Haggerty to Bruins: Just say no to Carlo-for-Duchene deal

Haggerty to Bruins: Just say no to Carlo-for-Duchene deal

A couple of days after the opening of NHL free agency, the dominoes have yet to fall for a Colorado Avalanche team in need of a makeover. Matt Duchene is the main name rumored to be moved this summer, just like last summer, and a number of teams -- including the Bruins -- are reportedly involved in trade discussions for the speedy Avs center.

According to a couple of tweets from Columbus Post-Dispatch reporter Aaron Portzline, the Bruins are involved in talks with Colorado for Duchene, and the name of 20-year-old defenseman Brandon Carlo has again cropped up:

"There are some teams that I've spoken with that may have players that we're interested as well," B's general manager Don Sweeney said vaguely on July 1 after the first day of free agency. "I can't guess where it actually falls in the next few days, but there are some players that [we are interested in]."

Carlo, a Colorado Springs native, was prominently mentioned last season when the Bruins discussed a trade with the Avalanche for left winger Gabriel Landeskog, but the B's wisely avoided any temptation to deal their young defenseman.

Duchene, 26, is a speedy, skilled natural center who averaged 25 goals and 61 points per season in the first seven years of his NHL career before slumping to 18 goals, 41 points and a grotesque minus-34 in 77 games in 2016-17. Other teams, like the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets, are also heavily in the market for Duchene, who carries a $6 million cap hit for the next couple of seasons. He would be a welcome addition to the Bruins, based on his offensive track record and the speed with which he plays the game, but the cost is the thing.

The B's would have to part with a top young D-man in Carlo and presumably would need to do more to simply make the numbers work on their own salary cap. The Bruins have roughly $13 million in cap space, and nearly half of that figure is expected to be taken by David Pastrnak once the restricted free agent agrees to a new contract.

There's also the issue of where a natural center like Duchene would fit in the lineup, given that Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are signed for the foreseeable future. Perhaps he could be shoehorned in as a left wing for Krejci as the Bruins search to fill that position, but that would leave Boston with way too many centers (Duchene, Ryan Spooner, David Backes)  playing out of position.

The bottom line: A reloading team like the Bruins, bringing along youth and prospects, should never deal a 20-year-old defenseman like Carlo, who's only completed the first year of his entry-level deal. Carlo and Zdeno Chara could form an extremely effective shutdown pair for the next two or three years at very affordable contracts, and Carlo gives the B's a much different look on the back end than many of their offensive-minded prospects like Charlie McAvoy, Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon. If anything, Boston should be pushing a package that includes Spooner as a cheaper roster replacement for Duchene, and a prospect like Zboril who could be part of Colorado's core group moving forward.  

The Bruins were wise to avoid the temptation to mortgage a young player like Carlo to make a bad, short-term deal last season. They should do the same this summer.

Cassidy eyeing possible Bergeron return this weekend

File Photo

Cassidy eyeing possible Bergeron return this weekend

Bruins star center Patrice Bergeron has been dealing with a fractured foot injury since late February. He sustained the injury while blocking a shot in the loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Coach Bruce Cassidy is predicting a return for Bergeron this weekend against the Minnesota Wild if he is medically cleared. He will be evaluated tomorrow.

Depending on the results from the evaluation, there might not even be a need to rush Bergeron back with the Bruins clinching a playoff berth in a 2-1 OT loss to the Blues yesterday evening.

MORE BRUINS: Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues​

The Bruins currently sit two games behind the Tampa Bay Lighting for first place in the Atlantic Division. Ten games currently remain on the B’s schedule with the Presidents' Trophy also hanging in the balance.

If the B’s decide to make a run for the Presidents' Trophy, Bergeron would definitely provide a boost in play in addition to leadership for the final stretch of the regular season.


Now that they're officially in, Bruins need to get healthy

Now that they're officially in, Bruins need to get healthy

Here’s what we learned from the Bruins' 2-1 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night at the Scottrade Center:

1) This team is now bona-fide playoff material. 

We knew this was coming for months after the Black and Gold went on an epic three-month hot streak that catapulted them to second place in the Atlantic Division and within a couple of wins of catching the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now that the Bruins have hit the 100-point mark and clinched the playoffs with the overtime point they got Wednesday, it’s now going to be about positioning for the postseason. That means giving all their injured players ample time to heal and be as close to 100 percent as possible and perhaps even eventually giving up on catching the Lighting for the No. 1 overall seed if it means sacrificing anything for full readiness in the postseason. But that’s a story for the first few weeks of April. On this Thursday, let’s just appreciate a Bruins team that’s clinched a playoff berth weeks ahead of time and is considered one of the odds-on favorites to go on a run this spring. Whether it’s fighting through the adversity of  injuries, getting major contributions from perhaps the best rookie class in the history of the Black and Gold or showing the heart of a champion in many, many memorable comeback wins, the Bruins have shown an “aura of greatness” this season. Not the greatness that comes along with being a longstanding dynasty, but the greatness that comes along with the promise they hold for doing great things in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This Bruins team is worth your time and interest and could very well produce the best sports experience for a Boston fan this spring. All of those bode very well for where the Bruins are headed.

2) How about that Ryan Donato? 

Two goals in two games is pretty darned good for the 21-year-old and he once again showed his nose for the net and his excellent shot while burying a puck on edge in the slot area thanks to a bad decision Alex Pietrangelo. All that being said, Donato was very quiet after that point in a heavy, physical game and didn’t do much after Dmitri Jaskin blasted him into the side boards in the second period. Clearly, Donato is courageous for a young guy and has the willingness to go to the scoring areas, but it will be instructive to see how he responds to the heavy, hard-hitting treatment he’s going to get in the NHL. As he scores and gets notoriety, there is going to be more punishment and hard hits thrown his way and it’s going to be up to him to adjust and continue to be as effective. Donato will get that chance, but he now knows it’s not going to be as easy as it looked on that first night at the Garden.

3) The Bruins could use some good health soon.

With Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes and Rick Nash among others missing from the lineup, the Bruins become a much smaller, weaker team that’s increasingly easy to pick on. That’s exactly what the Blues did after falling behind early. There were heavy St. Louis hits thrown all over the ice, including the culmination when Brayden Schenn drilled David Krejci in the corner of the rink. The Bruins never really responded to any of it and instead just kept taking hits and eventually got totally worn down in the third period and overtime when they were just hanging on for their playoff point. Certainly, they can survive in games here or there playing that way, but more Bruins are going to get hurt if opponents are allowed to simply tee off on them as they did on Wednesday night. That won’t be good for anybody associated with the Black and Gold.


*Anton Khudobin was blaming himself for the two goals allowed after the game was over, but the truth is that the Bruins wouldn’t have even got their playoff-clinching point if Khudobin hadn’t stopped a Dmitri Jaskin shot with his goalie mask in the closing seconds. Khudobin was the losing goalie, but he made the big save when the Bruins needed him on Thursday night.

*Donato scored the only goal of the night for the Bruins on a loose puck in the slot that was on edge. He now has two goals and
four points in his first two NHL games. Donato was pretty quiet after that, but how much can you really expect out of the 21-year-old at this point?

*All of the St. Louis offense was supplied by Jaden Schwartz, who beat the Bruins with a wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle in the third period and then went on a breathtaking one-man rush in OT for the game-winner. Schwartz stepped up with Vladimir Tarasenko down and injured right now.


*One shot on net for David Pastrnak in 20-plus minutes. He did alter the path of the Alex Pietrangelo clearing attempt that turned into Ryan Donato’s goal, but was otherwise quiet in a very physical game.

*Nick Holden played almost 25 minutes of ice time and blocked four shots in the absence of Boston’s top three defensemen and was, by and
large, pretty good throughout the game. But he did back off and give Schwartz way too much room to work with on the tying goal. It was also a tough line change as well, but somebody needs to step up and slow down the Blues there.

*Danton Heinen was called for slashing in the second period on a play that was literally a one-handed tap with the stick on a completely
inconsequential play. The NHL really needs to take a chill pill with these slashing calls. That one was bogus.