Hagg Bag: Plenty of suggestions to improve Bruins' offense

Hagg Bag: Plenty of suggestions to improve Bruins' offense

The Bruins are off to a 5-1-1 start to the regular season, and the Perfection Line has accounted for 14 goals in those seven games. The Bruins are coming off a shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning where their power play struck for three special teams goals and they went toe-to-toe with one of their biggest divisional opponents.

Still, there’s also the sneaking feeling that this team isn’t anywhere close to playing its best hockey and that they need more help up front if they’re going to enjoy a diverse offensive attack. Right now, they are relying on their Perfection Line way too much, and that’s where the fans come in with their trade and prospect insertion ideas.

As always the Hagg Bag mailbag is full of real tweets sent to my Twitter account using the #HaggBag hashtag, real messages to my NBC Sports Facebook fan page and real emails from real fans to my email address.

Now, on to the bag:

Dear Haggs,

The Bruins have been trying to find a right winger to play with Krejci it seems like for centuries. With Taylor Hall being an unrestricted FA at the end of this year and no long term deal with NJ in sight for him and with the Devils struggling mightily, NOW IS THE TIME TO POUNCE! The Bruins have a plethora of young players who would fit the Devils young core “rebuild”. Pairing Hall with Krejci and possibly Kuhlman I think would put this team over the top in the East this year. Even if it’s a rental deal for Hall, this is the type of player the Bruins NEED. Would love to hear your thoughts on a deal built around Heinen and Bjork and more for Hall??

Would love to hear your thoughts on this if they can make the cap room work.

Justin Forman

JH: Obviously, the Bruins would and should be interested if Taylor Hall becomes available, just like the rest of the 30 other NHL teams – well, maybe 29 since I don’t Edmonton would be in the running for him either – because he’s a Hart Trophy-level talent. Two seasons ago, he had 39 goals and 93 points and realized the potential that’s always been there since he was drafted No. 1 overall by the Oilers back in 2010.

Unfortunately, the cap gymnastics and asset requirements to get him are just one part of the problem. There’s also the issue that Hall is pretty much a left-wing, left-shot forward on a Bruins team that has plenty of left-wing, left-shot forwards already stocked on the roster. Now, one could make the argument that Jake DeBrusk would be one of the pieces going back to New Jersey in exchange for Hall, and that would create a space for him on the second line teaming in a dynamic pairing with David Krejci.

It's interesting to be sure, but it also still wouldn’t address the Bruins issues on the right wing behind David Pastrnak. The Bruins might even be able to afford Hall after this coming season with dead money (Seidenberg and Hayes buyouts) and a possible David Backes buyout clearing significant cap space, and a real question as to whether 42-year-old Zdeno Chara will be back again next season.

Would a package of DeBrusk, Jakub Zboril and a draft pick be enough to land Hall should the Devils decide they’re not going to be able to re-sign him? Interesting thought, but I think we’re a long, long way from that happening.

Yes or No....(LW)DeBrusk to Vegas for (RW) Tuch. Line you’d create Bjork-Coyle-Tuch #Haggbag

--Mike C (@mcolesr)

JH: Yes. I would do that 100 times over. No offense to DeBrusk, who scored 27 goals last season, but Alex Tuch is 23, 6-foot-4, 200-pounds and is coming off 20 goals and 52 points last season while also playing on the right side. I like DeBrusk as a player, but I also wonder how much better he’s really become the past three seasons. I might start to consider him in trade talks given how many other left-wing-types the Bruins have in their organization. That doesn’t even count that Tuch went to Boston College and the local college hockey thing is a big check in favor of any players in the eyes of Bruins management.

Was at the game – [Mike “Sarge” Riley] is fine but should stop doing Jim Martin’s “wooooo” after announcing Bruins goals. Doesn’t work for the guy

--Mark (@bostoncig)

JH: Dude, the Bruins use a recording of Ric Flair from a past wrestling event at the Garden. They always have. Hang your head and feel shame, Mark.

You have full casting control over the next Spider-man movie and a Bruins player has to appear. Cast someone as a villain or any other character.

--Dave Green (@DavidMGreen)

JH: Great question, Greenie. Man, I wish Claude Julien was still the head coach. He would have been a pretty great Vulture, or even better as a French-Canadian Kingpin. How about Zdeno Chara with a mustache as Kraven the Hunter? I think he’d be pretty believable wearing that African hunting safari get-up. Jake DeBrusk is probably the best Peter Parker candidate on the roster, but I don’t think anybody on the B’s roster gets to be Spider-Man.


Haven’t we been saying this same thing for a few years now? It might be time to take some of these youngsters and move them for a legit 2nd line RW. Eventually you gotta stop saying give the kids a shot when the problem is the same 2-3 years later.

--Bryan Deyermond (@Bryan_BSF)

JH: Yes. I think it might be that time. We’ll see, though. They may be able to make another Marcus Johansson deal at the deadline to get them through another season while giving up a minimal cost. But I do believe they need to bring in another dynamic top-six forward, preferably a right wing, if they want to get over the hump to again be a Stanley Cup Final team the next few years.

They certainly have enough young guys to spare a few in a trade. But I also think they should probably take a look at a healthy Anders Bjork up in Boston before they go the trade route.

#HaggBag How impatient are you getting waiting for The Rise of Skywalker trailer Lucasfilm is supposed to be coming on Monday Night Football?

--Alissa Boops You (@curvymermaid617)

JH: I am very, very impatient. I sense a good feeling in the Force with JJ Abrams in charge of this movie with a chance to undo some of the bad feelings perpetuated among the Star Wars fan base following The Last Jedi. I didn’t hate that movie per se, but there was enough I didn’t like about it that I left wondering what the point of the movie was aside from trying to go in a different direction from so much of the Skywalker saga before it. I just think it was a big misstep. I mean, anybody that thought Princess Leia Poppins was going to be this big emotional scene was truly mistaken.

Hey how many 5v5 goals do they have?? Just saying....Bruins have a 5v5 problem in general

--Rob Petrella (@RobPetrella)

JH: The Bruins have 19 goals this season in seven games. They have scored eight PP goals, so that means the B’s have only 11 5-on-5 goals in seven games and they have only four players besides the Perfection Line that have scored 5-on-5 goals this season. In other words, they are again struggling in even-strength play after being a bottom-third even-strength team last season as well. They need more scoring talent up front if they want to become a better 5-on-5 team and therefore be a better, more well-rounded team come playoff time. It all points toward the Bruins needing an upgrade among their top-six forward group, and it will be interesting to see how Don Sweeney goes about doing it this season.

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Bruins-Oilers Talking Points: David Pastrnak won't be denied in OT

Bruins-Oilers Talking Points: David Pastrnak won't be denied in OT

GOLD STAR: David Pastrnak has some nights when he plays well and there are other nights when he’s the single biggest reason the Bruins win a game. Wednesday night was more the latter than the former as Pastrnak set up Boston’s only goal in regulation and then scored the winner in overtime after breaking behind the Edmonton defense before scoring his 43rd goal.

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Pastrnak finished with a team-high six shots on net and a whopping 13 shot attempts in 18:17 of ice time with a plus-2 rating. Pastrnak was whistled for a tripping call in the final couple of minutes of the third period and seemed to be on a mission from the time he got out of the box prior to getting that OT breakaway chance. There was little doubt he wasn’t going to come through.

BLACK EYE: I don’t know who Patrick Russell is, but he played 3:31 in an OT loss for the Oilers when Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse pulled close to 30 minutes in the game for an injury-ravaged roster. So, perhaps it could have been a different outcome if Russell could have lightened the load for some of Edmonton’s top players.

The truth is, though, that the Oilers are going to struggle for as long as key guys Connor McDavid and James Neal are both out. And there wasn’t much from a negative perspective to write about for the Edmonton players in a competitive game they could have easily won against Boston.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins came out strong in the first minute of the second period, didn’t score but then battened down the hatches for the rest of the middle 20 minutes.

Edmonton outshot the Bruins 18-9 and peppered Tuukka Rask on a few power-play possessions in the period, but the Bruins didn’t buckle under the pressure. Instead, Rask stopped all 18 shots he faced in the second period and wasn’t beaten for a goal until the third when a high deflection made it past the Bruins goaltender.

Part of the reason the B’s eventually picked up the full two points was how well they kept the puck out of the net in the second.

HONORABLE MENTION: Rask has been excellent coming out of the All-Star break and he was that kind of good against the Oilers on Wednesday night. Rask stopped 28 of 29 shots, including making saves on those 18 shots in the second, including a couple of Oilers power plays.

Rask only allowed a deflected goal in the third that tied the score on a shot that he couldn’t have been expected to save. Otherwise, he was perfect and continues to team with Jaroslav Halak to be one of the unquestioned strengths of this team.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0-for-7 – the Bruins went 0-for-7 on the power play in one of the few things to be discouraged about from a B's perspective.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Just a little breakaway, and I saw him try to poke-check so I decided to go five-hole there. Lately, we’ve been good [in overtime] so hopefully, we’re getting some confidence back.” –David Pastrnak, on NESN talking about his overtime game-winner.


NHL Highlights: David Pastrnak scores in OT to give Bruins 2-1 win over Oilers

USA TODAY Sports photo

NHL Highlights: David Pastrnak scores in OT to give Bruins 2-1 win over Oilers

FINAL SCORE: Bruins 2, Oilers 1 (OT)

IN BRIEF: David Pastrnak scored his NHL-leading 43rd goal on a breakaway off a feed from David Krejci with 3:46 remaining in overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 victory over the Oilers in Edmonton as the B's began their Western Canada trip by winning their fourth in a row and for the 10th time in 11 games.  BOX SCORE 

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BRUINS RECORD: 38-11-12, 88 points (1st in Atlantic Division)





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