Wednesday Mailbag March 16, 2022

Mind Within via Twitter asks:

Question – Great read Dom, can you explain the rankings ie you had him ranked 31st in the OHL which would be a 6th round pick. I know your referencing the other leagues but how do they slot?

Answer – This is the article I wrote referenced in the question. First, I rank the players in the order that I would select them if I were running a draft. For example: In 2017, I ranked Jason Robertson fourth among OHL players eligible for the NHL Entry Draft. Then I decide whether I would spend a first-round pick on them, a second-round pick and so on. In the Robertson example, I personally would have spent a late first round pick on him. No hindsight here when it comes to Robertson because I was adamant at the time. But he went second-round, 39th overall and was the ninth OHL player selected.

If you go further down the list, you will see I had Sean Durzi 32nd and at that time, that was a late seventh round pick for me. As we all know, Durzi was not selected and the Toronto Maple Leafs had to use a second-round pick, 58th overall to select him in 2018. For me, drafting him late a year earlier was the much better value.

Sometimes you hit on it and just as many times you will miss. It’s not a perfect system, but one I have been using for a dozen years and it works for me.

Bill via email asks:

Question – Hi Dom. I do not have the opportunity to watch Bruins prospects play very often, so I really appreciate the Monday updates you have been providing. I was wondering, if you might find it interesting to compare the playing styles of our prospects with current or former Boston Bruins in one of your future Prospect updates?

You have obviously seen these prospects play far more often than most fans. I would find it very interesting to get your take/comparisons of our prospects.

Thanks for your time and for continuing to share your thoughts and information on all things Bruins with us fans. Please keep it coming!

Answer – Thanks Bill. Appreciate the comments and the question. I have always refrained from doing player comparisons as I feel it is unfair to the player playing below the NHL level. They still have plenty of developing to do and are far from a finished product. That and the fact I don’t think that any two players are alike. They may have some of the same traits but that’s about it.

I realize there are those out there that like to do comparables, but I don’t think that’s fair to fans either as it sets up what could be unrealistic expectations.  For example: I’ve seen Ty Gallagher compared to Ryan Pulock, or Ryan Mast compared to Brandon Carlo. With the development still ahead of both players, I just can’t get behind that. They could surpass that or they could not meet those expectations. So, I’d rather stay away from comparables at this point and just enjoy the ride they are on.

K. Schmidt via Twitter asks:

Question – What should be a priority target for the Bruins? An upgrade to 2 C Haula? Upgrade to DeBrusk on the top line or d-man depth?

Answer – I’ve flipped on this probably since the team turned things around back in January. I believe the move they need to make is to improve the left side defence. But that has a ripple effect. If Jake DeBrusk goes in such a deal, then they would require someone to fill the void left by his departure. And I would like them to acquire some depth on the right-side defence, maybe an upgrade on Connor Clifton. While I once thought second line center was the biggest need, not so any more. That’s on the bottom of my list.

Corey Michael via Twitter asks:

Question – What is your realistic deadline prediction?

Answer – I won’t predict players, but I will say I think Don Sweeney makes his “bigger move” this week. Then, on trade deadline he’ll make a smaller move for depth. But I believe they are looking at the Anaheim Ducks. Hampus Lindholm is an obvious target and I’ve been told he’s willing to talk extension with a team that is willing to trade for him, but he is still negotiating with the Ducks about an extension. Rickard Rakell is another player with the Ducks but I am told is not willing to discuss an extension and if not re-signed by the Ducks will test the free agent market. I’ve heard that the Ducks would be interested in DeBrusk and the money (his qualifying offer) is not an issue as they have the room.

SamAdams76 via Twitter asks:

Question – Even if they get one of following forwards: Hertl, Giroux, Miller And one of these defensemen: Chychrun, Lindholm, Middleton Are they getting through the TB, FL, CAR gauntlet in the East? Is the juice worth the squeeze?

Answer I will repeat myself here: I like their chances against Florida even if they don’t make any deals. Tampa Bay and Carolina not so much. But that’s the decision management has to make. Will this deal put us over the top against those two squads? Time will tell on how they feel and that time is very, very close.

Brom via Twitter asks:

Question – Seems like Lysell and Lohrei are the consensus top prospects in the pipeline. Is there anyone out there worth trading these two for?

Answer – Yes. In the right deal anyone can be traded and can be used as an asset to do so. The question is: Is there anyone out there rumored to be available that you would consider trading Fabian Lysell or Mason Lohrei for? I think that can only be answered if those players are willing to sign long term with the Bruins. But for me, they certainly are not untouchable. But I do agree, right now they are the Bruins top two prospects.

Patrick Marvin via Twitter asks:

Question – Do you think Jake DeBrusk will be traded? And if no, what are the chances he re-signs here?  

Answer It hasn’t been for lack of effort in trying to trade DeBrusk. Teams are (or were) not willing to pay Sweeney’s asking price. But I am sure that as trade deadline nears, those offers will go up. Whether it’s enough for Sweeney to pull the trigger, time will tell. But I also feel that they are comfortable with him heading into the playoffs if they can’t find a deal that satisfies them and would attempt to move him in the offseason.

But the chances he re-signs with Boston? Zero. I just don’t see that happening. While he is a restricted free agent who the Bruins would have to qualify to retain his rights, he doesn’t have to sign it and he could force his way out. That is the worst possible scenario for the Bruins because they won’t get any better offers if that were to happen.

Gerry via Twitter asks:

Question – Should they concentrate on getting a younger long-term solution at centre instead of a rental?

Answer – There’s no reason they can’t do both and I truly believe that is Sweeney’s intention. But there has to be a team willing to make that trade. I don’t know that there is.

Mahkymayhem via Twitter asks:

Question – Bruins have abundance of redundant LD. With younger, cheaper talent on the cusp of overtaking vets by next season (Vaak, Zboril, Ahcan). Is Reilly, DeBrusk, Studnicka enough to land Giordano? Is Sweeney creative enough to do Gryz + Moore salary dump for a Ducks d-man or Middleton?

Answer – It’s not whether Sweeney is creative enough, it’s whether that’s enough for another GM to bite on. Personally, I think that’s an overpayment for Mark Giordano. He’s a 38-year-old unrestricted free agent who by all accounts wants to go back to Calgary and could be done after this season. That’s a hefty price. As for Jacob Middleton, that’s a lot of cap you want San Jose to absorb when they are a team that needs to move out salary for next season. Would they take on almost $7.7 million in salary for this year and next while only moving out $750,000? I don’t think so.

GeeWally via Twitter asks:

Question – For clarity. As team President does Neely have to approve team transactions? Sign off formally on trades and contracts?

Answer – The role of the President is different from team to team, but in many cases, from contract signings to player transactions requires the signature of the President of Hockey Operations. Most teams prefer a President who has had some previous experience in the management role. Two recent examples are Jimmy Rutherford with the Vancouver Canucks as President of Hockey Operations and Jeff Gorton as Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations (the same role as President).

In both those cases, the teams hired rookies as General Managers and Rutherford and Gorton are tasked with being a soundboard for them and provide “on the job training” and will likely be involved In the decision making moving forward.

In Boston, I think there has been a little more leeway nowadays. While the duties have become too much for the GM to run the day-to-day operations of an NHL club, the President has taken on many of those duties, which is the case in Boston. But Sweeney does use Neely as a sounding board and there is plenty of dialogue between the two. I do believe that now, Neely offers an opinion and a fresh set of eyes but Sweeney is the one calling the shots. I don’t think it’s always been that way. But yes, the President needs to sign off on certain transactions.

Ben via Twitter asks:

Question – Other than DeBrusk–and I’m assuming our second and third round picks of this year–do you see any assets other than those being shipped out? I thought Studnicka. Thoughts?

Answer – I’m a firm believer that no one is untouchable in the right deal. But it has to present itself. I’m pretty confident Sweeney feels the same way. And I also believe the first-round pick is on the table for the right deal. These things take a life of their own sometimes. I could see Sweeney trading any number of players from this roster, the AHL or other prospects. If a deal is there.

Dustin via Twitter asks:

Question – What is Lohrei’s immediate future? Think he goes pro right after OSU season or will he wait a little bit before deciding?

Answer I spoke about this in one of my Monday Morning Prospect Updates a few weeks ago. I think the Bruins believe Lohrei would be better suited (and the team as well) if he were to return to Ohio State for another season. However, it is totally up to Lohrei himself. If he wants to turn pro, I am certain the Bruins will attempt to convince him another year in the NCAA is best for him, but if push comes to shove so to speak, the Bruins would ink him to his entry level contract.

Nicholas via Twitter asks:

Question – what is your take on Friedmans report saying that the Bruins are going to keep JDB for the playoff run? I think that would be incentive to credit him.

Answer – What do I think of it? Well, if you read frequently, I believe you will find that’s where it was first mentioned maybe a month ago? At least I’ve never seen it anywhere else until now. That’s what I think of it.

Tim via Twitter asks:

Question – Couple of forwards in development that you could update on: Brett Harrison and Justin Brazeau…could the B’s have something with either of these guys?

Answer – Brett Harrison could develop into a second line center. Justin Brazeau is a career AHL player.

Rob via Twitter asks:

Question – Does the injury change the trade landscape for Chychrun in any major way?

Answer – Yes and no. I believe interested teams will ask and get all the medical details from the Coyotes. Teams locked into a playoff spot probably won’t worry much because they can afford to wait the 2-4 weeks before getting into the lineup. But teams fighting for a playoff spot will likely set their sites on someone else because that can’t give up the assets for someone who can’t play for up to 4 weeks and fight for a playoff spot.

WhatsGoingOn via Twitter asks:

Question – Dom who do you see as the biggest challenge from the East should the bruins start playoffs today. What rumoured name out there could help the bruins get past that team. Thanks again Dave.

Answer – For me the answer is easy and that’s Carolina. I believe they can compete with Florida, Toronto, NYR, Pittsburgh and Washington. Tampa I will worry about after trade deadline to see what the Bruins and the Lightning accomplish.

Nick via Twitter asks:

Question – Arizona and Anaheim have to be the top 2 teams we should be looking for a trade. So which team do we do a trade with?

Answer – I honestly don’t see why it can’t be both or limited to just those two teams. I wouldn’t rule out a deal with Philadelphia either. And I certainly wouldn’t rule out Sweeney dealing with someone that hasn’t been mentioned in any rumor. I’ll just throw out St Louis as an example.

Rob via Twitter asks:

Question – Any worry that come playoff time, the 7-game grind may wear down someone like Swayman? Are we confident enough in Ullmark to help pick up any slack? Any moves become moot if the goaltending can’t keep up.

Answer – Do I worry whether Jeremy Swayman can handle the playoff grind? Sometimes. Do I have faith in Linus Ullmark? Yes, I do. But it is imperative he continues to work with Bob Essensa and they are going to have to get him a bigger work load. There is nothing better than game situations and, it will help keep Swayman fresher.

GeeWally via Twitter asks two questions:

Question 1- Any news on Giroux?

Question 2 – What can you tell us about Marc McLaughlin? Comparison? Prospect Rank?

Answer – Officially, the Claude Giroux watch begins Thursday at 10:00 PM EDT. However, you can probably go to bed Thursday night. This won’t be a late night like Jerome Iginla was. Unless of course, Joe Sakic has already worked more magic and waits until Giroux has played his 1000th game. Beyond the initial interest, I have not heard anything else about the Bruins. As you know Giroux holds all the cards and he will pick his destination, or even shock the hockey world and decide to stay with Philadelphia.

Answer – I want to stay away from comparables Wally. It’s not fair to Marc McLaughlin to put what could be unreasonable expectations on him. There are those out there that do and it leaves me scratching my head sometimes (and I will add some comparables mentioned are good and others bad).

What he brings is an honest effort night in and night out and from shift to shift. He plays the game the right way. He plays with pace but he won’t be a driver, more of a complimentary piece to someone who can drive a line. He’s excellent within close quarters and finds a way to dissect through heavy traffic. He’s strong on his skates and protects the puck very well. He uses his size very well and is more than willing to drive to the net and won’t shy away from going through someone as opposed to someone. His two-way game is accomplished already.

Where does he rank in the prospect pool? Well, Lysell and Lohrei are one and two (you can flip them if you wish). In the overall rankings I think its TBD. But if you look at the center position (If that’s where the Bruins are going to use him) you have Jack Studnicka and John Beecher along with Harrison. It’s worth repeating myself here, but I think the Bruins are fine at second line center through fourth line center. What they lack is a first line center and McLaughlin is not him. He’ll be competing with those three but offensively he’s somewhere between Harrison and Beecher and defensively, could just be the best of the bunch.

Kevin via email asks:

Question – Seeing what Anaheim got for a good, but still 3rd pair D who is also a UFA in Josh Manson, I’m worried as a Bruins fan.  If a middle/back end of the lineup guy goes for a 2nd round pick AND a prospect that plays a premium position and was on the US Olympic team (Drew Helleson), what type of price should teams expect to pay for a higher end player (Giroux, Hertl, et al)?

Answer – And that’s the million question Kevin. I wish I had an answer for you. However, Colorado needed to fill a need and that was Josh Manson. They have enough offense from the backend but really needed a Manson type. And even though the Ducks aren’t in direct competition with the AVS this year, the Avs probably had to pay a premium for being in the same conference.

Charlie via email asks:

Question – Sweeney has to sign Harris and McBain if he wants to improve the prospect pool but I think he’s going to miss out on both of them.

Answer – Well, Charlie, no real question there, but I will address it anyway. I’m going to assume you are talking about Jordan Harris and Jack McBain here. First off, Sweeney can’t “just sign them.” Harris and McBain’s rights are held by the Montreal Canadiens and the Minnesota Wild until August 15, 2022. So, Sweeney’s options are to a) trade for them or, b) trade for their rights and then hope he can sign them before August 15 or they would become unrestricted free agents.

Me personally? I believe the writing was on the wall for Harris once Jeff Gorton was hires by the Canadiens. And I believe it’s just a matter of days before he inks a deal with the Habs. As for McBain? I can Billy Guerintee it that the Wild will hold out until they get their asking price of a second-round pick for McBain. Would I pay it? Certainly, I would. But the Bruins second round pick will be a lower pick than some of the other teams that might be willing to part with their pick. That may mean the Bruins would have to up the ante with a prospect. I would still do that – depending on the prospect of course. But he can’t just sign them. At least not until August 15, but I don’t think either gets there.

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.

One thought on “Wednesday Mailbag March 16, 2022

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