Would you rather Bruins pay Shattenkirk or Chara?

Would you rather Bruins pay Shattenkirk or Chara?

Over the weekend, we ran a player-by-player free agency preview, which was led by one big point: The Bruins shouldn’t sign Kevin Shattenkirk. 

The reasons for this: The Bruins aren't exactly starved for right-shot defensemen and they don’t exactly have $6 million-plus to throw at something that isn’t a need. 


Somewhat surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be much of a faction of Bruins fans that disagrees. Though Shattenkirk has been linked to the Bruins over the years given their turnover on the back end and his history playing in Boston, fewer and fewer view him as the future savior he was once considered to be. 

So if the Bruins aren’t going to spend on Shattenkirk, should they spend on another free agent defenseman? The answer is still no, unless it’s cheap. What the Bruins need is stability on the left side of their back end as they wait to see if lefties Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril (and, down the road, Ryan Lindgren) can emerge as legitimate NHL defensemen to join righties Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo as potential long-term fixtures. 

The Bruins have 26-year-old Torey Krug locked in for three more seasons. Aside from that, the left side is entirely unclear. Zdeno Chara is 40 and in the final year of his contract. Kevan Miller has been used on his off-side and could potentially be left unprotected in the expansion draft. Joe Morrow is a restricted free agent who has yet to crack Boston’s lineup full-time. 

So really, the Bruins need to shore up the left side of their defense going forward more than they need to sign another righty -- especially if that righty warrants any sort of bidding war. 

One way of doing that is to simply extend Chara. The future Hall of Famer will play this season at a discounted cap hit of $4 million since his contract extends past his 40th birthday and such contracts see their salaries become their cap hits after 40. 

The Bruins could just wait until after next season to do that, of course. Simply waiting it out would allow the B’s to see if Chara regresses or if the team is less competitive than expected, in which case they could entertain trading him. 

Yet if the Bruins were intent on spending money this offseason on a defenseman, they’d be better of spending less of it on an older Chara than more of it on a less-effective Shattenkirk, so the question was posed: 

The voting indicated a preference among 3,613 fans to pay Chara (64 percent of the vote) rather than Shattenkirk (36 percent), and that’s the correct line of thinking. Shattenkirk is in his prime, but Chara is still the more effective player given that he plays bigger minutes (Shattenkirk averaged 19:56 this past season; Chara hasn’t averaged fewer than 23 minutes a night since 2001-02) and plays against other teams’ top players, which is the Bruins’ bigger defensive need. 

For time being, the Bruins don’t need to give out either contract, but their priority should be stabilizing the left side however they can rather than further adding to the right. 

Morning Skate: Bruins troll Felger for lack of confidence

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Morning Skate: Bruins troll Felger for lack of confidence

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the Bruins are going into troll mode.

*Here is the aforementioned “troll mode” for the Bruins now that they’ve clinched a playoff berth. They came out with a marketing campaign where they’re dragging FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Felger for his early season take that the Bruins season is over. He also ripped the young players at the beginning of the year as well, so they used the sound from “Felger and Mazz” with video clips of David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy dominating for the Black and Gold, and shots of the young players mean mugging at the camera. It definitely shows that the Bruins perhaps care a little too much about what the media thinks about them, but it’s also a fair bit of clap-back toward a take that was a little too harsh on the B’s early in the season.

*What a great piece on the Stoneman Douglas hockey team as they embark on a national hockey tournament after winning at the state level in the weeks after the Parkland shooting.

*Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman says the Hawks aren’t shaken even as they’ll be missing the playoffs for the first time in a long time. What a disappointing season.

*Despite a great season, Taylor Hall may end up missing the playoffs with the New Jersey Devils amidst his Hart Trophy-type season.

*Good news for the Toronto Maple Leafs as Auston Matthews is returning from injury ahead of the playoffs

*For something completely different: This new, updated version of the Karate Kid web series looks awesome with Billy Zabka and Ralph Macchio.



Cassidy eyeing possible Bergeron return this weekend

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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 six points 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.