Bruins

Bean: Yes, the Seguin trade was a disaster, but let's talk about the Hayes trade

Bean: Yes, the Seguin trade was a disaster, but let's talk about the Hayes trade

Did you hear the Bruins are buying out Jimmy Hayes? Did you know he was the last part of the Tyler Seguin trade? God, that trade sucked, huh? 

Yes, it did. It was the worst, but do you know what else sucked? The Jimmy Hayes trade and the Bruins’ motivation to do it. There can never be enough bashing of the Seguin trade, but Friday’s news shouldn’t change anyone’s opinion on that front. Let’s talk about the Hayes move. 

The Bruins intended to sign Matt Beleskey at the open of free agency in 2015, but they didn’t want to put the finishing touches on anything until they moved some money. Their way of doing it: shipping Marc Savard’s contract (two more years of a $4.017 million cap hit, which they’d in the past stashed on LTIR) and Reilly Smith (entering a two-year deal worth $3.425 annually) to Florida in exchange for RFA Jimmy Hayes. 

In other words, they swapped out Smith for Hayes, hoping to receive the same offense for less money. It wasn’t a bad plan in theory given that Hayes had just scored 19 goals at age 25 and that the Bruins had obvious reservations about Smith’s consistency. 

Yet despite the move being applauded because Hayes was a local boy and Smith was maddening to watch, Smith was the better player. Then Sweeney signed Hayes to a three-year deal worth $2.3 million annually. 

Hayes was a risky fit from the jump. In his introductory press conference, a question about him considering himself a power forward was laughed off, but it should have been an obvious concern. Hayes is not a physical player and Boston has not treated players with size well unless they’re absolute monsters. Hal Gill attested to this at the time. 

Smith went on to score 25 goals with 50 points in his first season in Florida. He then got overpaid on a five-year extension with a $5 million cap hit, regressed to 15 goals last season and is now a Golden Knight. 

Hayes’ 13-goal debut with the Bruins was considered a disappointment, but it was terrific compared to the two-goal, five-point season he mustered through 58 games last season. Rather than give him a third chance or bury him in the minors, Sweeney elected to use a buyout. 

Few Bruins fans lose sleep over Smith, but his trade, like a very poor man’s Seguin’s deal, represents poor asset management. The B’s turned Smith into nothing but dead money against their cap for the next two seasons. And they did it in order to sign Beleskey to a contract they regret through two of five seasons. 

Then there’s the buyout aspect. This is the second time Sweeney has bought out a player in as many summers. Last June, he moved on from Dennis Seidenberg, who had two years remaining of a bad Chiarelli deal with a $4 million cap hit. He then replaced Seidenberg by bringing back John-Michael Liles on a one-year, $2 million deal. This was, as it seemed at the time, the wrong move. 

Seidenberg was not worth $4 million a year anymore. Not even close. Yet the move was to keep him on the roster for one more year in a diminished role (such as the one Liles had), then buy him out with one year remaining on the contract. That way, the B’s would only have two years of dead money. Instead, they spent $3.16 million on his roster spot between the buyout and Liles’ hit, plus $2.16 million in dead money next season and $1.16 million in the two following that. 

In buying out Hayes, the B’s will pay $566,667 in dead money next season and $866,667 the year after after. It’s not the end of the world -- they’d have to pay $1.35 million against the cap next season by burying him in the AHL, but free agents would take notice of that -- but the money adds up when considering the B’s will pay $2.73 in dead money next season. 

So yes, the Hayes buyout officially ends the terrible, terrible Tyler Seguin trade, but let’s not forget the Hayes trade and its moving parts are plenty worth criticism on their own. 

David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

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David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

TORONTO – The Bruins top line totaled up 20 points in the first two games, and the B’s took both of those against the Maple Leafs. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak had zero points in Game 3 on Monday night at the Air Canada Centre, and the Bruins ended up dropping that game to the Leafs. 

So clearly the Bruins’ playoff fate could be strongly tied to the ebbs and flow of their top forward trio, but the hope with the B’s is that the formula won’t be that simple throughout the postseason. A big part of the reason the Bruins gave up a boatload to the New York Rangers in exchange for Rick Nash was to acquire another forward capable of shouldering a scoring load, and turn Boston’s second line into a much more dangerous group. 

All three members of the B’s second line, David Krejci, Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk, all have goals during the best-of-seven series, but they also came up empty in Game 3 with Krejci and DeBrusk only managing two shots on net between them. They know that they’re capable of more given the offensive talent on the ice, and given that so much defensive attention is being paid to neutralizing Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak rather than them. 

“We had lots of good looks. I missed a couple. We had lots of good looks that just didn’t go in,” said Krejci. “So we need to work extra harder [in Game 4] to bury those chances and have them end up in the back of the net. We need to stick to the game plan and respect the game plan.”

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Nash had five shots on net and some pretty good chances, but the best scoring chance was a DeBrusk dangle and pass to Krejci wide open at the net. It looked like the puck hit a rut on the ice and Krejci was never able to settle it down for a shot despite the nice-looking pass, so that line is left biding their team for another chance to carry the offense. 

“I think that’s the main reason why we’re the second line. We all have attributes that can help this team. It hasn’t really come to the table yet, but I still thought that we generated chances [in Game 3], and I think our whole team did. It just wasn’t bouncing our way,” said DeBrusk. “It’s frustrating, but at the same time you take the positives from it. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to get harder from here on in. Hopefully our top line does their thing, but if not then we’ll be ready to hopefully help out in that category.”

The Bruins top line is ready, willing and able to shoulder the lion’s share of the scoring burden for the Black and Gold, and most nights they’re going to be able to live up to that kind of responsibility. But if the Bruins want to beat the good defensive teams and become a much more difficult team to play against in the postseason, they’re going to need to start getting production from a second line that should be built to play the power, puck possession game in the postseason.

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Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for seventh straight season

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Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for seventh straight season

TORONTO – At some point, they’re going to have to start thinking about re-naming the award after Patrice Bergeron himself.

The Bruins center was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy on Wednesday night for the seventh consecutive season, and is going for his NHL-record fifth trophy for being the best defensive forward in the NHL. Bergeron was named a finalist along with Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. Bergeron finished his 12th NHL season with 30 goals and 33 assists for 63 points with 26 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating in 64 games.

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He ranked fifth in the league in faceoff win percentage (57.3, min. 1,000 face-offs), 12th in face-offs won (784), third in even strength faceoff win percentage (58.0, min. 500 face-offs won) and first in shorthanded faceoff win percentage (58.3, min. 50 face-offs won). The 32-year-old forward also ranked second overall in the team puck possession metric SAT (shot attempts differential), with a 57.56%, which should make the fancy stat nerds very happy.

Some might argue there other more worthy candidates given that Bergeron missed 18 games due to injury this season, but he was also the center of a line that didn’t give up an even strength goal until January while putting up his customarily excellent stats. That being said, a guy like Aleksander Barkov also deserved plenty of consideration outside the top-3 finalists that all come in with equally strong chances of taking home the award.

Bergeron has won the Selke in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017. If he wins the year's Selke Trophy, he will break the record held by four-time winner and Montreal Canadiens Hall of Famer Bob Gainey. The Selke Award is given annually to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season, and will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20.

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