Wednesday Mailbag November 16, 2022

So many questions this week and plenty of duplicates. I hope I didn’t leave any out. Let’s get right to them:

@dangermike via Twitter asks:

Hey Dom- on one of your upcoming Monday prospect rundowns can you talk a little bit about typical journeys for these players? Using Brett Harrison for example- if he shows growth this season, what’s his trajectory over the next 3-4 years and the leagues he typically might play in


Awesome question and one that deserves a more thorough answer than I can give here, so maybe I will make it a topic of its own one day soon. Fact of the matter is that there is no real set journey, and that each individual’s path is determined on how they progress from year to year. Then again, it’s different for goaltenders, different for defencemen and different for forwards. It’s not uncommon nowadays to have a goaltender spend time in the ECHL. It is not as common for skaters, especially forwards.

And then the path by league is so different. USHL, CHL, NCAA, Canadian Junior A, European Leagues all have different paths.

This deserves a better answer and it’s a long one. Didn’t want you to think I was ignoring it.

@Odeysseus_Toro via Twitter asks:

Fabian Lysell or Georgii Merkulov? Who do U see putting the Bs jersey first? Anyone else? …And why?


I think the answer is Lysell if I am picking between the pair. Two reasons why I say Lysell: 1) it will probably be because of injury that one gets a shot this season and 2) positions. Merkulov is a center who is also playing left wing. Down the middle, the Bruins are set and if there is an injury there, Pavel Zacha will likely be the first to be moved into the middle. And if there is an injury on the left side, especially to Taylor Hall or Brad Marchand, my guess is Jake DeBrusk would be moved over to his natural left side first.

On the other hand, Lysell is strictly a right winger and there are fewer options standing in his way then there is for Merkulov. But we are likely to see Jakub Lauko or Marc McLaughlin called up first although those two have worn the spoked B already. A dark horse would be Kai Wissmann if there is an injury on defence and the Bruins move out a defenceman for cap space.

@TheDonSweeney via Twitter asks:

Boston and Providence Bruins are both 1st overall in their respective leagues. Is it safe to say that Don Sweeney is in fact a top 5 GM in the league and deserves the #Sweenius hashtag?


My memory could be failing me, but I believe you asked a question about Sweeney in a previous Mailbag and in my answer, I referred to him as a top-5 general manager in the NHL. That said, there was a cloud cast over management with the Mitchell Miller signing and until the Bruins respond publicly and with complete transparency on where the team went wrong (we know where they went wrong) and who is to blame for letting it get to where it did, there will always be concerns, doubts and questions about everyone in management. Every single good thing done will be overlooked and overshadowed by this “mistake”.

As for the hashtag, there is only one hashtag and that is #NDTD.

@mike77ca via Twitter asks:

Hey Dom. Thoughts on Connor Clifton next contract, do you think he has priced himself outside what the Bruins could give him … 3 x 3m could be the number he receives in the market…He seems to be thriving in Monty system this year. Thanks.


First off, let’s throw some love to John Gruden as well since he is working with the defencemen in practice and on the bench. When the Bruins hired him as an assistant coach, I said he will really help the blueliners in Boston and he has done that, so a little love going his way here.

Secondly, if Clifton is in fact signed to a 3-year, $9 million deal like you suggest, I don’t necessarily think that is pricing himself out of Boston. That would have been true over the last couple of years when the cap was flat but if the cap does indeed rise to $87 or $88 million for next season and then $90 – $92 million the following season, that $3 million cap hit is easily affordable. Of course, other pieces are going to have to fall into place properly like long term David Pastrnak and Jeremy Swayman deals.

I think, realistically, the only defenceman on the horizon for Boston over the next 3 years in terms of prospects is Mason Lohrei and he’s a left shot. Maybe Kai Wissmann continues to transition to the North American game and becomes a cheaper option. The Bruins are going to have to weigh all their options. But I think cap wise, I’m not too worried.

@GeeWally2 via Twitter asks:

Assuming the Bruins move to buyout Mitchell Miller at next opportunity what will be the Cap cost/implications?


Because Miller is under 26 years of age, the buyout cost of his deal is one-third the remaining value spread over twice the years remaining on the deal. Miller is due $1,550,000 over the last two years in salary (excluding signing bonuses). One-third of that is $516,667 (the buyout cost), therefore, the buyout cost is $129,167 per season (spread out over four seasons). By subtracting the cost of $129,167 from the salary (excluding bonuses), you get a savings of $645,833 per season. (In this case, his salary is the same in both years, but this would be calculated for each year if it had different salaries). By Subtracting the savings of $645,833 from his cap hit of $861,667 you can calculate his buyout cap hit as follows:

Year 1 – $861,667 – $645,833 = $215,834

Year 2 – $861,667 – $645,833 = $215,834

Year 3 – $129,167

Year 4 – $129,167

*Year 3 and 4 cap hit is made up of the buyout cost calculated above.

@james_oglsby78 via Twitter asks:

Think B’s can get something for Brandon Carlo? He never has proven besides 19’ to be what he was projected. Now has major concussion issues. Seems step behind mentally on ice and weak for size he has. Bs could spend the 4.5m elsewhere and they have Derek Forbort who does same.


I am sure 31 other GMs would like Carlo so to answer your question yes, they could get something for him. Every player who steps onto NHL ice is one hit away from a serious concussion. That is a fact in this sport and cannot be what influences your decision making. As Bruins fans, you have seen this much too often. I don’t believe Carlo is a step behind mentally, but I suppose we can see things differently. I also disagree that Carlo is weak for his size. He is actually very strong. And while I will give you the “Forbort does the same” I would change it to “some of the same”. Forbort doesn’t skate as well as Carlo nor does he transition or jump into the play like Carlo. And Forbort is a lefty while Carlo is a righty. Forbort doesn’t replace Carlo on the right.

Furthermore, Assistant Coach John Gruden has worked well with Clifton, Forbort, Hampus Lindholm, Matt Grzelcyk and the gang and I for one am seeing a difference in Carlo as well. I’m giving it more time.

@RP3sViews via Twitter asks:

Curious to hear more about Matthew Poitras game (ex bad suspensions) his creativity was considered a strength in the draft & I’ve seen some impressive set ups from him in the limited goal clips from Guelph’s feed. Have there been improvements to other areas of his game since draft year?


I addressed the suspensions in one of my prospect updates so I will just say uncharacteristic of Poitras. He’s not a dirty player and it’s been a frustrating season to date for the Guelph Storm players. His teammate Sasha Pastujov was also suspended for the same reason.

Poitras is definitely known for his playmaking abilities and there has been no shortage of some outstanding setups from him this season. I think his vision, passing skills and ability to read the play…well that will keep his playmaking as one of his best skills.  

I had him pegged for 88 points if he played in all 68 games this season. Now, he is on pace for 68 points in 63 games so, he’s not on pace to reach my expectations. I’m not making excuses for him but having two suspensions so close to each other took him out just as he was starting to get into a grove.

I will say the one area he really needs to work on is gaining strength. He’s not shy about going into corners, along the walls or the front of the net. But he lacks the strength to win more battles than he loses. Once he does that, his stats will improve. The thing is, if you ask Poitras he will tell you the same thing so it’s not like he doesn’t know. It’s now about putting the effort in. He will also tell you consistency is an issue. I hum and haw about that one. I don’t see it being much of an issue.

@RustNeverSlee10 via Twitter asks:

Morning Dom. Of the bottom 6 forwards how would you rank the players in order of importance to the team and most likely to be traded or demoted to Providence?


Tough Question. Ranking them in order of importance to the team is subjective, but here is how I would rank them: Charlie Coyle, Pavel Zacha, Nick Foligno, Tomas Nosek, Trent Frederic, Craig Smith and A J Greer.

The order of likeliest to least likely to get traded or sent to Providence: Smith, Greer, Nosek, Frederic, Zacha, Foligno, Coyle.

@caper_jay via Twitter asks:

Hey Dom. My question is do you think with the improved play of Clifton, do you think they explore the market on Carlo. Big RD seem to be worth a lot, and if they can’t move Reilly or Smith then maybe he becomes your best trade chip.


I don’t think they are actively looking to deal Carlo. However, if someone is calling and asking about him then the Bruins have to do their due diligence and compare what offers are on the table against each other. At the same time, they are asking themselves “if we do trade Carlo, who is replacing him?”

There are 31 General Manager’s in the NHL that know the Bruins need to move out salary and that the time to do that is fast approaching. I’m sure that those GMs are asking about a few different players. I know the general consensus among fans is to “just trade Mike Reilly.” But this isn’t NHL 22. You can’t just make a GM take the player you want to move. There’s a price that comes with that and given how everyone is aware of the position the Bruins are in, that could be a heavy price.

As I said, I don’t think the Bruins are actively shopping Carlo. But I would almost guarantee there is a GM calling the Bruins and asking about him.

The Vultures are circling.

@ThornsFan73 via Twitter asks

Do you think Boston will have to give up more than a 2nd round pick to get off Reilly’s salary?

Do you think a package of Reilly and Smith with the Bruins paying 1/2 their salary this year has enough value to not include a pick?


Well, without a second-round pick in 2023 or 2024, I don’t think a second-round pick in 2025 is going to entice many teams to take on Reilly’s salary for the remainder of this season and next whereby the way, his actually salary is $4 million, and his cap hit is only $3 million. That’s the opposite of how teams want salaries versus cap hits when taking on someone else’s contract dump, so that in itself increases the cost.

As for your second part of the question, there are only seven teams as of Tuesday that could take on the Reilly and Smith salaries with the Bruins retaining 50% and not sending salary back: Sabres, Coyotes, Ducks, Hawks, Wings, Senators and Islanders. Three are division rivals and a fourth is a conference rival and potential playoff opponent. So, I am left asking myself, how many of them are going to do the Bruins a big favor and bail them out and I keep telling myself none. That leaves me with the Yotes, Ducks and Hawks. There is a history with the Ducks, but after the Lindholm trade, I’m asking for an overpayment here. It’s just the way it works. But even if they didn’t ask for an overpayment and include them in with the Yotes and Hawks, why would they take on Reilly and Smith? They are obviously not going anywhere this season and next and the only reason they dealt least season and will continue to deal is to stockpile draft picks.

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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