Archive for June, 2010

Nobody Puts Chiarelli In A Corner

June 29, 2010

Except for himself, that is, according to Ryan Lambert over at Puck Daddy who puts forth a mildly scathing indictment of Peter Chiarelli and Bruins management and why they find themselves in the postion of desperately needing to trade Marc Savard and Tim Thomas.

That Chiarelli would consider such a situation [trading Marc Savard] at all paints a fairly bleak picture of just how dire the Bruins’ salary cap situation really is, and perhaps of their pessimism for Savard’s health going forward. It’s possible the team is trying to roll the goodwill it has garnered from local fans in the last few months into coloring Tyler Seguin as an acceptable replacement both now and for the future, but it should be clear to everyone with an even passing interest in hockey what this really is: Damage control.

Meanwhile, Matt Kalman points us to a radio interview with Brian Burke stating that Marc Savard is not on their immediate radar even though Toronto is rumored to be one of the two teams Savard waived his no-trade clause for.

Chiarelli’s options are going to become very limited here and, with it fully out in the open that the B’s need to move these two guys, the trade market for them isn’t getting any easier. Teams are going to want to either steal them away or unload bad contracts for them in return.

Sounds like a painted corner to me.

Sunday Sizzle

June 27, 2010

Still a lot going on post-draft, a lot of movement and rumour surrounding the Boston Bruins and other teams around the league. As it happens, I don’t have a boat load of available free time this weekend to go into it like I want to as I’m working hard on a top secret project here at the house that I will gladly share with you folks when the plan comes to fruition.

Meanwhile, a few tidbits:

Vladimir Sobotaka was traded to the St. Louis Blues for Boston University defenseman David Warsofsky. Warsofsky already has some decent College and Team USA credentials and reportedly has some of the puck moving skills the B’s are constantly in search of.

david warsofsky

David Warsofsky, Boston University

The Draft finished up yesterday. The Bruins filled out their card as follows.

  • 2nd Round, 32nd Overall: Jared Knight – C

    Born: Jan. 16, 1992
    Ht.: 5-11; Wt.: 186 Shoots: Right
    2009-10: London (OHL) – 63 GP, 36 G, 21 A, 57 PTS, 39 PIM

  • 2nd Round, 45th Overall: Ryan Spooner – C

    Born: Jan. 30, 1992
    Ht.: 5-10; Wt.: 172 Shoots: Left
    2009-10: Peterborough (OHL) – 47 GP, 19 G, 35 A, 54 PTS, 12 PIM

  • 4th Round, 97 Overall: Craig Cunningham – LW

    Born: Sept. 13, 1990
    Ht.: 5-9; Wt.: 175 Shoots: Right
    2009-10: Vancouver (WHL) – 72 GP, 37 G, 60 A, 97 PTS, 44

  • 5th Round, 135 Overall: Justin Florek – LW

    Born: May 18, 1990
    Ht.: 6-4; Wt.: 194 Shoots: Left
    2009-10: Northern Michigan (CCHA) – 41 GP, 12 G, 23 A, 35 PTS, 22 PIM

  • 6th Round, 165 Overall: Zane Gothberg – G

    Born: Aug. 20, 1992
    Ht.: 6-1; Wt.: 177
    2009-10: Three Rivers Falls HS (Minn.) – 25 GP, 1.84 GAA, .922 SV%

  • 7th Round, 195 Overall: Maxim Chudinov – D

    Born: March 25, 1990
    Ht.: 5-11; Wt.: 187 Shoots: Right
    2009-10: Cherepovets (KHL) – 47 GP, 6 G, 8 A, 14 PTS, 30 PIM

  • 7th Round, 210 Overall: Zach Trotman – D

    Born: Aug. 26, 1990
    Ht.: 6-3; Wt.: 195 Shoots: Right
    2009-10: Lake Superior St. (CCHA): 36 GP, 2 G, 6 A, 8 PTS, 18 PIM

  • Oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed, Tyler Seguin with the number two overall pick. Three centers with the first three picks. Couple wingers a goalie and two d-men taken late. The B’s strength down the middle gets even stronger.

    Rumours continued to swirl around Marc Savard and Tim Thomas, who has reportedly waived his no-trade clause, but no movement as of yet.

    Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruin

    June 25, 2010

    tyler seguin boston bruins

    With the second overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft the Boston Bruins select, from the Plymouth Whalers, Tyler Seguin. It’s finally done and, to no one’s real surprise, Taylor Hall was picked by the Edmonton Oilers at number one. The team’s have their boys.

    More draft coverage to come.

    Meanwhile, news that the Bruins have also re-signed Mark Recchi today to a one year, $1 million dollar contract.

    There you have it. One 18 year old and one 42 year old.

    Both hockey players.

    The Value Of A Pick

    June 24, 2010

    taylor hall edmonton oilers tyler seguin boston bruins

    On September 19th, 2009, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded two first round picks and a second rounder to the Boston Bruins for young, sniping center Phil Kessel. The first of those picks has turned out to be the 2nd Overall pick here in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. A pick that will surely turn into one of two extremely highly regarded prospects, either Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin.

    So the question presents itself. Just what is the value of that high a pick in this day and age? All draft classes are not equal but we can take a quick look at recent history to see that, more and more, such high picks are turning into readily available, elite NHL talent at a more consistent rate.

    The factors that you’ve got to consider in order to evaluate: What percentage of the current elite level players in the NHL are coming from such high draft picks? Conversely, what percentage of those type of draft picks become high impact players?

    Let’s look at the top twelve scorers in the NHL for 2009-10 and where they were drafted:

      1. Henrik Sedin, Van, 112 pts. 3rd Overall, 1999.

      2. Sidney Crosby, Pit, 109 pts. 1st Overall, 2005

      3. Alex Ovechkin, Was, 109 pts. 1st Overall, 2004.

      4. Nicklas Backstrom, Was, 101 pts. 4th Overall, 2006.

      5. Steven Stamkos, TB, 95 pts. 1st Overall, 2008

      6. Martin St. Louis, TB, 91 pts, Undrafted Free Agent

      7. Brad Richards, Dal, 91 pts. 64th Overall, 1998

      8. Joe Thornton, SJ, 89 pts. 1st Overall, 1997

      9. Patrick Kane, Chi, 88 pts. 1st Overall, 2007

      10. Marian Gaborik, NYR, 86 pts. 3rd Overall, 2000.

      11. Ilya Kovalchuk, ATL/NJ, 85 pts. 1st Overall, 2001

      12. Daniel Sedin, Van, 85 pts., 2nd Overall, 1999

    So that’s some pretty plain evidence there that, in the last decade or so, those elite picks have produced some serious talent. Six Number One Overalls. Only Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis stand out as guys falling outside the 1-4 slots in the draft. If you look further down on the scoring list into the Top 20, there is even more proof of what a top pick can produce (Patrick Marleau, 2nd Overall; Dany Heatley, 2nd Overall; Evgeni Malkin, 2nd Overall; Vincent Lecavalier, 1st Overall).

    Now, this isn’t the whole story by a long shot. Top scoring doesn’t account for the defense or goaltending positions which need be evaluated in a different manner. For the sake of this particular post, however, I’m going to focus mainly on the forward position, given that the two highest rated prospects we’re all talking about are forwards. Also, a list of the top scorers doesn’t tell us how many of those top few picks in recent years have failed to develop. Meaning, you certainly can get an elite, game changing forward at a pick like that, but is there any guarantee that you will?

    It appears that, in this day and age, the answer just might be Yes. Or, at least, that the odds are pretty damn good.

    Let’s look at the past 10 year’s draft classes, first three selections.

      2009

      1. John Tavares
      2. Victor Hedman
      3. Matt Duchene

      2008

      1. Steven Stamkos
      2. Drew Doughty
      3. Zach Bogosian

      2007

      1. Patrick Kane
      2. James van Riemsdyk
      3. Kyle Turris

      2006

      1. Erik Johnson
      2. Jordan Staal
      3. Jonthan Toews

      2005

      1. Sydney Crosby
      2. Bobby Ryan
      3. Jack Johnson

      2004

      1. Alex Ovechkin
      2. Evgeni Malkin
      3. Cam Barker

      2003

      1. Marc-Andre Fleury
      2. Eric Staal
      3. Nathan Horton

      2002

      1. Rick Nash
      2. Kari Lehtonen
      3. Jay Bouwmeester

      2001

      1. Ilya Kovalchuk
      2. Jason Spezza
      3. Alexander Svitov

      2000

      1. Rick Dipietro
      2. Dany Heatley
      3. Marian Gaborik

    Again, only focusing on the forwards for the purposes of this discussion, you’d be hard pressed to find too many disappointments in the above list. Granted, every draft is different, but only Kyle Turris and the illustrious Patrik Stefan jump out as players who have not had much impact on their team. Even though it’s early to judge Tavares and Duchene, they have both jumped into the NHL and contributed right away.

    Meanwhile, the clear majority of the others have become elite level, high impact players and, often outrights superstars. Look at how many Scoring Leaders, Hart Trophy winners, Calder Trophy winners, 50 goal-scorers and, yes, Stanley Cup winners are on that list. There’s a lot folks.

    Here’s a little math. Averaged out based on an 82 game season, the point production of forwards taken at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the draft in the last 10 years.

      Pick # 1: 40.86 goals, 46.02 assists, 86.88 points.

      Pick # 2: 33.15 goals, 43.04 assists, 76.19 points.

    Pretty impressive numbers, I must say. Not perfect indicators, as the more raw rookies and a defensive specialist like Jordan Staal bring the averages down a pinch but a decent overview of what the numbers can tell you. You’re probably to get one hell of a player with a pick that high. Add in that Hall and Seguin can essentially be flip-flopped into either draft position, as many scouts think, and you have to consider the very real possibility that you’ll be getting a 40 goal, 90 point, franchise type player.

    Good news for the Edmonton Oilers and the Boston Bruins.

    Times have changed, in that the NHL draft is not quite the crap shoot it once was. The technology of scouting and the technology of building a professional athlete have have not only made it easier to profile and predict who the stars are going to be but it’s made those stars ready to jump to the big leagues at younger ages. An 18 year old coming out of the CHL these days is already a finely tuned athlete with years of physical and mental preparation. They’ve played a professional style schedule, they’ve dealt with the media, they’ve honed their specific skills with the latest and best equipment available to the industry.

    These are kids on a fast track and, for good or ill, it’s the way things are now.

    It took Steven Stamkos two seasons to score 50 goals. Ovechkin one. Crosby won the Hart within two years and the Cup within four. Patrick Kane did it in three. These are players that can dramatically affect the course of your franchise.

    So will Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin be those types of players? A lot of people think they will be. There are no guarantees but, like I said, the odds are on your side given recent history. That’s the reason Peter Chiarelli wouldn’t listen to any trade proposals that included that pick this season. It’s the reason the Edmonton Oilers and the Boston Bruins and their respective fans are looking forward to the Draft on Friday with such anticipation.

    So the value of a pick that high? Huge. Monsterously huge. Franchise changing huge.

    And a hell of a lot more than Phil Kessel, I’d say. Especially when you throw in a first and second rounder next year, too.

    So do you think the Toronto representatives will all be sporting black armbands in L.A. tomorrow, or what?

    Boychuk Signs

    June 24, 2010

    The Boston Bruins busy week continues.

    Joe Haggerty is reporting confirmation that Johnny Boychuk has signed a two-year contract extension with the B’s for $3.75 million. The signing was seemingly made possible, and one could argue necessary, by the trade of Dennis Wideman this week and it avoids letting the blossoming 26 year old defenseman go to unrestricted free agency on July 1st.

    Boychuk showed marked improvement all season and, when paired with Zdeno Chara when Dennis Seidenberg went down late in the year and into the playoffs, became an ongoing physical and offensive force. With a salary cap hit of only $1.8 per season and that sort of potential upside, it becomes a key, smart signing for the Bruins. It’s also evident that the team was a very attractive spot for Boychuk, perhaps something we can attribute to the agressive approach the new regime is showing this off-season.

    All good signs leading up to tomorrow’s crucial Entry Draft and the free agency period beginning next week.

    Elsewhere, the Sharks kept another talented potential free agent out of the market when they re-signed Patrick Marleau to a four year extension. Teammate Joe Pavelski, a restricted free agent, was also re-signed.

    This week has not been disappointing in term of action, has it? Chicago’s wheeling and dealing as they battle the salary cap. Coaches coming and going, signings, trades, Awards and, of course, a monster of a draft coming up to close out the week.

    I’m having fun, in case you haven’t noticed.

    The HGW Awards

    June 23, 2010

    The NHL is handing out it’s Awards for the 2009-10 season tonight in Las Vegas so we thought it was time to give out our own much coveted statues in slightly different categories than those the league traditionally celebrates.

    Without further ado, the 2010 HGW Awards:

    The Stan Jonathan Trophy – Or, as some call it, Fight of the Year. Technically, I’ve already awarded this one but it’s so frickin’ good it needs mentioning again. It was an easy choice for me this year. This marathon bout between Cam Janssen of the Blues and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond of the Devils on March 20th is just a test of will and stamina unlike any you’ve seen since Darren Langdon left the league. Hockeyfights.com has another bout featuring Janssen, this time vs. Rick Rypien, as their highest rated but I think it’s a close runner up to the one with PL3.

    The Heimlich AwardBoston Bruins. We give this to them now in the hopes that, should they ever be up 3-0 in a playoff series or up 3-0 in a game seven again, they can put the explicit instruction manual that comes with this award to good use. Sometimes a balled up fist in the right spot can help avoid a lot of pain, misery and embarrassment. Nuff said.

    Freakiest Playoff BeardVille Leino. That thing was just odd, wasn’t it? Sort of jutted out at a right angle from his jaw like Jay Leno had injected steroids directly into his own face then had beaver fur grafted onto his chin. Okay, so that description is a bit needlessly visceral, but you look that the thing and be the judge.

    ville leino beard

    Blog Rip of the Year Award – This one is a tie, simply because both are a) exquisite and b) tear down the snobbery of certain north of the border fans better than I could on by best effin’ day. I give you:

      Down Goes Brown’s (via Puck Daddy) Eulogy for the Montreal Canadiens.

      Derek Zona on From The Rink with The Worst Hockey Fans In Canada.

    Both worth re-reading when you need a proper chuckle.

    The Jamie Huscroft Humanitarian Award – The Toronto Maple Leafs organization. Here’s to Brian Burke and the Leafs not only sacrificing the entire future of the organization to give a home to troubled youngster Phil Kessel but, in the process, giving the abused fans of the Boston Bruins a little something called Hope with that 2nd overall pick in the 2010 draft. I don’t care what everybody says about you guys, you’re good people and your heart is in the right place. Can’t speak for the head, of course.

    Greg Lougainis Memorial TrophyMaxim Lapierre. For the fifth year running, good old “Diver Down” Lappy gets his name inscribed on this one. To save money we’ve gone and ordered the next nine in bulk, done with his name on them, too, as well as the future Lifetime Achievement in Diving Award we’ll be handing out in 2021. The guy has it fucking sewn up.

    And, of course, the most coveted of all the HGW honors. It’s the…

    Hero of HGW Award

    This year’s winner…

    Evander Kane.

    You all know why.

    All winners will receive a Golden Statue of a man in a Fur Hat and Sunglasses as well as an all expenses paid (well, beer and bait, anyway) trip to Hooksett, New Hampshire for a weekend of fishing and late night Scene It. Wives or girlfriends not allowed unless it’s Henrik Zetterberg territory.

    By the way, I’m wide open for any suggestions if any of you might have for an HGW Award winner or category I may have forgotten. Send ’em to me or post ’em in the comments and I’ll make sure they find their way into the mix.

    Horton Wears A ‘B’

    June 22, 2010

    It has now been confirmed that RW Nathan Horton, along with F Gregory Campbell, have been traded from the Florida Pathers to the Boston Bruins for D Dennis Wideman, the 15th overall pick in Friday’s Draft and a 3rd round pick in 2011.

    Wait.

    Did I just type that the Bruins traded Dennis Wideman? And got some serious, genuine NHL talent in return that will fill their most glaring need, size and scoring at right wing, in return?

    Someone pinch me. Someone not named Chippy, that is. She uses vice grips.

    Seriously, this looks like one hell of a deal for the Boston Bruins at first glance. Horton’s contract status might be the only thing that could take the shine off of it and I’ll do my homework on that as soon as I have some free time but, for now, a confident thumbs up on Chiarelli’s first big move of the 2010 off-season. And that’s just the beginning, likely.

    The juicy bonus to all of this, of course, is the Bruins now have Colin Campbell’s son on the team, too.

    Tell me we can’t have a little fun with that, eh?

    UPDATE: Apparently, Horton has three years left on his current deal at an even $4 million per. After that, he would be an unrestricted free agent. You might as well call the Bruins the $4 Million Dollar Club because that money is nearly identical to the pay of a number of other top forwards. Marc Savard, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Michael Ryder and now Horton all fall right around that same exact number. Marco Sturm at $3.5 and Patrice Bergeron at $4.75 are the exceptions amongst that group but even those numbers are pretty close.

    Elsewhere, in a busy day around the NHL:

  • The NHL announces the Class of 2010 Hall of Fame inductees and, for the first time, the list includes women. Cammi Granato and Angela James will both be inducted along with Dino Ciccarelli, as players. Unfortunately, the campaign to get Pat Burns in failed to produce results, which is a crying shame, really.
  • Pat Quinn moves down to an advisory role with the Oilers as the coaching reins get handed over to Tom Renney, his assistant. Taylor Hall, meet your new coach.
  • Some re-signings. Tomas Plekanec gets 6 years, $30 million out of the Canadiens. Mat Cooke, dirty fucker, gets 3 more years in Pittsburgh.
  • Scott Niedermayer retires.
  • Sharks say goodbye to Evgeni Nabokov.

    Hello Tim Thomas?

  • Tim Thomas Trade Talk

    June 22, 2010

    According to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com the Bruins are in active discussions with at least three teams interested in acquiring the services of veteran goaltender Tim Thomas and that trading him, and his hefty $5 million dollar salary, has become priority number one this off-season when it comes to making deals.

    “Sources also indicated both the San Jose Sharks and Tampa Bay Lightning are in the mix in discussions with the Bruins for Thomas, and the Philadelphia Flyers are also a potential suitor if they can shed some salary cap baggage leading up to the July 1 free agent deadline.”

    None of this is a surprise given the reality of the Salary Cap age and the simple fact that the much younger Tuukka Rask has usurped the starter’s role in Boston with such authority, leading the NHL in both goals against average and saves percentage last season. Handing the reins to Tuukka in full and getting a cheaper back-up would clear some much needed room on what appears to be a restrictive payroll number for the team, as it stands.

    The question remains as to how tradeable he is right now, however, given his age and recent hip surgery, not to mention a no-trade clause in his contract. Haggerty is citing sources saying these are not the stumbling blocks that many think they are.

    “But several sources indicated Thomas’ surgery was minor in nature and general manager Peter Chiarelli said last week Thomas would be ready at the start of training camp. A second source indicated the likelihood is that Thomas will waive the no-trade if the right kind of deal comes along after putting up a perfectly serviceable 2.56 goals-against average and .915 save percentage along with five shutouts last season.”

    I fully admit, I had landed in the doubters category when I heard about the off season surgery. I thought they’d be saddled with Tim’s contract for at least next season, if not longer. That there are clearly suitors out there willing to deal is a remarkable development and the onus is now on Chiarelli to get this done. As much as I like Tim Thomas, it’s very clear he has to go if the Bruins want to get better, a simple reality of the way the league is structured these days.

    Interesting times, indeed. A lot of rumours swirling around the B’s this week leading up to Friday’s crucial Entry Draft. It certainly appears that the Bruins’ brass is out there trying to make things happen.

    Let’s hope they have the brass where it counts, too.

    Black and Gold in Belfast

    June 21, 2010

    The Bruins have announced the key dates of their pre-season schedule and it includes some rather interesting stuff not usually found on your average Wilmington itinerary.

    After the full opening of training camp on September 17th and the usual slate of practices and pre-season games, the B’s are off on a National Lampoon style European Vacation and have announced a few off-the-beaten-path exhibition games which will take place before the much heralded Season Opener against the Coyotes in Prague on October 9th.

    The most interesting of which will be when they head to Northern Ireland to play the Belfast Giants Select at Odyssey Arena in Belfast on October 2nd.

    A little video featuring Giants GM Todd Kelman and new B’s President Cam Neely gives some insight into the details of the trip and just how “massive” it is for the locals to get a visit from the Black and Gold. It seems that if you’re an NHL fan in Ireland, chances are the B’s are your boys. It only makes sense given the embedded historical ties between Boston and the Emerald Isle.

    Cam says he’s going on the trip. He wants a bunch of drunken Bruins fans to accompany him, too, I’m sure. Please tell me Terry O’Reilly will be there, too. It’s only right, isn’t it? Maybe bring Jay Miller and Lyndon Byers along just for laughs. Bruce Shoebottom if he’s available. Tell me that won’t be a good time.

    The only thing is they could have just held the game at a municipal rink in Southie against a local beer league squad and had a similar experience. Saved a couple bucks on air fare.

    Apparently, the team that will face the Bruins will be an All-Star Team from the United Kingdom’s Elite Ice Hockey League, though. HGW has obtained a promotional photo of the uniforms the Giants will be wearing that night.

    belfast giants select

    Guinness for everyone!

    Nathan Horton To Bruins? Maybe

    June 18, 2010
    nathan horton boston bruins

    Nathan Horton: Soon To Be A Bruin?

    The Bruins might finally have that big right wing they’ve been searching for.

    James Murphy at NESN is reporting that Peter Chiarelli might be on the verge of acquiring RW Nathan Horton from the Florida Panthers for an as yet to be determined price in return.

    While the parameters of the trade are unclear at this point, a very reliable source told NESN.com on Friday that the Bruins are closing in on a trade with the Florida Panthers that would see them acquire winger Nathan Horton, who was drafted third overall by the Panthers in 2003, but in six NHL seasons, has cracked the 30-goal plateau only once and — in the eyes of fans and media — failed to reach his potential and use his 6-foot-2, 229-pound frame properly.

    There were no specifics on what else may come to Boston in the deal or what the return would be to Florida, but it has been well documented that Chiarelli would love to move into the top 5-7 picks overall to get one of the top defensive prospects available, so this could be a package deal involving roster players and picks.

    According to this source, who stressed the Panthers were talking to numerous teams about Horton and could still accept another offer, “the parameters” of the possible trade were still being worked out as of late Friday afternoon, but “Horton believed he could be very close to being a Bruin.”

    Unlike the Savard/Wheeler deal to Columbus, this one might pass the sniff test. A reliable source, a willing trade partner, a player that’s probably in need of a change of scenery and a team (the B’s) very much committed to improving the team, and making a splash, via the trade market. It just feels more realistic. Don’t be surprised, though, if Blake Wheeler is still one of the names from the Boston side. Or, if there are high picks involved, as rumored, I wonder if if Patrice Bergeron might be in the mix. The B’s are going to need to move a center if they do indeed end up with Tyler Seguin as it currently seems will be the case and Bergeron might get the job done.

    I have to say I like this one. Horton is big at 6′-2″, 229 lbs. and plays a fairly rugged style. He scored 20 goals and 57 points last season playing for a miserable team and one wonders what he might do with a world class center like Marc Savard, David Krejci or Seguin playing pivot for him. He has totaled as many as 31 in a season and was drafted 3rd overall in 2003, so the man has some skill for sure, and only just turned 25 a few weeks ago. His career totals are as follows.

  • 422 games, 142 goals, 153 assists, 295 points, + 27 and 382 pims.
  • Sounds like a Bruin to me.

    Little taste of Horton in one of his HGW moments, just for fun:

    Stay tuned because, if multiple picks and players are involved and this thing grows, we could be seeing a blockbuster of sorts here.