Now that the 2017 season is officially over for the Boston Bruins lets takes a look at the positives going into 217/18. For the fifth time in six years the Bruins have been knocked out of the playoffs. This years culprit was the Ottawa Senators. You can say injuries was a big reason for getting eliminated in game five but in all fairness it was the Bruins themselves. Certainly it was not lack of effort it was just a simple matter of talent. Head coach Bruce Cassidy hired mid way through the year replacing Claude Julian did a masterful job. Going forward the Bruins need to tweak their roster. Decisions need to be made on first goaltender Tukka Rask. Rask had a decent year in 2017 registering eight shutouts and winning 31 games. But the bottom line he hasn’t won anything in post season since Tim Thomas left after their 2011 Stanley Cup season. The question is who do they replace him with. With nobody near[y as good in Providence the Bruins will have to consider trading him or explore free agency. Two goalies that are available are free agent Ben Bishop and Flyer goalie Steve Mason. Mason 29 years of age has a cap hit of 1,000,000 dollars played in only 58 games in 17 winning 26.. He’s at best a backup. Bishop on the other hand is the same age as Rask 30 yrs old. Bishop played in only 39 games 1n 17 but overall is about is as good as Rask. The rest of the roster is loaded with youth. Names t keep an eye on are center Tim Schaller,center Austin Czarnik, defenseman Charlie McAvoy. The Bruins need to let go non productive players Jimmy Hayes, Matt Beleskey, and center Ryan Spooner. Veteran defenseman and captain Zedeno Chara is 40. For 40 years old Chara is still productive logging 80 games in 17 and 75 games the year before. With young defenseman on the way up he could be a good role model to have around for another year at 4,000,000 guaranteed. With a weak free agency in 2017 the only attractive names on the market are defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk,Brian Campbell, defenseman Johnny Oduya and winger TJ Oshie. Shattenkirk 28 years old is the youngest and one of the most productive offensive defenseman going.Would be worth a long term investment for the Bruins. Campbell and O’duya are both in their mid to late thirties.Both would be short tem with Oduya’s playoff experience he would be the better fit. The other issue the Bruins need to explore are center David Krejci. Krejci recently signed a long term extension with the Bruins but his production has fallen considerably plus he missed the playoffs with an upper body injury. Krejci also has a no trade clause in his contract . Any deal that may come along the Bruins would ha to swallow most of and most likely get very little in return. One name to keep an eye on in free agency is winger TJ Oshie. Oshie had a solid season for the Capitals Oshie who averages 25 goals a year and still young would be the perfect fit for the Bruins. Clearly the Bruins have some decisions to make over the summer. The best thing they did was go with the youth movement and fire Claude Julian. They need to come to terms with Krejci and Rask and start winning in post season. Bruin fans are waiting patiently.
With the NFLDraft just a few days away Patriot nation is curiously wondering what moves if any the Patriots will make come draft day. The Patriots have two third round picks a fourth a fifth depending on if Buffalo matches the Patriots offer on the Gillislee contract. If they don’t the Pats will lose their fifth round pick. Two other issues regarding the Patriots are the futures of cornerback Malcom Butler and quarterback Jimmy Garoppollo. Butler recently signed a one year tender with the Pats for an estimated 3.19 million. Recent word out of Foxboro has him staying put in New England for a year. As for Garoppollo he has been the subject of trade rumors all off season. Garoppollo filled in nicely for two games while Tom Brady served his deflategate suspension. He did however miss two games due to injury If the right deal comes along look for Belichick to pull the trigger on a deal. Now to the draft. With two third round picks look for the Pats to add an outside linebacker for depth. During the season the Pats traded veteran Chandler Jones to Arizona. So any move here would be a depth move. A couple of names to keep an eye on is UCLA linebacker Takkarist McKinley. McKinley a pass rushing specialist who recorded 61 tackles 10 sacks and three forced fumbles. Mckinley may also be gone by the time the Pats select their pick. Jordan Willis is another player with value. Willis played both OLB/DE at Kansas State Willis had 11 sacks and 52 tackles in 2016. Carroll Phillips of Illinois an OLB/DE is another player whose versatile and can play more than one position. Anyone of these players would be good fits for the Patriots. Players who can play more than one position would be a good fit for the Pats. With the second third round pick don’t be surprised if Belichick selects a quarterback . This is what he did three years ago when he selected Garoppollo in the second round. A couple of names that maybe available might be Pat Mahomes of Texas Tech. Mahomes had an excellent senior season and would fit in nicely with any NFL team because of his pocket presence . Brad Kaaya of Miami is another possibility. Kaaya threw for 3500 yards in 16 24 td’s and only seven interceptions Kaaya has a strong skill set and also has a lot of poise.Trevor Knight of Texas and M would be a nice choice for the Pats Knight threw for 2400 yards and 19 td’s in 16. Also has great leadership skills. In the middle rounds the Pats could add another running back to the mix. Currently LeGarrette Blount remains unsigned. Some names to watch are Dalvin Cook of Florida State Wayne Gallman of Clemson Gallman Gallman had over 1000 yards for the Tigers last year and 13 touchdowns.Gallman is an excellent elusive runner with good mental toughness. Jammal Williams of BYU would be a great value pick in the mid rounds. Williams ran for 1375 yards in 16 with 12 td’s In the later rounds the Pats may add another corner. Veteran Logan Ryan was lost to free agency. Some late corners who may be available are Jamar Summers of UConn. Summers whose 6ft and lengthy could start out on special teams.Donovan Wilson of Texas A&M has also good height six feet two inches. The Pats could also bulk up on the offensive line in case of injuries to Shaq Mason or Nate Solder. Some possibilities could be Miami G/T KC McDermott McDermott a versatile lineman would be a perfect Belichick fit.Other names to keep an eye on are Penn States Brandon Mahon.a G/T Toby Weathersby a mammoth 6ft 5 305 pound tackle would be a great depth move. Another name Grant Newsome of Michigan a giant 6ft 6 318 pounder would also look nice in a Pats uniform. Their you have my selections. Just remember on draft day Belichick is liable to do anything. The Pats had a great off season signing Bill free agent corner Stephon Gilmore to a 40 million dollar deal. Also the Pats came to terms with Dont’a Hightower and DEKony Elay to replace departed Chris Long. Plus wide out Brandon Cooks from New Orleans. No matter what the Pats do on draft day anything they do will be a bonus.
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