Yesterday, Jaromir Jagr was traded to Florida Panthers for a 2015 2nd round pick and a 2016 3rd rounder. Considering that I was rooting for the Bruins to trade for Jagr at the trade deadline since the day after Game 7 vs. the Canadiens, this trade obviously stung me a little bit. But when looking at his season, where he was traded to, and the Bruins’ current cap situation, this trade had a few ripple effects. Let’s take a look at everything this trade signifies.
The Bruins don’t get Jaromir Jagr.
This one falls in the “no shit” category, because generally you can’t trade for Jagr from a team like the Devils when they’ve already traded him. But Jagr may have been the answer that the Bruins were looking for in the Top 9 forwards. He is a hard guy to play with just because of how quirky his style of play can be, but he already performed really well 2 years ago on the Bergeron-Marchand line. Given that Reilly Smith has slightly regressed this year, albeit less than most people think, it would be totally reasonable for Jagr to take Smith’s spot and bump him to the Krejci-Lucic line. That would give Krejci and Lucic a reliable passer and scorer, who plays really differently than guys like Horton or Iginla, but could have the right kind of skills for that spot. That would leave Loui Eriksson at the 3RW spot with his Swedish BFF Soderberg, and everything looks good. The problem would be finding a spot for David Pastrnak, who is already guaranteed a spot on the team because the Bruins are using a year off of his ELC. While I’d love a lightning fast 4th line of Spooner-Paille-Pastrnak (or maybe substitute another trade acquisition for Spooner or Paille), I don’t think Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli want anything other than a grinding 4th line of penalty killers. They like their muckers.
Either way, Jagr would have been a good fit on the Bruins. He also could have played with Krejci and Lucic and maybe capitalize on whatever chemistry he has with Krejci from Olympic teams. (After all, it’s a known fact that athletes play better when they can speak a different language to the guy that they’re playing with. That’s why David Ortiz became what he is when he started playing with Pedro and Manny. Spanish!) Jagr might be able to fit with the Bruins better than other teams, which is part of the reason that I wanted the Bruins to trade for him, maybe getting better value on the trade than other teams would.
Jagr might not be as good as we think.
And I am 100% including myself in the “we” category, because I didn’t realize until looking at his fancy stats recently that Jagr isn’t the Top 10 MVP candidate that he was last year in his early forties. His numbers have dropped since his 2014 with the Devils and his time in 2013 with the Bruins, and that can be expected for a guy who turned 43 almost 2 weeks ago. On behindthenet.ca, his corsirel is down from 13.5 to 10.9, and even more noticeable, his corsi overall is down from 17.21 to 2.71. Some of that is to be explained by his team being suckier, but definitely not all of it – not when his corsi relative quality of competition has dropped from .94 to -.15, and not when his offensive zone starts percentage is roughly the same. Lastly, he has 29 points in 57 games this year, just over half a game, while tallying 67 in 82 games last year.
So maybe passing over Jagr is a good idea, despite everything I’ve said this year. And when you really think about it, if Johnny Boychuk gets a trade of a pair of 2nd rounders, then is Jagr really worth a 2nd and 3rd? Probably not. So, in a vacuum, I’m ok with the Bruins letting Jagr go elsewhere. But they need to get someone else, in part because…
The Panthers are gunning for the Bruins’ 8 seed.
…Because the Florida is nipping at Boston’s heels. Given David Krejci’s injury and the team’s determination this season to occasionally suck for no good reason, the B’s might not get out of their slump until it’s too late. Bruins fans can no longer hang their hat on the fact that Florida may be overachieving and the Bruins are definitely underachieving, because all that crap doesn’t matter with about 20 games left. It’s been automatic for awhile that this season will break the Bruins’ 6 year streak of having home ice advantage in the 1st round of the playoffs, but what really needs to settle in our minds is that it’s time to check the standings for the previous night’s results for a lowly team like the Panthers. Thanks to the Blackhawks for winning last night without Kane, by the way. That was a huge win, because it was probably the last game the Panthers won’t have Jagr.
Peter Chiarelli now has even less of an excuse not to make a big trade.
It was pretty clear a few days ago that the Bruins need a big trade at the deadline. But you could still use the logic of, “This team will probably make the playoffs anyway, they have no chance of getting higher than an 8 seed, and this core does have potential. So a minor tweak here or there is probably all they need, and giving up a future asset for 20 games probably isn’t worth it.”
That logic is dead now, because the Bruins may be letting the Panthers walk right past them if they don’t make a trade now, especially coming off of Krejci’s injury. And I’m not talking about the unfortunate but seemingly inevitable trade of Chris Stewart, either. I’m talking a solid, Top 4 defenseman at worst and hopefully a defenseman even better than that and a forward better than Stewart. I’ve been hoping for defenseman Andrej Sekera from Carolina, but I’m gonna post every possible target for the Bruins within the next day or 2 in anticipation of the deadline. But this has to be the Jaromir Jagr type of trade deadline of 2013, not the Greg Zanon or Andrej Meszaros type of deadline of 2012 and 2014.
The Bruins can manipulate the cap for someone significant with Krejci’s injury.
Joe McDonald wrote about this one. The Bruins immediately put David Krejci on long term injury reserve, opening up his salary for extra cap space this year. That’s a good sign for a trade, because the Bruins didn’t put Chara on LTIR for a few weeks after his injury earlier in the season, even though it was well known that he’d be out at least 5 weeks and the threshold for LTIR is 24 days and 10 games.
McDonald explained the possible maneuver through the use of full team salaries, but I’d prefer to use the actual amount left on a contract, because that’s the way that the team looks at the cap throughout the season. Putting David Krejci’s $5.25 million and Kevan Miller’s $800k on LTIR for 20 games, or about 25% of the season, saves the team about $1.3 million for Krejci and $200k for Miller, or about $1.5 million total. But again, that’s prorated. That means that any player the Bruins could trade for would have to have about $1.5 million due to him for about the rest of the season. That means that the B’s could acquire a guy with actually about a $6 million salary, which would translate into a pretty good player, you’d think.
Here’s the problem, though. That would probably mean that David Krejci would have to be on the shelf for the rest of the regular season, as the team may not have the space for both of them if he’s gone. Exactly how much space the Bruins have that can be prorated is so hard to determine that it’s probably unknown to anyone except Peter Chiarelli and the now defunct but amazing capgeek.com, but the team may not be able to have both Krejci and an expensive trade acquisition until the playoffs, when there’s no cap. So, if the B’s spend to the last dollar and then bring Krejci back for Game 1 of the playoffs, that’s some serious, Bill Belichick type manipulation of the cap.
I’m fully in support of that if it’s what needs to happen. Because, if there’s one thing that the Jagr trade teaches us, it’s the Peter Chiarelli needs to light a fire under the team’s ass by doing something. Hopefully he gets enough of a fire lit under his own ass to make the move.