Boston Bruins

Would you rather Bruins pay Shattenkirk or Chara?

Would you rather Bruins pay Shattenkirk or Chara?

Over the weekend, we ran a player-by-player free agency preview, which was led by one big point: The Bruins shouldn’t sign Kevin Shattenkirk. 

The reasons for this: The Bruins aren't exactly starved for right-shot defensemen and they don’t exactly have $6 million-plus to throw at something that isn’t a need. 

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Somewhat surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be much of a faction of Bruins fans that disagrees. Though Shattenkirk has been linked to the Bruins over the years given their turnover on the back end and his history playing in Boston, fewer and fewer view him as the future savior he was once considered to be. 

So if the Bruins aren’t going to spend on Shattenkirk, should they spend on another free agent defenseman? The answer is still no, unless it’s cheap. What the Bruins need is stability on the left side of their back end as they wait to see if lefties Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril (and, down the road, Ryan Lindgren) can emerge as legitimate NHL defensemen to join righties Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo as potential long-term fixtures. 

The Bruins have 26-year-old Torey Krug locked in for three more seasons. Aside from that, the left side is entirely unclear. Zdeno Chara is 40 and in the final year of his contract. Kevan Miller has been used on his off-side and could potentially be left unprotected in the expansion draft. Joe Morrow is a restricted free agent who has yet to crack Boston’s lineup full-time. 

So really, the Bruins need to shore up the left side of their defense going forward more than they need to sign another righty -- especially if that righty warrants any sort of bidding war. 

One way of doing that is to simply extend Chara. The future Hall of Famer will play this season at a discounted cap hit of $4 million since his contract extends past his 40th birthday and such contracts see their salaries become their cap hits after 40. 

The Bruins could just wait until after next season to do that, of course. Simply waiting it out would allow the B’s to see if Chara regresses or if the team is less competitive than expected, in which case they could entertain trading him. 

Yet if the Bruins were intent on spending money this offseason on a defenseman, they’d be better of spending less of it on an older Chara than more of it on a less-effective Shattenkirk, so the question was posed: 

The voting indicated a preference among 3,613 fans to pay Chara (64 percent of the vote) rather than Shattenkirk (36 percent), and that’s the correct line of thinking. Shattenkirk is in his prime, but Chara is still the more effective player given that he plays bigger minutes (Shattenkirk averaged 19:56 this past season; Chara hasn’t averaged fewer than 23 minutes a night since 2001-02) and plays against other teams’ top players, which is the Bruins’ bigger defensive need. 

For time being, the Bruins don’t need to give out either contract, but their priority should be stabilizing the left side however they can rather than further adding to the right. 

Morning Skate: Plenty of capable players on free agent market

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Morning Skate: Plenty of capable players on free agent market

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while spending some time in the great state of Maine. 

 

*You wanted to see the video and here it is: Dandy Don Cherry singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at Wrigley Field in a time-honored tradition. 

 

*There are still some very notable names available on the free agent market looking for jobs very late into the summertime. I predict PTO’s for a lot of these players, who will then have to sing for their supper if they want NHL jobs this season. It’s amazing how the salary cap has begun squeezing out veteran players that still have game. 

 

*An interesting look at the “stick to sports” phenomenon on social media, and a plea that athletes continue to stay vocal on the issues. For people to ignorantly think anybody in sports doesn’t deserve to have an opinion is downright un-American. Everybody has a say in this country. 

 

*Best of luck to FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Goucher as he heads to Vegas to do TV play-by-play for the Golden Knights. What a team he will make with former Bruins D-man Shane Hnidy in an announcing tandem with some very strong Boston connections. Big shoes to fill on the radio in replacing Goucher's play-by-play call for B's broadcasts, so here's hoping guys that have paid their dues around here like Ryan Johnston and Adam Kaufman get some strong consideration. 

 

*Injuries could be thrusting No. 1 overall pick Nico Hischier into a very important role for the New Jersey Devils this season. 

 

*For something completely different: Who would have ever thought that Andrew Dice Clay would continue to be somewhat relevant all these years later. 

Morning Skate: Coach sees 100-point season from Flames

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Morning Skate: Coach sees 100-point season from Flames

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while very, very proud of the city of Boston today.

*Calgary Flames coach Glen Gulutzan thinks that the Flames can be a 100-point club this season as they continue to build with youth and skill.

*Brendan Kelly thinks the Montreal Canadiens are dead wrong for building their roster around All-World goalie Carey Price. Are they wrong? I don’t know about that. They certainly have the right coach if they want to play from the goalie on out every night.

*It is officially David Krejci number of days until the NHL regular season begins and I absolutely can’t wait for it to get going.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Ron Francis hoping that the Hurricanes can live up to the hype after a flurry of offseason moves.

*Jack Eichel says that he wants to be in Buffalo when they start winning. So he plans on staying in Buffalo for a while then, eh?

*The New Jersey Devils are one of those teams that seem to be in the mix for everyone these days, including outgoing NCAA defenseman Will Butcher. 

*For something completely different: If you haven’t already, please help us at the NBC family to #CleartheShelters today. My two rescue black labs thank you!