Haggerty: Bruins need a shakeup, but not involving McAvoy or Carlo

Haggerty: Bruins need a shakeup, but not involving McAvoy or Carlo

It’s fairly obvious the Bruins are desperate for some help this season, something to spur them into a winning stretch that can help punch their tickets to the playoffs.

A big, sometimes-physical winger who has annually posted 20-plus goals is exactly what the Bruins need, which is why there's been so much chatter linking Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog to the B’s in trade rumors. TSN and NBCSN Insider Bob McKenzie addressed those rumors and brought up an unthinkable notion, from a B’s perspective: That in order to land Landeskog, they would have to part with a blue-chip defenseman prospect like Brandon Carlo or Charlie McAvoy.

The notion of trading McAvoy or Carlo should be a non-starter, even for a talented 24-year-old player like Landeskog who has years of solid productivity in front of him. It appears the Bruins agree, especially now that Carlo has impressed in his first half-season in the NHL and McAvoy dominated all the big moments in helping Team USA win the World Junior championship.

Scouts have likened McAvoy as similar to the Kings' Drew Doughty, and good hockey clubs don't trade those kinds of players. It would be pure insanity for the B's to deal McAvoy for just about anything, given that he looks like a future No. 1 defenseman who could be in Boston as soon as next season.

“[The B’s big concern is] how can they continue to supplement their offense” McKenzie told TSN 690 in Montreal. “Their name is front and center in all of these trade rumors with the Colorado Avalanche . . . 

"But whether it’s Landeskog or [Matt] Duchene or anybody that Colorado may or may not be willing to trade -- I keep hearing names like . . . Brandon Carlo or Charlie McAvoy. I’d be really, really surprised if, on a blueline that’s trying to be reconstructed, that the Bruins would consider giving up -- I can’t imagine they would give up Charlie McAvoy. Not after what I saw at the world junior championship. He looks like a real keeper. And Brandon Carlo has been exceptional this year. [He’s a] different type of defenseman, but nevertheless.

"[The] number one thing the Bruins need to do -- aside from make the playoffs -- is to overhaul their defense. And when you draft young defensemen like Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy and they look to be as good as they’re going to be . . . boy, it’s awfully difficult to part with them.”

It’s more than difficult. It would be willfully negligent to deal future core players like Carlo and McAvoy in a short-term quest to quality for the Stanley Cup playoffs this season.

This is why the Bruins are in such a difficult predicament: As a team in transition, they shouldn’t give up their best young players when it’s clear they're not Cup-worthy this season. But it sure doesn’t appear they can get back to the playoffs unless they do something with a team that’s been spinning its wheels for the last month.

Morning skate: Devils win NHL Draft Lottery

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Morning skate: Devils win NHL Draft Lottery

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while continuing to marvel at the strength and character of Isaiah Thomas. 

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Barry Trotz and the Washington Capitals doing major damage control after going down 0-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their series. 

*Dion Phaneuf is finding exactly what he needed with the Ottawa Senators and is going past where he’d been before in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

*The New Jersey Devils won the NHL Draft Lottery, and will get the No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s draft with a team badly in need of some star power. 

*On the other hand, the Colorado Avalanche were the big losers dropping all the way to the fourth overall pick after being a dumpster fire all season. I guess there is some hockey justice left in the world. 

*Larry Brooks says that the word on the street is that the Lightning are going to shop Jonathan Drouin this summer for a stud top-4 D-man. They should be getting the pick of the litter by making the skilled forward available. 

*Ron MacLean and Don Cherry talk Big, Bad Oilers and the decline of Corey Perry during Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada. 

*For something completely different: Manny Ramirez hitting home runs in Taiwan is a beauty and a joy forever

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

While the Bruins technically operated, and operated well, short one coach once assistant coach Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien behind the Boston bench, that’s not expected to continue for the upcoming season.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed this week that the B’s will be retaining the current assistant coach group of Joe Sacco, Jay Pandolfo and Bob Essensa to work under Cassidy as full-time head coach, and that they’ll be looking to add one more person to his staff.

“I think our staff did a very good job jumping in and picking up, because we didn’t add to it at the time [of Cassidy’s promotion] when we subtracted from the group. It will stay as is,” said Sweeney. “We will also be looking to add to it to complement that group. Bruce and I have already spoken briefly about it, but we haven’t identified yet and we’ve already received some people that would have some interest. We’ll pursue that accordingly.”

Sacco handled the defensemen and the penalty kill in the final few months of the season, and Pandolfo worked with the forwards in his very first season as an NHL assistant coach following a stint in player development. Essensa, of course, worked with the goaltenders and as the “eye in the sky” from the press box once Pandolfo moved to the bench following the coaching change. So the natural assumption would be that the Bruins would hire another former defenseman to work with the D-men given the backgrounds of Sacco and Pandolfo as forwards.

“We haven’t gotten too far out in front of it. But, Joe Sacco moved from the front of the bench to the D, and did a terrific job [while playing a] big part of the penalty kill all year. Jay [Pandolfo] came down from the press box, worked with the forwards, which he had worked with all year. But now he’s in the heat of the battle. They were terrific. We were a true staff,” said Cassidy. “Goalie Bob [Essensa] became a little bit more of an eye in the sky for us up there. We had Kim [Brandvold], who was our skating coach, helped a lot with the practices, with the pace we were trying to establish. I can’t thank them enough.

“Going forward, we’re going to meet and decide what’s the best fit for us [as an assistant hire]. Obviously those two have a forward background, I have a defense background, so maybe that’s an area we have to look at, what’s the best complement. But we’d be getting ahead of ourselves if I said today that we’re pinpointing an exact thing. We’ve got to look at it and say, ‘OK, who’s the best fit. What makes us the most successful?’ We’ll go from there with the candidates we get.”

The situation automatically leads one to wonder if P-Bruins head coach Kevin Dean would be a possible candidate as a longtime Cassidy assistant at the AHL level, or if Dean wants to continue on his track as a head coach. If not Dean then perhaps Providence Bruins assistant coach and former Bruins D-man Jay Leach might also be a strong candidate after his first season working with the young P-Bruins at the AHL level.

While it’s clear the Bruins still have some discussions before potentially making a move on hiring an NHL assistant for Cassidy’s staff, they have made a determination about their scouting staff. The B’s never replaced the head of amateur scouting position when Keith Gretzky was hired as an assistant general manager with the Edmonton Oilers, and it will instead be Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley that will run Boston’s draft board in June.

“Scotty Bradley has stepped back into that role, which he’s very comfortable doing. He holds the title of Assistant General Manager and he’ll oversee the draft. We’re very comfortable with the people he’s worked with in recent years that have been a big, big part of our recent drafts. Our meetings went well,” said Sweeney. “They were just at the U-18s and had other subsequent meetings, so there will be some banter in the upcoming [scouting] meetings, in terms of where we end up finalizing our list. Scotty will oversee that.”

It’s not exactly foreign territory for Bradley, who previously held the head scouting position with the Black and Gold and played an instrumental role in drafting players like Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. But there’s also some question as to how big a role Gretzky played in drafting the massive wave of talented prospects now pushing their way through Boston’s system, and how much his presence will be missed at NHL Draft weekend moving forward.