Spooner ready to start despite uncertain future

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Spooner ready to start despite uncertain future

Ryan Spooner doesnt know exactly what the future holds for him, but he will be either in Boston or Providence.

The Bs playmaking prospect spent the last couple of days with Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto, and is now spending his final days in the Ottawa area before prepping for his first training camp as a professional hockey player.

The 20-year-old Spooner said that hes all the way up to 186 pounds from the 174 pounds when he was drafted in the second round by the Bruins back in 2010, and he's still working on building size and strength headed into camp next month.

The most important thing is that the season starts on time. All you can do is just hope that it starts when it should, said Spooner. Its not going to do me any good to dwell on the negatives and maybe cut any corners because you dont think the season is going to start on time.

Ive been doing a lot of edge work and a lot of evasive stuff with spins and stick-handling to develop my game when Im in tight with the puck in heavy traffic. In the gym Ive focused on strengthening muscles that are weak like my hip flexors and my groin. Its better to be in the lineup than to be hurt, and that gives me the best chance to make the big club.

It could be with the rest of the Bruins rookies on September 15 or with the Providence Bruins on September 28, but either way Spooner will be wearing a Black and Gold sweater this season.

Hell also be thinking positive thoughts about a potential lockout that seems more inevitable with each passing day despite the fact both sides are still talking over the labor issues.

Ive been skating a lot back home: two or three times a day and doing stick-handling drills. Ive been working a lot with Derrick Brassard from Columbus and Calvin DeHaan from the Islanders, said Spooner. I actually just got back from Quebec City for a charity tournament where I played with a bunch of the NHL guys from Quebec. So its been a pretty fun summer, but Im back in the gym working hard now to get ready for camp.

Its my third camp and Im excited to get back at it. Ive been skating with a lot of pro guys, so hopefully that helps me out in main camp when it starts. If that doesnt work out then Ill start off in the American Hockey League and have plenty of fun.

Spooner finished last year with 29 goals and 66 points splitting time between two junior hockey teams (the Kingston Frontenacs and the Sarnia Sting) before wrapping things up with the Providence Bruins.

The skilled center has produced seven points in eight AHL games over the last two seasons, and is aiming to become a point-per game player in the professional ranks starting next year. His talent is clearly there and his work ethic has risen noticeably over the last couple of years for Spooner. Now its all about keeping that consistent professional mindset no matter where the begins the season in the face of an impending lockout.

Spooners time will come, and a few months in the AHL might not be such a bad thing at the end of the day.

Bean: The (incorrect) case for the Bruins signing Kevin Shattenkirk

Bean: The (incorrect) case for the Bruins signing Kevin Shattenkirk

The Bruins should not sign Kevin Shattenkirk. They really shouldn’t. 

Yet they might. Pierre McGuire said on TSN Radio Tuesday that his guess is that Shattenkirk, arguably the best free agent defenseman on the market, will end up in Boston.

It is remarkable how universally against a Shattenkirk megadeal B’s fans have seemingly been. A Twitter poll with over 3,600 votes this month had Bruins fans preferring Boston sign 40-year-old Zdeno Chara to a two-year, $8 million extension than the 28-year-old  Shattenkirk to a seven-year, $45.5 million deal. 

That is obviously the correct conclusion, but considering how hard the false “Chara is old and bad” garbage is pushed in this town, it’s telling that 64 percent would rather he stick around than the team build the defense around Shattenkirk. 

Of course, Shattenkirk is not a bad player just because he’s been overrated in recent seasons. He’s a decent second-pairing defender and strong power play asset who can be penciled in for 40 points a year. The Bruins already have that in Torey Krug, and he makes less than Shattenkirk figures to command. Shattenkirk is also a righty who plays on the right, which is not a need for the Bruins, whereas Krug is a left shot who plays both sides. 

Add in the Bruins’ cap situation due to some bad contracts and they why of Shattenkirk would be a bad signing doesn’t need to be re-hashed. By this point, the explanation’s been given a few times in a few different places. 

So what would the Bruins’ actual case for signing Shattenkirk be? 

TO KEEP IT MOVING 

Last season was encouraging for Bruins fans because it saw them reach the playoffs for the first time in three years while also seeing young talent emerge. Yet they still only made the playoffs by two points, something of which Don Sweeney and Cam Neely are undoubtedly aware. 

So for all the good signs, this could be a fringe playoff team again if more improvements aren’t made, and missing the playoffs for the second time in three years would mark a step back in the eyes of ownership, perhaps putting jobs in danger. It would be a shame if money were spent irresponsibly for the sake of saving jobs, but Shattenkirk would definitely make the Bruins better next season, even if it crippled them financially down the road. 

TO PULL A CHIARELLIAN FREE AGENT SWITCHEROO

With McAvoy set to be a top-pairing player and Brandon Carlo a good second-pairing option, the Bruins do not have a need for a highly paid right-shot defender. That doesn’t mean they don’t have needs elsewhere. 

Last offseason, Peter Chiarelli made the controversial move of trading Taylor Hall, one of the best left wings on the planet. He did it to get Adam Larsson to help build Edmonton’s blue line up, then he went out and signed Milan Lucic in free agency to replace Hall. 

If the Bruins truly have designs on adding Shattenkirk, perhaps they could have something similar in mind: Trade someone like Carlo for either a left-shot defenseman or a left wing, then replace Carlo with Shattenkirk. 

This would still not be financially palatable, however. When the Oilers traded Hall for Larsson, they swapped a player with a $6 million cap hit for a player with a $4.16 million cap hit and replaced the original player (Hall) with a player in Lucic who carried a $6 million cap hit. So essentially they netted one player for an additional $4.16 million. 

Carlo is on his entry level contract, so unless the Bruins traded him for a player on an entry-level deal, they’d be spending a lot of money in any maneuver that involved replacing him with Shattenkirk. 

TO GO ALL-IN ON POST-CLAUDE LIFE

Claude Julien’s detractors lamented his affinity for responsibility. They loved it when Bruce Cassidy was more open to trading chances. 

Well, you like trading chances? Shattenkirk’s your guy. He’s a good skater, a good offensive player and a sub-par defender. You put Krug, Shattenkirk and McAvoy as three of your four top-four defenseman and you’ll be a long way from the days of Chara, Seidenberg and Boychuk, for better or worse. 

BUT, KEEP IN MIND . . . 

They for sure should not sign Kevin Shattenkirk. 

Morning Skate: What does trading a first-rounder get you now?

Morning Skate: What does trading a first-rounder get you now?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while wishing that Gordon Hayward and Paul George were already in Boston, like, yesterday.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Freidman gives his 30 thoughts for the week, including the trade value of a first-round pick right now.

*It could that non-unrestricted free agents steal all of the thunder on July 1 with massive contract extensions a la Connor McDavid.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the Detroit Red Wings taking potential fliers on a number of veteran D-men that are out on the free market.

*With free agency right around the corner, the legendary Stan Fischler details the sad end to Bobby Orr’s career in Boston, where he was lied to about the offer extended to him and ended up playing things out with the Chicago Blackhawks in a way that it shouldn’t have gone. The sight of Orr in a Blackhawks sweater is one of the real all-time NHL oddities out there.

*The NCAA is eying college hockey expansion in NHL markets, including the University of Illinois and Pitt, and, from what I’ve been told, perhaps UNLV and maybe even Vanderbilt. This is a great thing for amateur hockey players and anybody that can’t get enough of the game.  

*Ex-Senators defenseman Marc Methot holds no ill will toward the Sens after being dealt from Vegas to the Dallas Stars following his selection in the expansion draft.

*Josh Ho-Sang shares his wisdom to Islanders prospects as a 21-year-old somebody that’s gone through the ups and downs of being in their shoes.

*As we referenced above, Connor McDavid is closing in on a massive contract extension with the Edmonton Oilers that will probably make him the highest paid player in the NHL.

*For something completely different: My heart goes out to this Roslindale family fighting through a situation with a child who has a life-threatening disorder. They have a Go-Fund-Me page, so please give if you can.