The Off Wing

Opinion and Fact…From the Off Wing

Archive for the tag “Jarome Iginla”

Where Do They Go From Here?

Late in the evening of March 27th, 2013, the Boston Bruins had just finished losing to their arch rivals the Montreal Canadiens, but things weren’t as bleak as they appeared.  It was an overtime loss, and gave the hated Habs the lead in the East, but still Cam Neely was seen smiling in the elevator after the tilt.  The reason for all the happiness:  Peter Chiarelli, the loved and yet maligned (at times) GM, had pulled off a deal that was going to add some scoring punch and veteran leadership to the local six.  Jarome Iginla was joining the team.  Shawn Thornton indicated as much.  Dougie Hamilton, during an interview on WEEI, alluded to it.

So where is Jarome Iginla…?

He’s wearing Black…that of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Buddy of, and Canadian National Team line-mates with Sidney Crosby, Jarome was  believed to fill the latter role again.  But how could this happen?  Aaron Ward of TSN (who had been taking a beating on Twitter in the Boston area) all but assured us that he would be wearing a spoked B.  Yet around 2:00am the morning of the 28th, the news came over my twitter feed…Iginla to the Pens.  And the deal…A first round pick and two prospects.  Come to find out the prospects aren’t even what scouts would call “elite”.

So where do the Bruins go from here?

The short answer was no one knew.  I don’t believe the Bruins brass even knew.  Steve Yzerman had stated that he was not trading Martin St. Louis, who would have been a nice addition to the squad.  Curtis Glencross’ name had been bandied about, but with the Iginla move, it didn’t seem likely that Calgary would deal another forward, especially one that had 21 points in 28 games (at the time), is affordable at 2.5 million dollars and has another year on his deal as well as a no movement clause.  To everyone paying attention, that left Jaromir Jagr as the only option, but not necessarily a viable one.  He’ll make a splash, i thought (albeit not as big as Iginla going to Jagr’s former club), but  at 4.5 million, he would be an expensive rental player and at 41 years of age, may not be playing anywhere next year.  I had heard mention of Eric Nystrom, also from Dallas, but this didn’t seem to be getting much traction.  From reports I’d read, he is a great locker room guy and a grinder on the ice, hard working third/fourth line type.  He only had 4 goals and 6 points on the season (again, at the time), having played in every game, which didn’t fill me with enthusiasm for his scoring touch.

As far as the defensive side of things, names like Mark Sreit had been thrown around.  With Lubomir Visnovsky signing an extension for another two years with the Isles, Mark was a possibility.   At issue here was that “the other” New York team and the Islanders were entrenched in a battle for the final playoff spot in the east.  As it turned out, both New York teams made it to the playoffs, and made their exits, with the Islanders leaving more of a positive impression on the hearts and minds of the fans and talking heads…

So things have come full circle.  The Bruins acquired Jaromir Jagr from the Dallas Stars for what is now a first round pick, Lane MacDermid, and Cody Payne.  And while Jaromir didn’t light it up as the fans had hoped, he did inject some excitement by coming to Boston.  Iginla did the same for Pittsburgh, showing up just as Crosby was getting hurt.  So, here in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bruins will get to see what they missed out on.  With a full complement of players, the Penguins are expected by most outside of Massachusetts to win the series.

The bonus to not making the Iginla deal is in what was not given away.  Matt Bartkowski has shown that he belongs in the NHL, and could be a top 4 defenseman on any squad.  He has shown poise and experience beyond his hockey league years.  Being encouraged to not play any style but his own (as was Torey Krug), Matt has made the second round his video résumé as to why he belongs.  The Bruins, while upset about how the whole deal went down with Calgary, can’t be too upset with how it turned out.  They kept talent that they were willing to part with for an aging hall of famer, who still has plenty of talent, and have achieved the same level as the team that won the Iginla sweepstakes.

The question at the trade deadline was…Where do they go from here?  The answer, it would appear, is the Stanley Cup finals.  If the Bruins can beat the team that beat them back in March.

L.W.L.

 

 

 

 

The Krejci Experiment

Everyone in Boston appears to be looking for someone to blame for the recent skid and lack of goal scoring punch, especially from the third line.  Since then, Chris Bourque has been put on waivers, and Jay Pandolfo has taken his place.  Well, I am here to say that I don’t believe the problems lie  to the left of  Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.  I say, look to the first line center…

David Krejci

To start off, I like Krejci.  He has skill and can move the puck.  He has some scoring touch, and it shows about once every couple months of a hockey season.  He has only exceeded 20 goals in a season twice and only eclipsed 70 points once.  The explanation everyone in Boston gives when arguing to keep him around is that he showed up during the Stanley Cup run of 2011, and he did with 23 points in 25 games.  He has 7 goals and 24 points this season,good enough for second on the team however he is seventh on the team in plus/minus at a +5.

There has been discussion in the Boston radio media about trading or not trading Krejci.  His talent brings with it a lot of attention.  His lack of focus at times during the season (for multiple games at a time), brings with it much consternation.  Trading him to another team may not be the most popular move, but could bring another much needed top of the rotation defenseman to the team.  Jack Edwards was on WEEI in Boston stating that, while he wasn’t saying that the Bruins were shopping him around, Boston was probably getting a lot of interest in the talented center.

I propose trading David and Johnny Boychuk to Calgary for Jay Bouwmeester, Jarome Iginla and a second round pick.  I can’t take all the credit for this, I have had conversations with other writers who offered their feedback and opinions.  The trade works from a cap perspective, even though the Bruins would be taking on about 5 or so million in cap money.  JayBo brings with him a record of not missing any ice time.  Since joining the league in 05-06, he has not missed a game.  He will bring consistency to the d-core and will provide a blueliner who moves the puck north/south out of the defensive zone.

Jarome Iginla will bring leadership like Mark Recchi did to the younger players on the Bruins.  He can still provide scoring punch with the right center (Spoons, anybody?)  and he can play on special teams as well.  Jarome is a free agent at the end of the year but could be re-signed for less money (can’t see him getting or asking for 7 million a year again) for, say, a three year deal. He will be on an over-35 contract, but at the right money could be well worth it.

Bouwmeester still has one year left on his deal, which also gives the B’s some leverage. They can acquire him and extend him out, or if necessary, leave the one year in place and use him at the trade deadline next season to bring in that next injection of energy for the playoff run.

Any way you slice it, the deal works for both teams.Calgary gets a decent defenseman that can play the point on the powerplay and has decent numbers while still being affordable, and a top line center which will help the production of the top or second line.  The Bruins get that veteran winger presence, such as the one that led them to the Stanley Cup in 2011 and a top two defenseman that is young enough to continue his career in black and gold (and a PMD to boot). Now if the Bruin faithful could forgive Chiarelli and Neely for making such a deal, everything would be…(black and) golden.

L.W.L.

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