With the Free Agent Frenzy nearly a week old, I'm still waiting to see how things shake out for the Boston Bruins. Nothing to report on the Kessel front, both negotiations or trade wise. I'm hoping for latter to not happen but I have a sinking feeling that even if both sides come to terms, we may be in this position shortly thereafter or come trade deadline time next season.
How much does a guy have to do for your organization to be appreciated and to be safe from trade conversations? 36 goals this past season, 60 points despite missing 12 games and never truly feeling a 100 percent. Battling back from testicular cancer and being thrusted in and out of the doghouse last spring only to almost single handedly spark a three game winning streak against the Hated Habs in the playoffs.
Sounds like a pretty eventful three years that Mr. Kessel endured all the while becoming a better all around player and showing the flashes of offensive brilliance and speed that this lineup sorely needs. He can't get bigger...he can't play tougher...but is that what we really want from him? I don't think so....I think there's 29 other teams out there that will take Phil the Thrill exactly the way he is!
As far as the other free agents restricted and otherwise...Matt Hunwick has opted the arbitration route. I'm not sure he'll get the payday his agent is looking for, but I think a raise is definitely in order for a player of his capabilities. I see Matt as I did Brian Campbell or Dan Boyle when they were coming up in the league. His skating is his main strength like Campbell's but he has also shown the ability to find open men and find openings like a Dan Boyle...sneaking around the crease when you least expect it. His return to the lineup next season will be a huge help to Dennis Wideman.
Speaking of Defensive help...we lost the Sheriff and Monty, but what is going to be done in order of replacements? Is Chiarelli waiting to see what happens via trades or Hunwick's contract situation? By then all that will be left is Jim Weimer's equipment bag!!!
Is there a Glen Featherstone signing that I missed?
While it would be nice to think that Johnny Boychuk or Dennis Ruel will make the team out of training camp...I think we need more experience back there...especially on special teams. Please not another PP unit of Ward and Ference!!!
Ward is a Warrior make no mistake of that...he earns his money just by example and leadership in the locker room....but he has next year left in that body and that's about it. Ference is showing a similar china like durability of late and is racking up the rewards points at Mass General since becoming a Bruin!
I would've loved a Beachemin signing and lose all this talk about Kaberle...I know that everyone would love to see big Z and Tomas out there as a PP/PK pairing. I wouldn't mind either...but at what cost? Not Phil the thrill that's for sure...or even Hunwick for that matter!
What about the complimenting forwards? I can't tell you how thrilled that a player of Mark Recchi's stature has chosen the Bruins to end what has been a tremendous hall of fame career. I can't wait to watch his drive and determination in the corners and around the net for 82 games next season.
As I write this...we have Stephane Yelle & PJ Axellsson's potential void to fill in our top 12 forwards. What those two bring in experience and defensive responsibility is going to be very very hard to replace! Are we saying that Vladimir Sobotka is ready to take Stephane's place? Is Steve Begin's value enough to equal that of PJ's? Or was this a move to just drive the Canadiens nuts?
I think Kovalev or Beachemin would've sent them into a frenzy in the city where hockey now sleeps. I'm sure they cringed every single time Michael Ryder lit the lamp last season!
Anyways...we have players out there to help this team go forward...but nobody really knows the game plan here and that may include Boston's management. I know the cap makes things very difficult but teams that were close the last two seasons like Boston was this year showed at least a pulse on the free agent market. So come on management and hit us with something...let us know you're there!!!