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Saturday, August 08, 2009


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Official New Location

Please check us out at our new location!!

I hope the new format is much easier to follow and we will be able to update it easier.  Thank you for following us on blogger and we hope this transition to a new format isn't much trouble.  We would like as much feedback as possible.  The new domain is

-Matt and Pekese


Okay, I feel like I have not been clear, so let me try and make things such.

I am managing two blog right now, Bruinsrumors and The Boston Sports Blog.  I am not getting rid of Bruinsrumors, it will still be here.  The Boston Sports Blog is an experiment and it just like Bruinsrumors, with the same hockey info, except with all 4 major boston sports teams.  For those who are not interested in that, Bruinsrumors will contain only Bruins and hockey posts, so everyone is happy.

I moved Bruinsrumors over to Wordpress because it has a better presentation and for those who were getting upset with the lack up sidebar updates, wordpress should fix that.  The new Bruinsrumors location, same site as this, just better presentation is

The Boston Spots Blog, for those interested in not just the Bruins, is  

If The Boston Sports Blog fails, I will just manage this blog.  If everyone HATES the wordpress version, I will come back to use this one on blogger.

If you are still confused, or have any concerns, shoot me an email at, or leave a comment.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Bruins Tickets go on Sale August 20th

The Boston Bruins have announced that individual tickets for the 2009-2010 season go on sale August 20th, at 10:00 am. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.

Tickets range from $10.00 to $298.50. For more information visit

Bruinsrumors new location?

Ok, now based on comments I decided to keep Bruinsrumors alive, while continuing to post at The Boston Sports Blog.  Now, as I have said before blogger is very limited compared to wordpress.  So I made a new blog, still called bruinsrumors, except the new URL is  Now please check it out, send me some feedback via email.  I am trying to make it more interactive and easier to update.  Thanks.


Olympics Preview : Canada and Czech

Here are potential lineups for team Canada and Czech. Milan Lucic has been invited to camp but his chances of making the team are slim. It would be great to see Lucic in his hometown of Vancouver representing his country, but he is young and team Canada is stacked with allstars. I hope I'm wrong, but I am leaving him off my roster, for now. Additionally, Marc Savard was not invited to Team Canada's camp. While that does not mean he will not make the team, it is a sign that GM Steve Yzerman is not considering him at this time. If an injury to a center arises, I fully expect Savard to get strong consideration for a spot. However, since Team Canada has so many centers, I put three of them on the wings, assuming Yzerman will choose the best players rather than the best lineup. It will be interesting to see how Team Canada is actually selected. I also did not include Scott Niedemrmayer because he may retire this season and therefore would not take part in the Olympics. Team Czech does not have the depth that Canada, Russia, or the U.S. rosters have, but they cannot be counted out because they have some very good players especially on their top lines. David Krejci is centering the first line, while Robert Lang is not included on this team because of his injury/retirement status for the upcoming season.

Team Canada

Extra: Morrow, Richards, Marleau


Extra: Campbell, Boyle, Phaneuf


Team Czech

Extra: Erat, Hudler


Extra: Spacek, Roszival


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

New Blog!!!!

Okay, so I have been spending the past few weeks trying to decide what to do with the blog.  I really love it, but I wanted something with more flexibility.  I also am a huge Celtics, Sox and Patriots fan as well, and I love to talk about not just the Bruins but every team.   I thought it would be an interesting concept to have what we had at Bruinsrumors for all the 4 major sports teams in New England.  

I know many of you here are just hockey fans, but this new blog will not change the content.  There will still be as many if not more pieces on the Bruins and NHL as were here.  The layout is a little more professional and the content will have more links.  There is also an easier way to update stuff like the sidebar and there is now the option of pages which makes it more website like.  I note, I am not going to stop Bruinsrumors.  I'm simply trying something new and if everyone hates it, then I will come back to this site.  I would like as much feedback as possible.  

The site is The Boston Sports Blog.  There is also a cool embedded chat which I thought was really neat.  

Edit:  I didn't say this, but I am still going to post some things here, so it's not like this site is gone as of now.  Basically, Bruinsrumors and everything here will be at The Boston Sports Blog, it will just also have the other teams as well.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Olympic Preview : Sweden, Russia, Finland

With not too much happening in the hockey world, here is another Olympics preview. I posted the possible lines for team USA last week. Here are possible lines for team Sweden, Russia, and Finland. Later in the week I'll have a post for team Canada.

Team Sweden
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Alfredsson
Extra: Berglund

Extra: Hedman


Team Russia
Extra: Afinogenov


Extra: Tyutin, Vishnevski


Team Finland


Extra: Niinimaa


Monday, July 27, 2009

Axelsson's tenure officially ends today

According to report out of Sweden, P.J. Axelsson has officially signed a four year deal with the Frölunda Indians of the Swedish hockey league, Elitserien. Axelsson will play for former NHL player Ulf Dahlén , the current coach of Frölunda. Axelsson had been the longest active Bruin dating back to the 1997-1998 season. Originally drafted in 1995 with the 177th pick, Axelsson recorded 103 goals and 184 assists in 797 games over his 11 seasons with the Bruins. In 54 career playoff games Axelsson recorded 4 goals and 3 assists.

Thanks to P.J. for all he did for this organization. It was often overlooked at times especially the past 2 seasons where he struggled offensively. He always played hard and can still be considered one of the best penalty killers in the league. Axelsson's departure is likely due to a number of reasons. Chiarelli wants to get bigger, faster, and tougher to play against. While Axelsson is a pest for opposing players, his speed has been on a decline the past few seasons and his size makes him a question in Chiarelli's new philosophy. With the resigning of Byron Bitz and the addition of Steve Begin, both making less then a million, there wasn't much room left for the reliable Swede, especially at a salary similar to what he was making. His smart decision making, pk skills, and his ability to break up plays in the neutral zone will be missed but at the same time it shows the organization is moving forward and following through on their approach .

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bruins Recent Moves

The Bruins made a few moves this weekend.

Bruins traded Aaron Ward to Carolina for Patrick Eaves and a 4th round pick.  Placed Eaves on waivers and will buy him out.

I thought Ference would be the odd man out, but Chiarelli likes him for some reason.  Ward was making 2.5 million vs. Ference's 1.4, so that comes into play.  The Bruins wanted a puck moving guy and decided to get rid of Ward and sign Morris.  I thought Ward would net more of a return, but I thought it was nice of Chiarelli to deal him to Carolina where he lives.  We saved 2.2 million in cap space with this move.  I hate having dead money on the payroll, as we have about 2 million this season, and Eaves' contract will be on us for 4 more seasons at around 200k per.  Ward has also been injury prone of late, but he was great in his own zone and good at blocking shots.  The 4th round pick is not really much.  Could we have gotten something better from somewhere else?  Possibly, but it was not too bad.  

Bruins signed Derek Morris to a 1 year, 3.3 million dollar deal.

At first when we traded Ward, I thought we were going to sign Sergei Zubov to a deal under 1.1 million and sign Kessel, but I was wrong.  I had a feeling the Bruins were going to go after Morris and he is a good puck moving player.  His point total has dwindled, but he did play in Phoenix, which isn't a great team.  If he can regain his form, he will be a steal.  I thought this was too much money because it's now late July, so you think you could get a discount, but I like the addition of Morris and I think he will help the PP and transition game which is so vital to this team.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Derek Morris to the Bruins?

According to James Murphy of NESN, the Bruins are close to signing defenseman Derek Morris. Morris is a righthanded defenseman who played for Phoenix last season before being traded to the New York Rangers at the trade deadline. More details to come....

UPDATE: TSN has confirmed that Derek Morris has signed with the Bruins. The deal is one year with a cap hit on $3.3 million. The Bruins now have $1,304,167 in cap space available. Another contract must be moved to fit Phil Kessel in without exceeding the cap. Moving Kobasew's contract alone will give the Bruins $3,637,500 which probably will not be enough to get Kessel signed. A player(Savard, Bergeron, Ryder?) with a larger salary may be headed out if the Bruins are serious about signing Kessel long-term.

Aaron Ward traded back to Carolina

Aaron Ward has been traded back to the Carolina Hurricanes for Patrick Eaves and a fourth round draft pick. Ward has a cap hit of $2.5 million for this upcoming season. Eaves has a cap hit of $1.4 million for this season and next. After acquiring Eaves, the Bruins have then placed him on waivers in attempts to buy out the right winger. If Eaves clears waivers and is officially bought out, the Bruins will carry a $258,333 cap hit for his buyout for the 2009-2010, 2011-2012, and 2012-2013 seasons. Since Eaves contract has escalating salaries, the Bruins actually get an additional 41,000 added onto their 2010-2011 cap total. This move is obviously a salary dump by the Bruins and frees up to $2.241,667 million, which could possibly be used to get Phil Kessel signed. The Bruins now have $4,604,167 million in cap space for the 2009-2010 season.

UPDATE: In a conference call this afternoon, Peter Chiarelli said he is expecting to add another defenseman to the current group. He did not specify whether that defenseman would come via trade or free agency.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

2010 Olympics Preview : Team USA

Yeah, I know its a while away but it should be interesting to see who makes the final cut for team USA. So far there have been 31 skaters and 3 goaltenders invited to camp. Here is what I would like to see from team USA:


Extras - Pominville and Modano


Extras - Ballard and Carle


Bill Guerin, Keith Tkachuk, and Brian Rolston were all not invited to camp. That does not mean they will not make the roster, but it appears team USA is looking for a younger, quicker lineup to better compete in the uptempo Olympic style of play. Also on my roster but not invited to camp are Ballard, Corvo, and Dipietro.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Salary Cap Update

Below is an update of where the Bruins stand in regards to the salary cap. Johnny Boychuk is included because he has a one way contract, meaning he will be on the opening day roster. Vladmir Sobotoka is not included because he has a two way contract and can be optioned back to Providence once the team is fully healthy.

Lucic (850K)-Savard ($5million)- Kessel (RFA)
Wheeler (875K) - Krejci (3.75 million) - Ryder ($4 million)
Sturm ($3.5million) - Bergeron ($4.75 million) - Kobasew ($2.33)
Recchi ($1 million) -Begin (850K) - Thornton (517K)
extra - Bitz (688K)

Forwards under contract - 12
Forward total cap number - $28.11 million

Chara ($7.5 million) - Ward ($2.5 million)
Hunwick ($1.45 million) - Wideman ($3.875 million)
Stuart ($1.5 million) - Ference ($1.4 million)
extra - Boychuk (500K)

Defensemen under contract - 7
Defensemen total cap number - $18.225 million

Tim Thomas ($5 million)
Tuuka Rask (850K)
Goaltenders under contract - 2
Goaltenders total cap number - $5.850 million

Total of player salaries - $52.185
Glen Murray Buyout - $1.383 million
Peter Schaeffer Buyout - 567K
Buyout Total - $1.95 million
Overall cap hit - $54.135 million

Cap Space Available - $2.665 million

Hunwick Resigns

The Bruins have announced that Matt Hunwick has signed a two year contract extension. Hunwick had an arbitration hearing scheduled for July 24th. Under Chiarelli, only one member of the Bruins has gone through arbitration. That member was David Tanabe, but the Bruins declined to sign the arbitration offer, making him a free agent.

UPDATE: The Boston Herald is reporting Hunwick's contract will pay him $1.35 million the first season and $1.55 million in the second year. The cap hit for both seasons will be $1.45 million.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

NHL 10 Bruins Player Ratings

Note: These are not the true ratings, just my opinion.

For those video game fanatics (like me) out there, what would you rate the Bruins players?  In recent games, I feel that some of the ratings are too low (Dennis Wideman being in the high 70s).  I also am not a fan of the high 90s ratings, as players in the 90s should be elite.  Having Mats Sundin be a 91 or whatever is stupid.  Zdeno Chara is rated a 92 for this years game according to some screenshots of the game, and is the 5th highest ranked player in the game.  Based on that, these would be my ratings plus potential for some of the younger guys.

Zdeno Chara........92
Tim Thomas.........91
Marc Savard........90
David Krejci.......86........A+
Phil Kessel........86........A
Dennis Wideman.....85
Marco Sturm........85
Michael Ryder......84
Milan Lucic........84........A
Blake Wheeler......84........A
Patrice Bergeron...83........B+
Mark Recchi........83
Chuck Kobasew......82
Mark Stuart........81
Aaron Ward.........80
Andrew Ference.....80
Matt Hunwick.......79........B+
Tuukka Rask........79........A+
Johnny Boychuk.....78........B-
Byron Bitz.........77........B-
Steve Begin........76
Shawn Thornton.....75

Friday, July 17, 2009

The 66% Rule

This is an expanded explanation and reasoning behind the imposed new rule.  I have changed it from what I said the rule should be before.

If I could make one change to the structure of the NHL salary cap, it would be the 66% rule.

The 66% rule is the following:

Any player that was drafted by the current team he plays for without having switched teams prior (example Glen Murray, he was drafted by Boston, left to Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, and then was later traded to Boston.  Under the rule, he would not be subject to the 66% rule) or has played in fewer than 2 full NHL seasons, or 100 NHL games will have only 2/3 or 66% of their cap hit count against a teams salary cap.  Players who are signed out of college and not drafted are subject to this rule as are as are European players who are not subject to entry level deals and have not played in the NHL for 2 full seasons or 100 NHL games.  Entry level deals are not subject to the 66% rule.  When a player under the 66% rule is traded, his full cap hit is used for the new team unless he is still subject to the rules above.

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, drafted 1st overall by Pittsburgh.  Cap hit: 8,700,00.  Since he was drafted by Pittsburgh and is subject to the 66% rule, his cap hit would be 5,800,000.

Jack Johnson, Los Angeles Kings, drafted 3rd overall by Carolina.  Cap Hit: 1,475,000.  He did not play for Carolina, and was traded to Los Angeles, so he is subject to the 66% rule and his cap hit would be 983,000.

Jeff Finger, Toronto Maple Leafs, drafted 240th overall by Colorado.  Cap hit, 3,500,000.  He played one full season in Colorado before signing with Toronto.  He is subject to the 66% rule and his cap hit would be 2,333,333.

The point of the rule is to put emphasis on retaining your own players, and stop teams from buying players.  It also does not punish and prevent teams for having and keeping their own talent.  It also allows for teams to acquire young talent that has not played a lot for a team and develop them and make them into a star player.  It would also allow players to make more money by staying with their team, sort of like the NBA structure.  It would not prevent players for making more money and it does not restrict their movement, as it is just an incentive for them to stay but teams would have a lot of cap space so they could still move teams.  

In essence, the point of the rule is to allow teams to retain their players while still having the flexibility to sign UFA's.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How would you change the cap?

I've been thinking and while I am all for a salary cap, I think it sucks for teams when they draft a lot of talent and then lose it because of cap issues.  If I could change a thing to the cap, it would be this.

Players either drafted or acquired before playing two full seasons in the NHL may be signed to contracts, at which 50% of the deal would count against the cap.  

What this would do is allow teams to sign their own players for market value, and make staying with the team who drafted you more appealing.  

The counter would be that more cap space means UFA's get more money, but it is also true that less free agents would make it to the market.

For example, take Phil Kessel.  Drafted by Boston, so if we signed to a 4 year, 20 million dollar deal, his cap hit would be only 2 million, not 4 like if he was a UFA and signed with another team.

Also, take Roberto Luongo.  Drafted by the Islanders, but traded to Florida after a half a season, under my rule, he would still be able to sign a deal that counted only as 50% of the cap hit.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009-2010 Schedule

Here is the Bruins 2009-2010 schedule.

Notable games

October 1st, 2009 - Opening night against the Washington Capitals.
October 1st, 2009 - October 12th, 2009 - 5 game homestand to begin the season.
October 3rd, 2009 - Carolina Hurricanes will be at the garden for the second game on the season
November 3rd, 2009 - At Detroit
November 5th, 2009 - First meeting against Montreal.
November 10th, 2009 - Bruins host the Stanley Cup champs.
January 1st, 2010 - Winter Classic at Fenway vs. Philadephilia.
January 14th, 2010 - Bruins play the Sharks in San Jose.
March 6th, 2010 - March 16th, 2010 - 7 game road trip in only 10 days, the longest road trip of the season. Islanders, Penguins, Maple Leafs, Flyers, Canadiens, Devils, and Hurricanes will be the opponents.
April 10, 2010 - Bruins finish off the season in Washington against the Capitals.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bruins move to FM

Here is a press release regarding next seasons radio contract:

The Boston Bruins announced today that they have reached an
agreement on terms to extend their contract with CBS RADIO Boston, which has been the radio home of the Bruins since the 1995-96 NHL season.

Additionally, CBS RADIO Boston announced today the arrival of “98.5
The Sports Hub,” which will debut on Thursday, August 13 at 98.5 on
the FM radio dial. This new FM sports station - the only FM station of
its kind in the Boston marketplace - will serve as the radio home of the Boston Bruins beginning in the 2009-10 season and the New England Patriots of the NFL beginning with their 2009 season.

“This is an exciting day for not just Bruins fans, but for fans of
all of Boston’s sports teams,” said Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs.
“For the first time in Boston, listeners will have an all-sports
station on the FM dial which will be the home of the Bruins and the New England Patriots. CBS RADIO Boston has truly been a great partner of the Bruins over the last 14 years and we are thrilled to continue thispartnership with them as they launch their new Sports Hub venture.”

Does Boston Have the Best Forward Group in the League?

Notice How I said group.  The argument can be made that the Boston Bruins are the most deep team in the league regarding forwards.  The top teams are San Jose, Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, Washington, and Philadelphia.

San Jose:  Thornton, Marleau and Setoguchi are obviously a very good top 3, and followed by Pavelski, Clowe and Michalek is a good top 6, but after that, Cheechoo is the only scoring threat on the 3rd line.  San Jose isn't necessarily that deep. 

Detroit:  They really took a huge hit this season, loosing Hudler and Hossa.  Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Holmstrom, Cleary and Filppula are a decent top 6, but Detroit has lost a lot of depth over the past few seasons.  Their top 3 scorers in Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Franzen are up there as the best in the league, and they did lead the league in goals.  Offense isn't going to be a problem in Detroit with their top firepower, but the 3rd and 4th lines are no longer the scoring threat they once were in Detroit.

Washington:  My issue with Washington is that if you take away their top player, Ovechkin, they are nowhere near the team they are.  Their top of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Semin is highly talented, but they aren't that deep a team.  Nylander is done, Knuble will help add depth.  Fleischmann, Brooks Laich and newly signed Brendan Morrison are solid depth as well.  Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, Knuble, Fleischmann, Laich, Nylander is solid, but again, the 3rd and 4th lines aren't scary at all, and the 2nd line is shaky with Nylander pivoting that line.  Majority of the offense comes from the first line and again, I wouldn't say there team is much deeper than most.

Philadelphia:  Philadelphia had one the deepest forward core last season with Carter, Richards, Briere, Knuble, Lupol, Harntell, Giroux, Gagne, and Upshall.  A very deep top 9 with a lot of talent.  They lost Knuble, Upshall and Lupol over the past year, so they essentially lost a 3rd of their top talent and did not replace them.  Again, they have one of the best top 6 in the league, but they are not as deep anymore.

Pittsburgh:  If we are talking top end talent, the Penguins easily win.  They have two of the best players in the league, Malkin and Crosby.  They have a great core in Malkin, Crosby, and Staal, followed by winger Chris Kunitz.  Guerin is a nice addition as well.  Their other forwards Fedetenko, Talbot, Dupuis and Kennedy are nothing special, and aside from their top 5, no one really is a huge threat.  Granted, they don't need a lot of depth because their top two guys carry the team.

Chicago:  The closest competitor to the Bruins, they have more top end talent than Boston and are almost as deep.  Hossa, Toews, Kane, Versteeg, Ladd, Madden, Sharp, Bolland and Byfuglien.  A very solid top 9.  I would be open for the argument that Chicago has more talent and depth than Boston.

Boston: They do not have the sexy names as some other teams do, but they have Savard, Sturm, Lucic, Recchi, Kessel, Wheeler, Krejci, Bergeron, Kobasew, and Ryder who are all capable of 20 goals.  Thats 10 of your 12 forwards who can score 20.  When Mark Recchi, who had 20+ goals and 60+ points is on your 4th line, you know you have depth.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bruins Projected Stats

Excpecting that Hunwick and Kessel re-sign...

Marc Savard.....23...78.....101
David Krejci....27...61.....88
Patrice Bergeron23...42.....65
Dennis Wideman..19...45.....65
Phil Kessel.....41...23.....64
Michael Ryder...31...30.....61
Zdeno Chara.....18...40.....58
Marco Sturm.....29...22.....51
Blake Wheeler...27...23.....50
Mark Recchi.....21...25.....46
Milan Lucic.....23...20.....43
Chuck Kobasew...21...21.....42
Matt Hunwick....10...24.....34
Andrew Ference...3...24.....27
Mark Stuart......6...20.....26
Aaron Ward.......3...18.....21
Byron Bitz.......9...10.....19
Shawn Thornon....7...7......14
Steve Begin......5...4.......9
Johnny Boychuk...2...5.......7

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Worst Contracts in the NHL

Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Sabres, 7 years, 50 million (7.143 per).  Now this is not a knock on Thomas Vanek, who is a great player and is going to be one of the best scorers in the league for some time.  This has to do more with Buffalo and their mismanagement as an organization.  Vanek had just finished his 2nd pro season, at the age of 23, and potted 43 goals, 84 points and led the league with a +47.  Now, at this point, Vanek definitely deserved a raise from his rookie deal, but to go from a base salary of under 1 million dollars to 7+ million is ridiculous.  Not to say that he will never deserve that deal, but aside from his 2nd season, he has had back to back 64 point seasons, not really worth the money.  Had Buffalo taken care of its assets, there would be no offer sheet from the Oilers and no mega contract.  Buffalo had also lost Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, so they were forced to match Vanek's offer or the fanbase would have revolted.  

Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks, 12 years, 62.8 million (5.233 per).  Again, this is not a knock on Marian Hossa, but with Chicago's youth movement and a lot of expiring rookie deals, Hossa takes up some unnecessary cap space.  Hossa is 30, and while it is unlikely he will play until he is 42, even when he becomes a 38 year old, he isn't going to be worth that money.  The cap is also going to come down, and have an untradable asset is never a good thing.  While his cap hit for his production is low now, further down the road it could become a hinderance.  

Brian Campbell, Chicago Blackhawks, 8 years, 57.12 million dollars (7.14 per).  This deal was made because Chicago felt pressured to make a big splash.  Campbell will be 37 when his deal expires, and like Hossa, is an untradable piece.  Again, with Chicago's youth movement, they may lose some of those pieces because of an overpaid Campbell.  This deal was also unnecessary because Chicago already had Cam Barker, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Brent Sopel to round out the top 4.  It wasn't like the defense was awful.  Now Chicago has been trying to unload Campbell to no avail.  

Dustin Penner, Edmonton Oilers, 5 years, 21.25 million (4.25 per).  While his cap hit is not too bad, his production has been awful since coming over from Anaheim via offer sheet.  The physical winger has been subject to trade rumors and his production has not improved as expected since being acquired.  

Ryan Smyth, Colorado Avalanche/Los Angeles Kings, 5 years, 31.25 million (6.25 per).  This deal has to do with the name.  Smyth was that sexy free agent name that got the big bucks to sign in Colorado.  For his career, Smyth has been a 50-60 point player, not really worth elite talent money.  In his first season in Colorado, he was injured, and last season he had only 59 points.  In a move to free up cap space, he was dealt to Los Angeles this offseason.  

Michal Handzus, Los Angeles Kings, 4 years, 16 million (4 per).  Handzus has never been the same since his injury in Chicago, and Los Angeles signed him to be the number two center.  While he has played in every game the past two seasons, his totals have been 25 goals, and 38 assists in 164 games.  Not the production they were expecting.  His contract runs for two more seasons.  

Scott Gomez, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, 7 years, 51.5 million (7.357 per).  Gomez, like Campbell, was the sexy free agent on the market.  New York, as always, wanted to make a splash and dolled out huge money for Gomez.  Gomez has been overrated his entire career.  Many view him as an elite player, yet he puts up 2nd line numbers.  He has scored 20 goals only once in his career, and his numbers have not improved since his rookie campaign.  Gomez is an ideal number two center, who gets around the high teens in goals and around 40-50 assists.  The Rangers tried to trade him for a season, and were finally able to unload him to the Canadiens.  

Brian Gionta, Montreal Canadiens, 5 years, 25 million (5 per).  Gionta is a decent player, but he is on the decline.  Since his 48 goal season a few years back, his goal total has decreased every season.  He is now a 20 goal scorer.  He is extremely small, at 5-7, and doesn't really bring much to the table other than scoring.  20 goal scorers are not that hard to find in the league, so spending 5 million on a guy like Gionta makes no sense.  Montreal felt pressured to make big moves like acquiring Gomez because they underperformed last season.  

Brian Rolston, New Jersey Devils, 5 years, 25.25 million dollars (5.062 per).  Rolston had been coming off very good seasons in Minnesota, but he was 35.  While would any sane GM give a guy who is 35 years old a 5 year deal worth that much money?  Rolston was injured for a good portion of the season, and if he retires, his cap hit will remain on the payroll.  Not a smart move for a team that always seems to have cap issues.  

Rick DiPietro, New York Islanders, 15 years, 67.5 million (4.5 per).  I guess Charles Wang wasn't as nuts as we thought, as he set the trend for extremely long contracts.  DiPietro has the talent to be one of the best goalies in the league, and his cap his is reasonable, but he cannot stay healthy.  All his injuries could end up derailing his career, leaving the Islanders stuck with an untradable contract.  Because of his injuries, the Islanders had to go out and sign an aging Dwayne Roloson.  

Chris Drury, New York Rangers, 6 years, 42.3 million (7.05 per).  Pretty much the same deal as Gomez.  Drury is a good player, but a 2nd liner at best.  He was overhyped going into the offseason and the Rangers spent huge money on him.  Like Gomez, the Rangers tried to trade him but failed in doing so.  Drury is a 20-30 goal scorer who will net between 50-65 points a season.  He is not worth that money.

Wade Redden, New York Rangers, 6 years, 39 million (6.5 per).  After losing Chara to Boston, Redden was supposed to take over the reigns as the best defender in Ottawa, but his production fell, and he went from being one of the best defenseman in the NHL to just another guy.  He somehow got a raise from his previous contract, and the Rangers signed him to a long term deal that expires when he is 38.  Low and behold, his production slipped even more, and the Rangers are thinking of sending him to the AHL for cap relief.  

Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers, 5 years, 37.5 million (7.5 per).  If Gaborik is healthy, he may earn his money, but that is a big if.  After unloading Gomez's deal, the Rangers blew a load on Gaborik, hoping that he can stay healthy.  Like I said, if he is healthy, then it could be a reasonable deal, but his injury history proves otherwise.

Michael Rozsvial, New York Rangers, 4 years, 20 million (5 per).  The Rangers paid big money to keep their offensive defenseman in New York, but his production has slipped the past two seasons, and it is not evident he wasn't worth the money for his production.  Like the other big contracts in New York, the Rangers tried to move him to no avail.

Daniel Briere, Philadelphia Flyers, 8 years, 52 million (6.5 per).  Philadelphia made this move because they finished as one of the worst teams in the league.  Briere was a sexy name and they bit.  Briere had come off a 95 point season, but Buffalo's offense was ridiculous that season and every had good numbers.  Briere played well that season, but he was injured last year and Philadelphia has tried to move him.  It's not that Briere isn't a good player, but Philadelphia did not need him, and now they have cap issues.  Briere will also be in his late 30s by the end of the deal, and his cap hit will be high.  No team is going to take that and Philly was run into more cap issues.  

Chris Pronger, Philadelphia Flyers, 7 years, 34.5 million (4.921 per).  A bargain cap hit for the first few years, but when Pronger is 38+ making that money, it could cause cap issues for Philadelphia.  The deal also expires when he is 42, and even if he retires, the money will stay on the cap.  

Michael Nylander, Washington Capitals, 4 years, 19.5 million (4.875).  Nylander was supposed to be the 2nd center on the team.  He went from being a point per game player on the Rangers, to under .5 points per game.  He will also be 38 when the deal expires.  Injuries has been an issue for him as well, losing half his first season in Washington.

Honorable Mentions:  
Johan Franzen, Detroit Red Wings, 11 years, 43.5 million (3.955 per). 
Jason Blake, Toronto Maple Leafs, 5 years, 20 million (4 per).
Jeff Finger, Toronto Maple Leafs, 4 years, 14 million (3.5 per).
Ed Jovanovski, Phoenix Coyotes, 5 years, 32.5 million (6.45 per).
Danius Zubrus, New Jersey Devils, 7 years, 23.8 million (3.4 per).
Roman Hamrlik, Montreal Canadiens, 5 years, 22 million (5.5 per).


Friday, July 10, 2009

Did Montreal really improve that much?

The Montreal Canadiens had a very disappointing 100th season by many standards.  After the 2007-2008 season, the Habs were supposed wins Lords Stanley Cup.  The Habs spent this season reassembling a team by signing and trading for major players.  But with these additions came subtractions.  Gone are star wingers Alexei Kovalev and Alex Tanguay, captan Saku Koivu, deadline acquisition Mathieu Schneider, centers Robert Lang and Chris Higgins, and arguably their best stay at home defenseman in Mike Komisarek.  In are forwards Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, and Travis Moen and defenders Jaroslav Spacek, Hal Gill and Paul Mara.  
Over the past few seasons, this team has lost the likes of Mike Ribeiro, Sheldon Souray, Marek Streit, Michael Ryder, Cristobal Huet, Craig Rivet, and Mikhail Grabovski.  
Well many people will point and say I'm biased because I am a Bruins fan, if you take a close look at the moves, you should see that this team is not that much better than they were last year.  Had this team just added instead of subtracting and adding, you could argue they are much better.  But based on what moves they made, they aren't much closer to the Cup than they were last season.

Acquired Scott Gomez, Tom Pyatt, and Mike Busto from the New York Rangers for Chris Higgins, Doug Janek, Paul Valentenko, and Ryan McDonagh.  Essentially, this trade breaks down Chris Higgins for Scott Gomez.  Montreal needed to make a splash and did so in acquiring Gomez.  While Gomez is a good player, he is definitely not an elite player and his contract is awful.  Having a cap hit of 7.357 for the next 5 seasons is going to be an issue, especially when the cap figure drops.  Gomez has scored 20 goals once in his career, and has not really played much better statistically since his rookie year.  He is good for between 60-70 points, high teens in goals and mid 50s for assists.  For his price tag, he is not worth it.  If the Habs were going to spend that money on a player, why not a Hossa, or Gaborik.  Spending 13% of your cap on Gomez is not wise.  Gomez likely replaces Saku Koivu.  Koivu signed a 1 year, 3.25 million dollar deal with the Anaheim Ducks.  Last season, Gomez had 16 goals and 42 assists for 58 points in 77 games.  Koivu's numbers were 16 goals, 34 assists in only 65 games.  Is Gomez really worth 4 million dollars more than Koivu?  The counter argument would be Gomez has played in defensive oriented teams like the Devils and Rangers, so his offensive numbers would improve in Montreal.  Maybe, but there is no way anyone should be that excited over this move.  

Signed Mike Cammalleri to a 5 year, 30 million dollar deal.  Cammelleri replaces Alexei Kovalev as the teams top sniper/scorer.  Cammalleri was one of the top players on the market, and this is Montreal's best move of the offseason.  Cammallier is only 26, entering the prime of his career.  Aside from a down year with the Kings in 07-08, he is an point per game player.  While he lacks size, he is a 40 goal scorer and will definitely help Montreal's offense.  6 million a year is a little high, but that is market value for a guy like him.  Would you pay a little more for a Hossa or Gaborik?  Maybe, but Cammalleri is younger and his health isn't an issue like Gaborik.  I would like this deal even more if they had not already had 7+ million committed to Gomez.  One could argue that while Cammalleri puts up better numbers, Kovalev is a more skilled player with more game breaking potential.  Kovalev signed a 2 year, 10 million dollar deal with the Senators.  Kovalev is also 35 while Cammalleri is 9 years younger.  There is a slight upgrade at this position statistically, but the point could be made that Kovalev is the better player.

Signed Brian Gionta to a 5 year, 25 million dollar deal.  This is one of the worst signings a team has done this offseason.  Gionta is good for around 20 goals and 55 points.  While he did have a 48 goal season a few years back, don't expect that again anytime soon, as half the goals were on the powerplay.  A place of concern is his size, at only 5-7, and that a third of his career goals have come on the man advantage, but has improved even strength scoring, with only 3 of his 20 goals coming on the PP last season.  In a tough division with physical teams like Toronto and Boston, it may be tough for the small Gionta to score.  Gionta is also 30, and a small guy like him may not hold up going down the road.  This deal reminds me a little of the Jason Blake deal in Toronto and we all know how that one turned out.  

Signed Jaroslav Spacek to a 3 year, 11.5 million dollar deal.  He is replacing the role of Mathieu Schneider.  With a cap hit of only 3.83 million, it isn't a bad deal.  Spacek will help the powerplay and is good for around 40 points.  He is probably the same level as Schneider at this point in his career.  Spacek is 34 though, so a 3 year deal for a player that old is never a good idea.  Health has also been an issue with Spacek, prior to last year he played in 60, 65, 76, and 58 games.  Can't say I love the deal, but I can't say I hate it either.

Signed Hal Gill to a 2 year, 4.5 million dollar deal.  Big Hal will help the defensive game a lot.  While the "moving pylon" as he was known in Boston is slow, he has been affective in shutting down top forwards like Jaromir Jagr.  His size will help neutralize the size of Chara in Boston.  Gill has virtually no offensive game.  It's a short term deal, so you can't be too upset with the term.  Gill is here to replace the presence of Mike Komisarek though, and Gill is not nearly as talented.  This move clearly does not improve the team.

Signed Paul Mara to a 1 year, 1.675 million dollar deal.  Mara is a nice depth signing that I like.  He will also help the PP along with Spacek.  Mara's offensive game has dwindled since he left Phoenix, but he is still a big guy who can help add depth to the PP.  Nothing wrong with this 1 year deal.

Signed Travis Moen to a 3 year, 4.5 million dollar deal.  This deal helps Montreal get some toughness.  I'm not sure what this means for Georges Laraque, but Moen help Anaheim win the Cup.  Moen isn't much of a scorer, but he is a nitty gritty player who will replace Steve Begin who was traded to Dallas last season.  His cap hit is a little high for what he brings to the table, but Montreal needed toughness and addressed that with Moen.

One thing to note is that Bob Gainey has not learned from his mistakes, and in 5 years, Gomez, Gionta and Cammalleri will all be UFA's, so the Habs can rebuild again.
Overall, it's Cammalleri for Kovalev, Gill for Komisarek, Gomez for Koivu, Spacek for Schneider, Mara for Dandenault/depth, Moen for Begin/Laraque, Gionta for Tanguay.  No one to replace Higgins or Lang.  
The defense did not improve, losing Komisarek.  Well it may be deeper, they did not address the loss of Komisarek.  The offense is about the same, and may have less depth than last season.  
While Montreal fans may be excited for the coming season, all I have to say is don't get to ahead of yourself and buyer beware.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Soderberg, Alexandrov News

According to Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald, Carl Soderberg will be in training camp in September. Here is the text from his article:

While Swedish winger Carl Soderberg is not at this week’s development camp, Chiarelli said the organization probably has convinced the reluctant 23-year-old to come to training camp in September and try to make the team.

“It’s been communicated to him that there could be a chance for him to play (for the Bruins), with (Phil) Kessel and (David) Krejci both possibly not being ready at the start of the season,” Chiarelli said. “It’s a chance for him to come over and do something.”

The GM said Soderberg, who has been unwilling to play for Providence, might be OK with a brief stint with the AHL team if he felt he was close to making the parent club. . . .

Spindly Russian defenseman Yuri Alexandrov, the Bruins’ second-round pick in 2006, is getting his first taste of the organization this week. He will return to Russia this season but is likely to be signed by the B’s in the future.

Soderberg will finally make an appearance for the Bruins. However, he has stated this before and then no shows. Soderberg could be a solid 3rd line center or wing if Krejci and Kessel do miss time to start the season. As for Alexandrov, who I have heard looks impressive in development camp, another year in Russia may do him good. He has to add size and become more physical to make it in the NHL.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Northeast Division: Free Agent Update

The Ottawa Senators have signed Alexei Kovalev to a 2 year $10 million dollar contract. Interesting move especially with the Senators only having around $2 million in cap space available. Danny Heatley may in fact end up in Edmonton after all.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have also signed Francois Beauchemin to a three year $11.4 million deal. Beauchemin's deal is similar to the one Wideman signed a season ago, with a cap hit around $3.8 million. In addition to Beauchemi, the Maple Leafs previously inked Mike Komisarek and Colton Orr.
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