Back Check with the Bruins Buff

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bruins Trade Deadline -- UFA/RFA

Bruins Buffs --

Here's a quick list of Boston free agents/restricted free agents at the season's ends.

Notable Unrestricted Free Agents

PJ Axelsson
Manny Fernandez
Shane Hnidy
Tim Thomas
Stephane Yelle

Notable Restricted Free Agents

Byron Bitz
Matt Hunwick
Martin Karsums
Phil Kessel
David Krejci
Matt Lashoff
Martin St. Pierre

Take a look at Boston's unrestricted free agents. Aside from the goalies, they're lower-level players approaching the end of their careers. Chances are the club won't resign most of them.

Stephane Yelle gives the team a solid veteran presence and a lunch-pail effort each night. But with the amount of depth the organization has at center, he's expendable.

PJ Axelsson collects more than $2 million to play on the third line and kill penalties. Fans clamor that prospect Vladimir Sobotka is ready to assume that role while adding more grit to the position.

Sheriff Shane Hnidy has done excellent work this season as the team's spare defenseman. But Matt Hunwick continues to progress and could jump into a regular spot with the team next year.

Boston will instead turn its focus to its restricted free agents. And the B's Brass certainly has a conundrum on their hands.

Kessel and Krejci, two of the B's rising young stars, are both enjoying career years. But Boston will have to offer the two RFAs big contracts to keep them on the books next season.

Both are making a little more than $800,000 in salary this year. With the pace that they're playing at now, the Special K's could demand up to $4-5 million contracts in the off-season.

If they do, Boston will have to dump salary to keep them on board. Though the B's Brass could try to shed some salary by the deadline, they'd be wiser to not disrupt team chemistry.

However, dealing a free agent goaltender doesn't seem entirely out of the question.

Boston's goaltending platoon will no doubt be separated in the off-season due to expiring contracts. Thanks to some of the top statistics in the league, Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez could receive lucrative offers from other teams this summer.

GM Peter Chiarelli will have his hands full this month -- should he dangle one of his netminders at the deadline to add more firepower or defense?

If not, he'll still have to address the issue after the post-season. Should the Bruins keep the All-Star Thomas or go with the consistent Fernandez?

Should they abandoned both 'tenders and go with Tuukka Rask between the pipes next season? Or perhaps they'll call in an entirely new goalie?

Check out this week's poll and voice your opinion. Expect an entry about the situation next week.


Anonymous said...

Great entry. Do you think that they should get rid of both Fernandez and Thomas next season or keep one of them on board? And if so, which one?

Post a Comment


Designed by: SC Web Innovations