Wednesday Mailbag December 7, 2022

Well, the Boston Bruins are healthy. They have their cap under control, for now. They are the best team in the NHL. And their winning streak at TD Garden came to an end at 14 games – a new National Hockey League record.

Still, plenty of things on fans minds so let take a crack at some answers.

@TheDanimal631 via Twitter asks:

It’s not clear to me why the bs have such a low ranked prospect pool. They have 3 rookie AHL skaters in the top 10 in pts and 5 in the top 60. A rookie goaltender tied for first in SV%. As well as 2 high scoring OHL players. Is there something I’m missing?

Answer:

Well, about the only thing I can do is give you my long-winded opinion. I try to watch every Boston Bruins game. I try and watch every Providence Bruins game. And I try and watch every prospect’s game from the NCAA to the CHL to Europe and I can promise you there isn’t enough time in a week to watch them all.

How anyone can do that for 32 NHL teams is beyond me. Maybe they don’t and it’s a group of people doing the evaluating?  Even then it’s a buyer beware situation.

That said, I will speak to the Bruins prospects. First of all, it is important to mention that being a high points player at the OHL level doesn’t mean success at a higher level. See Zach Senyshyn. Scoring success in the AHL doesn’t always lead to success at the NHL level either. I’m sure you can come up with a recent example there.

The Bruins have a blue-chip prospect in Fabian Lysell. The have another one bordering there in Mason Lohrei (my definition of blue-chip prospect is going to differ from most reading this). After that pair, there are a bunch of prospects that could very well have long NHL careers, but they aren’t drivers, they are more of a supporting cast and that comes from years of having low draft picks, using picks as trade bait and yes, even poor drafting.

That’s not to say they have a poor prospect pool. It lacks the blue-chip prospects and the drivers some other organizations have. I will speak to the OHL players you mentioned because I know them best. Both Brett Harrison and Matthew Poitras have put up a lot of points, I will give you that. But they aren’t setting the league on fire. I would also strongly hesitate in calling them drivers – players that make a line go. They are more the complimentary type that need a driver to be more successful themselves.

I like the prospect pool for the players they are and where they potentially fit in, but there are no drivers there and that, even in my opinion drops the Bruins prospects down the list as compared to other teams.

@Northerern via Twitter asks:

Dom is there a site that grades a players shot, skating, Hockey IQ? Thanks

Answer:

Not that I am aware of, but I will be honest with you, I haven’t really looked. As mentioned above, I don’t think it is physically possible for one person to do all that. And if there is more than one person doing that, do they even look at a player the same way? I just feel more comfortable grading them myself. But if there is a site out there that does, hopefully another reader will reach out to you via twitter as to where you might find that site.

Jonathan via email asks:

It’s great to see you’re feeling better. I have a question about stashing a player in the minors. If I understand correctly a certain percentage comes off the books this season but you are penalized the following year, how does that penalty work?  If a player is in the minors for two days, are they on the hook for those two days next year or could you stash a contract for the entire year and call up the player for the last game and pay no penalty?  I know these are both extreme examples, but I hope you can shed some light on the loophole.

Answer:

Hate to say it Jonathan, but you are a little confused and I will try and sort it out for you. First off, if you are stashing a player in the minors and he makes less than $1.125 million, it does not affect the cap, the entirety of his cap hit comes off the books. However, if the player makes more, like Chris Wagner of Mike Reilly, then $1.125 million comes off the cap and the remainder of his cap hit counts towards the cap. For example, Wagner earns $1,350,000. By sending him to Providence, the Bruins save $1,125,000 towards the cap and Wagner’s cap hit becomes $225,000.

All cap hits count towards this season and have to fit under this year’s cap. They do not affect next years. I think you are getting confused with the “Bonus Cushion”. Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Jeremy Swayman have performance bonuses on their contracts for this season and all three will earn their entire bonuses. The CBA allows you to go over the cap by 7.5% for performance bonuses and is known as the bonus cushion.

At the end of the season, all earned bonuses are added to the team’s cap hit. Anything over the upper cap limit of $82.5 million is then carried over to next season as a “bonus overage” and reduces the team’s cap space next year by that amount. It is the only scenario where money from this year is carried over to next season.  

As for a player spending time in the minors, every day he spends in the AHL is a savings towards the cap. Nothing to do with next year. You take the players cap hit, divide it by 185 (days in the season) and that’s how much a team saves on the cap for each day said player is in the AHL.

I hope that clears things up for you just a bit.

Jim via email asks:

Can the Bruins do anything major at trade deadline?

Answer:

Well, I don’t know your definition of “do anything major”. Can they add a major piece for a draft pick? The answer to that is “no”. As of right now, barring any changes, they can only add an AAV of about $148,000 at trade deadline therefore adding a major piece for a pick or prospect or both is impossible.

Can they make a hockey trade where they move salary out and take salary in? Absolutely. But at what risk? At what point do you have to take into consideration what such a move will do to the room? I mean management could ask the leadership group for their input, but how did that work out with the signing of he who shall not be named?

Honestly, its way too early to be discussing trade deadline and the possibilities there. So much can change between now and then. I say let’s enjoy the ride and bring this up a few weeks before trade deadline again.

@ThornsFan73 via Twitter asks:

What would you target for cap room to clear just to manage potential injury issues for the rest of the year? I believe you are limited to paying for 50 percent of a player’s salary but is that limited to just the first year of a contract or can you pay off more in future years.

Answer:

I don’t think anyone goes into it with a number in mind or a percentage of the cap in mind. A GM will put his team in the best possible cap situation, and I think Sweeney will make a deal that puts the Boston Bruins in the best possible position and not the one that clears the most cap space. I don’t think there is a set target.

As for the second part of your question, I don’t know what you mean. I think you are talking about salary retention. Yes, the maximum is 50% and if you are retaining on a deal that is longer than a year, you are retaining for all years not just the first year. If you are not talking about salary retention, send me an email detailing your question and an example and I will add it to next week’s mailbag.

Thanks for the questions. If you’d like to submit a question or comment to the mailbag, send me an email to ohlwriters@gmail.com and get a head start on next week’s mailbag.

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: