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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jay Bouwmeester: Target?

Peter Chiarelli is still looking to improve the team.  The Boston Herald reported that the Bruins are still looking for a number 1 defenseman.

“If I have a chance to improve (the defense corps), I’m going to,” Chiarelli said. “Defensemen are hard to find - at least the ones you want.”

The Bruins have a ton of depth at forward to trade for a bona-fide defenseman.  A young player on the block would make the most sense.  A guy you could sign to a 6-7-8 year deal.  

Isn't there one of those on the market?  Jay Bouwmeester!  The Florida defenseman has been rumored to be on the block, and with the Bruins having some of the best young talent in the league, why not?  Guys like Sobotka, Karsums, Nokelainen, Krejci, Wheeler, Kessel, and others are all possible trade pieces.  Not that I would trade Kessel or Wheeler, but they could be potential pieces.

Seems like the Bruins will be in the hunt for any top young defender.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Back In The Saddle Again

It's been quite some time folks.  A long time since we've last chat.  A matter of fact, it's been about 5 months and I couldn't be more excited to get things going again.  I just read the Scott Burnside article talking about Patrice Bergeron and Manny Fernandez's respective comebacks from injuries.  Great insight into what the two really went through to get to the point they are at today.

From all account, Bergeron looks like he's 100%, and those were the same words from Claude Julien.  That'll certainly make some offensively starved fans, players, team officials happy to hear.  His goal and three assists against Montreal in the B's preseason opener was a nice sign of things to hopefully come for the young centerman.  

As for Fernandez, the man is a walking case of self-doubt.  He calls himself a rookie again?  Not the kind of talk you want to hear out of a player you're paying over 4 mill. to.  This guy is supposed to be the #1 or 1a right next to Thomas.  Expect the duo to split games like they were at the start of last season before Fernandez went down.

Season Outlook:
-Certainly a lot to be excited/more confident about this season when it comes to the 2008-2009 edition.  With the addition of Michael Ryder, Marc Savard has the perfect sniper to feed the puck to.  Ryder should regain his 30 goal form under the tutelage of Julien.  Having a line of Savard, Ryder, and Lucic is scary good.
-I love the fact that Bergeron and Marco Sturm will probably reunite once again.  They had such great chemistry over the past years.  Throw in a guy like Kessel or Kobasew and that's one hell of a line.
-Amazing how things balance out when you have healthy players.  I haven't even mentioned names like Krejci, Sobotka, Yelle, Chara, Axelsson, and the potential of Blake Wheeler

Prediction Time
-Look for the B's to be right in the thick of the Eastern Conference race this season.  They should and will be able to compete with any team on any given night.  I'm not saying they are going to dominate the competition because that is not the case.  The Bruins are certainly heading in the right direction franchise-wise and I love what Chiarelli has done lately.  I expect nothing less than a 6 seed at the worst in the playoffs.  The B's would have had that last season if they didn't go 0-7-1 against Montreal in the regular season.  Things will be different this year though.  I really think stretching Montreal to the brink last April in the opening round really gave this team confidence.  They are not scared of Montreal anymore nor are they concerned about playing on their turf.  I can't wait for this season to get under way and see what this team is made of, when healthy.

UPDATE:  As I write this, I see that Manny Fernandez left his start last night during warm-ups due to a bruised thumb.  This guy can't get a break, can he?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tight up against the cap

The Bruins are very tight up against the cap this season, especially with the recent signing of Stephane Yelle. I can see the Bruins making one or two minor moves before the start of the regular season. By minor moves, I mean trying to send a player through to the minors. If he clears then the Bruins are not responsible for the cap hit. However, if they are claimed by another team then they must split the remaining salary with the team that claims them. Two players who may have a chance to clear waivers and successfully be sent to the minors are Jeremy Reich and Peter Schaeffer. Another option may be having either Vladmir Sobotka or Petteri Nokelainen spend or start the season in Providence, since both players have two way deals.

Although Schaeffer has been a huge dissapointment, I still feel like he has something left to provide to this team. That is however, if he gets a chance to play, which I do not feel will happen this season unless there is an injury. He was often in Julien's doghouse last season, where he was limited to fourth line minutes. Reich on the other hand, is a gritty forward who has a solid defensive game but doesn't bring much else to the dish. He would probably make it through waivers and could come back up if they need a physical presence. Sobotka is a huge favorite of mine and I feel like he could really develop if he added some size to him. I think he has to be on this team, even if it is fourth line duty. I loved watching him play last season. Nokelainen could benefit if the Bruins were to start him in Providence this season. Give him first line minutes in Providence and see how well he reacts to the challenge. It would develop his overall game and he would probably be the first call up if there is an injury.

That being said, Reich (487,000) waived and sent to Providence, with Nokelainen (850,000) starting the season in Providence. With those moves it would give the Bruins some breathing room, putting them 1.817 million under the cap, which could be used for call-ups throughout the season and/or a move at the deadline.

Here is my starting lineup for the season



extras: Thornton, Alberts

I would really like to see Sobotka play on the third line, but that is unlikely to happen since Julien does stress a defense first mentality, meaning Axelsson will play those minutes instead. Having Axelsson on the third line would help on Krejci's defensive game. Yelle makes a good addition to this team, giving them 3 solid faceoff men ( especially since Savard made huge improvements in his ability to win draws). Schaeffer will probably be a guy who is juggled all over the lineup.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Depth Chart

Marc Savard
Patrice Bergeron
David Krejci
Petteri Nokelainen
Stephane Yelle

Michael Ryder
Chuck Kobasew
Phil Kessel
Vladimir Sobotka
Shawn Thornton

Marco Sturm
Milan Lucic
Peter Schaefer
PJ Axelsson
Jeremy Reich

Zdeno Chara
Dennis Wideman
Aaron Ward
Mark Stuart
Andrew Ference
Andrew Alberts
Shane Hnidy
Matt Lashoff

Tim Thomas
Manny Fernandez
Tuukka Rask

Now for my lineups....





Bruins sign Stephane Yelle

The Bruins signed C Stephane Yelle to a 1 year deal worth 750,000.  

Great signing, similar to Glen Metropolit last year.  I think he could take Soderberg's place in the lineups people were making.  He is a Stanley Cup Champion and adds a solid veteran presence.  I wanted the Bruins to make a run at this guy a few years ago when he was a UFA as well.

PS I know this is about 3 days late, I feel like an idiot that I just found out now.  Been working on fantasy football, looking at Patriots news and been busy as well.  Also, might do a fantasy hockey league like last year, shoot me an email if you are interested. 

Question Mark Players

Not 100% confident in these players?  

Peter Schaefer-This guy played great in the playoffs, but in the regular season he played with no heart it seemed.  Will he be a 10-20-30 guy or be a 20-25-45 guy we expected.  I have high hopes for Schaefer and was really excited when we got him.  I really feel like he will do well this season after getting a year under his belt in Boston.  

Manny Fernandez-Can we get anything for our 9 million dollar investment?  I really also had high hopes for this guy last year, but a knee injury derailed any hopes of that.  As much as I like Thomas, and he showed me a lot last season, a tandem of both these guys could be extremely valuable.  Think of Giguere/Bryzgalov, Hasek/Osgood, Khabibulan/Huet.  Fernandez should have a good season, because if he plays well, a contract could be at hand for him and if he sucks, well he could be out of the NHL.

Phil Kessel-Pressure?  Yeah, and a ton of it.  This kid showed us a lot in the playoffs, and after 2 decent seasons, he really needs to be more consistent, and take his game to the next level.  I am looking for 20-30 goals and 20-30 assists at least.  He is still only 20, so don't forget that.

Patrice Bergeron-One question.  Will the injury effect him?

Your thoughts?

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