly $14.4 million in cap space with notables like Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, Jake Debrusk and Matt Grzelyck to sign. You can speculate whether Krug and Chara will be back, but the fact of the matter is they have room to get deals done.

( Photo Credit: Jim Rogash / Getty Images Sport )

Another important factor to consider is the NHL’s buyout window opens today, September 25th. While the Bruins don’t have any really bad contracts on the books, could they look to clear up some more cap to take a run at a top free agent? While I personally believe the Bruins wont buy anyone out, one contract that I could see them getting off the books is John Moore. The defense on the Bruins is loaded with talent and he has been in and out of the lineup with his $2.75 million cap hit over the next three seasons. However, you can argue that if Krug does leave, his role becomes larger and he will be a valuable asset.

Time will tell what the Bruins do with their cap space, but the fact of the matter is the Bruins are in a very decent spot with their money compared to other teams. Trust in Don Sweeney.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 195 that we recorded below on 9-20-20! 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!

Kyle Palmeri Is Still The Answer For The Bruins

( Photo Credit: Ed Muhlhollan|USA Today Sports )

By: Jack Gotsell | Follow me on Twitter @jackgotsell

The Bruins are still in need of a top-six winger after the addition of Ondrej Kase did not quite go as planned. At the deadline, the Bruins kicked the tires on Kyle Palmeri and this offseason Boston will kick the tires again. Could Palmeri be a Bruin and would it make sense? 

First, we have to start with what would it take to get Palmeri? Palmeri has only one year left on his deal and he would be a rental who is most likely going to look to cash in on his next contract. The price would likely be the Bruins top defensive prospect Urho Vaakanainen and a 2021 first-round pick. This is a steep price when you consider the Bruins would go three seasons without making a first-round selection.

Palmeri is listed here as trade bait.

Palmeri is 29-years-old and had 25 goals, 20 assists, and 45 points in 65 games last season. He would be the finisher that Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci need on the second line to give the Bruins secondary scoring. This would leave a line of Anders Bjork, Charlie Coyle, and Kase as the third line which would be one of the best third lines in the NHL.

If you make this trade happen and buyout Nick Ritchie, the Bruins are left with just over $4.6 million dollars of cap space to still sign a left-shot defenseman. This is if you sign Debrusk on a bridge deal for four million and Matt Grzelcyk on a deal with a $3.5 million dollar cap hit. This is why Palmeri is the perfect player to go after. He comes at a cheap price for his production with a cap hit of $4.65 million dollars. 

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If injuries happen which they always do you call up Jack Studnicka to fill in a top-nine role and Trent Frederic to fill in on the fourth line if an injury happens there. This is an ideal scenario for the Bruins being able to replace Torey Krug with a defenseman with $4.6 million dollars of cap or around three million dollars if you decide to bring back Zdeno Chara for one last run. If we can make these deals Matt Borowiecki, an assistant captain for the Ottawa Senators, is going to hit the free agency market and could be the perfect piece to replace Krug on the second pair while providing additional leadership in the Bruins locker room.

Palmeri is a consistent 20-plus goal-scorer who has been on a contending team only once in his nine consecutive NHL seasons playing over 20 games a season. With line-mates like DeBrusk and Krejci, it could really spark Palmeri’s offense and allow him to have the stats most NHL fans think he’s capable of putting up. This line would be your true power forward, playmaker, and finisher line that Bruins fans have been clamoring for.

Giving away your first-round pick three years in a row is not something any NHL team wants to do. However, if this is the last year for this nucleus before the window closes it may be the answer to fill the voids and stay under the cap. Palmeri may be the Bruins all-in move if they are to succeed in bringing a parade and a cup back to Boston. Before we start the engines on the Duck boats Palmeri has to not sign an extension and the Bruins need to be the front of the line to make a competitive offer for his services.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 195 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!!

The Bruins Are Chasing The Lightning

( Photo Credit: Odds Shark )

By: Tyler Smith | Follow Me On Twitter @foxboro_ty

Where do the Bruins go from here? After being ousted from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in two of the last three years by the Tampa Bay Lightning, it’s clear the Bruins are chasing the Eastern Conference Champions. This offseason is a make or break time for the Black and Gold. Don Sweeney needs to build a roster this off-season that can compete with, and ultimately defeat the Lightning if they want to achieve their ultimate goal of winning a Stanley Cup.

Currently, the Lightning has a deep, talented team without any real weaknesses. Tampa Bay has speed and skill with the likes of Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, and Steven Stamkos. They have a big mobile defensive group commanded by perennial Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman. At the trade deadline, the Lightning addressed their needs for more grit within their group with the additions of Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman to go with Yanni Gourde to form an effective, grinding, third line. The Bolts bottom-six production was a strength for them, and a matchup nightmare for opponents in the playoffs. The Lightning has all the ingredients to play any style. Tampa can outscore you, outskate you, outhit you and grind you down. The goaltending is pretty good too, with Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy between the pipes.

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The Lightning is facing a cap crunch next season. Tampa has only 15 of 23 players on their roster under contract for next season and around 5.33 million dollars to spend. With this cap space, the Lightning need to resign RFA defencemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak as well as forward Anthony Cirelli. All three players will be getting raises, with Sergachev looking for a significant bump from his entry-level contract. These three players alone will probably eat up all of the cap space, and Tampa will still need to fill in the rest of their roster. The Lightning is going to have to move someone off their current squad to be able to fit all of these contracts. Tampa Bay General Manager Julien BriseBois will have to make some good players available. I think anyone not named Kucherov or Pointe will be made available.

The roster decisions looming in Tampa will give the Bruins the opening they need to close the gap on the Lightning. The Bruins are in much better salary cap shape than the Lightning, with more than $14.43 million to spend and only needing to fill four spots on their NHL roster. The B’s have four UFA’s (Krug, Chara, Nordstrom, and Kevan Miller). The Bruins and Krug appear to be heading for a parting of the ways. Both the club and the Michigan native need to do what’s best for them. Chara will be back on a team-friendly one year contract as a third pair, penalty-killing defenseman, that will play to his strengths. The black and gold will let Nordstrom and Kevan Miller both test free-agency as the Bruins have similar players that can step in. That brings us to the RFA’s, Matt Grzelcyk and Jake DeBrusk.

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Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney will try to resign both players, but the rumors regarding DeBrusk and his asking price led Sweeney to make DeBrusk available. Boston may include the young winger in a trade to get them a first pairing left-shot defenseman. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Noah Hanifin are both possibilities, and either would be a welcome addition to the Bruins backline. The Bruins have the cap space to add a piece or two after they take care of Grzelcyk’s contract. The B’s need to add a legitimate scoring threat to the top six, a second-line right wing. There have been scoring wingers mentioned with Taylor Hall, Nic Ehlers, Josh Anderson, and Evgeni Dadonov, the most notable names.

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What does all this mean? The combination of the Lightning having to move some players and the Bruins being able to add to an all-star core will close the gap for the Bruins. Boston must improve their left side defense and add scoring punch to the top six. With those improvements, the Bruins could have a legit shutdown pair with a new number one left defenceman to go with Charlie McAvoy, and a new wingman to create some scoring balance within the top-six forward group. A new top pair left defenceman allows players to slot in more naturally behind him. Grzelcyk would go from the third pair to the second pair, which is a better fit for him. The scoring winger pushes Kase, and Bjork, and some others who have been on the second line carousel down to the third line. The Bruins depth would be improved substantially within the top nine and would still have Kuraly, Wagner, and possibly Frederic to create havoc on the fourth line. The Lightning still has depth and talent, but with some strategic moves, Don Sweeney should be able to position the Bruins as their equal.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 195 that we recorded below on 9-21-20! 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!

Zdeno Chara “Made For This” Bruins Docuseries Debuts!

(Photo Credit: NHLonNBCSports)

By: Evan Michael | Follow me on Twitter @00EvanMichael

It feels like we’ve “seen it all” these past few seasons from the Boston Bruins. Heart-pounding games. Heart-breaking losses. Memorable moments. Forgettable flops. Truly, everything from A – Z!

Well, when it comes to the letter of a specific B’s sweater, one Black N’ Gold Captain can now share how he’s truly made for this… for the team, the town, the sport and perhaps even one more go-around at The Cup.

NBCSN debuted a brand new docuseries on beloved Boston Bruin Zdeno Chara entitled Z: Made For This. And to say it’s been a career in the making would be an understatement. More like a lifetime.

From the official press release:

Zdeno Chara: Made For This, a four-episode docuseries celebrating the historic career of Boston Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara and detailing his first-person account of childhood, family and on-ice leadership as a member of the Boston Bruins for the past nearly year-and-a-half, will premiere tonight at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, leading into the 2020 NHL Awards presented by Las Vegas program. An encore presentation of the episode will air following NHL Overtime at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Zdeno Chara: Made For This, produced by Shadow Lion, chronicles Chara’s journey to NHL stardom and followed “Big Z” throughout the teams run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019, the offseason, as well as the 2019-20 regular and postseason, which has been a season unlike any other, with the NHL’s 142-day pause in play due to COVID-19.

The first episode features interviews with Bruins teammates Patrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak and Brad Marchand as they battle against the St. Louis Blues to a Game 7 in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, but also touch on the passion and leadership of Chara on and off the ice.

A trailer for Zdeno Chara: Made For This can be viewed here.

Throughout the series, a number of Bruins teammates, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Chara’s family members are interviewed, who touch on the character of the Bruins captain throughout Boston and his native Slovakia.

The second episode will premiere on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, leading into a one-hour edition of NHL Live that begins pre-game coverage of Game 3 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. Air dates for episodes three and four of Zdeno Chara: Made For This will be announced in the near future.

As the release notes, Part Two (in what will undoubtedly “B” an epic series) premieres before the start of game three of the Stanley Cup Finals this week. Future episode air-dates will be released at a later date. That certainly sounds like date-night viewing, in my humble hockey opinion!

Here’s to “Big Z”. Hopefully, unlike the eponymous alphabetical letter of the D-man-led docuseries, this won’t be the last time we get to see him in a Bruins jersey.

Check out the latest BN’G Podcast Episode 195 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!

And make sure to check out, follow and subscribe to our ever-growing BN’G YouTube Channel for tons of Boston & Providence Bruins Content!

Evaluating The Bruins Leadership Group

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Joey Partridge | Follow Me On Twitter @joey_partridge

On-ice performance, at the end of the day, is what people tend to judge a hockey team by. However, what if I were to tell you that the on-ice portion of a hockey team is actually a minimal part of what goes on with a hockey team?

As a college hockey player myself, I can say that what goes on in the locker room plays a huge part in how the team plays on the ice, and it all starts with a strong leadership group. Sure, you can argue that the head coach can control all of that, but the fact of the matter is they can’t. If you have a great coach but poor leadership and character in the locker room, it just isn’t going to work.

This is where I love the Boston Bruins. On the ice, they’re a great team, and no one is disputing that. Off the ice, they’re an even better team. That group of guys in that locker room is so tight-knit that the usual bumps and bruises that teams go through don’t seem to faze the Bruins, and it starts with the captains.

Zdeno Chara is a world-class human being. Everything you hear about that man is positive and upbeat. He has been the captain of the Boston Bruins ever since he stepped in in 2006. To be able to lead a team for that long and for all the success they have had, he deserves a lot of credit.

( Photo Credit: Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images )

Leadership doesn’t just mean the captain, however. There is also a man by the name of Patrice Bergeron. Ever heard of him? Bergeron would be the captain on almost every other NHL team, but since Chara has been there and been the captain, he is the alternate captain. Bergeron doesn’t complain about his role at all, which is what makes this group so unique.

Further down the list, you have the other veterans such as David Krejci and Brad Marchand, who split time wearing the ‘A’ on their sweater. Notice anything about all of these guys? They are all veterans and are on the backside of 30 or 40 in Chara’s case. Chara is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and there is some uncertainty about whether he will be back. Krejci is entering his last season on his deal as well. So, who is up next to lead this team?

Barring anything unforeseen, Bergeron will be wearing the ‘C’ for the Boston Bruins when Chara does eventually hang them up. After that, it can get interesting. Marchand and Krejci will still be leaders, but I am interested to see what happens with the younger core. Does a guy like David Pastrnak turn into a leader and prove he can teach the even younger guys?

The one player that I believe will take a huge step not only in developing his own game but turn into a big leader moving forward is Charlie McAvoy. That is one asset of hockey you can’t really teach, and he just has it. He was an alternate captain in his sophomore (yes, you read that right, sophomore) year at Boston University. He was named the alternate captain to the United Staes world junior team that won gold in January of 2017. He has been a leader before, and I believe the Bruins are in good hands with this younger core.

( Photo Credit: Claus Andersen / Getty Images North America )

As I mentioned, the off-ice leadership plays a huge role in the team’s success. Bruce Cassidy has stepped in and turned this team into contenders right away, but he doesn’t take all the credit for himself. “I think this leadership group is second to none,” Cassidy said, entering the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. “I’ve said that probably since my second week on the job here. Those guys are fantastic, and they sure make a coach’s job a lot easier.”

With all the speculation about who the Bruins will add to the roster, it can be tough to remember who they do have. They have a great core of leaders now, and they have a great core of upcoming leaders. Try not to stress Bruins fans; they have a good thing going and look to continue that for years to come.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 195 that we recorded below on 9-21-20! 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!

Do The Bruins Have A Potential Trading Partner In The Calgary Flames?

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

By: Dan Anderson | Follow Me On Twitter @DanAnderson5970

As the aging core lineup for the Boston Bruins has limited time to win another Stanley Cup, Don Sweeney has been busy trying to find the right combination of players to put the team over the top. Trades for Rick Nash and Ondrej Kase in recent seasons have not worked as planned. With free agency pending October 9th, 2020, the Bruins are looking, aggressively, for upgrades.

One such team that the Bruins could target is the Calgary Flames, and two players specifically: Noah Hanifin and Johnny Gaudreau. Hanifin is a similar player to Brandon Carlo in both age and playing style but plays left defense. There is a difference in contracts in that Carlo becomes an RFA after next season while currently making $2.85M. Hanifin is under contract through 2024 at $4.95M. With Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara both UFAs as of October 9th, and Matt Grzelcyk an RFA at that time, John Moore is currently the only left defenseman on the roster.

Would the Bruins consider a straight-up trade? In theory, Hanifin and McAvoy become the first line, Grzelcyk and likely Jeremy Lauzon become the second line, with Chara coming back for one more year paired with Connor Clifton on the third line. Calgary might like this trade to add a right-handed shot, as they currently are overloaded with left shooting defensemen.

Gaudreau is apparently on the trading block. Arguably their best player, he isn’t far removed from thirty plus goal seasons and close to one hundred points. He would undoubtedly be an immediate upgrade if the Bruins decided to trade Jake DeBrusk, an upcoming RFA, who will be looking for a pay raise over his 863K rookie deal. Gaudreau is four years older and carries a contract that pays him $6.75M through the 2021-2022 season. Both Gaudreau and Hanifin played at Boston College for Jerry York’s Eagles. Hanifin was born in Boston.

While on paper, this deal would appear to favor the Bruins short term, Gaudreau and Hanifin for Carlo and DeBrusk with other possible add ons, there are some concerns. If this trade is made, it is highly unlikely the Bruins could sign Torey Krug. Might his rights be part of the deal? I don’t know that Krug would want to play there, but Calgary doesn’t have an offensive defenseman. Calgary is also weak at left wing, with ex-Bruin Milan Lucic on the third line, and at center, where the Bruins have several prospects. Could Nick Ritchie be sent to Calgary? Gaudreau would address some offensive concerns but adds another smaller player to a team trying to get bigger. Adding cap space might be attractive for the Flames as they are likely rebuilding.

The Bruins are also light on picks early in this year’s draft with no first or second-round choice currently. Calgary is without their third, and fourth-round picks this year, so a draft pick exchange would seem unlikely and make a possible trade harder, but it’s not hard to see why the Bruins might want to add both Hanifin and Gaudreau.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 194 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!!