Future could be bright for Bruins (cap analysis)

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kessel.jpgThe Boston Bruins are in a situation quite a bit like Anaheim’s: they have some assets that can turn their middling roster into a serious contender. Unfortunately, they don’t have anything near the Ducks’ talented young troika (instead, their roster is full of slightly problematic deals). The good news, though, is that they’ve stockpiled some quality draft picks for the near future.

Trading Phil Kessel might have hurt their goal scoring, but the Bruins received Toronto’s first round picks for 2010 and 2011 along with the Leafs’ second rounder for this year. With their own picks, the picks from the Kessel trade and the second rounder they received for Chuck Kobasew, Boston will have four picks in the top two rounds for both the 2010 and 2011 drafts.

On some level, the Bruins’ future depends almost as much on Toronto’s performance as it does on their own. Even though the Leafs have been hot lately, they are still the second worst team in the league. If Toronto finishes that low, they should end up with a fantastic pick out of Toronto’s 2010 first rounder.

Here’s a snapshot of their 2010-11 cap commitments (some amounts rounded up).

Forwards (7 out of 12): Bergeron ($4.75 million); Lucic (4.08); Savard (4.07); Ryder (4); Krejci (3.75), Sturm (3.5), Marchand (822k)

Defense: (3 out of 6): Chara (7.5); Wideman (3.94); Hunwick (1.45)

Goalies: (2 out of 2): Thomas (5) and Rask (1.25)

Cap space: about $12.2 million

More analysis of the Bruins’ cap situation after the jump.


It’s pretty hard to believe that Bergeron and Lucic are making more than Savard (and Ryder is making almost as much). Savard was already a bargain at $5 million per year with his last contract; all he needs to do is get healthy and he’ll have one of the league’s best contracts going forward. Blake Wheeler and Dennis Seidenberg are probably the most likely guys for Boston to re-sign this off-season.

The most interesting situations will come in the summer of 2011. Ryder and Sturm will come off the cap (combined $7.5 million) but the real curiosity is the big Z. His contract expires in 2012, so the Bruins could go in any number of directions. Will they go in a younger direction by letting Chara walk or would they rather sign the gigantic Slovakian defenseman to one more contract? That will certainly be something to watch.

Boston is going through some growing pains right now, but they have the potential to revamp their roster in a serious way. The question is: will GM Peter Chiarelli be able to take advantage of the situation?

Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 15: Goalie Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers shares a laugh with teammate Antti Raanta #32 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 7-2 in NHL action on November 15, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.

Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).

Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:

Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.

Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01:  Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the go ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.

For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.

They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.

Columbus is now at 16-5-4, giving them 36 standings points. They’re once again in breathing distance of leading the Metro Division when you consider games in hand.

Update: Here’s how the standings look after the Rangers beat the Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

That’s a stout division, and the Blue Jackets remain shockingly effective. Then again, with results like these over and over again, it might be time to merely expect such impressive work.

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For Detroit, it was a rough night. Jonathan Ericsson couldn’t play, Mike Green was a little banged up and Petr Mrazek was pulled for Jimmy Howard. This goal summarized some of their struggles:

Blues blaze through Devils, even in New Jersey

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Brad Hunt #77, Robby Fabbri #15 and Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues celebrate Fabri's first period goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.

On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.

It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.

This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.

That’s impressive stuff.

This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:

The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”

Oh yeah, don’t forget about Jake Allen, either.

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Update: The Wild were able to shake off that goal, ultimately beating the Oilers 3-2 via a shootout.