WEDNESDAY MAILBAG: NOVEMBER 24 2021

Sandra via email asks

Question In your Monday prospects report, you increased Beecher’s chances to 5 out of 5 for playing with the Bruins. He’s had one good game since coming back from injury. Why did you change it?

Answer – Well Sandra, when it comes to John Beecher, it is more than just point production as he’s not being asked to be the go-to guy for offense as Michigan is full of offensive talent. It’s about the rest of his game and at this point in his development, it is where it should be. That bodes well when it comes to being an NHL player. There are 3 options for Beecher once his season is over in Michigan: 1) return to the NCAA for another season (very unlikely) 2) Sign A PTO with Providence to finish out the AHL schedule (much like the Bruins did with Charlie McAvoy) 3) sign his entry level contract and even play an NHL game to burn off a year of his deal. It’s no longer a question of when, but which deal the Bruins sign him too.

Zach Souza via Twitter asks

Question Do you (think) Studnicka (will be) dealt at the deadline in a package to help the depth to make a run?

Answer – In this business you never say never. Remember the old saying “If Wayne Gretzky can be traded….”? At the same time, it depends on where the team is come trade deadline. GM Don Sweeney should not be trading prospects or picks if there is no reasonable chance of going on a run. (Or to sneak into the playoffs if that’s where they are come trade deadline). The prospect pool is not great so they need to make an honest decision on where they see themselves and start planning for the future.

GeeWally via Twitter asks

Question – We all know Tuukka and team ‘are saying all the right things.’ We also know #itsalwaysaboutthemoney. What other teams come a looking after the Holidays?

Answer – One team I have mentioned a couple of times is the Edmonton Oilers. I can’t imagine a team in their position and with two of the best players in the world heading into the playoffs with Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen as your goaltending pair. Their cap situation makes the timing of it sticky because they are into long term injury reserve. Koskinen is a UFA at the end of the season and his $4.5 million AAV comes off the books, so they are a team that could be looking for a goaltender with term. Question is, would Ken Holland call Don Sweeney? Only time will tell. Keep an eye on Colorado as well. Something tells me that they are losing faith in the crease. That doesn’t mean Tuukka Rask is the guy they would target.

Andrew Peterkin via Twitter asks

Question – While I don`t dislike Karson Kuhlman and think he brings some good elements to the ice, why do the Bruins seem so petrified to lose him on waivers, do they see something in his game this La-Z-Boy watching fan can`t?

Answer – We all know how important depth is and Karson Kuhlman fills a role at this point, a plug and play player you can put into the lineup in the event of injuries. Sometimes, the business side of the game plays a role in their decision making and it’s an area a lot of fans don’t understand or just choose to ignore. If Kuhlman wasn’t your 13th forward then Chris Wagner would likely be. The difference? Kuhlman over Wagner adds about $2 million in trade deadline cap space. I know there is a large group of fans calling for Oskar Steen. But Steen is waiver exempt – which also plays a role.

RJ Williams via Twitter asks

Question – What is Jeremy Swayman’s ceiling/floor? I see the Philly game as an aberration if anything. He’s been incredibly sharp otherwise his entire career.

Answer – It’s really quite simple: his ceiling is a franchise goaltender while his floor appears to be that of a goaltender that can form a solid 1A/1B goaltending tandem. I believe if he plays his entire NHL career with the Bruins, we will be talking about him as one of the best goaltenders in franchise history.

Eugene Mannarino via email asks

Question – What group of Bruins draft picks has impressed or improved the most so far? Also, how deep is this year’s draft? Finally, chances Rask will be in a Bruins uniform?

Answer – I will answer these in reverse order beginning with Rask. I can’t put a number on his chances as I am not privy to how well his rehab is going. There are almost six weeks until January arrives and anything can happen in that time.

As for the draft, there is some nice depth up front and on defence. If I had to choose, I would say the goaltending is the weak link, but as a Bruins fan, well, you are set there for some time.

As for which draft picks have impressed me the most, I hope you’re talking about 2021 draft picks because that’s where I am heading. I am most impressed with Oskar Jellvik. When his name was called at the draft, my first impression was “oh boy, another PJ Axelsson special” and I mean that sarcastically. But watching him play (granted via video) I can’t help but be impressed by his game despite the league he is playing in. The other is Ryan Mast, who I get to see a plenty of live. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from him with the lost OHL season and he was always going to be a project, but I am really surprised at where his game is at right now.

Bob Doherty via Twitter asks

Question – When do the Bruins accept that Coyle is not a second line player and just leave him in the middle on the third line?

Answer – The answer to this is really quite simple: When they have someone that can play above him.

Matt via Twitter asks

Question – Any chance Krejci makes a return? If not, who would they look at on 2nd line?

Answer – Well Matt, may I suggest you hold your breath for the next 21 days? If David Krejci signs before December 15, 2021, he’s all yours. But if he plays in one European League game on or after December 16, 2021 and then decides to re-sign with Boston, he will be required to clear waivers before he can play for the Bruins – and let me make this clear – he will not clear waivers.

That said, Krejci’s Olomouc squad in the Czech Extraliga doesn’t play between December 12 and December 21, so the Bruins actually have until December 21, 2021 to sign him without the threat of waivers. But once he steps on the ice that night (morning for us here in North America) there will be zero chances of him returning to the Bruins this season.

As for who they could be keeping an eye on? Well, how many teams are sellers right now? That should give you a bit of a clue. You must also remember that owners have lost a lot of money because of the pandemic and there may be fewer sellers then usual this season because owners will want to at least get into the playoffs and recoup any money they can with playoff revenues.

Mike O’Connor via Twitter asks

Question – Hey Dom. What do you think the Bruins need to add on defense, a McQuaid type or our old friend Dennis Wideman offense type guy?

Answer – Honest answer: What they needed was right there in the off season, Ryan Suter. But there is no way Sweeney was going to give him a four-year deal. And I don’t blame him. I had heard the Bruins were willing to go two years and that’s about as high as I would go in term.

That is ancient history now. I believe they need a left shot defenceman that can kill penalties, be a rock defensively and can provide some offence and bring a physical element to the game. I also believe they need a right shot blueliner that can kill penalties with Brandon Carlo because I would love to be able to save McAvoy’s minutes for 5 vs 5 and the powerplay.

Phil G via Twitter asks

Question – Thoughts on breaking up the first line?

Answer – I guess it’s worth a shot, but I honestly don’t know. I asked two coaches (below the NHL level) and both said they would not break them up. I think you could do it situationally. But situationally can mean two things to two different people. I would say break them up if you need a goal and spread the wealth. Better to have two lines trying to get the goal you need rather then one. But I’m not an NHL coach.

Corpuscle2 via Twitter asks

Question – What do you think the chances of Lysell/Beecher/Lohrei turning pro in the spring?

Answer – John Beecher, 100%. I do believe this is his final season in college. Now the question is what type of deal do they sign him too? They could sign him to a PTO (remember they did this with McAvoy) and once his season is done finish out the year in Providence. Or, they could sign him to his entry level contract and get him in an NHL game to burn a year off his ELC. I believe the Bruins would like to get him on his ELC because he will be signing as a 21-year-old and that means a 3-year ELC. If they wait another year, as a 22-year-old, it will be a 2-year ELC.

Fabian Lysell is already signed to his ELC and once his season is over with the Vancouver Giants, I fully expect he will be in Providence to finish out the year. I doubt the Bruins would play him in Boston because his contract could slide for two years and he would be under their control for 5 years as opposed to three. So, 100% chance he’s in Providence but 0% he is in Boston.

Mason Lohrei is a big question mark. He’s going to need a year of seasoning in Providence before he’s ready for the NHL. I would say there’s a chance he is one and done in college (especially with the year he’s having as a freshman) and sign his ELC and head to Providence to finish out the year and then spend next season down on the farm.

Ben Szumack via Twitter asks

Question – How about an honest assessment of Sweeney body of work? Even overlooking ’15 draft because of his “newness”, has he addressed Bruin issues? How secure is his job?

Answer – I feel his job is very secure. His body of work? I’m not going to tell anyone there hasn’t been issues because everyone knows there has been. But I also feel that when he thought his team had a legit shot, he went out and improved his team. No one could have seen the Rick Nash concussion coming. (I had to sneak that in there).

I do think Sweeney gets a bad rap from fans. But I also feel some of the criticism is warranted. 30 other GM’s saw fit to vote him GM of the year in 2018-2019. He finished 9th during the 2019-2020 season and 11th last season, so you could do worse. The GM’s more then anyone would know what he’s like to deal with.

Marco Ariganello via Twitter asks

Question – Hey Dom. Can the Bs trade assets to improve team for a legit run for cup? Or should they keep assets and ride the season out with what they have?

Answer – It’s way to early, 15 games into the season, to answer that. For me, it comes down to where they sit come trade deadline. If they are in a position to make a long run, I say go for it. If they feel that at best, they can win a round or two then I would stand pat. If they feel they are going to miss the playoffs, sell what I can and begin a re-tool (not a rebuild).

Follow me on Twitter @dominictiano

Published by Dominic Tiano

Following the Ontario Hockey League players eligible for the NHL Draft. I provide season-long stats, updates and player profiles as well as draft rankings.

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