These UGLY Boston Bruins sweaters are probably the best thing to happen to the fans of the Black & Gold since the B’s hoisted the Cup back in 2011. Can you already picture yourself wearing this slice of hockey heaven on the beach or on the slopes?
If you are reading this article, you’ve probably taken a break from one of the most thrilling Boston Bruins’ off seasons in recent memory. Just kidding, it’s been brutal. Not only did they lose one of their best forwards in Jarome Iginla, but they’ve also yet to sign their two biggest free agents in Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.
The sting of losing Iggy is more palpable given the fact that his contract is the primary reason the B’s are in the cap hell they are in. He left town after a President’s Trophy winning season to sign an outrageous contract with the Colorado Avalanche. He has already come out and said that he believes he can win a Cup with the Avs (spoiler alert: He won’t.)
They will miss his character, leadership, and goal scoring ability, but they had to know that it wasn’t going to work out long term given his ridiculous amount of bonuses.
Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins’ brass have also signed two of their own free agents in Matt Bartkowski (1 year, $1.25 million), and Jordan Caron (1 year, $600,000). These are two guys that a lot of fans did not want back for next season, but players that are signed are easier to move via trade.
It has been stated multiple times throughout the off season that the Bruins’ are carrying a ton of NHL ready defensemen and need to deal a few for some assets, cap space, or a right hand on the right wing. It was surprising to see the team re-up Bart and Caron, but I have to believe that they did so for the sake of moving them to another team.
Five Providence Guys You Can Expect to See In Boston This Season
By this far in the offseason, Bruins fans are pretty informed when it comes to the financial situation the team has found itself in. It’s the middle of July, and GM Peter Chiarelli has found himself with just under $400k in cap space and only 19 roster players. In an article examining the “cap crunch” Boston has found itself in, it was pointed out that of those 19 players, none are right wingers- and eight of them are defensemen.
It’s likely that, with this kind of financial situation, Boston is going to have to let go of a current roster player to free up the funds to fill in the team’s right offense. While it’s likely that at least one addition to the team’s wing will be an acquisition from another team, though, we have to assume that the majority of next year’s lineup will be pulled straight from Providence.
1. Anthony Camara
When I saw that Shawn Thornton wouldn’t be returning to Boston, I immediately assumed that 20-year-old Camara’s time had come. During last year’s preseason, the enforcer skated with the team in a number of games- but ultimately, Chiarelli and Julien decided that he needed another year of development before earning a full-time roster position in Boston.
That year is up, though, and it seems that Camara has worked on his game. The 2011 3rd-round pick racked up nine goals and thirteen assists for a total of twenty-two points with the P-Bruins last year, and spent a total of fifty minutes in the penalty box for showing his physical presence. For a player who won’t turn 21 until September, it was the right move for Chiarelli to keep him in Providence for a year- particularly if the GM had plans to let Camara fill in the role of enforcer once Thornton was gone. Expect to see Camara make an appearance on the fourth line next year.
2. Linus Arnesson
I know, I know: Boston has too many defensemen on the roster already. What am I thinking, putting a prospective blue-liner on my list?
Before you begin to protest too much, though, consider this- Arnesson has been looking incredibly sharp at development camp, and it’s likely that at least one of the team’s current defensive roster players will be gone come September. In addition, Chara isn’t able to carry the team the way he has in the past- for more on that, read what Matthew had to say on the matter. Should Boychuk stay in the stead of a trade involving Adam McQuaid and Matt Bartkowski, it’s likely that Arnesson will get moved up to fill in the holes they leave behind.
3. Matt Fraser
Boston is in short supply on the right wing, and I would be incredibly shocked if Fraser didn’t move up from the get-go. This 24-year-old forward has proven to be the diamond in the rough of the Seguin trade with Dallas. Coming off of two thirty-plus goal seasons with the Texas Stars, Fraser spent the majority of last season in Providence; of his 44 AHL appearances last year, he scored twenty goals and had ten assists.
It’s what he did during the games he suited up in Boston, though, that makes me really believe he’s going to be a front-runner for a third line spot this coming season. Of his fourteen regular season games with the Bruins, he managed to fire off two goals- and in the playoffs, he got another goal. Which, by the way, was the OT winner against Montreal in Game Four. Oh, and did I mention that it was also his playoff debut? Looking forward to seeing him skate out next season, potentially in a line with Soderberg and Kelly.
4. Ryan Spooner
While the team’s roster has more than its fair share of centermen already on the roster- according to CapGeek, Boston has $20 million tied up in this particular position alone- Spooner is one of two P-Bruins who looks NHL-ready, and could fit on the fourth line nicely with Camara and potentially Campbell. According to CBS Boston, Chiarelli has suggested that Campbell would be willing to move to the wing if need be- which would make a fourth line of Camara-Spooner-Soupy.
In the past few seasons with Providence, Spooner has proven to be a great two-way forward who has a strong sense of how to hold on to the puck. In the last season alone, he walked away with eleven goals and thirty-nine assists; but more importantly, he walked away from the season having never dropped below a positive +/- rating. This suggests that he could be the defensive force on the fourth line that Jordan Caron never managed to be.
5. Alexander Khokhlachev
I know, another center. This one is okay with moving to the wing, though- which might need to be done if Chiarelli moves Eriksson up to the first line. Khokhlachev doesn’t have the magic overtime winner for Boston that Fraser does, but he does have a twenty-one goal season under his belt. Of the sixty-five games he played with Providence this past season, he supplemented those twenty-one goals with thirty-five assists, racking in a total of fifty-seven points. Expect to see him playing at the very least in a supplemental role in Boston next year, if not the entire season.
I’m leaving David Pastrnak off this list for right now, but Chiarelli has offered him an entry-level contract and announced in a press release on Tuesday that Pastrnak will be skating in at least a few pre-season games come September.
The Bruins’ “win now window” is a hot topic in the hub, and I myself think it is a myth. It is propaganda shoved in our faces by the many “hot take” media guys that cover the B’s. It is everywhere you look, it is on the radio, it is on the TV, and it is utterly insufferable.
How does this move help them “win now”? What is Peter Chiarelli doing? Seriously, if I hear somebody ask either of those questions again I am going to climb to the rafters in the TD Garden between Orr and Clapper and take the plunge onto the spoked B.
The Bruins’ window is generally considered to be based on captain Zdeno Chara’s age, level of play, and inevitable decline. There are a number of reasons why this is both ridiculous and completely devoid of facts. For starters; Chara isn’t even the best player on this team anymore. He is their best defenseman for sure, but he isn’t the elite workhorse he once was. Having said that, Z at age 37 is still a better defenseman than about 90% of every other defenseman in the NHL right now.
“But Matt, he has gotten slow and it showed against Montreal last year, and Chicago the year before”. That is a fair point, but don’t you think it is a little irresponsible on the coach’s end to play a 37 year old play for 25+ minutes a night, even though he is a freak athlete? It is really easy to blame the player, but then again I would love to see anybody who calls him slow lace up skates and face the best players on the opposing team every night.
The Bruins plan for last season was to limit his minutes. Dennis Seidenberg tore his ACL and screwed that one up royally (not his fault obviously). So the team was forced to overuse their big man and he was unfortunately exposed. If Seides hadn’t gotten hurt, would that of happened? Who knows, and there isn’t any use in speculating. Hopefully it won’t come to that next season either.
You also can’t avoid the hypocrisy regarding Chara and the “window” too. Most people in Boston consider Big Z ineffective and slow right? If you were to type his name into twitter right now you would see a ton of “trade Chara” people. What I don’t understand is that if people feel as if Zdeno is too old and slow, than why is this “win now window” attitude based on him and the remaining years in his career?
The time has come to start really looking at how the team’s prospects are shaping up. This year’s roster includes a few expected guys, such as first-round draftee David Pastrnak, second-round draftee Ryan Donato, and current P-Bruins Matt Lindblad, Anthony Camara, and Malcolm Subban.
There are a few notable invites added to the camp this year, as well. Casey Bailey and Ryan Carpenter are both collegiate-level forwards who skated out with the P-Bruins guys for the hour long skate today. Carpenter was signed to a one-way contract back in March with the San Jose Sharks, and will be playing with Worcester of the American Hockey League next season. He and Bailey fit in well playing with the Bruins players, as did fellow invitees Alex Cord, Derek Docken, and Garnet Hathaway.
The development practice, which was held at the Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass, looked positive and promising for those watching. According to Mark Garbino of BruinsLife.com, it looked like ‘Pastrnak and Donato are already shaping up to be good friends’. He went on to describe a friendly shootout held between the two after the practice, saying that everyone seemed to be laughing and getting along quite well.
Despite all the incredible forwards who skated around together today, though, Boston newcomer Linus Arnesson seemed to be the breakout star of the practice with his clear, solid defensive play. He made some amazing passes to Pastrnak, suggesting that the two will make a good team when they finally hit the Bruins lineup together. Arnesson, who was drafted by the Bruins in the second round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, was signed to a one-year entry-level contract this June. The Swedish blue-liner spent one final year playing in the SHL before signing his contract with Boston, but we can expect to see him on this side of the pond come September.
As far as goaltending went, all three of the Bruin’s netminding prosepcts- Zane Gothberg, Adam Morrison, and Malcom Subban- were in attendance at the first day of camp. While Subban showed up an hour late due to dehydration issues, both he and Gothberg made solid showings for the practice.
If Bruins fans weren’t excited about next season yet, it’s doubtful they feel the same way now. Preseason is unofficially under way, and I personally can’t get enough of it. I can’t wait to see how the newest prospects measure up against the already formidable lineup the P Bruins have to offer, and I’m curious to see where more veteran players such as Camara and Arnesson will end up come September. Who will be in Providence? Who’s going to be skating out on the ice alongside Chara and Bergy?
Keep following the development camp, because it’s a great way to find out.
Vote For Tuukka Rask’s Vaughn Gear For Next Season
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask had a great season even though the playoffs ended far sooner than he wanted. However, he won his first Vezina trophy and led the Boston Bruins to the best record in the NHL.
Now you can vote for the best goalie on the planet’s gear for the 2014-2015 season.