Friday, September 5, 2008

Flashback to 98...

NHL 98 that is... on the good old Nintendo 64, my first hockey game since the epic Blades of Steel. What does this have to do with the Bruins you ask? Well, when I got the game the Bruins were of course terrible (starring Allison, Khristich, Carter, Bourque and rookies Thornton and Samsonov) so I played as the far superior Colorado Avalanche which boasted Stephane Yelle as its 3rd or 4th line center. To be honest, I didn't think much of him at the time but grit and defensive-minded forwards don't usually translate well to the digital world so it is no surprise. However, knowing the type of player he is I like the signing, especially considering that it is fairly cheap for another Axelsson like player. With this addition, I would think the lines would change slightly with Yelle taking over for Sobotka on the fourth line. More likely however, my guess is that this opens the team up for a trade since we now have 24 NHL-caliber players for a 23 man roster. This would also free up some cap space for team that is spending right to the limit. Therefore, the question becomes who is most likely to be traded.

Schaefer - Disasterous debut season in Boston, especially considering his $2.1M salary. Still, he has the talent to merit more consideration so my guess is he sticks around for some of the season. Trade option would be a team like the Kings who are rebuilding and are WAY below the salary floor.

Kessel - Has not yet lived up to his potential though seemed to wake up after being benched in the playoffs. One of our best trade chips since he is so young and talented but the fact he is on a contract year means he will probably produce for the team and make others less likely to trade for him. I would like to see him given another year to mature in Boston.

Axelsson - Longest tenured Bruin who plays a similar game to Yelle for $1.1M more. Would definitely free up cap space but would hurt the team from a defensive and PK standpoint. Could still see him going based on his age and somewhat diminishing skills.

Alberts/Ference - Both young defensemen making $1.3M/$1.4M respectively who have shown promise but could be replaced by cheaper options in Hnidy, Hunwick and/or Lashoff.

No trade - Most likely outcome in my eyes... I see the Bruins demoting Reich (and saving his $500K salary) since there is no need for Shawn Thornton lite when we have the real thing and better players available for the last roster spot. My only concern with this is that it leaves little playing time for young guys like Nokelainen and Sobotka who may be better served from further development in the minors. Question is, how does that affect their confidence after spending most of last season with the big club and doing everything asked of them? Will be interesting to see what Chiarelli and Julien ultimately decide to do...

1 comment:

Tom said...

I would be just as comfortable trading Reich as demoting him. In the event that a forward is injured, there should be plenty of other options for replacement -- especially considering how ridiculously deep the team is at center this season. Reich is a decent asset but he just doesn't bring enough to the table.