Bruins

Talking Points: Patrice Bergeron the only bright spot in brutal Bruins loss

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Talking Points: Patrice Bergeron the only bright spot in brutal Bruins loss

GOLD STAR: Anthony Duclair toiled with the Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets after some solid initial success in the desert with a 20-goal season on his resume, but it feels like the 24-year-old is enjoying a second life with the Ottawa Senators.

Duclair finished with a pair of goals and three points against the Bruins on Monday night and was making things happen pretty much every time he was on the ice. Duclair finished with two goals, three points, a plus-3 rating, six shots on net and five giveaways in his 16-plus minutes of ice time. Duclair’s first goal of the night gave the Senators a 2-0 lead and essentially put the Bruins deep in the hole before he iced things at the very end with an empty netter.

BLACK EYE: Torey Krug finished a minus-3 with just a single shot on net, and it could have been even worse if he hadn’t jumped off the ice just before Ottawa scored the first goal of the game in the first period. As it was, Krug had five shot attempts that were either blocked or missed their target and didn’t have enough offensively to help push along the Bruins power play when they really needed to do their damage.

Later on in the game Krug had some defensive issues as well and was among a number of Bruins players that finished with some pretty rough plus/minus numbers including Jake DeBrusk (minus-4), David Krejci (minus-3) and Brett Ritchie (minus-2).

TURNING POINT: The Bruins got a goal from Patrice Bergeron toward the end of the first period to halve Ottawa’s lead and went into the first intermission with a decent chance at winning the game. But then the Bruins came out and gave up a goal in the first two minutes of the second period and essentially let things slip through their fingers at that point. It was a botched play from Tuukka Rask, who attempted to play a puck behind the Boston net and just threw the puck to Vladislav Namestnikov, who set up Chris Tierney for the eventual game-winning goal.

It typified the gift goals that the Bruins gave them on the evening and made it clear it wasn’t going to be their night.

HONORABLE MENTION: Patrice Bergeron missed the previous seven games with a lower-body injury and returned to be one of the best players on the ice for either team. Certainly, he was the best player on the ice for the Bruins after scoring a first period goal that got the Bruins in the game.

Bergeron finished with six shots on net, 10 shot attempts and 16-of-25 face-off wins to go along with a blocked shot in 21:43 of ice time. It would appear that Bergeron didn’t have any ill effects from the injury and was fully ready to take on a regular, intense workload after coming back from the injury. The only good news of the night was how good Bergeron looked in his return from injury.

BY THE NUMBERS: 38 – the number of saves for Anders Nilsson, who was a massive factor for the Senators shutting down the Boston power play when it really mattered and holding the Bruins to just two goals on 40 shots.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He’s a true hero...he inspired us all with everything he did...we're going to miss him dearly." –Torey Krug to reporters on the passing of Bruins fan and ALS awareness advocate Pete Frates, who courageously inspired so many during his fight with ALS before succumbing to it this week.

HAGGERTY: Is complacency the only thing that can derail Bruins?>>>

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Bruins' David Pastrnak enjoying MVP-caliber season on NHL's best contract

Bruins' David Pastrnak enjoying MVP-caliber season on NHL's best contract

Don Sweeney has made several shrewd moves as Boston Bruins general manager, and signing David Pastrnak to a six-year, $40 million contract extension in 2017 stands above the rest.

It's become the best contract in the NHL among players who aren't on their rookie deals.

The Bruins exit their bye week Friday with a road game against the Winnipeg Jets, where Pastrnak will try to build on his league-leading goal tally of 37. He also ranks fourth in scoring with 70 points in 51 games. Barring injury, he'll almost certainly become the Bruins' first 50-goal scorer since Cam Neely in 1993-94.

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His advanced stats are stellar, too. The Bruins control puck possession at a high rate with Pastrnak on the ice. They own a plus-123 edge in shot attempts, a plus-63 advantage in shots on goal, a plus-67 lead in scoring chances and a plus-19 tally in goals scored during 5-on-5 play when Pastrnak is on the ice.

In a world where the best young players are getting as much as $9 million, $10 million, $11 million or more per season on their second contracts, Pastrnak is making far less than his counterparts. Pastrnak's contract ranks 74th among all players in salary cap hit at $6.67 million. His cap hit ranks 13th among all right wingers, 15th among players who've scored 20 or more goals and 15th among players with 50-plus points.

Speaking to reporters in November of 2018, Pastrnak had no regrets about the contract he signed.

Here's a look at all the forwards in the top 30 in scoring (as of Wednesday morning) who are 26 years old or younger and not playing on their rookie contracts. You'll notice that only three of the 16 players have a lower cap hit than Pastrnak, including none in the top five.

 

Auston Matthews is a tremendous player for the Toronto Maple Leafs who has scored 30-plus goals in all four of his NHL seasons, but is he really worth more than 1.5 times as much as Pastrnak? No, he certainly isn't. Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl is ultra-talented, but he plays two-thirds of his 5-on-5 minutes alongside Connor McDavid (the best player in the world). Draisaitl's cap hit is almost $2 million more than Pastrnak's. Mitch Marner is a damn good player who tallied a career-high 94 points last season, but he's not $4 million better than Pastrnak.

Pastrnak did not dominate in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, but to be fair, few of Boston's best players showed up in the last four games (of which the St. Louis Blues won three times, including a Game 7 victory in Boston). The star winger also didn't appear to be 100 percent after battling a thumb injury earlier that season. His overall playoff résumé is quite impressive with 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) in 42 postseason games.

There's no doubt Pastrnak's contract has been a huge advantage to the Bruins, but it's not even the best story when it comes to the team's salary structure. Boston's top trio of Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, also known as the "Perfection Line", is signed through 2021-22 at a combined cap hit of $19.6 million (!), which is absurdly good value and should help the team remain a top Stanley Cup contender in the short term.

(Salary information via CapFriendly)

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NHL rumors: Bruins reportedly interested in Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon

NHL rumors: Bruins reportedly interested in Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon

As the Bruins look to bolster their blue line, they are interested in trading for San Jose Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun. Dillon is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and LeBrun notes that he's "going to be dealt" by the Sharks.

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Here's what LeBrun said about a possible Dillon-to-Boston deal:

He’s a No. 4 for some teams, a No. 5 for others. I can tell you half a dozen teams so far have shown interest – including, I’m told, the Boston Bruins. Obviously a rugged defensive-defenceman in Brenden Dillon would be a nice fit there in Boston.

Dillon, 29, has one goal and 11 assists playing on the Sharks' top defensive pairing alongside Brent Burns. He carries a $3,270,000 cap hit, but will become a UFA after the season.

The Bruins have struggled to find their physical game throughout the season. Our Bruins insider Joe Haggerty notes that Dillon would add exactly what Boston needs -- "physicality and snarl" to the blue line.

San Jose, sixth in the Pacific Division with 48 points, has a plus-38 advantage in shot attempts, a plus-15 in shots on goal and a plus-16 in scoring chances in 5-on-5 play when Dillon is on the ice, according to Haggerty. At that rate, Dillon could be worth pursuing if he came at the right price for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney.

Haggerty says that if Dillon can be had for strictly draft picks, then he's worth snagging. LeBrun noted that Dillon could be had for a second-round pick and possibly a prospect, likely an ideal price range for Sweeney.

While Boston could add defense, they'll also need to address their second-line right-wing situation. Adding Dillon and a legit winger for David Krejci's line could be a tall order for Sweeney ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline.