Monthly Archives: June, 2014

Celtics Draft Marcus Smart With 6th Overall Pick

Maybe I’m a sucker, but I do feel some comfort when hearing something like Wyc Grousbeck saying that there was applause in the Celtics’ war room when they realized that they could draft Marcus Smart.  I was hoping for Aaron Gordon, but the Magic made sure that wouldn’t happen.  Actually, I should say that I was rooting for the number 6 overall pick to be thrown into a Kevin Love deal, but whatever.

Marcus Smart is athletic, good at driving in the lane, and competitive as hell.  In a way, he’s similar to Rondo.  The biggest reason that I like the pick is that Brad Stevens and anyone who is insanely competitive just seems like a good match.  Stevens hated losing, and nobody in the Celtics organization wanted to let the team tank, which is a good sign going forward.  Even if a lot of it is by gut feeling, I like Marcus Smart playing for Brad Stevens.

Then, they drafted James Young, unleashing the Bill Simmons fist pump.  Wait, quick tangent…

Some people are bitching about Simmons’ fist pump, and those people are idiots.  Simmons has never pretended to be objective.  There are enough things to criticize him over, despite him being a great writer.  Let’s call people out for what actually deserves to be called out.

Back to the Celtics.  After the draft, they have Rondo, Smart, Young, and the rights to Avery Bradley.  There’s a logjam, and Danny Ainge is gonna be making some moves.  I’m rooting for him to sign and trade Bradley for a more established veteran, hopefully Love.  In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked to see both Bradley and Smart (the latter of whom would absolutely have to be in the trade) in a deal for Love, if the Celtics are the sweepstakes winners.  That would still leave the C’s with Love, Rondo, Young, Jeff Green, either Jared Sullinger or Kelly Olynyk (one of them would be in the trade), and over $10 million in cap space.

All in all, I think every Celtics fan is pretty happy with how Thursday night went.  But there’s a lot more to come.

NHL Salary Cap Set at Only $69 Million

Before the draft yesterday, the NHL announced that the salary cap for the 2014-2015 season would only be $69 million, down from the estimate of $71.1 that we were all expecting.

The Bruins can get over this, but it sucks.  It really does.  Before putting Marc Savard’s contract on LTIR, which they will once the season starts, the Bruins are now just $1.6 million below the cap.  And that’s with Reilly Smith and Torey Krug, among others, as RFAs, and the obvious Jarome Iginla as a UFA.

Now it’s clear that Iginla is not coming back unless 1 of 2 things happens:

1) The B’s could trade a roster player with a sizable salary.  Marchand is the guy that pops into everyone’s head.  Boychuk is also a possibility, as are Eriksson, Campbell, and McQuaid, the latter 2 which have much lower salaries, so they’re not the only ones that would be gone to get Iggy back.  In fact, any one of these contracts alone might not be enough.  The more you look at it, the more it seems like Chiarelli might decide to make serious changes this summer.

2) He takes a contact that is almost all in bonuses… and probably a paycut, too.  Hopefully, Iggy would agree to a contract of $1.8 million in salary and $4.2 million in bonuses again, and it would really help if he took even less than that in salary.

There are a few other aspects of this news that are interesting for the Bruins, and not in a good way.  Anyone remember Dennis Seidenberg’s extension last year?  At the time, I was happy with it, but now I hate it, meaning that I was dead wrong a year ago.  Seids costs $4 million, and he looked really bad in his limited time this year, and that was before an ACL injury.  Seidenberg is about to turn 33, and he’ll be coming off of that injury with over 9 months out of action.  He isn’t the 2nd defenseman that he was in 2011, but the B’s are still paying him like it because of the extension (and they’ll be doing it for another 3 years after, which could be painful).  I would feel really comfortable letting Seidenberg go this summer and just rolling with the defensive crew that they had for the last 5 months of this past season, allowing another $4 million to be used on Iginla or whoever else.

On the same note, the Chris Kelly extension was terrible.  Chiarelli extended a 32 year old, 3rd line center on a team with a ton of centers — remember, the team already had Rich Peverley and maybe even Tyler Seguin to use as a center — and Chiarelli also gave him 4 years and a full no trade clause.  The B’s were able to dump Peverley’s contract in the Seguin deal because he only had a 15 team NTC, but Kelly’s is all 29.  He’s a father who enjoys Boston, so I doubt he’s gonna waive that clause.

One more thing to complain about, this one having nothing to do with Peter Chiarelli (who I think is overall a very good GM): It would really help the B’s if Marc Savard’s LTIR money wasn’t still on the cap now.  But it is.  Fuck Matt Cooke.

Team USA Scenarios Today

If you aren’t jacked, there’s something wrong with you.  Team USA plays today for a chance to escape the Group of Death, which no one expected.  Right before the game starts, lemme just post the scenarios.

If Team USA wins, they get 1st in the group, and Germany will likely get 2nd.

If Team USA ties, they get 2nd in the group, and Germany gets 1st.

If Team USA loses, it comes down to goal differential.  We are 2 goals ahead of Ghana, so if we lose by 1 and they win by 1, we’ll both have 4 points. Then, it’ll come down to goals scored.  We have scored 4, and Ghana has scored 4.  If that’s also tied, then it comes down to head to head, and we’d beat Ghana.

We are up on Portugal by 5 goals, so if they win and we lose it’d still take a monumental defeat on our end and Ghana’s for us to not make it out of the group.

If Portugal and Ghana tie, we’re automatically in.

Basically, we want to root for a tie, but it would be almost as good if Portugal wins, which is why Ghana sending some of its players home was a blessing in disguise.

Team USA Plays Today

I feel like this is a Boston Sports playoff game right now.  That’s what the World Cup does to you, and that’s what somehow having a great chance to get out of the group of death does to you.

The US walks into the game without Jozy Altidore, which is also why they’ll only have 1 forward in Clint Dempsey.  (By contrast, Portugal has 3, including Ronaldo.)  That is mainly the case because of Altidore’s inury, but it could be a small sign of Team USA just being happy to pack it in and play for a tie, which may be smart because…

The ways that the US reaches the knockout round:

If USA ties Portugal today, then they have 4 points along with Germany, and Ghana and Portugal each have 1.  The US would have a +1 goal differential, Germany at +4, Portugal at -4, and Ghana at +1.  That would mean that the United States would only have to lose to Germany by a respectable score, and hope that Portugal and Ghana don’t kill one another by too much.  In that case, we’d be rooting for Ghana, who would be closer to us if we tie Portugal today, surprisingly.  A tie would be huge today, and I think it’s a realistically positive expectation.

If USA loses, then they’d have 1 point, Portugal would have 3, and we’d have 1 with Ghana and either a worse goal differential or the same.  Essentially, we’d need to beat Germany (I know, right?) and hope that Portugal and Ghana beat Portugal while we still win in goal differential.  That’s gonna be real hard, so the US has gotta get a result today.

If Team USA wins today, they’re in.  But you knew that.  So get the Budweiser on draft and let’s do this.

Carmelo Decides to Opt Out

According to sources that ESPN is citing, Carmelo Anthony will opt out of the final year of his contract in New York.  Obviously, this is not a surprise, but it’s huge news.  I’m gonna try to break down that this does for the entire league.

First of all, there’s no way that Carmelo is going back to New York unless another huge free agent joins him.  Considering that the Knicks don’t have the cap space to sign anyone, thanks to the albatross contracts that they have in Andrea Bargnani, JR Smith, Raymond Felton, and of course, Amare Stoudamire, this essentially means that Carmelo is leaving the Knicks.  Knicks fans might believe otherwise, saying things like “We’re the Knicks, we can always get players,” but they’re wrong here.  New York is done for at least a year, but they can probably go HAM next summer when there may be a ton of free agents on the table.  But they’d be best served by trying to trade JR Smith for anything they can and then paying Raymond Felton’s lawyer to be terrible at his job in order to clear their cap sheet next summer.  The Knicks have been bad for so long, what’s another year in order to improve in the future?

Next, we’ll see how this affects Miami.  I don’t think there’s much of a chance that Carmelo would go to Miami, but I guess it’s possible.  I also don’t see him playing with LeBron, simply because both guys play the same position (even if LBJ can do anything).  I think that Carmelo is gonna go to the Bulls, but I question how good of a fit that is.  Tom Thibodeau is all about defense, and neither Derrick Rose nor Carmelo Anthony share that sentiment.  Maybe Melo could go to Houston and create the worst defensive swingmen duo ever with James Harden, or he could go to Dallas and trust a good coach and good team management.

Based on what I’ve heard, it sounds like the city and culture matters a lot to Carmelo.  He apparently has been asking people what it’s like to be famous in Chicago, and that kind of thinking probably rules out places that would be great for basketball but bad for his personal brand.  But here are 2 that I’m thinking of for him… What about Washington, and what about our very own Boston?  If the C’s do actually get Kevin Love, that would be a great pair for Carmelo to partner with.  Rondo passes, Love creates space, and the organization has good management.  The C’s would have to be creative about making cap room, but they could do it.

And in Washington, well, I admit that I’m thinking of this one more just because the Wizards need a swing man — I don’t actually know if this is a good fit.  They do have Wall, Beal, Nene, and maybe Gortat and/or Ariza if they return, and they do have the cap space to get Anthony and maybe 1 of those 2 guys, especially if they’re willing to cut the plug with Otto Porter and his $4.5M salary on a team who wants to take a chance on him.  They might even get a good bench player out of the deal, because some rebuilding team would definitely go for 2013’s number 3 overall pick.

At this point in the column, I was thinking that there would be a few more teams to look for with Carmelo.  But now I’m realizing that there actually aren’t.  Looks like it’s Chicago and Houston at the top, and then maybe Dallas, and then maybe Boston, or Washington.  I don’t buy Miami because of LeBron right now, and I don’t buy Cleveland because of LeBron a few years ago.  Why would Carmelo want to be a worse version of “LeBron Part 2” in Cleveland?  My money is on Chicago, if only because a lot of NBA experts seem to think so.

What Bruins Should Do in the Offseason

July 1 is only a little over a week away, and the Bruins and other teams should and will be making many moves with their own free agents this week, not to mention the draft that’s coming up.  It’s time to create a full offseason piece.  Remember, the B’s are going to be hit with cap penalties that the wonderful capgeek.com estimated at $4.75M, so I factored that in, as well as the ability to put Savard’s money on LTIR.  Here’s what I want the B’s to do this summer, with help from the amazing capgeek.com.  With the exception of the first point that I make, which already happened, these hopes/suggestions are in order of importance.

1) Don’t re-sign Shawn Thornton.  This is already taken care of, and it doesn’t seem like that many people are having trouble with this one.  He just can’t skate anymore, and the B’s need someone else at the 4RW spot.  We’ll miss him, but this should have been an easy decision for Peter Chiarelli, and it looks like it was.

2) Re-sign Jarome Iginla.  This is an easy call.  As I posted recently, here are the forwards who are UFAs this summer: Vanek, Gaborik, (both not Bruins style players), Callahan (will cost too much for Bruins),  Stastny (doubt he could play wing, B’s don’t need a center), Cammalleri (plays C/LW more than RW), Alfredsson, Iginla.  After Iginla, who’s a realistic option for the B’s?  Alfredsson just wouldn’t be worth it unless he took an insane paycut — he’s not as big as his name now.

The B’s need a scorer who can also be physical, because that’s what has worked well with Horton and Iggy recently, so Vanek and Gaborik just aren’t worth the money that they’ll get for the Bruins system.  The B’s need to make the Iginla signing work, even if they have to make a bonus-laden 1 year contract for him again, with the penalty of another heavy bonus overage next year.  They gotta get Iggy back.

3) Amnesty Chris Kelly.  Can’t emphasize this one enough, so many fans that I’ve talked to are forgetting this one’s importance.  Chris Kelly was paid $3M per year 2 years ago to be a durable (had played at least 75 games in every year of his career), above average, 31 year old, 3rd line center.  Now, he is an injury prone, maybe average, $3M per year 3rd line left wing.  At the time of the Kelly re-signing in 2012, most people didn’t criticize the move for both salary numbers and term length, but a great deal of people criticized it for one or the other.  Now, we’re seeing that both sides had a point.  Chris Kelly is now getting paid $3M for 2 more years, making us all wish that the contract had been for 2, or mayyybe 3 seasons.  Or, at least the deal could’ve been for less money spread over the 4 years, a cushion that would be helpful this summer.  But nope.  Chiarelli committed what might be his biggest weakness, which is being too attached to his own guys. (Thank God he resisted that urge with Shawn Thornton.)

Of course, the Bruins owner is Jeremy Jacobs, who might not like paying a guy not to play.  I really hope that Cam Neely or someone can get it into his head that the NHL’s revenue streams are gonna explode soon, mitigating some of the pain of amnestying a guy… and, oh yeah, remind Jacobs that it’s good for his pockets if the B’s win the Stanley Cup.  I don’t know, maybe that is true, I’m just guessing.

4) Amnesty Adam McQuaid.  Would you rather pay Kevan Miller $800k, or Adam McQuaid $1.56 million?  Exactly.  And that’s where the Bruins are right now.  They have their top 4 defensemen, and their salaries, set in stone for next year: Chara, Seidenberg, Boychuk, Hamilton.  Torey Krug won’t be traded, so he’s the 5th guy (here’s to hoping that Reilly Smith and Torey Krug don’t get that much on their contracts as RFAs), and then Kevan Miller.  And they still have Matt Barkowski, who would probably re-sign at about Miller’s $800k clip because of the horrible season he had after a promising end to 2013.  That 7 guys already, and then there’s David Warsofsky and Joe Morrow.  And then there’s Adam McQuaid, who is probably not much higher than a 50% chance to be healthy for the postseason going forward.  Let him go, and remember that we’ll always have Pierre McGuire calling him “One Tough Hombre.

5) Bring up young forwards.  If the B’s get back Iggy and Reilly, that gives them a complete 1st line, complete 2nd, C/RW on the 3rd, and C/LW on the 4th, assuming that Paille stays at 4 — Actually, check that, I want Paille on the 3rd line at left wing.  That leaves 2 spots open with Gregory Campbell.  The B’s like having 5 capable centers, something that having Rich Peverley always allowed them to do.  (See where I’m going with this?)  Ryan Spooner just needs to be on the roster in this situation, and his linemate from Providence, Matt Fraser, should take Shawn Thornton’s spot.  Everyone should remember that Fraser played better than either Jordan Caron or Justin Florek in the playoffs this year, and he could play his more natural right wing in place of Thorty.  Then, we’d have a ton of flexibility with the final 4 spots on the roster at forward.

I’d start with Paille at 3LW, then have Spooner at 4C to really let him shine, Campbell moves over to 4LW (he slipped a little this year, and he’s played left wing for the Bruins before), and Fraser at 3RW with the chemistry he has with Spooner.  Or, we could put Campbell at 3LW and Paille at 4LW, thereby creating one of the fastest final lines in the league with Spooner, Paille, and Fraser.  Having either Paille or Campbell on the 3rd line would also let them and Loui Eriksson cover up for Carl Soderberg’s defensive question marks.  Or just put Spooner with Soderberg, with whom he had success this past winter.  Either way, get Spooner on the roster, and give him his friend Fraser, too.

6) Sign a backup goalie, 13th/14th forwards (which should forever be known as the “Jordan Caron roster spot), and 7th/8th defensemen for as little as possible.  Maybe not above the league minimum.  Pennies are tight for the Bruins this summer, and they’re not going to win the Cup because they decided to sign somebody like James Reimer as the team backup.  Cut costs there, they way they did last year with Chad Johnson making $600k.  And there’s no sense in paying someone like Jordan Caron much more than the league minimum, because, even if they have a top 12 guy go down with injury, they should have enough in Providence to step up for an extended period of time, and, at next year’s deadline, they’ll be able to absorb more salary because of the weird way that the NHL prorates salaries so much that the B’s would only need about $200k in space for a $1M player.  That’s how the B’s somehow almost got Alex Edler last year despite his high salary, and they should jump on that again this year, meaning that pinching pennies now is a must.

7) Trade Niklas Svedberg.  He’s about to be 25, and his value won’t get much higher.  The B’s have Tuukka and Malcolm Subban, so he’s gonna get squeezed out anyway.  Maybe package him with Adam McQuaid so that old rich man Jacobs doesn’t have to use the amnesty on McQuaid.

I’m hoping that the B’s are able to do at least most of that, but of course, we need backup plans.  Here it is.

If the B’s don’t re-sign Iginla, don’t pay too much for any right wing to fill in for him.  There’s no one on the market who can fill in for Iginla at his price, except maybe Ryan Callahan on a salary-only basis.  But Callahan’s salary can’t be converted as heavily into bonuses like Iginla’s, so it won’t be worth it unless Callahan’s market crashes 1929 style.  At that point, they B’s should either go big by trading for someone like Alex Eder and fortity their defense, and then be an insane defensive team with hopefully just enough offensive chops to get the job done.  Eriksson and Smiddy could be the top 2 right wings, and the B’s could fill in at 3RW with a cheap, Benoit Pouliot type guy, or at least some young guy from Providence.  There are not many forwards that they could go big on like with Edler, but a guy I’m keeping my eye on is Bobby Ryan.

Ryan wasn’t as great of a fit in Ottowa as many had hoped, and there’s a good chance he’s leaving next summer as a UFA.  The Sens, who might also me trading Jason Spezza, could capitalize on Ryan’s value and just do a flat out rebuilding year.  Ryan could sign with the Bruins, and he could also be the top ling right wing of the future.  Rumor has it that Ryan, from Southern Jersey, has preferred an east coast, American team.  For him, the B’s might fit.  But would Bobby Ryan fit for the Bruins?  Forget what Brian Burke says, but it is legitimate to wonder if Ryan is physical and tough enough to be 1RW in the Bruins’ system.  He makes $5.1M, which is also a lot, so Chiarelli might have to convince his old team to take on some of Ryan’s salary in a retained salary transaction.  That’s gonna be difficult.

Probably more intelligently, the B’s could just go for a few cheaper replacements if Iggy doesn’t re-sign.  Maybe they could see what Daniel Alfredsson would be willing to play for in order to win a Cup, and then maybe they would go for a second stint of Benoit Pouliot, or at least someone like that.

Dream Scenario, and the More Realistic Dream Scenario:

My wet dream that is probably just a pipe dream is that Iginla takes a slight discount and takes a bonus-laden contract, the B’s re-sign Reilly Smith, Torey Krug, and Matt Bartkowski for below what they’re worth (Hopefully like $4 million combined for Smith and Krug, and about $800k for Bart), Chiarelli amnesties Kelly and McQuaid, and pinch pennies where they should.  Because of all this, they have more money than they realized, opening the door for them to sign Ryan Callahan once the market crashes for him. (It must be noted that the odds of Callahan’s market falling through are extremely slim.  Some team is going to want him and his high salary demands, especially with the cap rising — his childhood team, the Sabres, might go above and beyond.)  Callahan signs a 1 year, “prove it” deal in order to cash in next summer when the cap might rise by even more, and he and the B’s will both do the deal because the team’s style of play is great for him.  The Bruins skate into the 2014-2015 season with a lineup of:

Lucic-Krejci-Iginla
Marchand-Bergeron-Callahan (Have to match Cally with Bergy)
Smith-Soderberg-Eriksson
Paille-Spooner-Campbell
Fraser (They might need to trade Campbell and put Fraser at 4RW to make the dollars work — Campbell for Callahan? Fair swap, I guess.
Some super cheap 14th forward

Chara-Boychuk
Seidenberg-Hamilton
Krug-Miller
Bartkowski

Tuukka Time
Some dirt cheap goalie.

 

 

Red Sox Win on Amazing Back to Back HRs, Walk Off

There are going to be 2 missed points from this game.  First John Lackey threw a fuckin gem.  He posted an insane 9 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 105 pitches.  Such an amazing outing is another example of how lucky the Red Sox are that John Lackey actually made the 4th and 5th years of his huge contract worth it.  In 2013, they wouldn’t have won the Series without him.  In 2014, they’d be dead without Lackey.

The second point that will be overlooked is how ridiculous David Ortiz is in the clutch, because he just pulled another homer in a tight situation out of nowhere yet again.  Down 1-0 in the 10th, when his team had scored 0 runs on 1 (ONE) hit over 9.1 pitched shows how desperately the team needed an actual hit, and one that would get them back into the game.  Ortiz provided it, yet again.

Then, everyone should and will talk about Mike Napoli and how important he is to the Red Sox if he can rally contribute.  They need that 5 hitter to protect Ortiz, and he delivered today.  Well, he delivered on 1 at bat, but we’ll take small steps for 2014 Mike Napoli.

If the Sox sneak into the playoffs by a game, we’ll remember this one.

Spain Loses, WTF

The 2008 and 2012 Euro Cup Champs, and the 2010 freakin World Cup champs, Spain, is out.  Chile eliminated them with a 2-0 win today, and then the Spanish coach Vincente De Bosque said that they “deserved to go out.”  Amazing.  I thought Spain was gonna contend for another Cup this year, but they disappointed everyone.

By the way, did you see Chile’s fans today?  I would post a link to a video or photo or something, but this is worth some Google search investigating of your own.  That’s how cool it was… what this tourney is all about.

Spurs Are a Model Organization

The Spurs have just captured their 5th championship in 16 years, which is pretty good.  They’re officially the Patriots of the NBA, but it might be more fair to call the Patriots the Spurs of the NFL.  The Pats need 1 more with Brady and Belichick to reach that point, but whatever.  The point is the Spurs are amazing, and Peter Holt, the owner, said it best when he said that his secret to being a winning owner was simply RC Buford, Gregg Popovich, and the players.

Adam Silver said that Buford and Pop might be the best GM/Coach combo in the game today, but he should have said that they’re arguably the best ever.  They only get players who buy in no matter what, and they don’t waste their time with anyone who doesn’t.  Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw and even guys like Dejuan Blair, Gary Neal, and Brent Barry from a few years ago are good examples.  Bruce Bowen is the ultimate example, in case you’re wondering.  Buford and Pop know what they want, and they get it.  Sorry for making this sound like an annoying talking head trying to beat a point into the ground, but it’s true.

Speaking of Kawhi Leonard, how awesome is it that Kawhi Leonard is a Finals MVP??  Only on the Spurs.  I don’t see there being another franchise who could pull that one off.  We all thought it was interesting when Tony Parker got Finals MVP in 2007, but that was nothing compared to Leonard.  A guy who isn’t even considered in the Spurs’ Big 3, who all the fuss was over repeatedly, gets Finals MVP because he buys into a system that is tailored to each guy in order to maximize their strengths.

Gregg Popovich is amazing.  He might actually be the best coach of all time, and I think he’s second behind only Red Auerbach.  Phil Jackson won in part because he went where the players went.  He is a tremendous coach, but he didn’t have to, or just didn’t in general, bring out each player’s abilities as well as Pop.  Popovich is a legend, and deserves to be recognized as such even if he doesn’t like getting recognized for anything.

And Tim Duncan has nothing left to accomplish in his NBA career.  He’s also a legend.  I’d say more about him, but I feel like words can’t do him justice.  I just hope that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, as well as Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich, are often mentioned together once they all retire.

What to Look for in NHL Offseason

The NHL offseason has officially begun, thanks to the Kings’ win over the Rangers in yet another awesome overtime game between those two teams.  Finally, it’s no longer the season where the Bruins somehow lost to the Habs on home ice in a Game 7.

As every Bruins fan knows but doesn’t want to admit, this offseason will be crucial for the B’s for the next 2 or 3 years, because many members of this core won’t be nearly as productive, or maybe not even in the league, after 2 or 3 years.  I think that the Bruins will contend for many more years with Bergeron, Rask, Hamilton, many others, and a smart front office, but contending once guys like Chara, Seidenberg, and Iginla If He Comes Back retire — and after Soderberg likely leaves next year for more ice time —  isn’t a sure thing.  It is a sure thing is that the B’s are contenders now, and they’re gonna need to make smart moves right now to maximize that space.  So here are some factors to look for in the NHL offseason, heavily focused on the Bruins.

  • People do not realize how much Jarome Iginla’s contract affects the entire league and free agency period.  Here are the lists of top end UFA forwards, assuming that all of these guys even reach free agency and aren’t signed by their own team before July 1: Jarome Iginla, Thomas Vanek, Marian Gaborik, Paul Stastny, Ryan Callahan, Mike Cammalleri, Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley (HA).  After Iginla, who’s really left?  Vanek can be great, and Gaborik can be lethal, but both aren’t exactly the Bruins’ type of player, and both will get way more money than they’re worth this summer.  After them, there’s a huge dropoff.  Ryan Callahan would be a great fit for the Bruins, but if Glen Sather thought he cost too much, Peter Chiarelli likely will, too. Mike Cammalleri?  Only if he falls through and can be had for a 1 year, dirt cheap “prove it” deal.If the B’s don’t get Iginla, they’ll either have to trade for someone of his caliber or abandon their strategy of trying to have a RW good enough to make Reilly Smith and Loui Eriksson the 2nd and 3rd best RWs on the team.  That means that they’ll likely go for more depth signings, maybe beefing up the 4th line and the wings on the 3rd line.  If they don’t get Iginla, their strategy will really change, and that means that it’ll change for every team.  All of the other teams will definitely be watching what the Presidents’ Trophy winners will do and act accordingly, if for no other reason than that the pickings are slim in 2014.
  • Extensions for Krejci, Boychuk, and possibly Paille and Campbell will be very interesting, but, for the most part, we know how they’ll work out.  Krejci will get a lot of money, definitely upwards of $5 million if Ryan Callahan wants 6×6 and NMC/NTC, but will Krejci demand more than Bergeron?  I kind of doubt that.  Saint Patrice obviously took less because he’s Bergy, but I think that’ll be the unofficial line in the sand.  Krejic will get about $6.25 for 6 years.  Boychuk will get more than Seidenberg’s 4×4.  How much more is unsure.  I hope he doesn’t get more than $5 mil, but the B’s would make a colossal mistake by not extending Boychuk this summer.  In the summer of 2015, some team who needs a playoff proven, tough 2 or 3 defenseman will pay Chuk so much that he won’t be able to turn it down, even if he does like Boston.  Chiarelli needs to prevent that.I’d want the Bruins to resign Danny Paille and not Gregory Campbell.  Campbell and Paille are both 30, but Paille just seems like he’ll have more of a shelf life.  Campbell already isn’t what he was in 2011, and Paille was an NHL late bloomer who might stay at his peak for 3-4 more years.  Also, the B’s have a ton of centers like Spooner and Khoklachev.  I’d be fine with Campbell being let go next year, but I would like to see Paille get locked up.  Having a speedy, penalty killing 4LW who is good enough to play 3LW is a luxury that is worth keeping for the B’s.  Remember, none of these extensions will affect the 2014-2015 season, but they will show which direction the team is going.
  • Extensions that will affect next season are the deals with RFAs Reilly Smith, Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, Justin Florek, Matt Fraser, and Niklas Svedberg.  Of course, the last 4 aren’t as important as the first 2.  Bartkowski won’t make much after his terrible playoffs, probably not more than Kevan Miller’s $800k.  I’m fine with that as the going rate for a 6th-7th defenseman.  Florek’s and Fraser’s contracts only matter in terms of how much they’ll cost on the cap next year if and when they’re actually on the NHL roster (hopefully a lot for Fraser).  Svedberg’s deal only matters in terms of how easy it will be for the Bruins to trade him.  They really should try to do so, as he’ll already be 25 without having played and NHL game.  He was the AHL goalie of the year in 2013, meaning that the B’s should capitalize on that value, especially with Malcolm Subban in the system.  Trade him this summer for something that might help this year — maybe attach Adam McQuaid to the deal to get his contract off the books.For Smiddy and Krug, every Bruins fan needs to root hard for Chiarelli to play hard ball, at least for this year’s cap hit.  The B’s will not have much space, and they can’t afford to give either of these guys a lot.  I’m hoping for Smiddy and Krug to only bring in about $2 million a year each, which might be reasonable given that PK Subban only got a little under $3 million in early 2014.  The B’s should deal with the risk of having these guys play out of their minds and then deserving a ton of money on their next contracts, simply because they need cap space now.  Present the deals to Smiddy and Krug as great chances to improve upon themselves and earn a lot the next time they’re free agents.
  • Around the league, what the San Jose Sharks do will be huge.  Most teams will probably keep their core in tact this summer because teams always do that.  If the Sharks decide that they need to blow up a team that always loses in the playoffs, then wherever those guys go will be not only interesting but also important.  Watch out for that.
  • The Penguins have a lot of cap space… but not as much as you think.  For a team that is seeing their 2LW, 1RW injury replacement, everyone in their bottom 6 except Beau Bennett and the immortal Craig Adams, and 2 top 4 defensemen all hit free agency this summer, you’d think that they have more than $15 million in space.  The New Ray Shero will have to find creative ways to get some depth around Crosby and Malkin, because Shero was note exactly an expert at that.
  • Ryan Callahan will be a microcosm for the free agency period.  If he makes a ton, it’s because everyone is willing to spend, and everyone will convince themselves (maybe correctly) that a two way, smart, gritty right winger at the end of his prime will be worth the money.  If the market is slow, no one will convince themselves of that, and we’ll all laugh at Callahan for not taking Glen Sather’s offer.
  • There is no reason for Buffalo not to get Ryan Callahan at whatever cost.  Callahan is from Rochester, and would be a home town hero.  One could logically point out that Sabres fans come to the games no matter how much their team sucks, because they really are that great of fans.  But Callahan is a good leader, as any NBC hockey person will tell you 6 times over, and the Sabres will need that kind of leadership for their young guys and all of the top draft picks they’ll have coming up, especially with the Ryan Miller trade.  Just sign him, amnesty Ville Leino, and overspend on an RFA or 2, as long as they’re still cheap, in order to use their cap space for something that might actually work out.