Tag: Zac Rinaldo

Steve Mason

It’s Philadelphia Flyers Day at PHT


Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Philadelphia Flyers.

In 2013-14, the Philadelphia Flyers endured a terrible 1-7-0 start, but they improved as the campaign went on and still managed to make the playoffs. Last season they once again struggled out of the gate (0-2-2), but this time no comeback of significance was forthcoming.

There were silver linings to be sure. Steve Mason showed that his solid 2013-14 campaign wasn’t a fluke as he posted a 2.25 GAA and .928 save percentage in 51 games. After years of goaltending headaches, the fact that the 27-year-old netminder is secured for another two seasons with a reasonable $4.1 million annual cap hit is a big plus for Philadelphia. However, the Flyers largely squandered his strong play in 2014-15 as he had the NHL’s best GAA in losing efforts (2.67) among goaltenders that were charged with at least 10 defeats.

Philadelphia was credited with just 215 goals for, which left them in 22nd place. That’s despite the fact that Jakub Voracek stepped up in 2014-15 with 22 goals and a career-high 81 points in 82 contests.

Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds were the only other Philadelphia forwards that recorded at least 50 points as Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn weren’t able to make a significant leap offensively, Vincent Lecavalier was used sparingly under coach Craig Berube, and R.J. Umberger struggled in his first season following the Scott Hartnell trade.

That all culminated in Philadelphia ending the season with a 33-31-18 record.

Off-season recap

After missing the playoffs, Flyers GM Ron Hextall fired Berube and replaced him with Dave Hakstol, who previously served as North Dakota’s bench boss. Philadelphia stayed busy in the lead up to the UFA period by inking veteran KHL defenseman Evgeni Medvedev, shipping forward Zac Rinaldo to Boston for a 2017 third-round pick, and trading Nicklas Grossmann along with Chris Pronger’s contract to Arizona in exchange for Sam Gagner.

When it came to the draft, Philadelphia realized it needed a forward, but with Ivan Provorov available for the seventh pick, Hextall couldn’t pass on the opportunity to grab the highly regarded defenseman.

The Flyers were relatively quiet during the free agent period, likely due in large part to their cap situation, but they did ink 27-year-old goaltender Michal Neuvirth to a two-year, $3.25 million deal. A veteran of 168 games, he’ll enter the season as Mason’s understudy.

Philadelphia might not be done yet though as they do have eight defensemen signed to one-way contracts, so the squad might part ways with one via the trade market. There’s also always the possibility that the Flyers will find a suitor for Lecavalier, although the fact that he has three seasons left on his contract with a $4.5 million annual cap hit makes moving him a challenge.

It’s Boston Bruins day at PHT

Toronto Maple Leafs Vs. Boston Bruins At TD Garden

If nothing else, you shouldn’t confuse next season’s Boston Bruins with the group who failed to make the playoffs in 2014-15.

After a pretty impressive run of seven postseason berths, the Bruins fell two points short of the postseason, but apparently the bitter flavor of that campaign was too much for management.

Granted, as much as new GM Don Sweeney wants to modernize the team’s transition game, there are still some core tenants remaining.

The defense will depend upon aging star defenseman Zdeno Chara, perhaps more than ever. Tuukka Rask may be expected to earn every cent of his $7.5 million salary in 2015-16. It looked dicey for some time, but Claude Julien remains behind the bench.

It’s tough to gauge what, exactly, we should expect from a very different Bruins team. People probably won’t be any happier if they miss the playoffs again, though.

Off-season recap

That’s because their offseason seemingly went from – pardon the cliche – rebuilding to reloading.

OK, maybe it’s wisest to label it a partial rebuild. Would they be totally blowing things up and still sign Matt Beleskey to a five year, $19 million contract? More than a few Bruins fans cringed at acquiring Zac Rinaldo, yet the move argues at least partially for a change of pace rather than punting on competitiveness altogether.

After all, they’re investing plenty of money in Chara, Rask, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron, right?

It’s true that the Bruins did sacrifice the present a bit for the future, however. Moving Milan Lucic out of town took many aback, and trading away Dougie Hamilton will stand as a polarizing decision (to say the least).

One could say that Hamilton and eventually Lucic would be too expensive to keep, but again, they spent some of the cash they conceivably could have used on Hamilton to sign Beleskey.

In summary, the Bruins fired Peter Chiarelli in favor of Sweeney, essentially traded Lucic for Beleskey, added beef actually trading Reilly Smith for Jimmy Hayes and parted ways with Hamilton.

That’s a brain-full, and we could see even more changes if the Bruins don’t make gains next season. Stay tuned.

Zac Rinaldo doesn’t ‘plan on getting suspended’ or ‘taking stupid penalties’

Zac Rinaldo, Andy McElman

Zac Rinaldo is out to change his reputation as an undisciplined hockey player.

“[My game] is going to change in a better way for the team,” Rinaldo said, per the Bruins’ website. “I don’t plan on getting suspended; that’s the last thing I want to do. I don’t plan on taking stupid penalties; that’s the last thing I want to do, is hurt my team.

“Changing for the better will happen.”

Rinaldo was traded to Boston from Philadelphia in June. The 25-year-old forward has 572 PIM in 223 career NHL games. In January, he was suspended eight games for charging and boarding Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang from behind. At the time, he’d already been suspended twice and fined twice by the NHL.

Now with the B’s, he still intends to play a physical game, his acquisition not-so-coincidentally coming after GM Don Sweeney vowed to return “the aggressiveness that was lost in our group.”

He just plans to be a little smarter about it.

“I’m going to be the rough, tough Zac Rinaldo,” he said, “but I’m also going to add in more hockey sense.”

B’s GM Sweeney a lightning rod for criticism

Don Sweeney

If you can say one thing about new general manager Don Sweeney it’s that he’s not afraid to make a trade. Plenty of analysts have chosen to say more though and much of it isn’t nice.

Boston acquired enforcer Zac Rinaldo from the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon in exchange for a third round pick. That’s an awfully high pick to give for a player that averaged 8:55 minutes per game in 58 contests and has had discipline problems leading to suspensions and bad penalties.

It also might be seen as the straw that broke the camel’s back after his recent controversial trades involving Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic. So naturally the reaction wasn’t kind…

And the one that perhaps best summarizes the general consensus:

Joe Haggerty expanded on that sentiment for CSN New England:

One begins to wonder exactly what the master plan is from the Bruins front office over on Causeway Street after witnessing their scattershot method to constructing the Bruins roster over the last few days.

It also makes one wonder where the 31-year-old Max Talbot fits into the picture after he was brought in to be the fourth line center for the Black and Gold following his deal from the Colorado Avalanche at last spring’s trade deadline.

You could make the argument that this is also the first trade Sweeney that had very little to do with former GM Peter Chiarelli. With Hamilton and Lucic, even if you disagreed with the return or the need to move them, an argument could at least be made that Sweeney was responding to the difficult cap situation he inherited from Chiarelli. That’s not applicable to the Rinaldo deal.

All that being said, general managers are critiqued on the individual moves they make, but typically their employment is dependent on the record of their team. Sweeney might be drawing plenty of criticism right now and a lot of it might be justified, but if his version of the Bruins are successful next season, then that will be that.

Related: Sweeney vows to return ‘aggressiveness’ to Bruins

Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder

Zac Rinaldo, Andy McElman

The Boston Bruins continued their baffling offseason by adding some brute force, sending their 2017 third-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for rough winger Zac Rinaldo.

Fans of the Bruins’ “big, bad” side may like this move, as Rinaldo certainly throws his body (and fists) around. Others probably aren’t so happy, as it continues a trend of puzzling moves by new Bruins GM Don Sweeney (while Flyers GM Ron Hextall looks more and more like a maestro).

Of course, the beauty of the trade is ultimately in the eye of the beholder, as some will cringe and others will shrug their shoulders at a far-off third-rounder being the price.

Rinaldo, 25, carries both a salary and a cap hit of $850K in 2015-16 and 2016-17, so even detractors shouldn’t be too concerned about the financial impact (if nothing else). He obviously brings grit and hustle to the table, so again, there are likely to be some proponents of the move.

Rinaldo scored six points and generated 102 PIM in 58 games last season. During his NHL career, he has 24 points and 572 PIM in 223 regular season contests.