Bruins

Trade scenarios and MCU chatter dominate this week's Hagg Bag

Trade scenarios and MCU chatter dominate this week's Hagg Bag

The Bruins have been up, down and all around during the recent stretch with injuries to so many of their regulars, but confidence is coming off a weekend sweep of Toronto and Ottawa while still without Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara. Did that confidence transfer over into high confidence among the Hagg Bag questioneers? Well, not exactly. As always these are real tweets sent to my twitter account, real messages sent to my NBCS Facebook page and real emails sent to JHaggerty@nbcuni.com. Now on to the bag!  

Joe:

A question for you regarding the Bruins (who I believe are trending down, despite last season's record) and in particular, the value of Brad Marchand.  It has not escaped the eyes of more than a few people that Marchand contributes little without Patrice Bergeron on the ice.  Over his career, playing without Bergy we have seen 3rd line results at best.  I think you could score 20 goals a season with Bergy as your pivot.

Having watched guys like Crosby and recently, McDavid, make any linemate (Rust, Guentzel, Kunitz, Maroon, etc.) just that much better, doesn't it seem that trading a guy like Marchand for a younger guy for less money who can score regardless of who centers him would be of value? Being a known pest has had little value to this team, especially when he is not producing in any facet of the game. I would rather see a Brock Boeser type guy on the ice for us at this time. I know you are a fan of Marchand, but his value is still high enough to get something back (very good young guy and a 2nd round pick) that would better serve this team going forward.

Your thoughts?

JT

JH: Well, just this season Marchand has two goals and nine points in 11 games without Bergeron in the lineup, so I’d say that’s better than third line production just from that small sample size. Look, I agree he’s not the same player when Bergeron is out of the lineup, but let’s also factor in that guys like Colby Cave, Joakim Nordstrom and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson have been his center for most of that time. When David Krejci has manned the middle with Marchand and David Pastrnak for the last couple of games, all of a sudden you see Marchand going for four points and 10 shots on net in the last couple of wins for the Bruins.

Even during what’s been a bit of a down goal-scoring season for him, Marchand is on pace for 22 goals and 79 points this season, and should be trending up on offense once Bergeron returns to the lineup. Given what Marchand is as a player and the fact that he’s a bargain at around $6 million per season, he would definitely have value on the trade market, but I wouldn’t deal him given how important he is to No. 37 and to the team's identity. Marchand is an entertainer and a very good player. The type of player that people pay money to watch play.

You don’t trade those kinds of players until you’re absolutely sure A) their best years are long behind them and B) you’re getting a player that’s young and going to be elite for a long time. Not many of those guys on the trade block…ever. So the quick and easy answer is I’m not interested in trading Marchand even if he has the occasional haywire moment on the ice with his discipline. He’s just too good to move somewhere else.   

Hi Joe. With Chara, Moore, Krug, Grz, Urho, Lauzon, and Zboril all LD, do you think one will be dealt for a 2W or 3C? What kind of return could they expect? #HaggBag

--Ray Guarino (@rayguarino)

JH: I’ve been saying that I thought Torey Krug would eventually get dealt for a young skill forward since last summer, and I’m sticking with that. He’s got value given his offensive production and the amount of minutes he’s able to play, and his cap hit isn’t going to bust up anybody’s salary cap either. I’m sure they’d like to trade Jakub Zboril at this point, but his stick hasn’t exactly blown up since he was selected in the first round. Maybe a team has liked something they’ve seen in Jeremy Lauzon to this point, and there’s some value there. But Krug is the only one that’s going to potentially land you the impact forward you’re looking for to add to this Bruins roster.

What could you expect in return? Well, a young winger/center that’s got some cost certainty and could play a top-6 role. Take your pick on any of them.  

Disappointed Daredevil canceled on Netflix. You?

--Stewart-Allen Clark (@StewartAllenCl1)

JH: Yes. Season three of Daredevil was really well done. But you knew as soon as Disney was starting its own streaming service that the Marvel Netflix series were in trouble. My only hope is that these actors and characters will show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point, but we’ll have to see how that all plays out. One thing remains a fact no matter what happens: Vincent D’Onofrio was phenomenal as Kingpin.

#HaggBagg Ryan Donato seems to be the only potential top 6 forward that hasn't played with Marchand and Pastrnak. I think trying him at center on that line with Bergeron out is worth a look. Do you?

Jimmy McDonough (@jimmydunna)

JH: I’ve watched Ryan Donato try to play defense at the NHL level, and I don’t think he’s ready to play center. He’s been much better offensively since coming back up from Providence and it seems like he’s starting to find his goal-scoring groove again, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that mojo by putting NHL center responsibilities on his plate.

Maybe a few years from now when he’s fully entrenched in the two-way game, but for now I don’t think Donato at center would be ideal.

Was Thanos the reason that the attendance in that B’s-Panthers game looked so low? #HaggBag

--Dave Green (@DavidMGreen)

JH: That’s the best explanation I’ve heard yet for the woeful attendance at a Florida Panthers game. They all turned to dust when Thanos snapped his fingers. Spoiler alert! Well done, Greenie.

Hey Joe -

Thinking Zach Senyshyn read your article last week. Living in Southwestern Ontario I was able to watch the Marlies/P-Bruins game on TV and he popped two and then one in each of the next two games giving him nine for the season. Outside of last night’s game, if the B’s continue to struggle scoring maybe give him an audition for a game or two with Jake DeBrusk (when he returns). Like what I saw of Peter Cehlarik and Trent Frederic that night as well.

I will be at the Ottawa game for my nephew’s 18th B-day. Unfortunately he is a Leaf fan.

DJ

London Ontario

JH: Nice observation, DJ. Look, I hope that Zach Senyshyn steps up his game and becomes the top-flight NHL winger that Boston thought they were getting in the first round. He’s got size, he’s got speed and he scored a ton at the junior hockey level. But the fact remains he’s just been okay in his first couple of pro seasons for the Providence Bruins, and he still really hasn’t scored on a consistent basis like they thought he was going to. As I mentioned in the piece, he’s also the only first round pick from that 2015 NHL Draft – aside from the Russian goalie drafted by the Capitals – that hasn’t yet appeared in an NHL game to this point in his career. So he’s got some work to do, and that’s obvious given that the Bruins haven’t tried to call him up yet this season.

I think Peter Cehlarik is a nice depth player with some upside, but I do agree that Frederic is going to bring some strength, toughness and attitude to this Bruins team. I’d like to see him up sooner rather than later, but clearly the Bruins want him to get a little more seasoning in just his first full season of pro hockey.

Happy Holidays

1. Does Captain Marvel rescue Tony Stark on her way to earth? 2. With a healthy B’s lineup, which one of a legit 3C, goal scoring top 6W or top 4D? #HaggBag

--steven gilbert (@irishbruinfan)

JH: I am digging that first idea. Man, how cool would that be to see Captain Marvel just show up to rescue Iron Man’s bacon before he inevitably sacrifices himself at the end of Avengers: End Game to reverse the Thanos snap.

The Bruins definitely need a goal-scoring top-6 winger the most. I actually don’t want to see them trade for a third line center because either Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson or Trent Frederic is going to be that guy in the future. So why give up assets for a player that’s just going to block one of those two guys from stepping up and contributing. I still want to see Frederic at the NHL level because I think he might be the guy, but the Bruins aren’t there yet and JFK has definitely shown flashes (three goals and a strong game vs. Sidney Crosby) in his brief time with the Black and Gold. I’m more of a believer in his game now than I might have been a year or two ago.

#HaggBag Haggs, first off - happy holidays to you and the family! Two questions: 1. It's game one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Who do the Bruins have in net, and why isn't it Tuukka? 2. Is Ant Man (gross) the secret to the Avengers victory in #Endgame?

--Josh Chace (@JOSHinHD)

JH: It’s Jaroslav Halak. Just look at who is playing in the big games against the Toronto Maple Leafs this season. But I also think it could easily turn into a situation where both goalies end up playing in a postseason series and the B’s will just roll with the guy that’s playing better.

I think the quantum realm, time travel and, yes, Ant Man are all definitely going to factor strongly into the Avengers eventual victory. I don’t mind that at all because I love Paul Rudd playing a superhero and have enjoyed both of the Ant Man movies. He brings some really necessary comic relief to what can become very epic, serious Avengers movies pretty quickly.

Hi Joe!

Interesting reading that GM Sweeney was recently in Edmonton (v. Calgary)?  And the names of Krug, DeBrusk, Heinen, RNH plus were being tossed around for a possible deal.

First, I would NOT include DeBrusk in any deal and leery of unloading a defenseman now with Chara, Miller, Vaakananien on IR, uncertainty of McAvoy’s health.... and not getting more in a deal with Oilers than RNH and his $6M?!

Second, for all we know Donnie may have been scouting Calgary with interest still in Hanifin? Now would a combination of Krug, Heinen, JFK or Donato for Hanafin & Tkachuk be feasible? B’s get younger and size on back end with Hanifin and certainly offensive upside & grit in Tkachuk.  DeBrusk and Tkachuk flying up and down wings with a Krejci or a younger pivot would be dynamic! Thinking long term and not just a ‘band aid’ fix for this season....

Thanks!

Ron

Saitama, Japan

JH: I like the way you’re thinking, Ron, but I don’t think there’s any way in the world that Calgary is going to trade Noah Hanifin and Matthew Tkachuk. I will admit, though, the idea of Tkachuk in a Boston Bruins uniform is the kind of thing that would make Bruins fans giddy. I do think Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a more realistic target, though I don’t think he’s the ideal fit for what the Bruins need in a big, strong winger that can score goals. He’s more of a possible top-6 center that can eventually push David Krejci down into more of a third line supporting role, or give them a decent scoring wing that’s almost more of what they already have in average-sized skill wings.

I’m not sure we’ll ever see Edmonton and Boston pull off a trade, but I can also tell you that I think the Oilers are on Torey Krug’s no-trade list. So I don’t think it’s going to be him moving to Edmonton if a trade between the Bruins and Oilers is actually engineered.

Haggs, what's Don Sweeney's greatest strength as a general manager? #HaggBag

--Justin Walden, PhD (@justwalden)

JH: Don Sweeney’s greatest strength as a GM is drafting and developing young players. The biggest gaffe on Sweeney’s GM tenure may end up ironically being the 2015 NHL Draft where he bypassed Mat Barzal, Brock Boeser and Thomas Chabot for the aforementioned Zach Senyshyn, and failed to move up to land Noah Hanifin as he’d attempted to with the Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic deals. That one is really showing up now with injuries hitting the Bruins and both Jakub Zboril and Zach Senyshyn unable to step up and do anything to help out the NHL club. The Bruins just have to hope they don’t turn into busts when it’s all said and done, but that being said there are a lot of first round picks from that draft playing at a high level at the NHL already. That one’s going to sting for a while.  

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Don't expect a fireworks show from this Bruins team around July 1

Don't expect a fireworks show from this Bruins team around July 1

The period around the NHL Draft and the July 1 opening of free agency is always a time for hockey fans to let their fantasies fly free.

It’s a time when a big-ticket free agent like Artemi Panarin seems like a possibility, or there’s a P.K. Subban-type available in a trade just right around the corner. It’s a time when hope always springs eternal for all 31 of the NHL fan bases, and sweeping, wholesale improvements still feel like a possibility.

Unfortunately, Bruins fans will need to face the reality that it doesn’t look like the Bruins have much of a realistic shot of making those big-time improvements to an NHL roster that came within one Game 7 of capturing the Stanley Cup earlier this month.

All one needs do is look at the TSN trade bait list, which annually is the “go to” for NHL players in the rumor mill leading up to the July 1 opening of NHL free agency. There isn’t a single Bruins player listed in the Top 40 of NHL players likely to be moved around the free agency period when trades come fast and furiously.

Torey Krug isn’t listed on there despite being in the last year of a reasonable contract with the Black and Gold, and David Krejci isn’t listed either despite reduced no-trade protection (he can soon be traded to half the teams in the NHL) in his contract come July 1. Certainly there’s no David Backes on the list as nobody is in the market for a 35-year-old power forward making $6 million who is coming off a seven-goal season, and being a healthy scratch in the final three games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Blues.

The Bruins would like to make improvements to a team with an aging core group that showed their age at times during the postseason, but there’s going to be a pretty extreme limit to what they can do based on the salary cap. There’s also a delicate balance where it’s clear the B’s don’t want to do too much to mess with the mojo of a team that was good enough to play in 106 regular season and playoff games this past season.

Then again, it’s also a team that benefitted from the Lightning, Capitals and Penguins all losing in the first round of the playoffs, and that’s not likely to happen again next season or any other time soon during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“We have everybody in the same room to talk about what’s the identity we’re trying to have as a hockey club, as an organization, and we’re going to stick to those. Now, there are some changes as the league continues to evolve. Does it work all the way from Game 1 of the regular season to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup? There’s a twisting along the road between those two points of time,” said Don Sweeney. “I think you have to have the balance. I think you have to have the depth in an organization and be able to match up in a bunch of different situations against a bunch of different teams to even give yourself a chance, so yes, we’ll have an identity.

“Bruce can speak to the tenets he wants his hockey players to play with, but you touched on a bunch of them. It’s hard to teach courage, it’s hard to teach speed, hockey sense piece is another area, so we’re trying to identify them, as every team is trying to identify those same things. We had a good team this year and it showed.”

The Bruins have roughly $12 million in salary cap space after signing Steven Kampfer to a two-year, $1.6 contract, and pretty much all of that is going to be used up to re-sign restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Danton Heinen.

Bruins President Cam Neely was forthright with his comments post-Cup run that the Bruins could use another top-six forward, and truthfully have needed one for the last couple of seasons while 34-year-old David Backes hasn’t worked out as that guy.

“What do we need moving forward or next year? Yeah, well, obviously I know it’s been talked about at length about another top-six forward, so we’ll see where that ends up,” said Neely. “I think our bottom six was pretty strong this year, so if we can strengthen in the immediate future our top six, you know, that’s something we’d like to try and do. We’ve talked about that for a couple years now.”

So how do they do that if they have no cap space, won’t trade Krejci or Krug and don’t have any way to remove Backes from their salary cap?

That would be pretty much impossible. As it is right now, they don’t have the money to pay the $5 million plus per season that Marcus Johansson is going to get in free agency and they don’t have the kind of cap space it’s going to take to trade for Jason Zucker, Phil Kessel, Chris Kreider, Nikolaj Ehlers or James Neal that might be available in trade talks over the next couple of weeks.

All of that could change if somebody approaches the Bruins with an offer they can’t refuse for Krug or really gives them good value for Krejci, but then the Bruins would suddenly have a hole for a 50-point scorer on defense or a No. 2 center when there isn’t a ready-made replacement in the organization. When you look at it from that perspective, making those big, sweeping deals does seem a bit rash with a Bruins team that’s built steadily upward over the last three seasons.

It also feels like the Bruins are stuck right now due to salary cap constraints, no-trade provisions and a farm system that doesn’t have any suitable replacements at the center position. So don’t expect major fireworks when NHL free agency hits on July 1 because it looks like the Bruins will be bringing back a hockey club that looks very similar to the one that left the Garden ice dejected after Game 7 just a couple of weeks ago. 

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Bruins' 2019 Development Camp roster and schedule announced

Bruins' 2019 Development Camp roster and schedule announced

The Bruins announced their 2019 Development Camp roster and schedule on Tuesday.

The camp will run Wednesday, June 26 through Friday, June 28 at Warriors Ice Arena in Brighton, Mass. On-ice sessions are open to the public, so fans will have a chance to check out the Bruins' first-round pick in this year's draft, John Beecher, free of charge.

The Development Camp roster, shown below, consists of 19 players within the Bruins organization and 15 players on an invite basis:

Forwards: Samuel Asselin, Jack Becker, John Beecher, Matt Brown, Nathan Burke, Casey Dornbach, Curtis Hall, Mike Hardman, Jakub Lauko, Matias Mantykivi, Drew O'Connor, Quinn Olson, Justin Richards, Linus Sandin, Jake Schmaltz, Pavel Shen, Oskar Steen, Jack Studnicka, Nate Sucese, Nolan Walker, Marek Zachar

Defensemen: Axel Andersson, Victor Berglund, Cameron Clarke, Brandon Estes, Josh Maniscalco, Dustyn McFaul, Nick Wolff, Cooper Zech

Goaltenders: James Corcoran, Taylor Gauthier, Kyle Keyser, Jeremy Swayman, Dan Vladar

Here are the scheduled practice times:

Wednesday, June 26

-On-ice session (Group A), 11:00 a.m.

-On-ice session (Group B), 12:00 p.m.

-On-ice session (Group C), 1:00 p.m.

Thursday, June 27

-On-ice session (Group A), 10:30 a.m.

-On-ice session (Group A & B), 11:15 a.m.

-On-ice session (Group B), 12:15 p.m.

Friday, June 28

-On-ice session, 10:15 a.m.

The B's Development Camp roster and practice times are subject to change.

Grading all five B's 2019 draft picks >>

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