Tyson Barrie

Monday, Aug. 1: Can hockey survive in the desert?

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Monday, Aug. 1: Can hockey survive in the desert?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while amazed that we’re already at the start of August.

*Here’s the multi-million dollar question for the NHL: can hockey continue to survive in the desert with an NHL expansion franchise in Las Vegas.  

*Tyson Barrie ends his arbitration proceedings with the Colorado Avalanche by agreeing to a four-year, $22 million contract. That’s one more potential name off the available list for the Boston Bruins.

*Good story by Sarah McLellan about the recruiting methods used by the Arizona Coyotes in the free agency period.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Blues center Alex Steen seeking a contract extension from St. Louis prior to the start of the season.  

*The Jose Bautista bat flip has joined with the standard goal-scoring celebrations in NHL 17 for all the Blue Jays fans out there.

*Former Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski has gone through the great experience of a marriage and a honeymoon this summer and it’s distracted him from the fact he hasn’t yet signed with an NHL team.

*Brendan Kelly says that it’s time for the Montreal Canadiens, their media and their fans to lighten up a little bit.

*For something completely different: a pretty severe hit piece on Bill Simmons and his new show on HBO, which I admittedly have not watched one minute of over the last few months. I like Simmons as a writer and I’ll definitely listen to his podcast when he’s got a compelling guest on. He’s a force to be reckoned with as a multi-platform star, but I’ve just never felt like TV was his best platform. I feel the same way about his Ringer cohorts that hosted the Game of Thrones post-episode show on HBO as well. I watched that show once, and found it completely unwatchable. There’s no shame in it all, but there’s definitely an elusive skill to being entertaining, likeable and dynamic on TV.  

 

Saturday, July 30: Colorado's Tyson Barrie could become available

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Saturday, July 30: Colorado's Tyson Barrie could become available

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while knowing that “Saturdays are for the boys” no longer exists once you are married with kids…except during glorious bachelor party weekends, which are few and far between.

*Congrats to Patrick Williams, who was named the Ellery Award winner for his great coverage of all things at the AHL level. Well deserved, Pat! 

*A really moving, heartbreaking and also life-affirming tribute from Bobby Ryan to his recently-passed mother after his childhood experience really forged a bond. 

*The Tyson Barrie/Colorado Avalanche arbitration case has a chance to get messy, and that may be a very good thing for teams hoping a D-man suddenly becomes available

*Some great stories about the hockey movies made over the last 30 years including Sudden Death, Mystery Alaska and Slap Shot. 

*Kudos to Gabriel Landeskog, who has joined an organization attempting to advise athletes on recovery from concussions after his scary experiences

*The focus of P.K. Subban’s philanthropy is on the kids, a thing made abundantly clear by his generous pledge to raise $10 million from a Montreal children’s hospital. 

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Josh Cooper over at Yahoo! Sports on Murray Craven as a bit of an “Everything Man” for the new Las Vegas expansion franchise. 

*For something completely different: what a great American and Patriot looks like, even if the Republicans and Trump don’t seem to think so.

Bruins deal with changing market as they seek to acquire defense help

Bruins deal with changing market as they seek to acquire defense help

They're not quite in desperate straits just yet, but the Bruins' search for a viable top-4 “transitional defenseman” hasn't gotten off to a great start.

It began last week, when Avalanche president Joe Sakic said flatly that, despite rumors to the contrary, defenseman Tyson Barrie will be with the Avs next season. It continued when the Coyotes traded a fifth-round pick to Dallas for the negotiating rights to looming unrestricted-free-agent defenseman Alex Goligoski. Barrie certainly could fill a major puck-moving need for the Bruins were he on the trade block, and Goligoski was one of Boston’s top free-agent choices.

Then, over the weekend, Sami Vatanen signed a four-year contract extension with Anaheim just shy of $5 million per season, taking another attractive restricted-free-agent defenseman option off Boston’s potential trade board. That also helped set the market for fellow RFA Torey Krug, who could easily use Vatanen was a comparable while pushing for a new contract with the Bruins.

Clearly, there are still very viable options for Boston. 

Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has indicated a preference to sign Jacob Trouba prior to July 1, but that RFA defenseman's future still seems a bit cloudy. While not often a tool used by NHL GM’s, the offer sheet could conceivably come into play if a team like the Bruins gets desperate enough. Anaheim's Hampus Lindholm, Columbus' Seth Jones and Minnesota's Matthew Dumba are other young, talented RFA defensemen due for new deals prior to July 1, and therefore potentially susceptible to offer sheets if they enter restricted free agency.

The biggest reason the B’s lost Dougie Hamilton a year ago was because they were concerned the Oilers were going to pluck the young puck-mover away with an offer sheet. 

Will turnabout be fair play?

“We had our pro meetings . . . I’m not going to give my whole plan out to you,” general manager Don Sweeney said a couple of weeks ago on a conference call with reporters. “[We're] exploring a bunch of different things trade-wise. It’s difficult in this league, but I think that we’re in the position with two first-round picks to be either selecting really good players, or to be in the [trade] marketplace.”

Perhaps the bigger impediment for the Bruins acquiring a player like Trouba without an offer sheet: Those in the know mention names like Matt Duchene, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as possible players going the other way in a trade with Winnipeg. The Bruins don’t have the kind of young star players to match what a team like Edmonton, or Colorado, could offer.

But there are other avenues to explore. Kevin Shattenkirk has been a trade target of Sweeney's for years, and now it appears the Blues might be forced to deal him in his walk year. The All-Star defenseman would be a perfect fit for Boston, although he’d come with a heavy price. And even if Goligoski winds up with the Coyotes, the Bruins could also still very easily sign a more accomplished puck-moving defenseman like Boston-bred Keith Yandle when free agency opens on July 1.

As reported last week, Sweeney has had discussions about trading for Florida Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov. The B’s trade package for Kulikov was said to be something roughly like the 29th pick in the first round of this weekend’s draft, and a top prospect like Frank Vatrano. That’s a steep price, but exactly what Boston will have to pay to fix its back end.

It’s believed Sweeney has made several of those exploratory-type phone calls to several GM’s in recent weeks, seeking alternate options should their original plans dry up.

So while it’s again looking like a stiff challenge for the Bruins -- who failed to move up in the first round to select Noah Hanifin a year ago -- to acquire a defenseman, it’s also not “Mission Impossible: Hockey Edition."

If the Bruins are creative and bold enough, they can find a way to solve their biggest existing problem headed into next season. If not, it'll be same song, different verse when the Black and Gold open in Columbus against the Blue Jackets on Oct. 13.

And that’s not something anybody is looking for.