By Andrew Thompson Twitter: @godwentwhoops
Boston Bruins forward Ryan Spooner has been the center of a lot of talk lately. Last month, there were rumors that the Las Vegas Golden Knights were interested in grabbing him as a middle six-forward. The 25-year old forward has been mentioned by sources (including the team here at Black and Gold) about becoming part of a package deal.
Spooner might be on the move, but what kind of value does he have?
Expectations for Spooner were high back in 2010. The Bruins believed he could be a “legitimate game-breaker” when they grabbed him in the second round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Spooner had another Jekyll-and-Hyde performance last season. Both Claude Julien and Bruce Cassidy found it difficult to place Spooner properly. Spooner wasn’t strong enough defensively under Julien, and Cassidy didn’t like his offensive game once he took over. The Bruins were hoping that Spooner would have been a dependable top-six forward(or third-line center) by now, but his inconsistency found him traveling up and down the lines last year.
Spooner ended up with 39 points (11 goals) last season, a ten point reduction from his 2015-16 performance. Overall, Boston fans considered disappointing. While it wasn’t as bad as Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes’ season, it was below what was expected of him.
Still, Spooner has a lot of potential.
Spooner has the ability to be a solid play-maker. He’s got a strong tactical mind on the ice. He can put things together and help rack up points.
It’s unclear why he can’t bring this kind of performance night after night. One could argue it was a coaching problem at the start of the season (Claude Julien had actually called him out in front of the media a few times), but then Cassidy couldn’t find a niche for him either.
Maybe I’m being a pessimist here, but it seems that Spooner’s time in Boston is done.
Spooner certainly isn’t one of those ‘uncoachable’ players. But if two Boston coaches can’t get an elite level of performance out of him, it doesn’t speak highly of his attitude. Perhaps the B’s should use Spooner’s skill set and talent to get the B’s what they really need: A left-shooting defenceman or depth on the left wing.
Spooner still has decent trade value on the NHL market. While Spooner won’t get the kind of attention David Pastrnak would, he could certainly make stingy GMs give up the kind of player the Bruins need going into the 2017-18 season. As part of a package deal (especially if Sweeney’s willing to give up this year’s first round draft pick), he can be a very useful asset to the B’s.
Don Sweeney might already have some kind of plan in the works already regarding him. He hasn’t been afraid of shopping around Spooner in the past. Perhaps this time around a deal will be made that will be a win-win all around. The Bruins will get a player to help finish out their roster, and Spooner will find a team that’s a better fit for him.
If the Boston Bruins are going to make a move with Spooner, they’ll need to do it soon. The last thing the Black and Gold needs is another Jordan Caron fiasco on their hands.