Chiarelli, Bruins stand pat at trade deadline

191545.jpg

Chiarelli, Bruins stand pat at trade deadline

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

OTTAWA Monday was easily the most inactive trade deadline the Boston Bruins have experienced under the Peter Chiarelli regime.

Yet it might also ultimately be their most successful.

Two deals in the 24 hours leading up to the trade deadline amounted to shuffling cards at the minor-league level.

The Bruins dealt away their backup enforcer, Brian McGrattan, to Anaheim on Sunday night for a pair of minor-league depth players, and traded minor-league blueliner Jeff Penner along with the rights to a Finnish player theyd sent back to Europe in exchange for an AHL goaltender, Anton Khudobin. Khudobin is now slotted behind Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask on Bostons depth chart.

Not exactly deals that will capture even the most ardent hockey fan's imagination.

Bottom line: they didnt do much on NHL trade deadline day, as opposed to years past when players like Dennis Seidenberg, Mark Recchi and Steve Montador waltzed through the Boston dressing-room doors.

There wasnt much activity on our part today, said Chiarelli, with the confident tone of an executive that didnt have a need for activity at the deadline. We talked to a couple of teams. We felt that we did most of our stuff within the last couple of weeks. So today was a quiet day.

Weve done three deals where weve added three good pieces. There has been some subtraction, but we felt the net benefit was very positive. There wasnt anything that, when you look back in hindsight after doing the three deals, that I was saying Wow, that would be a good one to do. No, there wasnt anything like that.

Its perfectly okay for the Bs to just say no, however, on a couple of different levels.

The entire NHL didnt register as many deals as normally expected on a deadline day with only 16 trades ahead of the league-mandated deadline.

Then theres the simple fact Chiarelli got all of his shopping out of the way weeks in advance and was able to observe his new configuration of players perform at high efficiency on a team-bonding romp through the Western Conference.

The big fish was Tomas Kaberle, of course.

The 32-year-old All-Star defenseman has immediately jumped in and played 20-plus minutes a night while calming things down offensively for the Bs.

Chris Kelly and Rick Peverley appear to be solid role players, with Peverley able to easily replace the offense lost with Blake Wheeler.

The two centerwings give coach Claude Julien a multitude of faceoff options when theyre on the ice, and both are heady, speedy penalty killers that immediately give the special teams unit an upgrade as well. None of that is sexy stuff in the hockey world, but it wins games and makes the Bs exceedingly difficult to play against.

Those kinds of things tend to go over big in the playoffs.

The burgeoning offensive chemistry of Kelly and Peverley with Michael Ryder was also getting a bit easier to spot in the win over the Edmonton Oilers.

But there was no mistaking both new guys blocking shots, winning faceoffs and providing the little nuances that breed success in tight third period situations against the Vancouver Canucks.

The most interesting thing about this deadline for the Bruins?

This time around Chiarelli got exactly what he wanted on the trade market. He didnt settle when Marian Hossa or Ilya Kovalchuk slipped through Bostons fingers, and thats allowed his hockey team to take on an undeniably sturdy construction.

Those early deadline moves propped the Black and Gold up with a 5-0-0 road trip headed into Tuesday nights finale against the Ottawa Senators, and have poised the Bs to pass the demoralized Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference points derby.

Weve played a real solid two-way game, said Chiarelli when asked what he liked best from his newly formed unit. Weve maybe not generated all the chances we normally would, but were making really good plays. I feel were cleaner in our own end.

I like our movement better on the power play, so that speaks to confidence, too, and synergy. Goaltending has been good. Were playing Vancouver and Calgary, two tough, big teams, and I just liked our game. We competed. We played a solid game and the synergy we talked about, the four strong lines, eventually you come out ahead if youre playing your game.

The Bs probably could have gone for another depth defensemen given that Andrew Ference is likely to miss a couple of weeks, and is hitting the magic number of games hes managed to endure on average over the last three years. But Chiarelli clearly felt rookie Steve Kampfer and rugged Shane Hnidy would be enough to compliment what Boston already has on the back line.

You just know the players, you know the prices and you know the fits, said Chiarelli. So, I mean, we did the due diligence. We felt that the players we got were the ones we were targeting. I was exhausted; we were all exhausted after flying from Edmonton. So it was nice to not really have to pull a rabbit out of a hat today in the shape were in.

The rabbits of Kaberle, Peverley and Kelly were pulled well in advance of NHL deadline day for the Bruins, and its very different than the way things played out in the past for Chiarellis club.

Now its up to the pieces set in place to perform and stay healthy to see just how prudent it was to take a knee on this deadline day.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Thursday, Dec. 8: Five most confusing NHL players

Thursday, Dec. 8: Five most confusing NHL players

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the proud ownership of this year’s Christmas tree in the Haggerty household some fifty bucks later. 

*Down Goes Brown provides a list of the five most confusing players in the NHL this season, and none of them are Boston Bruins. Hooray. 

*Bruce Boudreau makes the case to the Hockey News that Devan Dubnyk is more deserving of a Vezina Trophy this season than Carey Price. How about Tuukka Rask being more deserving than either one of them?

*An interesting look at the rough state of Maple Leafs goaltending right around the Tuukka Rask trade to Boston and the Vesa Toskala/Andrew Raycroft years. 

*A fun video piece with FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Freidman and Wild coach Bruce Boudreau as they took a tour of Toronto together.

*Speaking of trades, the Philadelphia Flyers hit the jackpot with the Wayne Simmonds trade as he’s been a proud part of the Broad Street Bullies tradition. 

*Gord Miller is an excellent play-by-play man, and he tells some great stories of his life on the road whether it’s the NHL season or the World Junior tournament. 

*While the Boston University hockey team is a star-studded group with an amazing freshman recruiting class, Patrick Curry has been a player that’s quietly had an excellent season. 

*A few minutes with Pittsburgh Penguins D-man Kris Letang about a wide array of subjects including Mike Sullivan and concussion spotters.

*For something completely different: good interview with the former Flash, John Wesley Shipp, about his role in the newer Flash TV series, and the coolness of bringing back Shipp and Mark Hamill as their former characters. 

 

 

Haggerty: Pastrnak’s price keeps going up, but Bruins will gladly pay

Haggerty: Pastrnak’s price keeps going up, but Bruins will gladly pay

At this point, there’s no really no limit to the offensive pyrotechnics show that 20-year-old David Pastrnak is putting on nightly for the Bruins. 

The electric Pastrnak scored his 16th goal of the season in his 22nd game in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Wednesday night. He was at the heart of a Bruins comeback that erased a three-goal deficit on the way to an overtime point. It was vintage Pastrnak with the speedy winger stripping Evgeny Kuznetsov of the puck at Washington’s offensive blue line, and then winning a race to the net before sliding a backhanded shot through Braden Holtby’s leg pads. 

It was a pure speed and skill play at its very core and that’s not an observation you’ve always been able to make about the B’s offense. 

That narrowed Washington’s lead to a one goal at the end of the second period and set things up for the Bruins to make an impressive final push in the closing 20 minutes. For Pastrnak, it also continues a breakout season that began with dedicating himself to improving his size and strength last summer, and included getting up to a weight of 190 pounds that allows him to stand in, stay on his skates and win key one-on-one battles all over the ice. 

But the most important difference for Pastrnak is the pure, unadulterated offense he’s generating for the Black and Gold this season. After two years of learning and development on the job, the Czech winger is totally cashing in on the elite offensive skills he brought into the league as the youngest player in the NHL two seasons ago. He’s on pace to become the fourth Bruins player in the past 25 years to hit the 40-goal mark. He is the exact kind of game-breaking force the B’s have been desperately yearning for since they shipped Tyler Seguin to Dallas following the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. 

“He’s burying pucks at a great rate. There’s no question. But I think the way that he’s done it…he soaks it all in and you see Pasta not at all full of himself, and coming in here where he’s always light-hearted and has a great day every day seemingly,” said David Backes. “You love to have guys at the rink like that who bring the energy every day, and a young guy that loves the game, and is always working on it and really using all the tools that he’s been given. 

“There’s a lot of season left to continue to add to that [goal] total and to continue to help us win games. He’ll tell you that the most important part of him scoring is that it helps us win games, and that’s what the mindset is in this [dressing] room.”

As Backes alluded to, don’t expect the fun-loving, hard-working Pastrnak to get caught up in the numbers, or be overwhelmed with his standing as the third-leading scorer in the NHL behind a couple of guys named Sidney Crosby and Patrik Laine. 

After all, this is a guy that purposefully hasn’t gone to get his two front teeth fixed after they were smashed by a high stick a few weeks back, and instead made a Dumb and Dumber joke on his Instagram account. 

So, Pastrnak isn’t hung up on the cosmetics of his breakthrough third NHL season. He’s intent on doing what’s been working for him this season. 

“Obviously there’s social media that I’m on, so I kind of see [the stat leaders] a little bit. But it’s obviously not something I’m focused on or looking for. So far it’s getting [the puck] in, but in ten games it could be somebody else who has that goal streak, you know?” said Pastrnak. “As long as we’re winning games it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the top [of the league’s goal scorers] or whether you’re on the bottom. 

“We are like one team, and that’s the way we’re going to get better. It’s not a one-man unit, it’s 22 guys. I’m just trying to play the same way. It’s not like I’m going to have to score every game. Nobody is going to score every game in this league. When I have a chance I still have in my mindset that I want to pass a little too much, so I’ll just keep playing the same way. We have the same chances, five or six scoring chances, every game. Sometimes four of them are going to go in, sometimes one and sometimes none. I think we did a good job as a line and I have to give a lot of credit to my linemates. Without them, I wouldn’t have all these goals.”

One thing that will be on the minds of Bruins management, however, as the numbers pile up for Pastrnak: his contract status beyond this season. Pastrnak will be a restricted free agent following this breakout year, and he has perfectly timed his goal-scoring ascension with his ability to monetarily maximize the situation with a giant second contract.

If Pastrnak stays healthy and productive enough this season for 30-40 goals and 60-70 points (and he’s nearly halfway there just 27 games into the season), then he’s looking at the same kind of contract handed out to young, productive players like Johnny Gaudreau, Jonathan Huberdeau, Sean Monahan, Jaden Schwartz, Nathan MacKinnon and Mark Schiefele, in the range of five to six years at around $6 million per season, give or take a few hundred thousand per season. 

The real “nightmare” scenario for the Bruins is Pastrnak truly goes supersonic offensively and puts himself in a position where he can demand Vladimir Tarasenko money (eight years, $60 million) in a second contract. Certainly ,Pastrnak is realizing his star potential at the NHL level in his third season and may have NHL All-Star games and other honors in his near future, but he’s not quite yet at Tarasenko’s level of sustained, consistent excellence as he exits his entry-level deal. 

“If I could find a similarity it would be in the way they can both just find the open ice, where they can get available and the puck just seems to find those guys where they’re able to put it where they need to score goals,” said Backes, a longtime teammate of Tarasenko with the St. Louis Blues. “Pastrnak is a little more opportunistic closer to the net in finding loose pucks and scooping them in. They both have great shots,  but Tarasenko is a little more of a delay, find the late ice, get the late pass and be able to rip one past the goalie from a little bit further away. 

“They both have great one-timers. There’s probably a lot of similarities, but I think Pasta working with his linemates and the chemistry they’ve been able to achieve is awesome to see, and is going to be awesome for this group.”

Clearly, the Bruins want to avoid getting into a potential stalemate situation with Pastrnak where other, offensively-starved and desperate teams could throw offer sheets his way. This is a big part of the reason why the B’s opted not to go the nuclear route in throwing an offer sheet at Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba last summer, and open themselves up for another team to do it to them. Instead, the Bruins let the situation play itself with Trouba, and didn’t send a message that NHL poachers could come after Pastrnak if he’s somehow without a contract extension after the July 1 opening of free agency. 

Nobody is expecting it to play out in any kind of adversarial way, given how much Pastrnak enjoys playing in Boston and how much the B’s value their budding superstar. The Bruins have enough cap space to ultimately make it all work with their 20-year-old scoring machine, and his level of breathtaking skill and natural scoring ability is nearly impossible to replace. 

So, it should be all good for the Black and Gold: there’s no reason to think Pastrnak is going to fall off the cliff offensively from his torrid start, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be doing it for the Black and Gold for a long, long time to come. It goes without saying, though, that everybody will feel a lot better when Pastrnak is signed on the dotted line, and the offense keeps pouring in from the puck prodigy.