Bruins

Why the Bruins should (and shouldn't) trade their first-round pick

Why the Bruins should (and shouldn't) trade their first-round pick


Don Sweeney said at the NHL combine that he’s willing to trade the 18th overall selection in this month’s draft. It’s something a GM should say, as it benefits no one to rule out all options this early. 

Yet should the Bruins actually move the pick? They’ve drafted well and they haven’t exactly crushed it in the trade market. Then again, the team has needs and plays in a bad (and therefore up-for-grabs) conference. 

Michael Felger expressed concerns over a possible trade involving the pick on Sports Sunday, which were warranted, but the Bruins shouldn’t necessarily be hell-bent on keeping the pick. Some things to consider: 

WHY THEY SHOULD TRADE THE PICK

- The Eastern Conference kind of sucks these days. The Senators made it to overtime of Game 7 of the conference finals. Plus, the Capitals won’t be able to keep the best roster in the conference together. 

So even though the Bruins are far away from where they once were, this conference might be there for the taking for a mediocre team. You’ve got to imagine the Lightning will bounce back, but adding another legitimate piece might actually make the B’s a contender in a very weak conference. 

- There are two obvious needs on the roster: Left wing and left-shot defenseman. If one is out there that’s at a reasonable age and price, the B’s would be wise to explore it. 

- Are they trying to contend or not? Zdeno Chara is in the final year of his contract, and although there’s a decent shot he’ll stick around on an extension, he’s 40. That he’s still a very good No. 1 defenseman is impressive, but there’s a whiz-or-get-off-the-pot element to the Chara window. 

WHY THEY SHOULDN’T

- The obvious question: What are they going to get? Sweeney has made three trades for  first-round picks, but he’s never traded a first-rounder himself. His track record of NHL moves is suspect, as his biggest moves in trade and free agency have netted the Bruins Jimmy Hayes, Matt Beleskey and David Backes, all of whom have been overpays. 

A move involving Boston’s first-rounder would present Sweeney to make a potentially significant addition via trade and correct past missteps. It could also add to the list, however. 

- What does a first-rounder get you? Excluding deals made by the Bruins, some recent trades at the draft have seen teams acquire Griffin Reinhart, Bobby Ryan and Robin Lehner. In the case of the Ryan trade, the Senators also had to add prospects. So what could No. 18 get the Bruins given their needs?

Two names that come to mind: Gabriel Landeskog, who is signed for four more years at a bad cap hit of $5.5 million and Cam Fowler, who is still 25 and has one year left on his deal. Fowler could be an interesting pickup for the Bruins given that he's a skilled left-shot defenseman and won't cost them big against the cap ($4 million). Plus, Anaheim doesn't have a first-round pick. If the Bruins set out to acquire Landeskog, they should aim to have the Avalanche eat at least $1 million a year of that cap hit. 

- As Felger pointed out, spending the pick plays to this group’s strengths. Charlie McAvoy was not the surefire consensus pick at No. 13 last year -- Jakob Chychrun and Dante Fabbro could have been the pick and nobody would have batted an eye -- but Sweeney and his group made a home run of a selection. Same goes for 2015 second-rounder Brandon Carlo. When you’re good at drafting and the jury’s still out on your trading, why not just draft? 

- With the buyout charge to Dennis Seidenberg bumping up by $1 million and David Pastrnak set to get something like $6 million a year as a restricted free agent, the Bruins are looking at already being in the upper $60 millions range with a $73 million salary cap ceiling. Perhaps the B’s can shed a pricy contract via trade or by the Knights taking one off their hands in the expansion draft, but it’s not like the Bruins can afford to add a ton of salary this offseason. 

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

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

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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