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. 


 

Bruins recall McIntyre on emergency basis, but perhaps not for Rask

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Bruins recall McIntyre on emergency basis, but perhaps not for Rask

UPDATE: The Boston Herald reports McIntyre is with the team as a replacement for Anton Khudobin, who is said to be suffering from a minor injury, and not Tuukka Rask, and that Rask will start as scheduled against Nashville.

BOSTON -- Even though he's been proclaiming himself healthy and able for the last two days, Tuukka Rask may not be as ready to go as everybody thought.

The Bruins announced a couple of hours prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Nashville Predators that rookie goalie Zane McIntyre had been recalled on an emergency basis. He spent the weekend with the team in the same capacity, filling in for Rask while Rask battled a lower body injury.

So the logical assumption is that something has recurred that will prevent Rask -- who on Tuesday night told interim coach Bruce Cassidy he was ready -- from playing tonight.

Rask is 8-8 with a 2.91 goals against average and an .892 save percentage since the NHL All-Star break, and gave up five goals in a loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday night. He missed Saturday's big game vs. the Islanders with a lower body issue that just “popped up.”

We’ll find out for sure during pregame warm-ups, but the only way an emergency recall can be made is if a player is injured or suffering from an illness. Anton Khudobin looked fit as a fiddle while practicing with the Bruins on Tuesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, so stay tuned for the latest.

Some clarification on why Bruins may opt for ATO with Charlie McAvoy rather than playing him in the NHL

Some clarification on why Bruins may opt for ATO with Charlie McAvoy rather than playing him in the NHL

The second BU’s season ended, Bruins fans were champing (it’s champing, not chomping; look it up) to get sophomore defenseman Charlie McAvoy to the NHL. 

So when word emerged from Bob McKenzie that it’s looking like McAvoy will join Providence on an amateur tryout, eyes rolled. Why not sign McAvoy to his three-year entry level contract, have him stay in Boston and get some NHL experience. After all, we hear over and over that as long as you don’t play 10 NHL games, a year doesn’t get burned. 

The answer is because that 10-game thing doesn’t apply to everyone. It applies when talking about teenagers who are coming from the CHL, which is when the issue most commonly pops up, a la Tyler Seguin in 2010-11. 

Yet much like it didn’t apply to Torey Krug when he signed with the Bruins in 2012, it doesn’t apply to McAvoy now. The reason some kids can play nine games and then go away without a year being burned is because their contract slides. Players who are 18 or 19 years old as of Sept. 15 of their signing year see their deal moved back a year as long as they don’t play 10 NHL games, including the playoffs. 

For players who are 19 as of Sept. 15 of the year they sign (not season) and turn 20 between Sept. 16 and Dec. 31, their contract does not slide. This is all explained neatly here. 

If you’ve fallen asleep by this point, wake up right quick. McAvoy is 19 and will turn 20 on Dec. 21. That means that if McAvoy and signs and plays an NHL game this season, one year will be burned off his entry-level deal, making him up for a new deal after the 2018-19 season rather than the 2019-20 season. Same goes for Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, who already is 20. 

The Bruins actually used this drawback to their advantage when they signed Krug. The B’s let the 20-year-old Krug play in an NHL game after he signed, which got him to restricted free agency a year earlier. The promise to play him and burn that year was likely a reason Krug chose to sign with the B’s as an undrafted free agent. 

So for now, yes, an ATO is the safe play for the Bruins if they want to maximize the value of McAvoy’s entry level deal. His NHL career might have to wait until the fall.