Why a Marc Savard deal would (and wouldn't) make sense for the Kings and Bruins

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screamingsavard.jpgWhen the Boston Bruins chose to honor Blake Wheeler’s $2.2 million salary arbitration award, speculation began regarding how the team would clear up salary cap space. Shortly after the Bruins honored the deal, rumors began to circulate that the Los Angeles Kings might be interested in trading for playmaking center Marc Savard.

Now, it’s important to note that this is just a rumor and there aren’t even any specific details about who would go Boston’s way. That being said, there are a few reasons why a deal could make sense.

Pardon me as I get hypothetical for a bit.

Why the Kings should send a defensive prospect (or two … or a draft pick) to the Bruins for Marc Savard

LA lost out in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes and has some money to burn. They can spin things any way they want, but it’s hard to imagine that they’re satisfied with Alex Ponikarovsky, especially since he might only take up Alexander Frolov’s spot on the roster. While Jarret Stoll is a solid center, the team needs a strong number two center behind Anze Kopitar and a reasonably healthy Marc Savard would fit the bill. His bargain $4 million cap hit would also make it easier for the Kings to wrap up future pieces Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson and Wayne Simmonds.

From Boston’s perspective, the Kings have a treasure trove of prospects that GM Peter Chiarelli could stash in the Bruins’ minor league system. Kings GM Dean Lombardi seems a bit obsessed with stockpiling young defensive talent, but my guess is that they can part with someone after looking at a list of their young blueliners (Colten Teubert, Thomas Hickey, Vyacheslav Voinov, Davis Drewinskie, Johan Fransson, Derek Forbort and more).

Obviously, the Bruins and Kings would have to find a happy medium to make it work, but look at the pluses for both sides. The Bruins would bolster an already improving farm system and save most (if not all) of that $4 million hit for Wheeler and Tyler Seguin to boot. The Kings wouldn’t have to sacrifice an NHL-level talent to get a guy who – if healthy – could bring All-Star playmaking skills to the table.

After the jump, I’ll add a brief counter-argument


derekforbortdefense.jpgWhy both sides might not want to make such a deal

I discussed some of the risks involved with trading for Marc Savard before, but here they are in bullet point form (with a few bonus blemishes).

* – His concussion problems make him a serious risk (and Kings fans might still have some emotional scars from the Adam Deadmarsh concussion days).

* – His cap hit might be light, but he’s already 33-years-old so his production will decline over time, making the deal a long-term risk. (Especially if he decides not to retire toward the end)

* – Savard isn’t an especially rigorous defensive player and he’s quite small. Will that make him less effective in the Western Conference and in Terry Murray’s system?

* – The Kings don’t have a Phil Kessel-type sniper, so he’ll have to boost players who either are still going through a maturation process or simply don’t have the same finishing touch.

There are also some minuses for the Boston Bruins.

* – Savard is obviously a catalyst for what was a very sluggish Boston Bruins offense last year. Are they really willing to put that much pressure on rookie Tyler Seguin to carry some of their offensive burden in his first year?

* – As any sports writer will tell you, there are few guarantees when it comes to prospects. Especially if the Bruins settle for a second-tier prospect or two. What if those bluechippers go sour?

Again, it’s important to note that the Savard talk is just a rumor. No one discussed prospects being involved – in fact, the Bruins might demand a Jack Johnson type roster player – but I think that would be one of the most realistic options for a trade.

How would you feel about the Kings and Bruins making such a swap? Would both sides benefit or would it be lopsided? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.

Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.