Boston Bruins

Haggerty: Landeskog fills a need, but is price too high?

Haggerty: Landeskog fills a need, but is price too high?

The Bruins need scoring and desperately need more size on the wing and there just so happens to be a player out there available via trade that fits both of those categories.

The Colorado Avalanche have been a hot hockey mess for the last three seasons and it looks as if GM Joe Sakic is ready to break up his core group after they didn’t live up to early promise over the past few seasons. Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog is among those players available for the right price and Matt Duchene’s name has been out there in trade rumors dating back to last summer around the July 1 start of free agency.

Prior to this season, the 24-year-old Landeskog has been a regular 20 goal/50-60 point guy for the Avalanch. He’s been their captain and he plays a bit of the power forward game at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds. He’s the kind of player you could envision performing very well alongside David Krejci as Nathan Horton, Jarome Iginla, Loui Eriksson and Milan Lucic have in the past.

Bleacher Report national writer and former Avalanche beat writer Adrian Dater reported earlier this week that the B’s approached the Avs about Landeskog, but the Bruins balked when Sakic wanted Colorado Springs native Brandon Carlo as the centerpiece of the deal. The Bruins understandably said no to dealing the 20-year-old shutdown defenseman who has already shown a very high ceiling, even if he’s hit a bit of a rookie valley over his past 15 games with a minus-10 rating.

According to Dater, the Bruins countered with 2015 first-round pick Jakub Zboril instead of Carlo and the Avalanche were looking for more of a proven player than the Czech-born defenseman fresh off the World Junior tournament.

So, can the Bruins and Avalanche find a deal? Doubtful because I don’t think the Bruins will acquiesce on Carlo given how well he’s going to fit in with the Bruins style of play moving forward and because he would be the “shutdown guy” for the Bruins once Zdeno Chara is done in Boston. The other problem is that Landeskog is signed for the next four years at roughly $5.5 million and the Bruins will need to shed some salary in order to bring on a player with his affordable, but still substantial price tag.

That would mean moving Torey Krug ($5.25M) or even Krejci ($7.25M) in order to free up the space for Landeskog and also potentially weakening yourself at two other positions in order to strengthen at the wing.

The bottom line is this: The Bruins aren’t going to get Landeskog from Colorado if they’re looking to offer Jakob Zboril, Ryan Spooner and a second-round pick. Instead, they’ll need to sacrifice something good to make a deal like that happen. “Good” in this instance means a talented young NHL player on an entry-level deal who has already impressed people in NHL circles. The 6-foot-5 Carlo is the guy that fits that lofty billing.

The Bruins need to decide whether getting into the playoffs this season is important enough to trade off a promising young piece in Carlo for a guy in Landeskog who would be with the Black and Gold for the next four years beyond this season. That’s exactly the type of “seismic move” that the B’s need to make while looking to shake things up and break free of the midseason morass that’s seen them lose 10 of their past 15 games.

As of Saturday, it also saw the Bruins out of the playoff picture for the first time since before Thanksgiving as the Toronto Maple Leafs have passed the B’s for the final Atlantic Division playoff spot.

If the Bruins are about developing the kids and riding things out for the next couple of years as they mature, then they shouldn’t make a Landeskog deal. That’s where this humble hockey writer falls in the raging debate, while still holding onto the opinion that constructive a Cup-level core group takes years of successful drafting and player development.

But if the Bruins upper management group is feeling pressured to make a move for instant playoff gratification, then the Landeskog deal is the kind of move that would end up happening while potentially addressing some of Boston’s needs right now.

The question, as always, is what exactly constitutes the master plan for the Bruins and how important is it that the Black and Gold get back into the playoffs this season? The answers would seem obvious, but, then again, nothing is ever really obvious with the group currently captaining the Causeway Ship. 


 

Morning Skate: Blackhawks looking for right mix on fourth line

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Morning Skate: Blackhawks looking for right mix on fourth line

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading. while readying for the last home game of the preseason tonight. Boy that went by quickly.

*Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is looking for the right mix on the fourth line for the Hawks.

*The NHL is coming late to the China party and it makes one wonder what will happen for the Winter Olympic Games set to be played there in 2022.

*PHT writer Adam Gretz has the Arizona Coyotes wanting to retire the freshly-retired Shane Doan’s number in the future.

*Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan says that the decision to accept the White House’s invitation was independent of politics. Certainly, it was, but the timing of it and the feeble statement to go along with it left a lot to be desired.

*Pierre Lebrun goes 1-on-1 with Montreal Canadiens coach Claude Julien to talk about his past, his present and his future behind the bench with the Habs. I had always intended to subscribe to the Athletic, and this is the article that finally got me to do it as I get to read a few moments with one of the classiest individuals in the NHL in Julien. It certainly had a few rocky moments toward the end here in Boston for Julien, but I will always respect that guy as a coach and, more importantly, as a person.  

*For something completely different: an interesting look at Alejandro Villanueva, the only Pittsburgh Steelers player, and a proud veteran, to stand outside the tunnel and on the field for the national anthem prior to the Steelers game on Sunday.


 

'Under the weather' Chara won't play tonight after missing two days of camp

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'Under the weather' Chara won't play tonight after missing two days of camp

BRIGHTON, Mass – Zdeno Chara is one of the oldest players in the NHL at 40 and sometimes those players need a little more time to rest and recharge than the up-and-coming skaters half their age in training camp. That’s the case with Chara as he sat out practice on Monday feeling “under the weather” according to the Bruins. He didn’t skate on Sunday either and won’t play against the Chicago Blackhawks in Boston’s final home game of the preseason tonight.

Similarly, Kenny Agostino won’t be playing tonight after he suffered an upper-body injury in a victory last week over the Flyers, where the winger also scored the winning goal in overtime. Instead, a couple of young players will get further looks as Matt Grzelcyk is expected to be paired with Brandon Carlo and young Ryan Fitzgerald will get another look in the spot where a healthy Agostino might have drawn back into the lineup on Monday.

“We’re looking for [the young guys] to keep pushing, consistency and be strong on pucks as the lineups get stronger,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “We’re getting closer to NHL lineups with most teams like us and paring down, in general. The expectation is that they’ll see that 82 times. Fitzy has been a nice surprise. I shouldn’t say surprise because I didn’t know a lot about him. But he’s done what we’ve asked, so we’ll give him another game. The Agostino injury has opened up a door as he was probably a guy that would have gone back in after [Thursday] night, has played well and is another guy we don’t know a lot about. So it’s a good opportunity for [Fitzgerald]. I thought he was ahead of some of the other [young] guys, so that’s why we put him back in.”

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings tonight with just two more exhibition games to go before the regular season gets started:

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork

Beleskey-Spooner-Pastrnak

Schaller-Kuraly-Backes

Fitzgerald-Nash-Acciari

 
O’Gara-McAvoy

Grzelcyk-Carlo

Lauzon-Postma


Subban