Hagg Bag: Sabres-Bills combo? Who replaces Iginla?

Hagg Bag: Sabres-Bills combo? Who replaces Iginla?
August 29, 2014, 11:00 am
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Welcome to another edition of the Hagg Bag mailbag, where we answer your questions about the Bruins, the NHL or pretty much anything else that’s on your mind in these idle days of the hockey offseason. As always, feel free to tweet me at @HackswithHaggs or email me at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com with your questions, comments or general observations of the world.

Now on to the mailbag:

Hey Haggs,

A lot of rumors out there saying Pegula from the Sabres could be buying the Bills. I thought there was a rule within the NHL that an owner can't own another professional franchise? This came up when there were rumors about Jacobs being interested in the Bills.

Jeff from NH

JH: Hey Jeff...you are partially correct. There are rules prohibiting Jeremy Jacobs from owning the Buffalo Bills as long as he’s the principal owner of the Boston Bruins, but it’s because Jacobs owns another professional franchise in a different market. Owners are allowed to own multiple sports franchises if they are within the same market: The Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, for instance, both play at the Air Canada Centre, and are run by the same ownership group.

The same goes for the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, both owned by James Dolan. Since Terry Pegula already owns the Buffalo Sabres, he is actually eligible to also purchase the Bills, if he so desires. Selfishly, I had hoped that Donald Trump would win the ownership bid for the Bills because of the spectacle it would bring to the NFL in Buffalo, but Pegula would actually be a very good thing for the Bills franchise. He’s done some very good things with the Sabres even if he was a little slow on the draw cleaning Darcy Regier out of the front office.

Joe, R the b's going 2 sign/trade 4 another scorer 2 replace iginla? Wtf. They R championship caliber with one. DO SOMETHING!
--Sam Berger (@BostonStrong04)

JH: I don’t think they’re going to land a likely Hall of Fame right wing capable of scoring 30 goals at this point, Sam.

What they will do is try to find an established NHL player with some offensive upside that can play alongside Carl Soderberg on the third line, and potentially climb up to the top line if Loui Eriksson doesn’t work out with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.

The young and cheaper the better for the Black and Gold and this is where the potential trade of Johnny Boychuk would seem to fit in, if it’s going to happen. The B’s will have to trade something of value to get a right wing who can play – I mentioned Nail Yakupov yesterday, but David Perron might also be an interesting name out in Edmonton – and Boychuk is by far the most valuable movable piece that they have among their surplus of defensemen.

Perhaps intriguing young names such as Evander Kane, Jakob Silfverberg or Tomas Tatar will enter the discussion once training camp rolls around, but it won’t be a “replacement” for Jarome Iginla. I would also hazard an opinion that the B’s are championship caliber, even without another scorer based on the weaker Eastern Conference, with the remaining roster still left in Boston. So ease up on the caps lock button for now, my friend.

Disprove the theory of relativity in 140 or fewer characters. #HaggBag
--Mike Cadarette (@MikeyVegatables)

JH: I purposely skipped physics in high school and college despite numerous attempts by guidance counselors/student advisers to push me to take the class. I knew I would never need it because I was going to be a sportswriter. I did take trigonometry, and I’ve never needed that in my life for anything either until now.

Now I’m fully unequipped to answer your brain-busting question, and I feel I’ve wasted my entire educational journey. So I will give you an E = MC squared, and bid you a good day, sir.

our other dmen can't match [Boychuk’s] big hit/shot and clutch playoff play. I wanna see pairs of 33-55 and 44-27 in the playoffs
--Bobby Messenger (@bmessy19)

JH: A big part of the reason the Bruins made it back to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013 was the play of Johnny Boychuk in the postseason. He was scoring goals with his big shot, throwing out huge hits and blocking a ton of shots as a second-pairing defenseman along with Andrew Ference. There’s no doubt he’s a big-game player and the Bruins don’t have anybody that can replace him in the short term. He fires clappers at the net, he’s arguably Boston’s most devastating body checker in the open ice and he’s willing to kneel face-first in front of the net to stop shots when it’s winning/losing time.

He’s also a leader in the B’s dressing room and a guy that’s become important at welcoming new players into the fold as Shawn Thornton and Andrew Ference once did before him.

You regret those players when you let them go, and miss them when they’re gone. But there are a few simple facts on the other side: A) the Bruins can’t afford to pay him the $5 million plus per season he’ll begin earning after this coming season B) he’s never been able to fully develop the offensive dimension of his game despite the big shot and C) he’s durable but his body has absorbed a lot of punishment over the past five years playing big minutes.

In much the same way that the Patriots cut bait with an older Logan Mankins as a pure business decision, the Bruins might be forced to do the same with Boychuk. The problem with all of this is that the B’s have Cup aspirations for this coming season, and those hopes take a big hit if No. 55 is dealt away for any reason.

Dunkin or Tim Hortons?
--Justin Walden (@justwalden)

JH: Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and bagels. Tim Hortons for the Canadian Maple Donuts, which are out of this world and a distant cousin to the delicious Maple Bacon Donuts from Union Square Donuts in Somerville. I do enjoy an XL double-double coffee from Timmy’s whenever I’m in Canada, however, and they are both better than the overpriced flavored water they serve at Starbucks.

I can only hope the purchase of Tim Hortons by Burger King’s parent company means they’ll expand more into the US, and more Americans can see what the fuss is all about. While I’m on the subject: who do I have to speak with at the DD home offices to bring back the cookie dough-flavored coffee. You guys are killing me!

w/ cap issues, too many D and age starting to show, how do you feel about shopping big Z while value is still high? #haggbag
--John @stop_diving

JH: I feel like this may happen eventually if he continues to show his age in key spots during the season (cough, cough…the playoffs), but the Bruins would need to develop an exit strategy first. I don’t see anybody on Boston’s roster that could step in and become the defensive stopper and play 25-30 minutes a night against the other team’s best offensive players.

You could force Johnny Boychuk to play that role or push Dougie Hamilton into it before he’s potentially ready to take that on, but that could have negative consequences. Just look in Toronto where the Maple Leafs have pushed Dion Phaneuf into a stopper D-man role that he’s really not suited for, and Toronto’s entire defensive effort has been compromised because of it.

The bottom line: the guy was a Norris Trophy finalist last season and had an excellent year. Be careful what you wish for, especially now that the 6-foot-9 defenseman has agreed to park his big frame in front of the net on power plays. That’s been a big difference-maker.

what're the odds of the Bruins getting a solid top 6 F out of a trade shipping out McQuaid, Warsofsky, etc.?
Tim Greene (@bigtimetimmeh)

JH: The odds are non-existent that a top-six forward is coming back for Adam McQuaid or David Warsofsky, or for Matt Bartkowski for that matter. I think the only way you get an NHL-ready forward that could potentially play a top-six role is if you’re willing to deal Johnny Boychuk.

You have to trade talent to get like-talent in return. McQuaid or Warsofsky would likely yield prospects or draft picks in return, and perhaps Bartkowski could bring back an unproven forward prospect that might have a chance. But the Bruins already have those kinds of players in Matt Fraser, Alex Khokhlachev and Ryan Spooner, and would be looking for an established player ready to win a forward job in Boston.

JH: Finally, here is a taste of the kind of Twitter followers I interact with on a daily basis. Bruins goalie prospect Zane Gothberg changed his name to Zane McIntyre this week, a nod to his mother’s maiden name and the last name of his recently passed grandmother who had a big influence in his life. It was a fantastic gesture to be sure, and I applaud him for it.

My followers, on the other hand, also took it as an opportunity to work on their stand-up comedy material. Have a good week everybody and let’s hope to do this mailbag again next week.

thankfully their last name wasn't Sieve or Fivehole or Lacher.

is his mother Reba?

I thought it was to honor NKOTB.