Welcome to another week of the Hagg Bag mailbag. As always these are real tweets, Facebook questions and emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org looking for answers to questions about hockey, life and the kind of unimportant, trivial data that has long taken up storage in my brain. On to the Bag:
Does taking a look at Penner come into consideration at any point for the B's? Don't think he'd cost too much at this point --Nicky Damages @Nick_Oldack
JH: While Dustin Penner certainly has the size and the playoff pedigree that the Bruins usually look for in wingers, I’m not sure he’s the kind of guy that the Bruins have interest in adding to the mix. He’s not known as the most motivated guy during the regular season, and it seems to this humble hockey writer that maybe his NHL gig isn’t always the biggest priority in his life.
He’s also not going to bring any speed to the Bruins lineup, and isn’t getting any younger after some pretty good seasons for the Ducks, Kings and a couple of other teams. Penner hasn’t had 20 goals since 2010-11, and hasn’t had more than 39 points in a season since 2009-10. That was a long, long time ago for a player that’s aging quickly at 31 years old with a listed weight of 247 pounds.
I actually like the idea of bringing in Simon Gagne on a veteran camp invite, and taking a look at what he’s still got in the tank after sitting out all of last season. It’s a no cost, potentially decent reward move for a team that doesn’t have the extra bucks to bring in players off the street.
What D man will Bruins move? @HackswithHaggs #bruinstalk --C Theodore @ctheodore5
JH: This seems like the same question in the mailbag every single week, and probably will continue until the Bruins actually make a deal. While the Bruins would probably prefer to deal Matt Bartkowski and/or Adam McQuaid to alleviate some of their surplus of NHL defensemen, I continue to have trouble seeing any way they can avoid dealing Johnny Boychuk.
They need the salary cap savings in moving his $3 million plus salary cap tag, and they simply can’t afford to pay him big term on a $5-6 million contract once he hits free agency next summer. Brooks Orpik set the market for Boychuk when the Washington Capitals signed him to that ludicrous deal back in July, and there’s no reason to think he’ll get anything less than that from a team desperate for a top-four shutdown-type defenseman.
Boychuk also has the most trade value of any of the available defensemen for the Black and Gold, and could net them a talented, young winger that could fit into that third line right wing spot pretty nicely. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times it would be interesting to see if the Bruins and Oilers could build a deal centered around Boychuk and Nail Yakupov – a trade that would address needs for both teams and give Edmonton another native son on their roster.
The only way the Bruins could keep Boychuk is if they traded Dennis Seidenberg or Zdeno Chara, but I just don’t see that happening anytime soon.
How did they take [Zach Hamill] over Couture? That's unforgivable. --Ham Porter @JCEagle9
JH: You are, of course, referring to the 2007 NHL Draft debacle for which there really is no explanation. The Hamill pick kicked up again this week because the former No. 8 overall pick has bolted North American pro hockey for the Finnish League after washing out of another NHL organization. It’s always challenging to scout teenage hockey players and project them as pros, and the WHL can sometimes deceive with some pretty gaudy offensive numbers for their players.
But Hamill didn’t have size, didn’t have strength, didn’t really have speed and didn’t have much of a shot to speak of either. It’s really difficult to see what the attraction was besides the playmaking ability, and that’s not enough when you’ve got a top 10 pick in the first round. The fact that Logan Couture was selected one pick behind him by an always excellent San Jose scouting staff headed by Tim Burke…well, that’s just a story for another day.
Also drafted following Hamill if you’re a glutton for punishment: Brandon Sutter, Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Shattenkirk, Lars Eller, Max Pacioretty and David Perron.
You could drive yourself crazy with the Bruins trading up to select Tommy Cross ahead of P.K. Subban and Wayne Simmonds as well in that draft. Let’s say the 2007 draft class is one they’d rather forget about.
Hi Hags. Question - any chance the Bruins could get Evander Kane via trade with the Jets? He would be tremendous playing 1st line with Lucic and Krejci. Thanks! Jeremy Gately
JH: I wouldn’t completely rule it out, but the Bruins will have to do some serious dancing around the salary cap to make it happen. Clearly they’d have to trade an NHL player or two in exchange for him, and perhaps their cap figures could cancel each other out. But the Bruins need to shave some money off their cap in any trade they execute, and it’s difficult to do that when Kane has a $5.25 million cap hit.
That’s a reasonable tag for a player like Kane with a high ceiling, but it’s still too rich for Boston’s blood without some maneuvering. In a vacuum I think Kane could be exactly the right kind of fit for the Bruins, and they have the kind of strong dressing room that lead to him knocking off some of the immature stuff he’s pulled in Winnipeg. He’s got good size, he can skate and he’s proven he can score 30 goals in the league. That’s exactly what the Bruins are looking for on the wing right now.
think Pastrnak will make the big club Haggs? --David (@ryjobo)
JH: So this is a tweet from “David” asking about Pastrnak. Very interesting. I think he makes the club if the Bruins don’t trade for a right wing, and that he doesn’t make the club if they gain a young, offensive-minded right wing in dealing one of their defenseman away. I can tell you this, though. Pastrnak has the skills to stick in the NHL right now, and he is serious about utilizing the chance that’s been given him. The Bruins asked him to come to Boston early to skate with the other Bruins players at Boston University, so that’s what he’s doing over the last week. They would never have done that if they weren’t serious about putting him in the best position to succeed during training camp. He just needs to figure out a way to survive in the league until he can build more lean muscle on his 171-pound frame.
Do the B's still have Savard on the payroll? Can they place him on injured reserve, or buy him out to make room on the cap? --James Carlisle (@EastKildonan)
JH: It amazes me how misunderstood the entire Marc Savard situation is with the Boston Bruins. To answer your question: A) yes, Savard is still on the B’s payroll B) yes, they can and do place him on long term injured reserve so they can use his cap space to pay for other players and C) they can’t buy him out because his contract was deemed one of those dastardly deals written to (wink, wink) circumvent the salary cap in the previous CBA. But the other rub for Savard is that he stops getting paid if he ever decided to retire before the contract is up, so he won’t ever have that closure of formally announcing his retirement due to concussions, or at least it won’t happen until years after the final hit from Matt Hunwick in 2011 that ended his career.
The Savard thing is pretty much a nonfactor to the current Bruins for all of the reasons above. The B’s can utilize his cap space, insurance pays somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 percent of his salary and there’s no real clear and present danger of Savard ever deciding to make an ill-advised comeback. It’s become more of a paper transaction each and every year for a player that had a pretty big share in helping get things off the ground for Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien in the early days of this current golden era of Bruins hockey.