Kukla's Korner

Entries with the tag: boston bruins

Kessel Can’t Go To The Sharks (Directly)

Ok, so the Phil Kessel-to-San Jose rumors are flying about now thanks to the Sharks’ cap-clearing moves last week. However, a simple look at numbers shows that a trade between the two teams is pretty much impossible without a third party getting involved.

Please recall that the trading of Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich to the Vancouver Canucks opened up about $4 million of cap space. That’s why everyone thought the trades were a precursor to something else. However, the Sharks promptly signed Torrey Mitchell, Brad Staubitz, and Thomas Greiss, which took up about half of that $2 million cap space. As it stands right now, the Sharks are hovering around the $54 million mark. That leaves them with about $3 million in cap space.

The Bruins, on the other hand, have about $1.5 million to play with thanks to buyouts of Glen Murray, Peter Schaefer, and Patrick Eaves, along with the $3.3 million signing of Derek Morris. However, this is a best-case scenario as it doesn’t factor bonuses in there (bonuses count against the cap); if all bonuses are achieved, then the Bruins are technically around $1.5 million over the cap—and that’s even without Kessel’s new contract.

(For anyone interested, those bonuses are for Milan Lucic, Blake Wheeler, and Tuuka Rask. So you can be pretty sure that the first two will achieve their bonuses. The latter? Not so much.)

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: boston+bruins, phil+kessel, san+jose+sharks

No Clear Favorites

I don’t know about you, but I look at the top of the standings and I vulnerabilities. Obviously, the Sharks, Red Wings, and Bruins are good teams—their records speak for themselves. But the great thing about an 82-game season is it gives teams time to understand and exploit the inherent flaws in each team. No team is perfect, and sometimes it just takes a little time to discover this.

That’s why I’m guessing that at least one of these three gets knocked out in the first round. Their inconsistent play in the second half of the season shows that they’re all vulnerable in their own ways. In fact, scanning down to the second tier of teams (Chicago, Calgary, Washington) and the New Jersey Devils, who are floating somewhere in between of the first and second tier, I wouldn’t put my money on anyone right now. Out of all of the “have” teams, I’d say that the most consistent going into the playoffs might just be the Devils—but the “have not” playoff teams really aren’t that far away.

Out west, if I was a top seed, the one team I’d try to avoid like the plague would be the Columbus Blue Jackets. In past seasons, I’ve had little reason to watch Columbus but since the All-Star break I’ve tuned into more and more of their games and I’m pretty sure that they’ll be loads of problems for whichever top seed they face.

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: boston+bruins, columbus+blue+jackets, detroit+red+wings, san+jose+sharks

Anatomy Of A Slump

4-5-1 and 5-4-1…not great records, but not exactly the end of the world. Still, when you’re the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks, respectively, greater things are expected. Let’s look at how the Bruins and Sharks fell back down to earth over the past ten games:

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: boston+bruins, san+jose+sharks

Chiarelli vs. O’Connell

Much of the Boston media’s talk today surrounds the pretty obvious topic of Joe Thornton and whether or not his departure was good. I think we can all agree that for the actual transaction, then-GM Mike O’Connell got pretty fleeced. For a #1 center, a 100-point player and a franchise guy, he got a 2nd-line wing (Marco Sturm), a #4 defenseman with a history of injuries (Brad Stuart), and a checking center (Wayne Primeau).

Ok, but let’s look beyond that. Some people seem to think that if Thornton was still in Boston, the Bruins wouldn’t have the cap space to put together their current squad. In other words, the argument seems to be that it was trading Joe Thornton’s cap space value for free agents Zdeno Chara, Marc Savard, Michael Ryder, and the ability to resign their own players.

That’s simply not true. Savard’s cap hit is $2.2 million less than Thornton’s. Sturm’s cap hit (currently on long-term injury) was a long-term resigning at $3.5 million. I’m guessing in an alternate world, you could swap Thornton for Savard, remove Sturm from the lineup and mix-and-match players, then argue whether or not the roster was better (they wouldn’t have Andrew Ferrence or Chuck Kobasew, the players involved in the Brad Stuart deal). However, Thornton’s salary wouldn’t necessarily cripple the team’s maneuverability, so that argument goes out the window when looking at the deal.

(Quick aside: Now whether or not Thornton would have evolved into the Hart Trophy winner he is today while remaining in Boston, we’ll never know. And for those that point to Thornton’s supposed ineptitude in the playoffs, look at these numbers. With the Sharks, Thornton has 30 points in 33 games.)

Instead, I think it’s better to put things in the context of former-GM Mike O’Connell and current GM Peter Chiarelli. Because ultimately, the reach of the Thornton deal doesn’t really directly impact the team that much anymore—Sturm’s out with injury, the other guys are gone, and no major draft picks were acquired from the deal.

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Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: boston+bruins, joe+thornton, mike+o'connell, peter+chiarelli

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