First off, Happy Belated Birthday to Mason Lohrei (Monday) and Happy Birthday to Fabian Lysell (today).
Here we go:
Jonathan via email asks:
Question – I really enjoy your incites into scouting and development for the Bruins. I was excited to see that you started a blog covering the team. I have two questions for the mailbag the first is about Bobby Trivigno. As a long time, UMass supporter, he just always seems to pop. Even as a freshman he seemed to always make the right play and score or score a big goal. Of course, we all saw how he led the team to the National Championship, something I’d never think I would see. He’s always reminded me of a pre superstar Brad Marchand. Any ways, have you heard anything tying him to the Bruins when the college season is finished. My second question is you said there is a lot of talent in the next 2-3 drafts. The Bruins need to hit on their upcoming pick to continue their success. Do they have the right scouts and decision makers in place to make the right calls for the future of the team?
Answer – I’ve had the opportunity to watch Bobby Trivigno several times this season. Admittedly, for a guy that’s 5’8” and 160 pounds soaking wet, I admire his engine, tenacity and willingness to drive to the net and into traffic. The speedster definitely has some pizzazz and he can score highlight reel goals.
He’s in the Bruins ‘backyard’ so I am sure that they are cognizant of him and is abilities. But if recent drafting and free agent signings trends are any indication of the direction they are heading, they are trying to get bigger not smaller.
That said, I don’t know if they have or will have any interest. They should have a conversation with him and his advisors and family.
Maria via email asks:
Question – Dom thank you for doing these. They are so informative and I learn something new every week. Especially with your knowledge of the cap and how you take the time to explain it for dummies like me. Here’s my question: On your prospect’s coverage, sometimes you post a chart showing their chances of playing in the NHL. Can you explain for me how you come up with that? Thank you!
Answer – Thank you Maria. This is the chart you are referring to.
Just one correction though, that is not what I believe a player’s chances of playing in the NHL are, but rather the chances of playing for the Bruins. One of the things that could lower a player’s chances is where they sit on the depth chart – who do they have to beat out at the NHL, AHL and other prospects to get there. Another thing is the “European Factor” which you have to take into consideration and when would the Bruins lose the rights to that player. See Linus Arnesson. A European player’s chances increase when he has made a commitment to come to North America such as Oskar Jellvik who made the recent decision to come to Boston College.
I have been specifically asked why I have Matias Mantykivi with such a low chance even though he is having a good year in the Finish Liiga. Well, Mantykivi is under contract with Ilves Tampere until the end of the 2022-2023 season and expires on May 1, 2023. The Bruins only hold his rights until June 1, 2023. Now, under the NHL/IIHF/Liiga agreement, the Bruins could sign Mantykivi and pay a fee in order to bring him over. Then, you have to determine whether that fee is worth the expense – not just the money, but the contract spot in the 50-contract limit. So many variables that until some of them are cleared up, you have to consider dropping his chances.
I don’t really pay too much attention to draft position, but I look at what they were projected to be when drafted and how they are developing. Two USHL teammates in Mason Langenbrunner and Andre Gasseau have exceeded expectations and I have given them a small increase from the start of the season. Now it’s about continuing that development. I also look at contract situation, because all players have to sign before a certain date or they re-enter the draft or become unrestricted free agents. Brett Harrison would be a 5 with a contract in his pocket but without one I have him at 4.25.
I also get an opinion from two non-Bruins scouts to see if the player has any value when it comes to trades. Anyone can just throw a number out there, but I put a lot of thought into the process.
Austin via email asks:
Question – Mark Divver reported on Twitter that Jakub Zboril will be a UFA at the end of the season, but CapFriendly shows he is an RFA. Which is correct?
Answer – I believe this is the tweet you are referring too.
Mark Divver is correct, as he always is. The part of the CBA that applies here is this: A player becomes a Group 6 UFA if they are 25, completed 3 or more professional seasons, has a contract expiring, and has played less than 80 NHL Games.
Jakub Zboril will turn 25 on February 21, 2022, therefore the age requirement is met. Zboril is in his fifth professional season (remember AHL counts as a professional season) and he has played less than 80 NHL games with 54. The season ending injury basically eliminated any chance of getting to 80 games.
CapFriendly has not updated it because they usually do that at the end of the season. However, there are things in play here. An ACL tear requires about 6 months for hockey players to recover and that would take Zboril to the Stanley Cup Finals. Still not mathematically possible to hit the 80-game threshold. But what if COVID-19 forces a shutdown and an extension of the season? What if his recovery is ahead of schedule?
As unlikely as those possibilities are to happen, they could still happen, so you can not definitively say he won’t reach the 80-game plateau, which I think CapFriendly is also considering.
Andrew Peterkin via Twitter asks:
Question – Since the return from the Covid shutdown, I feel Butch allowed the “new lines” time to form chemistry rather than switch back and not punish younger players after a mistake as being the key. Do you see other changes/adjustments which have contributed to this great stretch?
Answer – I see many things being a contributing fact. 1) They were not playing a lot of games early in the season and therefore difficult to form any chemistry at all. You can’t replicate real games in practice and I have spoken about it plenty early in the season. It affected the goaltenders the most, followed by the blueliners. 2) They are going to the net and getting chances/scoring. It was an issue early in the season where shots with a purpose from the point were being wasted because of the unwillingness by most of the forwards to go to the net. That has changed since returning from the break, but to have continued success, they will have to keep it up. 3) The next man up mentality is working flawlessly because everyone wants to stay. Be it Anton Blidh, Oskar Steen, Urho Vaakanainen or Zboril earlier in the season, they haven’t missed a beat.
PuckSage via Twitter asks:
Question – What three prospects can you see the B’s taking before the 4th round.
Answer – That’s a tough one without knowing where they are going to pick so, I really can’t give specific names without knowing that. What I will say is this: No reaching in the first round, you have to go with the best player available. That comes with a but. If there are two players of equal value, one being a defenceman and the other a center, go with the center. That’s a need for this organization right now (unless there is a trade beforehand).
I do believe that one of the picks in round two or three will come out of the CHL. I often talk about how the draft is cyclical for the Bruins and you have to keep tabs on who needs to be signed and when, but the Bruins are going to need players (both in the AHL and NHL) and drafting from the USHL or NCAA could potentially keep those players from arriving for 4 to 5 years where as a CHL prospect can be there in two years. But you have to do that when all things are equal between two players from the different leagues.
But since the OHL is my area of strength, I’ll give you three players other than Shane Wright I wouldn’t mind: Pavel Mintyukov (defence) Luca Del Bel Belluz (Center) and Danny Zhilkin (Center). The first two are likely to go early in the draft and I would say top-10 therefore out of reach.
Triger via Twitter asks:
Question – Where has Lysell been since he left for the world juniors in December?
Answer – Fabian Lysell was scheduled to go back home with the rest of the World Junior squad at the conclusion of the WJC. He took the trip and spent time with family. He is scheduled to return this week (I believe he is already in Vancouver) and should play Friday night.
GeeWally via Twitter asks:
Question – 1st- assuming not traded can Bruins elect taking JDB to arbitration at a lesser rate. I believe arbitration submission is before QO date? 2nd- if Krejci decides to return to NHL next season is there any waiver implications? Thanks.
Answer – You are correct that arbitration cases must be filed. before the qualifying offer is due and arbitration is in lieu of the qualifying offer meaning that the Bruins retain his rights as if the qualifying offer was submitted. However, (there is always a however Wally), that applies only in player elected salary arbitration. Under team elected arbitration, a player can still sign an offer sheet up until 5:00 pm on the same date as the arbitration deadline.
12.3 (a) (iv) of the CBA:
A Player subject to a Club-elected salary arbitration pursuant to this Section 12.3(a) shall remain eligible to negotiate and sign an Offer Sheet with any other Club pursuant to Section 10.3 of this Agreement by no later than 5:00 p.m. New York time on July 5 immediately following the Club’s election of salary arbitration. For further clarity, if a Club has elected salary arbitration on a Player pursuant to this Section 12.3(a), and such Player signs an Offer Sheet by no later than 5:00 p.m. New York time on July 5 immediately following the Club’s election of salary arbitration, the Club’s rights under this Section 12.3 shall be void ab initio and the Club’s rights shall instead be governed by Section 10.3 of this Agreement.
Technically speaking (and I find it highly unlikely that it would ever happen) the Bruins could file for arbitration and DeBrusk could sign an offer sheet for less someplace else. Then the question becomes: Should the Bruins match?
As for the first part of your first question: The arbitrator’s decision can not be less than 85% of the previous year’s base salary, signing bonus and performance bonuses not the AAV. In DeBrusk’s case, his salary is $4,850,000 and 85% of that is $4,122,500. His Qualifying offer is $4,410,000 therefore, the savings would be less than $300K.
12.3 (a) (ii) of the CBA:
In any salary arbitration that takes place pursuant to this Section 12.3(a), the Salary Arbitrator may not award the Player a Paragraph 1 Salary that is less than eighty-five (85) percent of the aggregate sum of Player’s Paragraph 1 Salary plus Signing, Reporting and Roster Bonuses in the final League Year of his most recent SPC.
Strictly hypothetical: If the Bruins were to lowball DeBrusk, the burden of proof would lay with the Bruins to prove he is overpaid. The NHLPA or DeBrusk’s representative could find another player with the same stats and making the same amount to quash that. I can’t recall any arbitration cases in the cap world where a team went in with a lower offer than the player was earning in the previous year.
If, however, the Bruins choose to use the second arbitration window (I can’t recall it ever being used either) then the arbitration amount can be no less than 100% of the previous year’s base salary, signing bonuses and performance bonuses.
To answer your second question, no David Krejci would not need to clear waivers if he returned to the NHL next season. The NHL re-sets on July 1st and as long as he doesn’t play a game in a European League after December 15, 2022, waivers are not an issue.
Carol B via Twitter asks:
Question – Do you think things may have settled and DeBrusk could remain a Bruin?
Answer – Carol, I have been a fan of the game since the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. I was actually a Leaf fan, then Bobby Orr came along. What I have learned in that time (sometimes the hard way) is to never say never.
Sometimes winning changes things. It probably has changes Sweeney’s need to get something done sooner rather then later. And who knows, maybe DeBrusk is having a lot of fun again winning. But I don’t know that.
I can see a scenario where Sweeney waits until trade deadline when everyone will be in a better cap situation. But I can also see a scenario where Sweeney waits until the draft. I don’t see a scenario where DeBrusk changes his mind and signs an extension for less than he’s making now. But it’s always possible.
Flannelman via Twitter asks:
Question – Which OHL ‘22 draftee are you most hopeful the Bruins seriously consider at the entry draft? Maybe one forward, one D, if you are so inclined.
Answer – Hard to say without knowing where they are going to pick Travis. But I mentioned three guys earlier above. Pavel Mintyukov (defence) Luca Del Bel Belluz (Center) and Danny Zhilkin (Center). The first two should be top-10 picks but Zhilkin should be a late first/early second. So if I’m adding a defenceman in that range it’s Ty Nelson.
TW8810 via Twitter asks:
Question – Thank you for doing this. My questions: Do you think its likely the Bruins trade their 22′ first rounder and if yes, who do you think is a great value player to draft in the second round (a pick like Lohrei)?
Answer – Hard to say if they’ll trade there first. I believe Sweeney will do his best not to. They need some higher end talent. As for the second-round pick that I like: Spencer Sova, a defenceman from the Erie Otters, but he’ll likely go early second. Jorian Donovan, Also, a defenceman from the Hamilton Bulldogs but he’ll likely be gone mid-second round. Finally, there is Ruslan Gazizov, a Russian center playing with the London Knights who could slip to the Bruins. Again, it depends on where they are picking. I will only stick to OHL players because they are the players I watch extensively.