Bruins Pastrnak Is A Top Priority This Summer

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Photo credit: (Greg M. Cooper / USA Today Sports)

By Court Lalonde  @courtlalonde

Don Sweeney has a lot of things to be optimistic about after the season that just past. The Boston Bruins made the playoffs, which I’m sure was his goal and wasn’t on board with the crazy goal the Jacobs family had, which was a deep playoff run. I still think that if the team didn’t get decimated with injuries they might have just had one because of the way the matchups went. Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy showed fans that the future of the Bruins defense will be in good hands. Brad Marchand was able to make his new salary worth it by almost having an MVP season minus a couple of minor blemishes. David Pastrnak had a breakout season and was on many highlight reels throughout the year.

The last offseason Sweeney was looking to add to the roster and was looking for defensive depth and scoring to replace the departure of Loui Eriksson. The good news is, not signing Loui last summer turned out to be a huge bullet dodged by Sweeney because he had one of the worst seasons of his career. The good news is that some of that defensive depth he was looking for ended up being in the system and didn’t cost him cap space. He ended up signing David Backes to replace Eriksson, and some fans aren’t happy about the term but can’t deny that the play type of Backes was a welcome addition. As the salary cap goes up year after year, the Backes deal won’t look as bad anymore.


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This offseason Sweeney is going to be looking to maybe add a capable backup at a low cost and a scoring winger to play on the second line. His biggest priority though is going to be the resigning of David Pastrnak. Pastrnak has made it know that he wants to come back. “I’m not a person who would want to go from (team to team),” said Pastrnak. “I love it here. It’s where I got the chance to play in the NHL. I would wish to end here.” Let us hope he takes a hometown discount, but it’s not likely. It does mean that he is willing to negotiate and sees a future playing with the Bruins, unlike Phil Kessel and Dougie Hamilton in the past.

When looking over comparable contracts around the National Hockey League, a couple of them stood out to me. Nikita Kucherov did take a hometown discount in Tampa and is making 4.7 million over three years and had 85 points last year and 66 points the year before his new deal. Artemi Panarin is making six million over the next two years and got that contract after a 77 point season. Both these players have a knack for scoring goals and are considered skilled players like Pastrnak.

This past season we saw him score 34 goals and record 36 assists for 70 points splitting his time between Boston’s top two lines. He played well at the beginning of the season on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand but found himself at the end of the year playing with David Krejci. Having him on the second line with Krejci, allowed Bruce Cassidy to have two lines that provided scoring and made it harder for teams to focus their plan of attack. These stats alone will be a big reason why he should be expecting a big raise.

 

We all know he can score goals and generate offense, but it’s his defensive game that needs to improve. He did show flashes of it during the regular season but did seem lost at times during the playoffs in his end and wasn’t strong enough on his skates. He spent the offseason bulking up and working on his game, and it did show, but he still has areas to work on to make him the elite player he can be. These areas might allow Sweeney to shave some dollars off his new contract.

I feel that Pastrnak will sign a new long-term contract with the Bruins and that the number is going to be in the range of 5.5 to 6 million dollar range per year. I think Sweeney is going to try and lock him up long term because he is the future of the Bruins offense. The term will more than likely be in the range of four to five years when looking at comparables because the bridge deals don’t seem to be working out well. P.K. Subban is a prime example of too many short term deals that ended up costing the team more financially in the end.

Whatever this summer brings, one thing is for certain, sign David Pastrnak first and then move on to other needs.


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Providence Bruins Heinen’s AHL Playoff Success

 

( Above Photo Credit:  Scott Martin Photography )

By Mark Allred             Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

When the Boston Bruins took a chance on prospect forward Danton Heinen after he voluntarily left the University of Denver, I thought in my “unprofessional” opinion it was a bit too soon after only completing his Sophomore year and believed he and the Bruins organization would benefit greatly with more time in the NCAA ranks. Signing a three-year entry-level contract back in April of 2016, the young prospect had a solid development camp and rookie camp which caught the eyes of Bruins management to proceed with a decent training camp/preseason to give the talented forward his first start in the National Hockey League. He produced zero points in his first eight NHL games and was sent down to continue his development with the top minor-pro affiliate Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League.

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The 21-year-old Langley, British Columbia Canada native took the demotion well and worked hard to get second looks from the higher club, but after posting eleven points in his first ten games (7-4-11), he struggled to stay consistent in the remaining 54 regular season games gathering only 33 points (7-26-33). As a fan that watches every Providence game, he was working extremely hard but couldn’t catch any luck offensively. He has solid attribute to his game and was a big help to his linemates in his first year of professional hockey but the postseason is a different story as the legend goes, and hiss game has changed dramatically to be one of the better stories coming out of the 2017 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs.

The 2014 fourth round selection of the B’s played aa heavy style game with urgency to get to the net and make things happen kind of game that wasn’t really seen in the regular season in my opinion, but this change for the better has certainly been the catalyst for a team that was not in favor of winning the best-of-five first round playoff series against the heavily favored and regular season champion Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. In five games against the Penguins, he posted 4-2-6 numbers while the B’s won the series 3-2 and now look to move to the second round which starts tonight in Hershey, Pennsylvania against the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center

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In these playoffs, this is the exact game I’ve wanted to see this young talent play all year but as many know prospects like this are a coin flip and remain to be seen. I see big things for this kid and hope with a little more body mass and strong offseason on/off ice sessions, he could seriously challenge once again for an NHL roster next season and if not he’ll certainly be a key part to the depth of the organization under entry-level status. This is all going to depend on the offseason moves General Manager Don Sweeney want to make to build a team structured for the second round and possibly beyond in next year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs if they indeed make it.

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Boston Bruins: Shopping Ryan Spooner

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By Andrew Thompson         Follow Me On Twitter @godwentwhoops 

After several years of trying to find a spot for forward Ryan Spooner, it appears the Boston Bruins are looking to cut their losses. Will another team pick up the 25-year old in the offseason?

The Boston Bruins have struggled to find a place for forward Ryan Spooner. The former 2010 second-round draft pick has found himself going up and down the lines in an attempt to find himself a permanent position with the team.

Spooner’s greatest liability has been his consistency. Over the course of five years and two head coaches, the Bruins organization have made a sincere effort to help Spooner reach his potential. The end result was a mixed bag.

Claude Julien tried a lot of different approaches to get Spooner to fit in. Some were positive, others weren’t. Julien even went so far to publicly chastise Spooner in front of the Boston media (who can make a school of frenzied piranhas look tame).

When Bruce Cassidy took over, he also tried to find a spot for Spooner. Once Bruce Cassidy was ensconced as the team’s 28th head coach, he took a few moments to offer a frank and honest assessment of Spooner’s abilities.

“I thought it started well with Ryan,” offered Sweeney on Spooner. “He had some confidence, some jump; we were trying to incorporate him in the penalty kill, make him more of a 200-foot player, but I’ll tell you what my issue was at the end with Ryan: It was well-documented with Claude he didn’t like his defensive game and some of the other things.

“For me, I didn’t like his offensive game at the end. He wasn’t playing to his strengths, and that bothers me about players, if they’re not able to play to their strengths when the temperature of the game goes up.”


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Bruins President Don Sweeney’s opinion was similar. When asked about Spooner’s return to team, Sweeney was decidedly uncommitted.

“Well, to be determined,” said Sweeney said of Spooner’s status in Boston. “We’ll look at our roster and what our options are. He has options as well as an RFA and we’ll have discussions with his representatives and see where there’s a fit. Ryan struggled down the stretch, had a nice bump when Bruce first took over, the familiarity probably helped. Offensively it tailed off.”

After five seasons with the Black and Gold, it appears the Boston front office are looking to move the Jekyll-and-Hyde forward. According to Ryan Kennedy of the Hockey News several teams have coming sniffing around the TD Garden in an attempt to grab the impending restricted free agent.

There are several teams out there that could use a player like him.  He’s capable of putting up 40 points in a season. The Canucks and the Devils could certainly use a middle-six/bottom-six center. As for the Golden Knights, they just might do us a favor and pick him as long as the Bruins don’t decide to protect him.

Ryan Spooner isn’t the worst player the Bruins have put on the ice these last few seasons. (This is the team that put Zac Rinaldo in the spoked ‘B’ without trying to be ironic after all.) But he’s maddeningly inconsistent. Some nights he’s clicking offensively. Other nights he’s a liability (Claude’s own word) for the B’s.

Spooner would like to stay in the Black and Gold. He knew that his game wasn’t what it needed to be at the end of the season. He only put up two points for Boston in the postseason, and his replacement Sean Kuraly netted two huge goals for the B’s in game five against the Ottawa Senators.

“I’ve been here since I’ve been 18, so it’s been a long time and I just want to help out,” said Spooner of his desire to stay in Boston.

“I definitely didn’t play to the top of my game.  I would have liked to score. I don’t think I scored in the last 20 games or something like that, so that definitely would have helped.”

 “I just need to be better than the last little bit of the season.”

In the end, moving Spooner might be the best thing for him.  He has the ability to be a solid NHL player, but he just can’t seem to click in the Bruins system. If moved, he could learn from this experience and become a more reliable NHL player.


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Boston Bruins: Building For The Future

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By Andrew Thompson              Follow Me On Twitter @godwentwhoops 

The Boston Bruins found themselves leaving the postseason earlier than they wanted to. Even with that disappointment, the young players coming up through the system gave fans and the front office reason to hope for the future.

The Boston Bruins exceeded expectations when they found themselves back in the playoffs this season.  A lot of the media (and a fair number of fans) had written off a team that was based around an untested group of young players and a 40-year old captain.

Bruins owner Charlie Jacobs started off the season by saying the B’s would make the postseason. While Jacobs hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the fans over the years, he knew the team would get it together by April. While it took a coaching change (and a little luck) to do it, the B’s found a way back to the playoffs.

The Bruins certainly struggled at times. Injuries seemed to hamper the play of players like David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron in the first half of the season. The Bruins blueline also had to struggle with people in and out of the lineup. This forced the Bruins to call up ten different players to play their first NHL games for Boston.

“I think, now, with some of the players that have stepped in this year, I think they’re giving some hope not just to us, but to the fan base, of where we are headed and what the future looks like because of it.” – Boston Bruins President Cam Neely

Things only got worse in the postseason.  Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo (first and third respectively for points by a defenceman) missed the entire playoffs. Adam McQuaid was injured in the postseason. By game four of the playoffs the Bruins were at tenth spot in their defensive depth chart, and the B’s head no choice but to bring up Charlie McAvoy and Sean Kuraly to fill holes in the B’s defensive lines.

Sure, the first round loss was disappointing. A few missed and/or blown calls (and a few really bad penalties) seemed to make the difference in the B’s early departure from the postseason. Still, the Bruins had a lot of players (11) in their first-ever NHL postseason. They held a healthier Ottawa team to one-goal games throughout the series, and that speaks well for the future of Bruins hockey.

“We had 11 players – think about that, 11 – play in their first postseason game,” said Bruins Alternate Governor Charlie Jacobs on the Bruins current youth movement. “To me, that’s an incredible number, almost half the roster. That’s valuable experience, for them to experience the atmosphere of playoff hockey, the tightness of it, the ferocity.

“The whole experience is a learning one and I think in the long run – while we’re not happy to be out in the first round, we’re going to be a much better team for it.”

The learning curve for the NHL is extremely steep. The young players could have easily faltered during the postseason.  Charlie McAvoy didn’t. Sean Kuraly didn’t. Noel Acciari certainly didn’t.

The Bruins will come back (barring another ugly string of injuries)in 2017-18 and make the postseason.  That prediction is certainly based on having players like Bergeron, Krejci, and Brad Marchand with the team. But a part of that claim is based on the strength of the Bruins developing players.

The youth movement is finally here, and it looks good for the future of the Black and Gold.


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Boston Bruins Need To Buy Out Jimmy Hayes

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The Boston Bruins should just cut their losses and buyout the contract of forward Jimmy Hayes.

The Boston Bruins traded for forward Jimmy Hayes back in 2015. At the time, it seemed like a good move for the Black and Gold. The B’s were trading Reilly Smith (who was having a rough hot-and-cold season) and the remainder of Marc Savard’s contract.

The Bruins were hoping for a 20-goal scorer that could use his physicality to shut down opposing teams.

The move had every catch phrase Bruins fans seem to love. Hayes was the ‘big bodied guy’ who could put pucks on the net.  That he was a Dorchester native was the icing on the cake. The B’s front office and the fans were hoping that the 6’5″ Hayes could fill in the hole left by Milan Lucic.

That didn’t happen. Not by a long shot.

Hayes didn’t live up to his billing and the fans weren’t happy.  When his name got linked (later proven to be false) as a reason why Jimmy Vesey chose the Rangers over Boston, it made matters worse.

Jimmy Hayes found himself getting pushed around on the ice these last two seasons. Smaller players like Matt Beleskey (last season) and Frank Vatrano (this season) were providing the physicality the Bruins needed.  While I can’t speak to the actual effort put forth by Hayes these last two seasons, the results are pretty damning for the former ‘Pride of Dorchester’.


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In all honesty, Hayes was the worst player on the ice for Boston this season. He only played 58 games for the B’s this season. He put up just five points (two goals) for the Bruins. By comparison, Noel Acciari put up the exact same numbers, and did it in half as many games.

This fight kind of sums up Hayes’ time in Boston.

Hayes spent extended periods as a healthy scratch. When Bruce Cassidy took over for Claude Julien, there were hopes the shake-up would provide motivation for players like Hayes. That didn’t happen. He spent more time guarding the popcorn machine on the ninth level than making plays on the ice.

Moving forward, the Bruins are going to need cap space. They’ve got to sign David Pastrnak to his first ‘real’ contract, and that will likely be in the high-five/low-six million range. The last thing they need is a two million dollar albatross weighing them down.

Boston could find a way to package Hayes as part of a multi-player deal. It’s unlikely though. Unless they can figure out a way to make that happen, the Bruins should just cut their losses and buyout Hayes.

This is how a buyout for Jimmy Hayes would work out:

  • Jimmy Hayes is 27 years old at the date of the buyout
  • Salary remaining: $2,600,000
  • The buyout ratio is 2/3, which results in a total buyout cost of $1,733,333
  • There are 1 years remaining on this contract
  • The buyout will be spread out over 2 years
  • The annual buyout cost is $866,667

On some level, I hate this idea. The Bruins would be essentially rewarding Hayes for being a terrible NHL player.  Still, his numbers don’t lie. He was the worst forward (and possibly overall player) for Boston last year.

Hayes could still be a decent NHL player, but he’ll need to do it somewhere else.


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What Should The Boston Bruins Do With Their UFAs?

john-michael-liles-nhl-boston-bruins-tampa-bay-lightning-827x560By Andrew Thompson                                              Twitter:@godwentwhoops

The Boston Bruins have three unrestricted free agents going into the 2017-18 season. How should the Black and Gold handle them?

Going into the 2017-18 season, the Boston Bruins have three impending unrestricted free agents (UFA).  The B’s now need to decide what to do with forwards Dominic Moore and Drew Stafford, and defenceman John-Michael Liles.

How should the B’s handle their UFAs? Who should stay and who should leave?

Dominic Moore should stick around. He’s a low-cost bottom-six forward. He played in all 82 games last season, and in all six playoff games. He put up 25 points (11 goals) for the B’s and was an effective all-around player for the Bruins, especially on special teams.

The Bruins are in the middle of a youth movement, but this is one veteran who should stick around. Moore helped make the fourth line relevant again. While it wasn’t the Merlot line of 2010-11, it was a dependable line that provided supplemental scoring for the B’s.

“It was a very enjoyable season for me to be a part of this group,” said Moore of his time with Boston. “Good group of players, great leadership – especially with this group between Zee and Bergy and Krech and Marchy. I mean, these guys are as good as it gets when it comes to leadership.”

 “So it was an honor to be a part of that and we’ll see what happens going forward, but I enjoyed my time for sure and we’ll see what happens.”

Stafford came over at the trade deadline from the Winnipeg Jets. The 31-year old forward moved up and down the lines during the 18 games he played in the regular season. While he only put up 8 points for the B’s(which was more than Matt Beleskey or Jimmy Hayes), he was a solid player for the team.

Drew Stafford is the UFA on the fence for Boston. If the Bruins exercise their buyouts (and get rid of players like Beleskey and Hayes), than Stafford will end up staying.  If the B’s don’t choose to use a buyout than Stafford will likely be left adrift in free agency.

“Overall, extremely positive,” shared Stafford with the Bruins staff on his time in the Black and Gold. “Everyone in here, it’s a lot of great people here and teammates, management, coaching staff, everything is definitely positive.”

“If there’s any kind of a chance, that’s something that I’m definitely into. I know my wife wasn’t able to make it out, but we had talked about it a little bit as a possibility and that’s something that obviously Sweens and my agent, if they feel like moving forward, it could be a good fit, then we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

“But I know the business side of things kind of works itself out that way, but me personally,” continued Stafford. “I loved my experience here and that would be great, but we’ll see what happens.”

Defenceman John-Michael Liles was brought over at the 2016 trade deadline. He had a rough go of it this season, just putting up five points for the Black and Gold. He suffered a serious concussion early in the season, limiting him to 36 games.

It’s highly unlikely that Liles will be coming back for another year in Boston. Even with impending departure of Kevan Miller/Colin Miller/Adam McQuaid to Las Vegas, the Bruins are more than set for defencemen. Charlie McAvoy’s strong entrance (and the B’s continued plan to find a use for Joe Morrow) mean that there won’t be any room for Liles on the roster next season.

“We’ll see. I’ve kind of taken it a year at a time. I’m not going to get too concerned with what’s going to happen here in the next few months,” said Liles of impending free agency. “It was great to get back into the playoffs.”

 “Obviously, the circumstances for me getting in weren’t what you’re looking for, guys going down to injury, especially a number of guys going down due to injury,” he said. “But, for me, it was just trying to do whatever I could to help the team and I felt good playing there.”

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Boston Bruins Need To Protect Colin Miller

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The Boston Bruins will have a hard choice when it comes to protecting some of their players for the upcoming expansion draft. Hopefully, the B’s will have the good sense to keep defenceman Colin Miller. By Andrew Thompson                                                               Twitter:  @godwentwhoops … Continue reading

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Two Bruins Prospects Heading To The 2017 World Championship

 

By Mark Allred            Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The 2017 IIHF World Championship Tournament is set to kick off this Friday, May 5, 2017, and ends with the final games on Sunday, May 21, 2017, from two European locations. This year’s festivities will be held at the AccorHotels Arena (Capacity: 15,000) in Paris, France, and Lanxess Arena (Capacity: 18,500) in Cologne, Germany. The 16 country event will be split into “A” and “B” groups with teams such as Denmark, Germany, Italy, Latvia. Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States representing Group “A” while Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Norway, Slovenia, and Switzerland will represent Group “B.”

The United States team historically hasn’t been very successful earning gold medals in these annual games dating back to the origins of the tournament in 1920 earning two Gold Medals, Nine Silver Medals, and seven Bronze Medals. This year’s team looks poised to make a serious run with names like Nick Bjugstad, Jack Eichel, Johnny Gaudreau, Dylan Larkin, Noah Hanifin, Jacob Trouba and more look to change history as the last Gold Medal for Team USA was won in 1960.

Young Boston Bruins prospects Anders Bjork and Charlie McAvoy who were added to this year’s roster will also look to add speed and skill to an already previously mentioned lineup. Both were eligible after their respected teams were finished for the season.

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Anders Bjork

The University of Norte Dame forward had a career year with the Fighting Irish in his 2016-17 Junior season earning him Hockey East First-Team All-Star and a finalist for the NCAA Hobey Baker Award as one of 10 of the nation’s best collegiate hockey players. In 39 games this season he posted 21-31-52 numbers ranking him in a three-way tie for ninth in national scoring (Leaders: 3 tied at #1 with 63 points) while leading his Irish team in individual points possessing 1.33 point-per-game average.

The 6′-0″ 185-pound center/left wing has had an impressive career in South Bend, Indiana thus far scoring 109 points in 115 games for a player selected in the fifth round of the 2014 National Hockey League Entry Draft. The 20-year-old Mequon, Wisconsin native was highly speculated to sign with the NHL Bruins as soon as his season was over with Notre Dame and after what seemed to be “stalled” negotiations he jumped at the opportunity to represent his country to possibly get the experience of playing with other professionals that will also join him in the 16 day tournament.


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Although talks between the Bjork camp and B’s Management will continue throughout the summer offseason, it’s leaning towards the player returning for his senior year with the Fighting Irish but it’s also not out of the realm for him to surprise anyone and turn pro before the 2017-18 NHL season starts as his decision will most likely depend on roster availability.

 

Charlie McAvoy

There aren’t enough words to say about this highly skilled defensive player who’s been on the radar of many professional scouts for a few years now but since his draft year landed in the laps of Bruins fans and the emergence of McAvoy Madness. The 6′-1″ 212-pound Long Beach, New York native has had an impressive 2016-17 hockey season playing in three different levels as he continues his development and a key asset in building a defensive core for the foreseeable future.

Selected in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft after his first season of NCAA hockey at Boston University which he saw action in 37 games posting 3-22-25 numbers. He would go onto an outstanding 2016-17 year making a sophomore year at BU contributing 26 points in 38 games (5-21-26). He would go on to join Team USA in the World Juniors Tournament where he helped the Americans win gold with six points in seven contests. He also played four games in the American Hockey League earning two assists and got the call due to injuries to the NHL with the Bruins in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs where he earned three assists in six games.


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Now it’s time for the 19-year-old to continue to work with an assortment of different aged professionals as he adds another experience to an already impressive resume. After this tournament, it’s believed the young man will report to the annual B’s development camp for the second time and continue to hone his skills in many summer offseason workouts as he prepares to earn a permanent roster spot with training camp coming up in September. With his play in all levels last season and departures of defensive players on the current Bruins roster, it’s hard to not believe he won’t be a shoe in for a lengthy NHL career starting next season.

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Kevan Miller, My Choice For Being Protected

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Photo Credit: (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Court Lalonde (@courtlalonde)

With the recent playoff exit to the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the National Hockey League Playoffs, we have to start thinking about the future. This summer is going to be different than other off-seasons because we will be welcoming an expansion team into the NHL, the Vegas Golden Knights. One of the biggest decisions for GM Don Sweeney will be who to protect in the expansion draft. He can either decide to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or protect eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender. I feel the obvious choice is the first option and protect seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goaltender. You have to protect players with no-movement and no-trade, so the decision with the forwards have almost all been made with a few spots open.

At the beginning of the season and the halfway point I had made up my mind on who I thought should get that final spot on the back end and it was Colin Miller. The two no-brainers are Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug, but after that, you can have a debate over the last spot. I’ve even gone as far to ask the Twitter world but ended up not coming to the same conclusion. During the last month and the playoffs, one defenseman stood out to me over all the others.

You can make a case for Colin Miller because he has speed and is a young skilled puck moving defensemen.  He needs a lot of work in the defensive zone and needs to be stronger on the puck and in the corners.  Miller has a cannon of a shot and can generate offense along with a very reasonable contract at one million a year until the 2017-2018 season.  With the emergence of Charlie McAvoy, I feel Colin Miller has been moved down on the depth charts.

Kevan Miller was never drafted by any team in the NHL but was able to sign an amateur tryout with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League back in 2011 and played six games for them. He never actually made his NHL debut until 2013 when he was called up to play against the St.Louis Blues in November of that year. He was in and out of the lineup for the rest of the year but was able to get a contract extension at the end of the year; at the time I was wondering what Sweeney was thinking, to be honest. Miller has a physical presence and can make a quick first pass and will drop the gloves when needed. During the playoffs this year he got the shot to show his worth because the blueline became decimated with injuries. He was playing top minutes and averaging just over 24 minutes a night, but that includes a couple of overtime games. Intern coach Bruce Cassidy was relying heavily on Miller to soak up the ice time in the absence of the injured players. Miller didn’t let him down and became the second pairing shutdown defensemen in the playoffs this team had been looking for. He was taking the body, blocking shots and shutting down some of the top players on the Ottawa Senators. In the playoffs you get to see what a player is made of, some just can’t handle the pressure and fall flat. He was able to deal with the high typo of playoff hockey and excelled in it.


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The defense pairings for next year would look solid in my opinion and I feel Charlie McAvoy is a lock for a roster spot next year after his performance in the playoffs as well.

Zdeno Chara      Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug         Charlie McAvoy
Kevan Miller      Adam McQuaid

Kevan Miller is not the most flashy defensemen, and you could say he’s not the sexy pick, but he would be my pick if I had a say. He is not going to be the guy you expect to generate offense on the ice, but when he does, it’s a bonus. Miller’s a player that is going to stick up for his teammates and have the no surrender attitude. He showed me at the end of the year that I was wrong about him, and I’m glad he did.

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Boston Bruins Survive Game 5, Head Back To TD Garden on Sunday

B's Winner

By Andrew Thompson                                                                     Twitter: @godwentwhoops

The Boston Bruins have not gotten a fair shake from the referees this playoff series. Still, the Black and Gold have found ways to stay alive against the Ottawa Senators.

The Boston Bruins had to play five periods of hockey in order to keep their playoff hopes alive on Friday night. Through determination and grit (and in spite of the refs who were either motivated by bias and/or ignorance), the B’s found a way to win, beating the Senators 3-2 in double overtime.

There were several heroes for the Bruins on Friday.

Bruce Cassidy was the first. The Bruins interim head coach decided to swap out forward Ryan Spooner (who may have played his last game as a member of the B’s) for Sean Kuraly.  Kuraly would have likely seen very limited playing time if it wasn’t for the lower body injury to David Krejci. Cassidy had to endure several bad calls before Kuraly netted the overtime winner.

Sean Kuraly is certainly the second hero of the game. He earned his first two NHL goals, including the double overtime winner for Boston. His first goal helped tie it up in the second period.

His second goal saved the season for the Bruins.

Kuraly had an outstanding night for Boston. The 24-year old forward finished the game with six shots on goal, three hits, one block, and a takeaway.  What makes it more impressive is that the he was able to get all that done in just 18 minutes of ice time.

“I liked his game early in the series, but we had guys that had been here, [David Krejci] came back…we liked him, we just had guys ahead of him,” said Cassidy of Kuraly. “One door closed, another one opened…he took advantage of his opportunity, started at the bottom of the lineup. We needed him more. He had the energy.”

The Bruins have been relying on the ‘next man up’ principle this postseason. With the list of injured players piling up, the young B’s have been asked to step up. By and large, the young players have done that in Boston.

“He’s got the tools, he’s flying,” offered B’s alternate captain David Backes on Kuraly’s heroics. “He makes a play by getting in on the forecheck, I’m able to be the second guy in there, he gets into open ice and brings it to the net hard the way we’ve talked about and scores his first NHL goal.

“With Krech out, we need some guys to step up. Certainly tonight was his night…great kid that works his butt off. You love to see it….that’s as fun as it gets.”

Tuukka Rask was the other big hero for Boston. When the B’s were down 2-0 due to an ugly pair of breakaways, the Finnish netminder buckled down and refused to allow another Senator to score on him.

Rask had 41 saves in the game. He stopped all five power play attempts by the Senators and kept the team in it when the refs really put the screws to Boston.

Now the Bruins head back to Boston to see if they can pull out another win against the Senators on Sunday.

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