Bruins Go All In At The Deadline

The Bruins this season have been overachievers. Coming into the season many believed this was a year for the kids to get acclimated to the NHL and see if they can hang with the big guns. They are currently sitting third in the Atlantic Division with an impressive record of 37-15-8. No one can deny the fact that under Cassidy the Bruins play an exciting fast pace game. The black and gold are the perfect mix of veterans and rookies, who feed off each other, and have been the story of the NHL, second to the success of the  Las Vegas Golden Knights. At the deadline the Bruins were busy adding depth at multiple positions for the playoff run. Let’s look at of the trades Don Sweeny has made to bulk up the Bruins as they look to have an extended stay in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Bruins acquire Rick Nash from the New York Rangers for Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, Ryan Lindgren, 2018 first pick and 2018 7th round pick
I’m a huge fan of this trade for many reasons. First off, the Bruins got a top six forward who has been a well-known goal scorer in the NHL for years. Nash has 18 goals and 10 assists this year. He is a big body that slots perfectly with David Krecji and Jake DeBrusk. Nash is the type of player that works best in front of the goal and with quick hands. He is also a physical presence that is much needed on that line. Now I like to be on the positive side, you must be thinking “wow a Boston writer that is not a negative Nancy all the time?”, but this trade some are calling a robbery by the Rangers. The Rangers receive Spooner, who was greatly overachieving this year. Spooner has 9 goals this year and 18 assists. He was the perfect set up guy for the line but is not a guy you can lean on for constant scoring and cannot take over a game, unlike Nash. The draft picks might be considered what put this deal over the top for a rental in Nash. However, the Bruins farm system is a spring of young talent like: JFK, Fitzgerald, Bjork, Agostino and you know the USA leading goal scorer in the Olympics Ryan Donato? Bruins draft pick. So, the Bruins could afford losing two picks and a solid defensive product in Ryan Lindgren. And good-bye to Matt Belesky, thanks for nothing. Before yesterday’s game Nash said, “I wanted to go to a place that wanted me and a place that had a great chance to win.” Well you’re in the right place. And for those nay Sayers, saying Nash is washed up. He is far from it. If you watch the games, you see that Nash barley misses opportunities to get on the score sheet and does the little things that help a team win.

Bruins acquire Nick Holden from the Rangers for Rob O’ Gara and 2018 third round pick
A depth move for the Bruins as it is no secret that the Bruins always want help on the blue line. I’m not sure if Holden will get consistent playing time. In New York he played on the  first line time with then Ranger teammate Ryan McDonagh. A solid player that can cover the defense if someone goes down with an injury. Hate that the Bruins gave up O’Gara. I watched a few games while he played at Yale and he could control the game from the blue line out.
Bruins trade Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers for a 2018 third round pick
Also hate to see the hometown kid go, but he was not going to get the playing time he needed. And the times he was in, he didn’t contribute because he is used to play consistent minutes. Might as well get something for him.
Bruins acquire Tommy Wingels from the Chicago Blackhawks for 2019 conditional fifth round pick
Another buy low, depth deal. Wingels has 7 goals and 5 assists in 57 games for the Hawks. Looks to be a solid third line winger, but once again do you want to sub in him for lines that have been working so far?

By: Nick Riley

Photo Credit: New York Daily News

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What To Expect of The 2017- 2018 Bruins

Tonight hockey returns to Boston as the Bruins open their season against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the TD Garden. The Bruins did not make many additions this offseason as their biggest signing was the resigning of their young star David Pastranak who had a career high 34 goals last year. The Bruins were somewhat limited this offseason as they had 10 million in cap space. 6.6 million of that will go to Pastranak with his new extension that will keep him in Boston for the next six years. The Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney is hoping the younger players can step up and justify his choice to not bring in much outside help. Some young players the Bruins are counting on include Anders Bjork, Jake Debrusk, and Jakob Forsbacka Karlson. The Bruins are hoping these young players can be the Bruins future as veterans Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Zdeno Chara are all in the latter part of their careers.

This Bruins team is predicted by many to make the playoffs and they certainly have the talent. They will need the young players to step up because if they don’t this offense will have a very hard time scoring. It also key for the Bruins that backup goalie Anton Khudobin builds on his exceptional ending to last season. The Bruins number one goalie Tuukka Rask posted a career high in wins last year however for the third straight season his save percentage dipped. In recent years Rask has been burdened with a heavy workload leading to a decline in some of his numbers. This has caused many to question if he still is one of the top goaltenders in the league. If Khudobin can give the Bruins 20-25 starts that will give Rask more rest and will allow him to return to his Vezina form which the Bruins will need come playoff time.

Bruins fans could be in store for a very exciting year if these young players play to their potential. If they do not it could be a long season and the Bruins may find themselves rebuilding by the end. Tonight is when he games start to count and the Bruins will be looking to start with a win and two points.

Photo credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images

Bruins Out To Prove Doubters Wrong

Torey Krug, Antti Niemi

Photo Credit: Joe Haggerty

The Boston Bruins enter today hanging onto the final wild card spot by three points with five games remaining. The team behind them the Tampa Bay Lighting has one more game left than the Bruins. The B’s have not made the playoffs in two seasons and have suffered disastrous collapses in both of those. As of late it looked like the Bruins were doomed to repeat that fate as they lost four straight from March 16th-23rd.  Not only were they losing but the games were not particularly close and starting goaltender Tuukka Rask pulled himself from the game against the Lighting causing head coach Bruce Cassidy to call out his goaltender.  Since that game that ended in a 6-3 loss to the Lighting this team has looked different.

After last night’s win the Bruins have won two straight and it all starts with the Bruins net minder Tuukka Rask.  After the Lighting game many people criticized Rask and called him out for not showing up for big games.  Last year Rask sat out the last game  due to sickness with the season on the line. Rask reminded people last night why he is so crucial to the Bruins as he recorded his seventh shutout of the season in the Bruins 2-0 win over the  Dallas Stars . In recent years the Bruins have struggled to find a capable backup to Rask meaning Rask has been forced to play more than he should. This has caused Tuukka to not be as fresh at the end of the season when the Bruins need him the most. Lately, Rask has been able to get that essential rest as since new coach Bruce Cassidy took over,  Rask’s backup Anton Khudobin has not lost a start.

With the standings so close every game down the stretch is crucial for this team. If they miss the playoffs after collapsing for a third straight year there will be a lot of changes for this roster and management heading into next season. This team is trying to avoid that and after looking flat in their previous four games they look more determined than ever. The Bruins play in a city that expects excellence and in which every other team is annually making the playoffs. They are trying to avoid being the team that doesn’t and if they can continue to win over these final games then playoff hockey will return to Boston.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Bruins #Boston #DallasStars

Bruins Fire Claude

claudie

Photo Credit: Adam Stocker

On Tuesday the Boston Bruins fired head coach Claude Julien who has the most wins in franchise history. Julien won 416 games during his ten years with the franchise including seven postseason appearances. Julien also coached the Bruins to two Stanley cup finals including winning it all in 2011. The last two years have gone differently however as the Bruins have missed the playoffs and after a extremely disappointing 6-5 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday the Bruins sit one point out of a playoff spot. Julien’s firing  is not because he is a bad coach. He is one of the best in the league and isn’t expected to be out of a job for long. There were however multiple factors that caused Bruins ownership to go in a new direction.

Some of the Bruins inconsistency so far this year is a result of key players who just haven’t lived up to expectations. These players include David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Spooner, and David Backes. Krejci and Bergeron both began the season coming off injuries which could explain their slow starts. Even with that considered both have played well under expectations as they are projected to finish with numbers under their career norms. Last year Ryan Spooner had a breakout year however this year has been very different. At certain times this year the young center has been called out by Julien and the coaching staff for not playing to his potential. As a result he has been moved along different lines in order to get his game going but to no avail. The last underperforming veteran in this group is David Backes. The Bruins signed  him in the offseason to a 5 year 30 million dollar deal. Through 47 games this year however Backes only has 22 points. Backes has never been none as a high scorer however he usually finishes with about 60 points a season and he is  projected to finish this season  with only 34 points . As the Bruins offense struggles an improvement from any of these players would be a huge boost.

The Bruins also have had problems with their goaltending as the Bruins backup goalies have won one game this year. This has put a tremendous amount of pressure on Tuukka Rask as the Bruins ability to give him days off have been limited. Many point to these problems as a result of Julien however that is not the case. No coach makes seven straight postseason appearences based on luck. Julien has always been a defensive minded coach however the NHL is now faster paced and a person can only change their coaching tendenices so much. Julien is partly to blame for the Bruins fall from excellence however he is not the only one. Julien should be remembered fo all that he did for the Bruins as his accomplishments during his ten years in Boston far out way his failures.

Written by: Jamie Gatlin

 

The Emergence Of Pastranak

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Boston Bruins

Photo credit: Andrew Thompson

Twenty seven  games into the season the Boston Bruins forward David Pastrank appears to be in midst of a historic season. His 16 goals to this point of the season  place him third in the league in goals scored and put him on pace to score 5o this season. When Pastranak first made his debut all people would talk about was his size. The Bruins drafted the young forward in the first round of the 2014 NHL draft twenty fifth overall. He made his debut later that season and in 46 games recorded ten goals and seventeen assists for twenty seven points. Pastranak has never been the biggest body on the ice and during his rookie season many people questioned what would happen if he took a big hit. Three years later Pastrank  is showing why he is a key part of the Bruins future and he emphasized that on Monday with his overtime winner against the Florida Panthers.

In overtime Pastranak took a pass from David  Krejci and drove towards the net deking out the Panthers goalie and burying the game winner. On a play that would be difficult for most  Pastrnak made it look effortless. Pastranak has carried the Bruins offensively as they rank near in the bottom in most offensive categories. This is because the Bruins are not getting the usual production from key players such as Patrice Bergeron and Ryan Spooner who have struggled to put the puck in the net. Before the season all the talk was about Brad Marchand as he signed an extension with the Bruins after a breakout season  and an outstanding World Cup performance for team Canada. So far this season most of the talk for the Bruins  has been about Pastranak establishing himself as one of the best young stars in the game and the return to dominance of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. In Pastrnak’s first two years in the NHL the most goals he scored in a season was 15 and 27 games into the 2016-2017 Pastranak has already set a new career high with 16 and counting. If the Bruins are going to return to the playoffs this year they’ll need their young defenseman to keep maturing and Patrice Bergeron to return to his form as the best two-way forward in the NHL. Pastranak however  has shown early on that he can carry a team and is showing no signs of slowing down.

#Bruins

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

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