Hagg Bag

Hagg Bag: Taking stock of the Bruins after an up-and-down start

Hagg Bag: Taking stock of the Bruins after an up-and-down start

With two vastly different outcomes in the books, the Bruins are off and running in their regular season. Questions obviously still abound about how much this team is the one that rolled over and died against the Washington Capitals Opening Night and how much is the team that looked very sharp at both ends in a shutout win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

Those questions aren’t going to get answered until we’re much deeper into the season, but we can answer questions of a different variety in our first Hagg Bag mailbag of the season. As always these are real questions from real readers and fans sent to my Twitter account using the #HaggBag hashtag, sent as messages to NBC Sports Boston Facebook fan page or as emails sent to my account, @JHaggerty@nbcuni.com

Now, let’s get on with the bag:

Hey Joe

Coming into last season I thought Anders Bjork looked to actually be slightly ahead of Jake DeBrusk. Obviously, DeBrusk had a better season and a great playoff, but I still believe the player I saw, in Bjork looked like a top 6 forward. It was good to see him play in the second game of the season. I doubt they would keep him on the team if they weren't planning on giving him ice time. What kind of season do you think he will have, and do the Bruins still have him high in their organizational chart?

Thanks

John D

And give Tuuka break. No one showed up for the 1st game. He actually made a couple saves when it was 2-0 to give them a chance to get their legs under them. 

JH: Hey John. Tuukka has had enough breaks over the years. I’m not here to cut anybody breaks. That’s not what I get paid to do. If Rask had been ready to go and the Bruins had managed to withstand that first-period onslaught without giving up a couple of goals, maybe things would have been different on Opening Night. I mean, maybe not obviously. But there’s a pattern of Rask being very shaky in these tone-setting type games and that was the case again vs. Washington before finally getting yanked in the second period.

As far as Anders Bjork goes, I like the skill and I like the speed. I think he’s an NHL player. But part of the reason DeBrusk managed to break through ahead of Bjork last season, besides overall health, was that he was a little more ready to do battle in the NHL after a season in Providence. Bjork hasn’t had that luxury despite spending some time in the AHL last season. I think an AHL stint could do him a lot of good based on how crowded things are up front for the Black and Gold.

If Donato keeps scoring, I’m just not sure where Bjork is going to push his way into the lineup unless Danton Heinen has a major regression, which I don’t see happening.

Hi Joe

Do you think the Bruins will sign Stempniak?

--Keith Nessen (via Facebook)

JH: This all depends on how Donato and Heinen fare in their top-six auditions, and if Donato is able to play a good enough two-way game to at least be a third-line winger. Stempniak is some great veteran insurance in case of them falters and he showed in training camp that he can still put the puck in the net and play with skill guys.

Stempniak told me that he’s going to practice with the Bruins for a while and stick around in Boston waiting to see what happens and that there isn’t anything imminent with anybody else around the league. He wants to play for the Bruins and stay home with his young family in Boston. He can also most definitely still play in the league, so we’ll see what happens to him over the next month or six weeks while he stays in shape working out with the B’s.

Going forward will Bruce Cassidy and the Bruins management play the goalie that gives the team the best chance to win and not worry about the contract that was given to Tuukka Rask by the previous GM

--Kevin Blair (@kmblair13)

JH: At this point, I don’t think so. If Rask struggles for a few weeks and Jaro Halak plays lights out as he did against the Sabres on Thursday night? That could certainly change just as it did last season in November when the Bruins opted to play Anton Khudobin for four games in a row. The difference being that Halak could run with the job for a few weeks at a time if he gets hot instead of the very limited way Khudobin was ever going to supplant Rask. Still, I fully expect that Rask is going to get the start on Monday afternoon at the Garden, and I think there’s a pretty fair chance he could play well and put some distance on the opening night stink bomb in DC.

Should the Bruins light a fire under Tuukka by playing Halak?

--Mark Peters (@mpeters74)

JH: I think they are going to light a fire under Tuukka early and often by playing Halak quite a bit. Certainly the fire should be lit after Rask watched Halak stop 32 shots and play very well in the shutout win over Buffalo after he got shelled in Washington DC. In theory, this should get the best out of Rask, but I wonder if the real pressure on him by his goalie partner is going to end up doing the opposite for Boston’s No. 1 goalie. We’ll see. But as I said above, I don’t see Halak playing Monday afternoon.

Brad Marchand is unnecessary.

--Ryan L (@rluck135)

JH: Nah, dawg. That tweet was unnecessary. Brad Marchand is one of the best players in the NHL and an integral part of the Bruins.    

Our top centers are getting older. Is there a plan to replace them? I don't see any of the young centers in the pipe with the offensive upside.

--meathome472 (@meathome472)

JH: Welp, Patrice Bergeron is signed for the next three seasons beyond this one and David Krejci is signed for another two seasons after the 2018-19 campaign. They’re both also making big bucks with a weighty cap hit, so the idea of replacing them isn’t something that’s going to happen in the short term. Is there a scenario where Bergeron or more likely Krejci would eventually drop down to a third-line center role to make room for another center? Sure, that might have happened if the Bruins had somehow signed John Tavares this summer, and it could eventually happen if any of Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Trent Frederic or Jack Studnicka eventually become a top-six pivot in the NHL.

Of those three, I think Studnicka has the upside to be that kind of player. But your point is well taken that a star center is something the Bruins really don’t have in the prospect pipeline right now. Not many other teams do either, but it’s something they might do well to focus on in the draft with Bergeron and Krejci now well into their 30’s.

Haggs,

I've felt for some time now that the Bruins have an overabundance of legit young wingers in Boston and Providence (eg. Cehlarik, Bjork, Donato, Senyshyn, Heinen, Debrusk, Fitzgerald etc).

My question is what are the B's going to do with all these pieces, and when are we going to start to deal some of these guys for a bona fide 2nd line RW or D-man while they have value? 

Thanks,

Greg

JH: Barring any serious injuries, I don’t think I see the Bruins dealing prospects for a defenseman at the trade deadline this season. But there’s a very plausible scenario where the Bruins could be in the market for a top-six sniper if both Heinen and Donato falter in their auditions for a top-six winger role alongside Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. If they need some offensive punch to really fortify that second line offensively, then it’s very realistic that some of that prospect currency you’re talking about will get moved for a player a la Rick Nash last season. The problem, as everybody saw with Nash last year, is that getting the seemingly right player at the deadline doesn’t always work out, or put that team over the top. So we’ll see, but I don’t see Donato, DeBrusk or maybe even Bjork as part of any trade packages unless it’s a major young talent coming in return. 

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A Hagg Bag full of Bruins offseason questions

A Hagg Bag full of Bruins offseason questions

With the start of Bruins training camp little more than a month away, we're still very much in offseason mode with vacations and summer plans still at the forefront of most people involved with the NHL. Still, players are skating at this point and summer workout programs are coming to an end this month as captain’s practices begin to get going in earnest, so hockey’s return is right around the corner. 

With that in mind, it’s time to clean out the summer Hagg Bag mailbag full of questions and wonderment from a Black and Gold offseason that’s brought out as many questions as answers to this point. As always, these are real fans with real tweets to my Twitter account using the #HaggBag hashtag, real emails to my JHaggerty@nbcuni.com email address and messages to my NBC Sports Boston Facebook page. Now on to the bag:

Will JFK stay up with Boston this year? Expectations for Anders Bjork coming back from injury? Any action on a winger for Krejci? Potential trades that can actually happen and aren’t just pipedreams? Any update on a 2nd LD? #haggbagg

--Corey (@Parrydox_gaming)

JH: I like this. Corey isn’t fooling around and he’s getting right to the point with a number of pointed Bruins questions. So let’s jump in one at a time. As far as JFK goes, I think it’s entirely up to the way that he plays in camp. Clearly, he’s a candidate for the third-line center gig after the departure of Riley Nash and I’d certainly put first-round pick Trent Frederic in that category as well. I think Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom would probably fit into that category, giving the B’s a number of options at a spot that garnered a lot of production for them last season.

In an ideal world, JFK or Frederic steps up and shows they’re ready to take over the third line in camp and then teams with David Backes on the third line to learn the ropes in the NHL. But neither of those players has enough pro experience to assume that is going to happen this fall, and they’re certainly not the finished AHL product that either Jake DeBrusk or Danton Heinen was at this point last season. So, it’s a giant “we’ll see” for JFK with him holding the kind of cerebral, two-way ability at center that would be a great fit behind Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci if he shows that he can handle it in the NHL. The 15 goals and 32 points in 58 games was pretty solid production in Providence last season, but he may also need more development time before he’s ready.

The expectation for Bjork is that he’s going to be ready to hold down an NHL winger job this season with a really good chance for him to win a top-six role if he shows that he’s ready for the challenge after last season’s shoulder surgery. The speed and skill are most definitely there, but he’s going to have to gain a little more toughness on and off the puck if he’s going to play that kind of role for the Bruins.

Any action on a winger for Krejci? Nope. Not to this point and there may not be ahead of camp until all 31 teams around the league see what they have in the preseason.

I also don’t see any urgency for another left-shot defenseman right now after the signing of John Moore. If anything, the expectation is that one D-man is going to be dealt in camp with eight qualified NHL defensemen under contract for this season. It could be Torey Krug on the move if it’s a blockbuster return for the Black and Gold. Still, that’s not something the Bruins want to do unless it’s really going to be a win for their hockey team because Krug is a dynamite offensive D-man. Among D-men, only guys named Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman, Brent Burns and John Klingberg have scored more points than him over the last two seasons.  

Hey Joe, Are there any wingers available to replace Rick Nash? I mean he wasn't great but we need veteran depth to play with Krejci...

--T (@ThomasAlanPhoto)

JH: With Jeff Skinner moved to the Buffalo Sabres, Artemi Panarin would appear to be the only bonafide sniper winger that still might be available in a trade prior to the start of the regular season. The return for Skinner wasn’t mind-blowing. It included a top prospect and three draft picks without a first-round pick or NHL roster player being involved. But I also don’t think Columbus is quite as desperate to deal him this summer, and there are just as many questions about his willingness to sign long-term in a place such as Boston. Clearly, the Blue Jackets would need more of a package that was going to help them now rather than a rebuilding team as Carolina did, and the Bruins would have those kinds of pieces to make that sort of deal strictly from an assets perspective. But it feels to me like the Bruins have made peace with going into camp with the group they’ve got right now, and then they’ll reassess before the regular season begins, or ahead of the trade deadline this season. Perhaps Wayne Simmonds ends up becoming available before it’s all said and done and he’d be a great fit for the Krejci line if the trade price is right.  

When will Sweeney be back on the hot seat? He hasn’t been able to make the important trades or signings. Overpays for bad players, makes a lot of bad draft picks. Wasting the last years of Chara and Bergeron.

--dbags (@dbags2)

JH: Just a friendly piece of advice, but I think your Twitter handle might be a little too on the nose. That aside, I think Don Sweeney will probably be on the hot seat when he deserves to be on the hot seat. Let’s be honest here: The Bruins have made the playoffs two years in a row, they put up a 112-point season last year while nearly winning the Atlantic Division and they’ve got a cupboard full of talented young players that just about any other NHL general manager would gladly have. Every GM has their strengths and weaknesses and the splashy trades and marquee free-agent signings certainly don’t appear to be Sweeney’s wheelhouse at this point.

But the fact that the Bruins are getting invited to woo the big-ticket free agents and that they’re a team clearly on the rise means that Sweeney is doing plenty right and he’s doing well in draft-and-development where he wanted to excel. Did the Bruins botch things in the 2015 draft when they passed over Matt Barzal, Kyle Connor and Brock Boeser with their three consecutive mid-round first-round picks? Yeah, they definitely did.

But I think they’ve also done enough things right the past few years (how about replacing Claude Julien with Bruce Cassidy, which many Bruins fans really didn’t want to see?) to earn the right to see it through and not have to face being put “on the hot seat” after an underwhelming summer improvement plan. Things have been made more difficult by improvement within their division from Toronto, Tampa and Buffalo among others. They are clearly a step below the Maple Leafs and Lightning right now. Could Sweeney have done better in his tenure? Sure, especially toward the beginning when he was still learning the ropes. But I think he’s grown into the gig and has the Bruins very much pointed in the right direction.   

Can't wait to see Castle Rock, but waiting for the entire series to become available before I commit to another streaming service lol. Worth it? No hockey questions, but dang I can't WAIT for hockey season to start. DYING from withdrawal.

--Tia Major (@MizLicketySplit)

JH: I can’t wait either! And Castle Rock on Hulu is very, very good. It’s an original story that takes place within the Stephen King universe and has all the familiar settings and spookiness that you’d associate with something inspired by his literary works. I mean, the series takes place at Shawshank Prison for goodness sakes. I actually kind of like that they’re releasing it in week-to-week episodic installments rather than dumping the whole series all at once like Netflix does so much of the time these days.

Who is gonna be on the first game roster that many ppl will find as a surprise? donato is not a surprise btw

--Joshua Hanson (@hanson_maypac12) 

JH: Do you make the rules around here about what constitutes a surprise? I don’t think so. Haha. Seriously, I’d go with Jack Studnicka as a possible surprise. The odds are against it happening and he’s expected to return to junior hockey after training camp, but he’s in a situation where he could be a candidate who could really pop at third-line center. It was a small sample size obviously, but he looked comfortable with a goal and five points in five games for Providence at the end of last season. He also was one of the best performers at Bruins development camp earlier this summer and clearly seems to be on the fast track toward getting to the NHL.

The shot and play around the net are strong for a young player and his skating game is pretty solid for a 19-year-old.

Will he be good enough to really hop over Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Trent Frederic as well as the NHL players expected to compete for the third-line center spot? That’s a tall order and it would certainly register as a surprise if he can pull it off. So there’s your “surprise.”    

I loved Solo. I guess I am in the minority. #haggbagg

@Joe Pacheco (@joepacheco33)

JH: I loved Solo too, buddy. I think that Solo paid the price for the Last Jedi, which a lot of Star Wars fans really, really, really hated. I didn’t completely hate it, but was definitely disappointed by some of the stuff that felt like the worst of Star Wars rather than the best of Star Wars. The whole middle portion of the movie was like something straight out of the prequels and that was a very good thing. It got to the point that I was just waiting for an actor to go on some rant about how much they hate sand.

Are the sabers loading up to make a run or are they going to be like Edmonton and have a lot of talent and still flounder around?

--Brad Thompson (@coachbrad16)

JH: Well, the Sabres now have something the Oilers never did in Rasmus Dahlin. So a No. 1 defenseman is a good place to start if you’re truly looking to build a winner. Sure it may take a season or two before Dahlin is truly good enough to dominate games and help transform Buffalo, but they are headed in the right direction with their core group, their youngsters and a good acquisition in Jeff Skinner. Who knows? They might even surprise and compete for a playoff spot while sneaking up on a lot of teams, but I think they might be a couple of years away from consistently winning.

Are the Oilers going to be bad again this season? I’m not so sure about that either. But they don’t have the “franchise defenseman” on their roster and that makes it a lot more difficult to be a consistent, top winner in the NHL. Just look at the teams that win the Cup every season and how few have done it without a bonafide No. 1 guy on the back end.

Any chance Pasta comes off the first line for at least the beginning of next season and gets paired with Krejci?

--Matias Hallichuck (@mhall3333)

JH: I definitely think there’s a chance that could happen. But this is what I would do if I were the Bruins coaching staff: I’d load up with the Perfection Line of Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak against teams that had a suspect defense or depth issues where that top line could just blow the team out of the water. I’d break it up to create a more diversified attack against the stronger defensive teams. Clearly, Tampa exposed the Bruins as a group that was a little top heavy and not quite good enough beyond their top line against a big, strong and quality D-corps. They need to find combinations that work if that again becomes the case in the playoffs.

So why not use the regular season to find a formula that will work against those teams just in case you aren’t able to land the Rick Nash-type scoring winger that it feels like the Bruins need on that second line?

Either way, I hope we see plenty of Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak together again as a trio this season because I’m a firm believer that you don’t run away from something that gives the other team game-planning nightmares.  

Where do you see Cehlarik if healthy? Looked good beside Krejci before a knee on knee with Hunwick.

--chips (@Dave69806235)

JH: Cehlarik is big (6-foot-2, 202 pounds) and skilled and he definitely gives the Bruins a different look than many of their other wingers. But he’s also having a hard time staying healthy and on the ice and he’s been inconsistent in the NHL. He looked good playing with David Krejci at points, but I also think he hasn’t quite played to his size and strength at other points while showing some good skill with the puck on his stick. He’s only 23 and he’s only played a couple of seasons in North America, so this season is going to be a big one for him.

He’s a guy who isn’t really high on the radar right now for an NHL spot coming out of camp and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Danton Heinen was in a similar position last season and he ended up becoming one of their most effective rookies. He forced his way into the lineup following a strong camp. If Cehlarik were to step up and become a big, strong and productive power forward-type for the Bruins this season, that would solve a lot of Boston’s problems up front headed into this season.

Think the Bruins have a shot at Artemi Panarin? Been hearing his name all summer

--Matthew McWade (@MatthewMcWade)

JH: I think they have a Dumb & Dumber-level shot. And if you’re going to have a Dumb & Dumber level shot of something happening, who better to have running your hockey team than the legendary Sea Bass himself? We’ll see on Panarin, but if I were a Bruins fan, I don’t think I’d be getting my hopes up that it’s going to happen anytime soon. Maybe more like Wayne Simmonds at the trade deadline, but then again we’ll have to see where both Boston and Philly are at that point. That’s it for this week’s Hagg Bag...see you at the rink.    

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Hagg Bag: Plenty of offseason questions facing Bruins

Hagg Bag: Plenty of offseason questions facing Bruins

With summer just a few weeks away and NHL free agency just a month away, things are starting to come into place for the offseason. Decisions are being made about impending free agents, trade scenarios are being played out and improvement plans are already in motion for the 29 teams watching the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights duke it out in the Stanley Cup Final.

With that in mind, here’s a late-spring Hagg Bag, where we take on some of those offseason questions, kick things off for the summer season and even maybe answer a few questions about “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and “Avengers: Infinity War” with the summer movie blockbuster season just about upon us.

As always these are real tweets to my Twitter account using the #HaggBag hashtag, real emails sent to my JHaggerty@nbcuni.com email account and real messages sent to my NBC Sports Boston Facebook page. Now, on to the bag:

#haggbag Moving Krug and his cap # seems like a risky, but potentially high reward, move; we need another solid D-man or wing and I feel we have McAvoy and Gryz to play PP...like to hear ur thoughts, Joe. Thanks

Allmanator (@dbiscardi78)

JH: Thanks. My thoughts are pretty much there depending on how serious the Bruins are about improving the left side of their defense. I don’t view a Torey Krug trade as dumping him or getting rid of him at all. Far from it. Did you know that Brent Burns, Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson and John Klingberg are the only D-men with more points (110) than Krug the past two seasons? It’s more a function of Krug’s value sitting pretty high at the moment, his cap hit is also fairly high for a player that probably should be a bottom pairing/power play specialist and the Bruins having some good, young and cheap options for an offensive defenseman in Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy.

Would the Bruins power play miss much of a beat if they switched Krug for McAvoy as their trigger man at the point position? I’m not sure they would. Could Grzelcyk handle the five-on-five duties that Krug has manned the past couple of years? Would the Bruins be better off with a bigger, sturdier left side D-men in their top four considering Zdeno Chara is going to be 42 next season and that Krug has been banged up at the end of the past two seasons? I think they probably would despite the massive production that Krug provides.

Still, you don’t move Krug unless there’s real benefit behind it. If it gets you a package that includes an established top-six right wing who can play with David Krejci, then you certainly have to think long and hard about it. If it gets you assets that you can then use to help go out and get that frontline, left-shot defenseman, then I think you have to do that. Krug has a ton of value to a team that needs help on their power play or is looking for more offensive pop from their back end. In the short term, it’s going to make the Bruins offense a little less explosive, but one has to assume that McAvoy is going to fill those shows for next season and beyond as he improves. I would do it cautiously and only for a quality return, but I think Don Sweeney and the B’s have to think seriously about seeing what’s out there for Krug this spring and summer.  

Ilya Kovalchuk. Give him a shot. Nash sucked

--Chip O’Brien @chipobrien

JH: I’ll pass on Kovalchuk. Massive talent. Older guy now at 35. He’s going to cost high-end, bonus-laden money because many teams will be chasing after him, but I’m willing to bet he’s not the player he was when we last saw him in the Stanley Cup Final with the New Jersey Devils. I think there are cheaper, younger and better fits that can be found for the second line rather than jumping into the Kovalchuk Sweepstakes full bore.  

Hey Joe

Truly admire all the great work you do covering the Bruins and movie reviews!

I’m totally on board with bringing in Ryan Reaves, who is good friends with David Backes to bring some much needed sandpaper. What are the chances Sweeney brings in a Reaves or perhaps Matt Martin over the summer?

--Brian Cain

JH: Thanks, Brian. Much appreciated. I think the chances are very much predicated on the cost to sign them. Reaves, 31, had a cap hit and salary of $1.25 million this past season and could be looking at a bit of a bump this summer after playing the playoff hero for the Golden Knights. So, would the Bruins be willing to go for a two-year, $3 million contract for Reaves that would probably come at the expense of re-signing fourth-line winger Tim Schaller?

I would hope so, with the expectation that Reaves would provide intimidation, toughness, and the kind of swaggering attitude that the Bruins haven’t really had among their forward group since Shawn Thornton left for the Florida Panthers. It’s something that would really assist Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller as well. They wouldn’t have to constantly be the players dropping the gloves to protect teammates and thereby costing the Bruins valuable minutes with their better penalty-killers and stay-at-home defenseman while they’re in the penalty box.

The fancy stats pocket protector crew like to poo-poo the importance of tough guys such as Reaves, who can drop the gloves, but his contributing role in these playoffs for the Golden Knights isn’t something that can really be truly evaluated in a bar graph or a pie chart. As many nice things as we wrote about the young fourth line of Schaller, Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari in the regular season, they were a bit of a bust and very much outplayed by Tampa Bay fourth-liners Ryan Callahan and Chris Kunitz in the playoffs.

I think the B’s fourth line could use a little more brute strength and toughness, a little more veteran savvy and a little more swagger and Reaves would bring all of those to the table. He isn’t going to be an offensive production or puck possession machine, but I still think there is very much some good value there for a perfect Bruins-type player that would be a nice deterrent to some of the cheap shots that Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have taken the past few seasons.      

I'm looking to buy a Bruins jersey, already have a Bergeron one that's close to my heart. Whose jersey should I pick up that will be a good investment for the future years to come?

--TechnoCop (@jon_landry192)

JH: I’d go either No. 88 with David Pastrnak or No. 73 with Charlie McAvoy. You can’t go wrong with either one of those guys as I think they’ll be in Black and Gold for a long, long time. Maybe you should just get a No. 33 Chara jersey because he’ll probably just keep playing like he is now until he’s ready for an NHL pension plan.

Kessel might be on the move. A fit with Krejci and Debrusk? Would be quite the story.

--Stefan Sveinsson (@stefangier32)

JH: Hard pass. There’s a reason he’s left three different organizations in acrimony and is perhaps most well-known for befriending hot dog vendors in Toronto. He’s way too high-maintenance and, at 30, the skills are going to start declining for Phil the Thrill despite the 34 goals and 92 points he posted for the Penguins this season. Kessel is signed for the next four seasons at $6.8 million per year as he begins the decline portion of his career after admittedly piling up offensive numbers with 330 goals and 741 points in his 914 games. The fact that the Penguins essentially needed an assistant coach in Rick Tochett who could be the Phil Whisperer is ridiculous to me. Now, if Pittsburgh was willing to eat half the money owed to Kessel over the duration of his contract? I might be willing to listen if I were Sweeney, but it still feels like a problem that you really don’t need to enter into a team equation that’s going pretty well. Not to mention, Kessel is a headache that Bruce Cassidy definitely doesn’t need either.   

Hey Joe,

Love the work you do.  Please keep it coming.  My question.....

Do the B's take a run at Kovalchuk? With the projected cap expected to go up, they'd theoretically have more flexibility money wise.  He'd be a real finisher to put next to David Krejci and a huge asset on the power play.  I also think they have the core leadership to deal with his "eccentric" personality.

And a Star Wars question.....if you could only pick one spin off...boba Fett or obi wan Kenobi?

Thanks

Tim

JH: Thanks, Tim! The Bruins really don’t need any help on the power play at this point. I still think they need a big body that can finish around the net and bring some brute strength able to fight through big D-men groups like they had in Tampa Bay. Kovalchuk really isn’t that guy. I’d be more interested in the right-wing version of James van Riemsdyk, a big body that’s willing to camp in front of the net and mix it up for blue-collar offense. Or perhaps they just bring in JVR and then swing young left wing Jake DeBrusk into a right winger and see if it’s possible. Or move DeBrusk to the third line and swing Danton Heinen into a second-line right-winger with David Krejci. There are plenty of possibilities there if they want to open up the purse strings for JVR, who is five years younger than Kovalchuk.

Give me the Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff movie, and have it connect some of the dots from the ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story” movie that I saw this week, that I liked very much and that is opening things up for a few more movies beyond it. Don’t listen to the naysayers or all of the reports about turmoil on the set of this movie, it’s actually pretty good.  

Hi Joe,

What will the B's have to give up to get Wayne Simmonds from Philly?

--Matt Latsis, via Facebook message 

JH: Hi Matt. What if it was going to cost you Krug and a second-round pick? How about Danton Heinen and Jakob Zboril? Would you do it? I’m not even certain either one of those things would get it done for Simmonds, but it would cost plenty given that there’s a full season left under contract before the Flyers power forward would get to free agency. It would take quite a bit to get him, but he’s exactly the kind of player the Bruins could use on that second line. I say all that despite the fact that he was a disappointment for the Flyers in the playoffs this season after putting up a minus-16 with 24 goals in the regular season. He’s also 29 and entering that stage where big-bodied players sometimes tend to break down, so there’s that to think about if you planned on giving up a lot for him and then wanted to sign him to a long-term contract. All that being said, if I had a chance to get Simmonds for the next few years, I would be very tempted to do it.   

I don't want PK @PKSubban1 in a Bruins uniform. I NEED him in a Bruins uniform. #beaut

--Richie Murray (@Richie_Murray)

JH: Duly noted, Richie. He has been spending a lot of time in the Boston area lately, so all they would have to do is give up a boatload to Nashville to make it happen. It would be fun to see him on the Bruins, but you also have to wonder why you’re seeing rumblings of the Predators moving on from him after Montreal shipped him out a couple of years ago. There are some warning signs there with a high-profile player being dealt twice, even if by all accounts, Subban is the model modern professional athlete. He’s also a right shot D-man, and the Bruins have their top pairing right-shot D-man for the next decade in  McAvoy, who they will have to pay after next season. So, I’d probably have to pass on a guy making $9 million a year for the next four seasons. Can you imagine if the Bruins traded for Subban and he immediately became the highest-paid guys on the Bruins roster? I wonder how that would go over with guys that battled against him for years when he was a member of the Canadiens. My guess is not too well.  

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