Of course, it would be great to land star Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel if you’re looking at it from a Boston Bruins perspective.
As reported in our OTR column, even the expansion Seattle Kraken are preparing to make a potential run at a generational player in Eichel that had 78 points in 68 games a year ago.
Eichel would step right into a prime spot in the middle of Boston’s lineup giving them a prime center in his 20’s as 36-year-old Patrice Bergeron and 35-year-old David Krejci aren’t able to dominate for a two-month playoff stretch as they once did in their careers. It would also free the Boston Bruins up to either decide not to re-sign Krejci at the end of his last deal, or to sign Krejci at a reduced rate for another season or two while exploring possible Charlie Coyle trade scenarios.
Certainly it has nothing to do with the $10 million cap given that the Bruins are clearing loads off their books with nearly $15 million in cap space previously dedicated to Krejci and Tuukka Rask. Both veteran players figure to return at a highly reduced rate if they return to Boston at all.
Either way, the Boston Bruins would get younger, better and at least break even on the money while upgrading down the middle. And Eichel’s value isn’t at an all-time high given the injury squabbles with the Sabres and the general sense that hasn’t been good enough to elevate the downtrodden Buffalo franchise.
But just because something sounds good in theory doesn’t mean it’s actually plausible in reality. Eichel would be great for the Bruins, but it would be awfully naïve for anybody to think the Boston Bruins have what it takes to land the Buffalo Sabres star. He doesn’t have no-trade provisions to direct his way to a desired destination like former teammate Taylor Hall did with Buffalo Sabres GM Kevyn Adams at the trade deadline, and the Bruins don’t have top drawer prospect talent in their development system right now wither.
Trading an elite NHL talent like Charlie McAvoy or David Pastrnak to land Eichel isn’t going to make the Bruins better, and they haven’t drafted well enough in the last handful of years to tempt Buffalo with young assets. Trent Frederic was a healthy scratch down the stretch and into the playoffs. Jakob Zboril was an afterthought for a banged-up Bruins blue line as well. Urho Vaakanainen hasn’t developed into the workhorse top-pairing guy they envisioned when they selected him and that forced the Bruins to deal for Mike Reilly at the trade deadline.
“The Reilly acquisition, [he] came in for us, and he was a good fit. He was able to play good, solid hockey for us, has been in the league for a while. I look at it more that way, we went into the year knowing that we wanted to get younger at that position,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You draft and develop in this league if you want to have success, so you put other guys in there. [Jeremy Lauzon] ended up getting hurt in the playoffs, unfortunately, tough luck again, blocking a shot.
“Then [Jakub] Zboril got hurt late in the year. That goes into it, we’ll never know whether they could have sort of grown their game down the stretch and become really good playoff players for us because of the injuries. That’s one that’s still an unknown a little bit.”
Sure, they have Jakub Lauko and younger prospects yet to embark on their pro careers. But nobody in the Bruins prospect system is going to land them a superstar player. The same goes for consistently drafting in the back end of the first round due to a successful club in Boston. They have to be cognizant of that at this point.
So, god bless anybody that thinks the Bruins offseason plans rest on whether or not they are going to land Eichel, but the B’s truthfully can’t afford to waste time on flights of fancy instead of ground, real chances to improve a still-competitive NHL team.
*Bruce Cassidy said he has no “no regrets” about going with an injured Tuukka Rask in Game 6 of the series against the Islanders. Well, there are a lot of other people following the team that feel differently. (Boston Hockey Now)
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Allen has 10 things that the Detroit Red Wings could do in order to better next season, which is obviously the name of the game. (Detroit Hockey Now)
*Interesting list of potential head coaching candidates to watch as the job interview process plays out for the open NHL head coaching jobs across the league. (ESPN)
*If Seth Jones is motivated to play for the Colorado Avalanche, the Adrian Dater feels like the Avs should make a play for them. I’d say that makes the Avs one of 30 teams around the NHL that would make a major play for him if he were interested in going there, including the Bruins. (Colorado Hockey Now)
*The New York Islanders played their same relentless game to take a 1-0 lead in the semi-final series against the favored Tampa Bay Lightning. (NYI Hockey Now)
*John Scott breaks down the Islanders a lot more succinctly.
I’m just gonna come out and say it… the @NYIslanders are good.
— John Scott (@johnscott_32) June 13, 2021
*Interesting development with the Carolina Hurricanes where they have given Dougie Hamilton permission to speak with other teams about a potential sign-and-trade situation. (TSN)
*For something completely different: Boy, nobody is pumped like the New York Post that Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are back together again. (Page Six)