Contract years swindled Boston Bruins

bostonbruins.jpgLast season, the Boston Bruins were one of the league’s true surprise teams. Simply put, they were on fire at times, getting plenty of good bounces and more than a few career seasons from its players. It was a perfect storm of contract years and good fortune that – clearly – has proven to be unsustainable.

Obviously, Phil Kessel is no longer with the team but he still fits the bill in having an unusually productive contract year season. It honestly is a bit staggering how much of their success could be attributed to conveniently timed peaks. Here are the other three contract year stories from that season.

Tim Thomas – he’s been a big disappointment a year after winning the Vezina trophy. To be fair, the Thomas signing was at least slightly logic; after all, last year was his best season but not his only productive one. Still, I doubt the Bruins are happy with his deal right now.

David Krejci had an impressive season last year (73 points) but is now down to 40 points this season. I get the feeling Krejci was “chosen” over Kessel, but I wonder if the correct answer would have been “none of the above.”

Dennis Wideman has been a disappointment for most of his career, until he had a fantastic 2008-09 season in which he matched Zdeno Chara’s 50 points while posting an impressive +32 rating. This year he’s gone back to being a poor defensive player (-17) and middling offensively (only 20 points this season). Wideman’s deal must be the biggest regret for Boston.

Now, if you combine the contract years of Kessel, Thomas, Krejci and Wideman with somewhat lucky seasons from Blake Wheeler and Milan Lucic, the picture becomes clearer. I’m not trying to say that the Bruins weren’t legitimate last season, but it’s clear that monetary motivation and luck just aren’t on their side like they were last season.

So, the bad news is that the Bruins’ cap will be clogged with players who will struggle to meet their contract expectations after atypical years. The good news, though, is that they can really stock up on prospects if those Maple Leafs picks end up being top-5 material. It’s not all rosy for Boston, but things should get better.

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    Blackhawks PK has another brutal night in loss to Blue Jackets

    COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Zach Werenski #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates after the puck during the game against the San Jose Sharks on October 15, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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    There will be no 0-8 start in Columbus this season.

    The Blue Jackets were 3-2 winners against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night to earn their first win of the season thanks to goals from Zach Werenski, Nick Foligno and William Karlsson. The first two of those goals came on the power play as the Blue Jackets were the latest team to feast on Chicago’s dismal penalty killing unit this season. Those two power play goals came on Columbus’ only two power play opportunities of the night.

    Right now everybody is scoring against the Blackhawks on the power play.

    With the two more goals against on Friday, Chicago’s penalty kill has already given up 11 goals through the first five games of the season, becoming just the 18th team in the past 30 years to do that.

    Their early season penalty kill success rate has been so bad that as Daily Herald beat writer John Dietz pointed out on Friday that even if they successfully kill off their next 20 shorthanded opportunities their PK would still only be at 71.8 on the season. The worst penalty kill in the NHL a season ago was 75.5 percent. In other words: That is not ideal.

    After falling behind 3-1, the Blackhawks attempted to rally thanks to a goal from Richard Panik (already his fifth of the season) to cut the deficit from one. They pretty much took over the game in the third period and threw everything they could at the Blue Jackets’ net, but Sergei Bobrovsky was sensational and holding down the fort and helping the Jackets get their first win of the season.

    It was a costly win for the Blue Jackets in some ways though as they lost defenseman Ryan Murray to an upper body injury in the first period. Injuries have been a problem for him throughout his young career.

    As for the Blackhawks, the loss drops them to 2-3-0 on the young season. There are a lot of new faces on this year’s team, and a lot of young players filling out the bottom half of the roster. Early on it has been a struggle for pretty much everybody.

    Blue Jackets’ Murray leaves game with upper body injury

    COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 4:  Ryan Murray #27 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates after the puck during the game against the New York Rangers on April 4, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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    Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray had to leave his team’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night with an upper body injury, the team announced.

    He will not return to the game.

    Murray, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft, seemed to be injured when his arm was pinned against the boards when trying to finish a check on Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook behind the net.

    Murray played only 4:38 on Friday night before exiting the game.

    The No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Murray played in 81 games for the Blue Jackets a year ago, scoring four goals to go with 21 assists.

    He had played in one of the Blue Jackets’ two games this season entering Friday and did not record a point.

    Former first round pick Zach Boychuk signs in KHL

    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Zach Boychuk #22 of the Carolina Hurricanes heads back for the puck during the game against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on November 20, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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    After spending the past eight years moving around the NHL, Zach Boychuk is moving overseas.

    On Friday it was announced that the 27-year-old forward has signed a contract with HC Sibir of the KHL.

    Boychuk was a first-round draft pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2008 and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators in his career.

    He did not play in the NHL during the 2015-16 season, spending the year split between the Charlotte Checkers and Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League.

    In 127 NHL games he has scored 12 goals and added 18 assists.

    Boychuk was in camp in September with the Arizona Coyotes on a tryout contract but did not make the team.

    Flyers’ Dale Weise suspended three games

    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 15:  Dale Weise #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 15, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Flyers 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    The Philadelphia Flyers are going to be without forward Dale Weise for the next three games as a result of a suspension handed out by the NHL’s department of player safety on Friday evening.

    The league announced that Weise has been suspended due to an illegal check to the head of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer during their game in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

    Weise was not penalized for the hit.

    The incident happened midway through the second period of the Ducks’ 3-2 win, and came just as Holzer was skating with the puck in his own zone.

    Here is a look at the play, as well as the NHL’s explanation for the suspension.

    Holzer was not injured as a result of the hit.

    The Flyers have been hit hard by suspensions so far this season. They played the first three games of the season without forward Brayden Schenn as he served a suspension that carried over from the 2016 playoffs. Defenseman Radko Gudas is still sidelined as he serves a six-game suspension for a hit this preseason.

    Weise has yet to record a point in four games for the Flyers this season. He scored 14 goals and added 13 assists a year ago for the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks.

    This suspension will cost him $39,166.68 in salary.

    He will be eligible to return to the Flyers’ lineup on Oct. 27 when they host the Arizona Coyotes. He will miss games against Carolina, Montreal and Buffalo.