Boston Bruins: What's in Store for 2011-2012 Season?

Cory Ducey@@duceycoAnalyst IIIJune 22, 2011

With the Stanley Cup soon to have the Bruins 2010-2011 roster engraved on its side, the Boston Bruins still have business to take care of.

the Bruins look poised to make another playoff run and go deep as the roster looks to have little change in the new season this fall.

The only absolute would be Mark Recchi, who made it clear that he's career as an NHL hockey player is done after 22 years and three Stanley Cup rings.

There are a few players that are either RFAs and UFAs:

Michael Ryder

Michael Ryder is now a UFA and, after being a $4 million cap hit, his numbers may be a little smaller given the inconsistency of this play.

While his numbers where not that impressive during the regular season, he did step up and produced in the playoffs.

That's great that the playoffs have been successful for him, but in order to get to the playoffs, he needs to produce better numbers for what the Bruins were paying him.

Will he be signed?  Hard to say.  He is a good player when the effort is put in there.

Brad Marchand

The Bruins "Rat."  Say what you will about Brad Marchand.  Rat, agitator, dirty.  He is also a player that plays on the edge.  He has great speed, is strong on the puck, can give his opponents headaches (ask Daniel Sedin) and he can produce numbers on the score sheet.  All of those positive attributes will trump the bad any day.

His value shot up before the playoffs even began.  He was involved on several key goals in the playoffs including assisting Patrice Bergeron's Stanley Cup game-winning goal.

His style of play is just what the Bruins needed and you can be sure he will be signing a contract with a hefty raise.

Tomas Kaberle

The biggest question.  Tomas Kaberle came to Boston from Toronto with a hefty price, the Bruins got what they needed: a puck-moving defenseman...or did they?

The problem was that he produced very poorly for the caliber player that he is and the power play suffered even worse numbers than before he showed up to Beantown.

The lackluster play had fan wanting to get rid of the veteran that was not given a chance to get into the groove of a team that is vastly different than that of what he was used to in Leaf Nation.

Kaberle was used to forwards streaking in after he sent the puck into the attacking zone, but the Bruins were not of the same speedy roster of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He had to learn in short order that this team works hard for the puck and depends on their size and physical play to win the battles.

The pros of Kaberle is that he is a smart passing D-man.  He can tighten up the blue line and keep the puck in the attacking zone.  His mid- to long-range passes are accurate and he can get the puck on net.

What the Bruins were not seeing was that he was not shooting, and he was making some mistakes that cost them goals.

Kaberle is very interested in re-signing with Boston and I feel that he will only get better as his numbers improved in the playoffs.  Was it playoff bravado or was it a player that was getting it?  Only time can tell and it would require Chiarelli to sign him to find out.

Shane Hnidy

"The Sheriff" as Hnidy was known as when he first played with the Bruins as he was quick to come to his teammates' defense, is a solid player and can be a low-cost asset to the team.  Having not played many minutes since being reacquired, he is ready and willing to fill any hole that needs to be filled as he is a capable defense man.  Personally, I'd sign him.

So there you have it.  A very short list in which the Bruins have to pay attention to at this time and a relatively easy opportunity to keep the team intact.  It will all depend on the agents, players and ownerships to sit down and hammer out a deal that will be good for the players and good for the team.


There are some dark horses here.  What if Marc Savard comes back?  That's a $4 million cap hit that can derail the whole works.

Don't get me wrong.  I love Savvy in the B's jersey, and he has proven he wants to be in Boston by taking in money that he could have easily commanded more.  Just goes to show that the money line in a cap world isn't so easy to get and players are realizing that they can't just play for the casholla anymore.

What about the players that need to be signed?  Will they take the Cup win into consideration and demand more on their plate?  Will they sign modestly so that they can keep their "family" as intact as they can to go for another Cup run?

For some, it is about the money.  For others, it's all about the Pride, Accolades, Comradeship, Karma, Admiration, Glory and Elation of the game.

Players are slowly but surely are getting it.  The money is there.  A lot of players are now in the mindset that the rules are changing and that they will have their money made well before the twilight of their career is over.  What they want is the goal.  The Stanley Cup.  There are more players that are setting the example.

Mark Recchi just finished his career with a Stanley Cup.  His final year's salary? $8.5 million in his last five years of the NHL.  Averaging out to be approximately $1.7 million per year.

He wanted the Cup.  Even though he had two rings, he wanted to go out on top.  Even at his age, he was still productive and he believed that this team could do it.  He knew, that in order to get the Cup, he and Savvy had to make a choice to go for the money, or help get the package together.

For some players who never got the chance to sip out of the cup would be too late.  They were so busy getting their coffers filled, only to realize that their best years are behind them and they lost sight of the other goal that they had when they were kids.  By then, it was too late.  Great career, great money, no glory.  Something a true athlete aspires to achieve.

Given the fact that the Bruins are known to take care of their own, most players that end up being traded are disappointed that they ended up moving to another team as the common theme is expressed time in and time out.  Family.

This is a business as well and sometimes, "family members" are moved to the back to prioritize the goals needed to be accomplished.  A two-sided blade, if you will.

The Bruins knew that they had to make some changes and Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart were the two key players that were traded so that they can make some cap space to get players like Rich Peverley and Kaberle.

Peverley was playing in a not-so-deep team in the Atlanta Thrashers, but was producing numbers similar to Wheeler's and for less.

The difference between Wheeler and Peverley, it seems is that Peverley was working harder.  Peverley is also four years older so I think the maturity level is there.

The biggest thing that I think that some players rise from is when they play on non-contender teams, they want to rise up the level so that they can be noticed.

In the cap world, it's a little more tricky.  When playing on a non-contending team, not only do you need to show your worth on the ice, but you don't want to flash an expensive price tag to boot.

The reason being is that a team that is a contender, normally has a large price tag already against the cap and that is something that they have to be careful with.  They want to move players accordingly so that it doesn't totally upset the chemistry that is in place that made them contenders to begin with.

This is where the hockey player must balance what is good for his pocket book and what is good for his career.  Not an easy task for some.

Fortunately for the Bruins, they have a successful farm system, but they don't want to dive into that too much too soon for fear of disrupting that chemistry.

Checks and Balances from both sides of the dealing table.

For Bruins fans, lets hope that the negotiating will play out well and we can get players to sign, not just for the money, but for the package.

This is Cory Ducey saying "Hit Hard, But Keep It Clean."


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