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.

Islanders shut out Canadiens for huge road win

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 18:  Thomas Greiss #1 of the New York Islanders in action against the New Jersey Devils on February 18, 2017 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Islanders 3-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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Overall this season the New York Islanders have really struggled away from the Barclays Center, a point of concern when you consider how many road games they have down the stretch as they try to overcome their miserable start to climb back into the playoffs.

Their current nine-game road trip is off to a promising start with wins in the first two games, including a 3-0 shutout win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night to improve their record to 12-4-2 under new coach Doug Weight.

The Islanders received goals from Anthony Beauvillier, Anders Lee and John Tavares in the win, while Thomas Greiss stopped all 24 shots he faced to record his third shutout of the season.

With the win the Islanders hold sole possession of the second wild card spot in the East for the time being, two points ahead of Florida and Boston (the Bruins are in action right now) and continue their stunning second half turnaround.

But while things are going great for the Islanders right now, the struggles in Montreal continue.

With their loss on Thursday they failed to put any extra distance between themselves and the rest of the Atlantic Division that has suddenly closed the gap on them. They remain just two points up on Ottawa and only four points ahead of Toronto. The loss also continues what has been a particularly brutal stretch over the past couple of months that has seen the team win just seven of its past 20 games.

It’s probably too early to start fully panicking in Montreal, but given the way the end of last season went this can’t be a promising development for Canadiens fans.

Blackhawks’ Hjalmarsson leaves game against Coyotes

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 22:  Niklas Hjalmarsson #4 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks to pass against the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center on January 22, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Canucks 4-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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After taking just four shifts in in the first period of Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson had to leave Thursday’s game with an unspecified injury.

The Blackhawks did not offer any update on what forced Hjalmarsson out of the game, only to say he would be out for the remainder of the evening.

Fortunately for the Blackhawks they dressed seven defensemen for the game when Michal Rozsival drew back into the lineup, so they still have a full lineup of defenders to finish the game. Surprisingly, Rozsival scored his first goal of the season just two minutes into the second period, breaking what had been a 3-3 tie following a wild first period that saw the teams combine for six goals.

In 59 games this season Hjalmarsson had five goals and nine assists while playing more than 20 minutes per night, mostly on a pairing with Duncan Keith.

Blackhawks and Coyotes combine for six goals in wild first period

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 18:  Nick Schmaltz #8 of the Chicago Blackhawks moves against the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center on February 18, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Oilers defeated the Blackhawks 3-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The first period of Thursday’s Blackhawks-Coyotes game had just a little bit of excitement as the two teams combined for six goals, including two by the Coyotes in the final three minutes of the period to erase what had been a two-goal deficit.

All of the action started just 37 seconds into the game when Nick Schmaltz, playing on his 21st birthday, scored his sixth goal of the season (shown above) on a feed from a still white hot Jonathan Toews.

Seven minutes later, Coyotes rookie defenseman Jakob Chychrun scored his second goal in his as many games to get things even at one.

That is when the chaos started to break out. The Blackhawks quickly struck for two more goals when Ryan Hartman and Patrick Kane scored six minutes apart to give the Blackhawks what would end up being a very short-lived 3-1 lead. Just one minute after Kane’s goal Ryan White netted his seventh of the season to bring the Coyotes back to within one, a goal that was followed by Radim Vrbata‘s 13th of the season just one minute after that.

Here are the two Coyotes goals that tied it.

Chicago came into the game on Thursday on a goal scoring tear, scoring at least four goals in seven of their past eight games. They are off to a great start when it comes to reaching that mark again on Thursday.

Trouble is, they can not seem to keep the puck out of their net on Thursday.

WATCH LIVE: Arizona Coyotes vs. Chicago Blackhawks

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 07:  Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates with the puck against the Oliver Ekman-Larsson #23 of the Phoenix Coyotes in the second period at Jobing.com Arena on February 7, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Winners of seven of their past eight, the Chicago Blackhawks are back home on Thursday night to take on the Arizona Coyotes.

The Blackhawks have been on a roll lately, especially offensively, scoring 34 goals in their past eight games. They have scored at least four goals in seven of those games. Captain Jonathan Toews has been doing a lot of the work offensively lately and is having a huge second half after a disappointing start to the season offensively.

On Thursday they host a Coyotes team that has shown a lot of improvement in recent weeks, putting together an 8-4-1 record since Jan. 20.

Puck drop for Thursday is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET and you can catch all off the action on NBCSN or on our Live Stream.

Click here for the Live Stream

Preview: Jonathan Toews looks to stay hot against Coyotes