The Off Wing

Opinion and Fact…From the Off Wing

Archive for the tag “Montreal Canadiens”

P.K. Subban Should Be A Bruin

While watching the second round of the 2014 NHL Playoffs, specifically the Bruins/Montreal series, it reminded me of something that I have been pondering for well over year now. The Boston franchise, while having a top tier defense, and one of the best defensemen in the game, is getting old in that department. Then the 2013 playoffs came around and Boston called up some of its young guns for the push, and youth was served. The issue here is that while the defense is young, none of the gents are yet a candidate for number one defenseman. Sure, Dougie could fill out that role at some point, but needing a leader on the back end is something that the B’s brass should be considering. In other words, P.K. Subban should be a Bruin.

Sure, the Bruins have Big Z (Zdeno Chara for the uninitiated), but at 37 years old he won’t be playing forever.  The Bruins have defensemen in Providence, and a couple youngsters playing for the big club, but none of them appear ready to adopt the mantle of “number one defenseman”.  P.K. has shown that he is the leader of the d-corps for the blue-blanc et rouge.  Especially in these playoffs.  Subban is averaging 2 points per game against the  Bruins.  He has 11 points in 7 games.  Sure he is only a plus 1, but while averaging over 27 minutes a night, he is third among defensemen still active in the playoffs.  At 24 years of age, Pernell Karl would be a nice addition to the blueliners on Causeway Street.

P.K. has stated that he is looking for top dolllar on his next contract, between 8 and 9 million dollars per year.  Whether he is worth that at this stage of his career is up for debate, but the way he is playing in these playoffs, especially against his arch-rivals, definitely begins to tip the scales in his favor.  Another tic in his favor, his age.  At just 24, giving him a long term contract wouldn’t hurt so much.  Structure it so that he gets his money in years 3-6 or something along those lines.

Chara still has four more years on his contract after this season finishes, but can we, Bruins fans or not, really expect him to play 27 plus minutes a night as he approaches the big 4-0?  I would say the answer to that question is probably one that the voracious fans in Boston don’t want to have to answer.

Answer…Bring in Subban.  You still get to have the Big Man roaming around the the blueline.  Pair him up with P.K.  Then it doesn’t matter who hangs back and who pinches in.  Yes the d-corps gets expensive with Seidenberg and his 4 year 16 million dollar deal, but by trading a couple players away, it can work.  It has to work.

By acquiring his services, the Boston Bruins can shore up the number one defenseman slot for the next ten years rather than hoping that Chara can maintain his torrid pace for the next four.  P.K. Subban should be a Bruin…and hey, number 76 isn’t taken!

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.

 

 

 

 

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