Jimmy Hayes had two goals and five points in 58 games this season. (Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports)

Jimmy Hayes had two goals in 58 games this season. (Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports)

To say that Jimmy Hayes lost his footing in what was his worst NHL season to date — two goals and just five points in 58 games for the Bruins this season — would suggest that he’s ever had it since landing with the Bruins in a July 2015 trade with Florida. Which, by the way, he most definitely has not.

But 2016-17 was beyond rough for the 6-foot-5 winger.

“It was obviously a rough season for me just from a production standpoint,” Hayes, under contract for one more season at $2.3 million, said. “It was a struggle all year for me to find my game and I’ve got to take responsibility for that. It’s just something – you have to go back to the drawing board and figure it out; figure out a way to start producing again in this league.”

It’s rather remarkable how that production seemingly left the 27-year-old the second that he came to the Bruins, too. Acquired on the heels of a 19-goal, 35-point campaign in 72 games with the Panthers, Hayes has since scored just 15 goals and totaled 34 points in two seasons (133 games, to be exact) with the B’s.

“When you’re not producing and you expect yourself to produce at a high level and you’re not doing that, it becomes very frustrating and you lose confidence,” Hayes, a Dorchester native and a cousin of Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald, admitted. “It’s just something you’ve got to find a way out and it was kind of just one of those years for me. It was a struggle.”

For Hayes, the production came in spurts, but it was never quite consistent enough.

Hayes snapped a nearly 40-game goal drought in November, and scored his second and final goal of the season just eight games later. He added an assist in the game that followed his second goal. Hayes also made an immediate impact when the B’s made the switch from Claude Julien to Bruce Cassidy, too, with two assists in his first four games under Cassidy. The production also came with a move out of a fourth-line role and into a third-line wing spot with Ryan Spooner and Frank Vatrano. But, as has often been the case through two forgettable seasons in Boston, the production faded, and in turn, so did Hayes’ chances.

And then they were put to bed with another deadline acquisition for scoring help on the wings.

“When I first took over, [Hayes] was a minus-12 and got himself back to even. He might not have had the offensive numbers, but I think he contributed on that line,” Cassidy said. “Then we brought in Drew Stafford and he bumped around the lineup and obviously, [Hayes] wasn’t in and that was a decision I made to go with more of a forechecking presence into the playoffs.”

Out of action when the stakes were at their highest for the second season in a row, Hayes is more than familiar with this situation.

“It’s something you never want to go through again and you never want to feel like that,” the Boston College alum said.

“You feel like it’s a long way to the top and you’re struggling every day, it’s just very frustrating.”

But now the question for the Bruins becomes whether or not Hayes gets a third chance at redeeming himself in town.

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has not been afraid to be a bit more aggressive than his predecessors when it comes to cutting bait with the unproductive. That’s how the Bruins landed Hayes in the first place, as he was the return of the Reilly Smith trade after Smith’s moribund sleepwalk of a 13-goal season in 2015. He also bought out the remaining two years of veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg’s contract last summer, and also failed to qualify restricted free agent Brett Connolly, instead allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent that the Bruins simply walked away from.

At the same time, you could make the case that all of those decisions came back to bite Sweeney. Smith’s first season in Florida was everything the Bruins wish they got out of the hot-and-cold winger, with 25 goals and 50 points. Seidenberg rebounded, earned a contract (and then another one) with the Islanders, and was recently named the best defenseman of the 2017 World Championships. And Connolly, signed to an $850,000 contract, scored a career-high 15 goals for the Caps this past season.

History says that Hayes would probably find a way to do the same.

But still, what are their options?

The Bruins would likely be unable to move his contract without eating some money, which they could seemingly afford to do for just one year, but it would things awfully tight for the club to make any ‘upgrades’ to their roster via free agency, especially with David Pastrnak expected to get paid. They could bury his contract in the minors and free up a little more than a million dollars.

Or they could use a buyout on Hayes, which would count for over half a million dollars against the club’s 2017-18 salary cap and then almost $900,000 the following season. A Hayes buyout should be the last-ditch effort for the Bruins (I would even go as far to say that it shouldn’t be an option at all), as it would give the B’s over $2.7 million of dead money on their cap this season, and over $2 million of it the next season, thus really extending the misery that’s come with Hayes’ lack of production in Boston. It would also put the Bruins in the situation where they’re actually paying for one less body, which is not always a good thing, as a rash of defensive injuries in the club’s first-round series loss to the Senators told you in regards to the Seidenberg buyout.

“It’s always a tool,” Sweeney said of any potential buyout opportunities this summer. “We went down that path last year. I haven’t made a firm decision on that. There’s cap implications and things you look at, lack of depth as a result of it. I think we’ve got to be pretty aware of all the residual associated with just throwing out the buyout term. For me, it went right down to the wire in that decision making last year and I’ll take all the time necessary to make the right one this time.”

But until then, or perhaps regardless, Hayes’ second straight subpar season has sent him back to the drawing board.

“It’s just something that I’m going to have to work on this summer and get my game back to the level it should be,” Hayes said.

Be it in Boston or somewhere else.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Charlie McAvoy made his debut in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports)

Charlie McAvoy made his debut in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Marc DesRosiers/USA Today Sports)

A beyond busy, five-team season of hockey that took him all over the globe is finally over for Bruins prospect Charlie McAvoy, as Team USA has been bounced from the 2017 World Championships by virtue of their 2-0 loss to Finland in today’s quarterfinals showdown.

In what was a staunch change from the top-pairing minutes he logged for Boston University, the U.S. team at the 2017 World Juniors Championship, P-Bruins, and even the Big B’s in the playoffs, McAvoy skated in more of a supporting role for Jeff Blashill’s USA squad.

It was there that McAvoy’s tournament comes to a close with the 19-year-old having put up one assist, a plus-5 rating, five shots on goal, and six minutes in penalties in eight games played.

So, in total, and between five different clubs, McAvoy’s final stat line on his 2016-17 season will read seven goals, 31 assists, 38 points, and a plus-21 rating over the course of 63 games played.

McAvoy was not the only B’s prospect skating for the U.S., by the way, as forward Anders Bjork also skated, but was used sparingly and served as the club’s extra forward most nights, with zero points and three shots on goal in five games. And with that dip into the international game over for Bjork, it’s expected that he and the Bruins will meet to discuss whether or not he’ll sign his entry-level contract or go back to Notre Dame for his senior season with the Fighting Irish.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Zane McIntyre has backstopped the P-Bruins to the AHL Eastern Conference Finals. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

Zane McIntyre has backstopped the P-Bruins to the AHL Eastern Conference Finals. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

By way of their 4-2 victory over the Hershey Bears in Game 7 on Wednesday, the Providence Bruins decided that the Celtics aren’t going to be the only New England team skating in a conference final.

In yet another road elimination game, the P-Bruins were guided to victory behind two goals from Jordan Szwarz, three points from Wayne Simpson, the empty-net dagger from 2015 first-round pick Jake DeBrusk, and stops from goaltender Zane McIntyre on 15-of-17 shots.

In net for all 12 of the Baby B’s wins throughout this run, McIntyre now boasts a .921 save percentage (the sixth-best in the AHL) and 2.11 goals against average (the fourth-best among goaltenders).

With two assists in the victory, forward Danton Heinen’s playoff line now reads five goals (fourth-most among AHL postseason skaters) and 12 points in 12 contests. Only San Jose’s Ryan Carpenter, with 13 points, has more points through the first two rounds of postseason play. Heinen, in just his first pro season since making the jump from the college ranks in 2015-16, had zero points and seven shots in eight NHL games this season.

As a team, the P-Bruins made AHL history with the win, too, as it was their fourth road elimination victory of this run, which is a number that no other team has ever matched in the league’s 81-year history.

So it’s off to the third round for the P-Bruins, where they will meet the Syracuse Crunch beginning in Providence this Friday.

This will be Providence’s first trip to the third round since 2009’s five-game loss to the Bears.

The P-Bruins won their only Calder Cup appearance in franchise history, which came against the Rochester Americans in 1999.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Peter Chiarelli is among the three finalists for 2017 NHL GM of the Year. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Peter Chiarelli is among the three finalists for 2017 NHL GM of the Year. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Former Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has more than landed on his feet since being fired by the B’s back in 2015.

The NHL has recognized that, too, as Chiarelli has been named as one of the three finalists for the the league’s GM of the Year Award.

It’s proof that, well, good things can happen to your career when you have the No. 1 pick in a draft year featuring a generational talent.

There’s no sense in denying the obvious luck Chiarelli backed into when he was able to nab the game’s best player in Connor McDavid with that aforementioned No. 1 pick  in 2015, and it only improved once No. 97 suited up for the Oilers.

But beyond that…

Chiarelli made his biggest free agent splashes to date when he added both Milan Lucic and Andrej Sekera on long-term deals. Sekera has delivered as a viable top-four defenseman for an Oilers team that has been a disaster defensively throughout their laborious rebuild, but Lucic has been utterly terrible at five-on-five play, and is under contract at $6 million per season until he’s 35. Chiarelli also pulled the trigger on one of the more unusual one-for-one player swaps in recent league history (and probably became the only GM in league history to trade both the No. 1 and No. 2 draft picks from one year’s draft class, I’d have to imagine), with Taylor Hall sent to the Devils in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson last summer.

At the same time, Chiarelli has done a solid job of turning projects like Zack Kassian, Patrick Maroon, and defenseman Kris Russell into positive additions for the club, and for that he deserves a definite pat on the back. That is of course until he inevitably decides to overextend them, win a bidding war against himself, and sign them each to paydays they’ll never justify.

Nashville’s David Poile and Senators GM Pierre Dorion were named the other finalists.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

Bruins center Ryan Spooner had a year to forget.

Bounced between the wing and his natural center position throughout the year, the 25-year-old tallied 11 goals and 39 points in 78 games during the regular season, and was scratched for the final two games of the B’s first round series loss to the Senators.

And it would appear that his woes have extended into the offseason.

No word if Spooner was using Expedia to check out the potential cities that the B’s have tried shopping him to this offseason.

 

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Malcolm Subban is still looking for his NHL breakthrough. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Malcolm Subban is still looking for his NHL breakthrough. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Drafted with the 24th overall pick in 2012, it doesn’t feel as if Bruins netminder Malcolm Subban is any closer to the NHL as he was then.

Even if the 23-year-old Subban has skated in two NHL games.

“My two outings weren’t very good — they were terrible, to be honest,” Subban, currently the No. 4 goalie on the B’s depth chart, admitted to the Boston Globe. “I am trying to prove to everyone here that I can play, that I deserve to play, and that I want to play in the NHL.”

It’s been two games, and two early exits for Subban.

His first NHL chance came back on Feb. 20, 2015, where Subban was lifted after he allowed three goals on six shots in a 31-minute loss to the Blues. Subban had to stew in the AHL for another season plus before his next shot came, on Oct. 25, 2016 against the Wild. That one didn’t go much better, and Subban was once again lifted early, this time after he allowed three goals on 16 shots thrown his way in 30:36 of action.

And when Anton Khudobin was waived, it was Zane McIntyre, not Subban, that was given the chance at the B’s backup job.

Still, Subban wants to make his mark with the Bruins.

“Boston is the team that drafted me, and obviously it’s the team I want to play for,” Subban said. “When a team uses a first-round pick on you, it’s a pretty big deal in terms of an investment. I feel I kind of owe it to them and to the fans to show what I can do.”

But is there room for Subban with the Bruins?

A restricted free agent this summer, and with Tuukka Rask the obvious pick for expansion draft protection by the Bruins, Subban will be exposed to the Vegas Golden Knights, and it’s possible (although a bit unlikely given what else is at their disposal) that Vegas views Subban as a high-ceiling goalie worthy of the designation as the organization’s third goaltender. And if he’s retained by the Bruins, either with a contract or with Vegas picking somebody else, Subban will get his chance in training camp.

“Anton is firmly in the mix — you look at what he did down the stretch, and how could he not be? But that’s the goalie we need,” Sweeney, whose team is set to enter their fourth year of trying to find rest for Rask, who played in 65 games last season, said. “I can’t have any doubts or reservations, so we’re going to meet as a group and make sure that we’re making the right decision.

“If somebody passes Anton, be it Zane or Malcolm, then we move in that direction as well. But we’ve been patient from the development standpoint of trying to look internally, and it’s a position that we’ve sort of been chasing our tail a little bit for a couple of seasons now and very aware of it, do not run from it, and I’d like it to be resolved.”

Despite his forgettable NHL dips, Subban successfully rebounded from a terrible start and recorded 11 wins and a .917 save percentage in 32 games this year, and has recorded 56 wins and a .918 save percentage in 127 AHL contests.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
P.K. Subban's Predators are still in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports)

P.K. Subban’s Predators are still in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports)

And then there were four.

In what’s been a pretty fast-moving Stanley Cup Playoffs (there’s been just two Game 7 meetings through the first 12 series), the third-round showdowns have been set. In the West, it’s the Predators against the Ducks. And in the East, it’s that same Senators that knocked the Bruins out in the first round against the defending champion Penguins.

It’s a rather different field for the NHL, you’d have to admit.

It doesn’t have the big television market of a Chicago, New York, or Boston, which is something that the league has consistently hoped for or banked on over the years given the successes of those clubs. It’s also not loaded with starpower, either, aside from the Penguins of course (these other teams have star players, sure, but it’s not that of an Ovechkin, McDavid, Matthews, etc.). But what this final four lacks in mass appeal is helped by the fact that it’s anyone’s run.

You could conceivably see any of these four teams lifting Lord Stanley by this time next month.

So, who are you rooting for?

Let’s start in the East.

I have to say that it’s probably impossible for most Bruins fans to root for either one of these teams. Still, let me try.

The Senators

Last time they won Stanley Cup: Never (not this version of the Sens, anyways, which came to the NHL in 1992).

Last time they’ve been to Stanley Cup Final: 2007, in one of the worst Stanley Cup Finals of this era.

Old friends: Chris Kelly, traded from the Sens to the Bruins to help the B’s win the Cup in 2011, returned to the Senators this past season. Kelly has played in just one playoff game this spring, and it was that 3-2 double-overtime loss to the B’s in round one. Little known fact: The Bruins actually had Craig Anderson at one point, too. It was back in 2006 that they claimed him off waivers from the Blackhawks. But Anderson never played a game for the Bruins, and was claimed by the Blues just a few weeks later.

Why you can root for them: They’re a massive underdog. Then there’s the story of Anderson, whose wife, Nicholle, has been battling cancer this season. She was at Game 6 in Boston when the Sens eliminated the Bruins, and she was the first person the Ottawa netminder went to when the game and series went final. It’s rather incredible to think that Anderson has played with all of that on his mind. Erik Karlsson is also just an incredible defenseman, so to see him on the game’s biggest stage would be a treat.

Why you can’t root for them: The Senators are the team that knocked you out in the first round, and it was quite a contentious series. You had the 6-foot-2, 209-pound Bobby Ryan flailing all over the ice to draw calls. You had knee-on-knee hits. You had more than enough ammo to walk away from this series and say that you just straight-up do not care for the Senators. And if you’re of the selfish type, the Bruins were the last team from their division to win the Stanley Cup. Also, their style is beyond boring, and they could lead the NHL to record-low ratings if they were to play ‘their game’ in round four.

The Penguins

Last time they won Stanley Cup: 2016.

Last time they’ve been to Stanley Cup Final: 2016, obviously, where they defeated the Sharks in six games. The Penguins have been to the Finals three times during the Crosby era, with the first trip coming back in a 2008 loss to the Red Wings, and then the middle time coming with 2009’s win over the Red Wings.

Old friends: On the ice, it’s Phil Kessel. Phil the Thrill played the first three years of his pro career with the Bruins, and ultimately left after contract disputes (accelerated by issues with then-coach Claude Julien) sent him to the Maple Leafs in a trade that paid off tenfold (at the time) for the Bruins. David Warsofsky is also among Pittsburgh’s ‘black aces’ practicing with the team. Including Warsofsky, the Penguins have five New England natives on their roster. Behind the bench, Mike Sullivan is their coach. Sullivan played one season with the B’s back in the 90s and coached the Bruins from 2003 to 2006.

Why you can root for them: Can you? I think this is probably the biggest question mark when it comes to rooting interests this spring, even larger than the Sens conundrum you may find yourself in. Aside from maybe the local connections, it just feels as if there’s years and years of bad blood when it comes to the Bruins and Penguins, so maybe your rooting interest for them would be to simply get the dry toast Senators out of the mix.

Why you can’t root for them: If you’re a Bruins fan, I think this one is obvious. But hey, just in case you needed some more reasons. Here’s one. And another. There’s a third. And how about a fourth? It’d also be nice to get a different champion.

Out in the West, your potential rooting interest paths get a whole lot easier.

The Predators

Last time they won Stanley Cup: Never.

Last time they’ve been to Stanley Cup Final: This is actually the first time that the Preds have made it beyond the second round of postseason play, so it goes without saying that they have never been to the elusive fourth round.

Old friends: Matt Irwin had a cup of coffee with the Bruins in 2015 before he was banished to the minors. You may remember him as the guy that audibly screamed ‘F— off’ after a turnover. Behind the bench, Peter Laviolette coaches the Preds. A Franklin, Mass. native, Laviolette led the P-Bruins to a Calder Cup win in 1999, and was an assistant coach for the Big B’s in 2000-01.

Why you can root for them: It’s Nashville, man. This is one of those cities where hockey has absolutely worked, and the atmosphere around that team is just something else. Every game at Bridgestone has an electric atmosphere, and these playoffs have brought that out and really taken it to another level. It would also be pretty incredible to see the P.K. Subban trade immediately bite the Canadiens in the ass and see Subban, who was dragged through the Montreal mud on his way out the door, lift hockey’s greatest trophy in his first year with the Preds while the Habs exited in the first round of the playoffs.

Why you can’t root for them: Maybe you’re in the camp that still hates Subban from his Canadiens days. That would probably be the only possible reason that you could root against this Preds team. Or maybe you just hate fun and it’s too much for you.

The Ducks

Last time they won Stanley Cup: 2007.

Last time they’ve been to Stanley Cup Final: 2007, in that aforementioned boring ass-kicking of the Senators.

Old friends: The Ducks are really short on connections to the Bruins, actually. The 32-year-old Nate Thompson was a sixth-round draft pick of the B’s back in 2003, and while he skated in a bunch of games for the P-Bruins, Thompson skated in just four games with the Big B’s before he embarked on what’s become a 550-game NHL career.

Why you can root for them: This sounds a little weird, but an Anaheim win would seemingly validate the idea that you still need size and physicality to win it all. That would be a plus for the Bruins — a team with David Backes, Matt Beleskey signed and expected to play big roles up front, and Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo as their one-two on the backend — after what’s felt like a two-year trend of skill and speed getting the job done. Now, that wouldn’t mean that the Bruins need to further load up on size and heaviness, but it would show you that a balanced roster in that regard can still get the job done for your team.

Why you can’t root for them: This is a team that’s pretty loaded with players you love to hate. Corey Perry, while often entertaining, is considered one of the most despised players in the NHL. Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa are two players that Bruins fans are more than familiar with from their time with the Canucks, and they’re still the same players they were then.

..And while we’re at it, I’ll take the Predators in seven games and the Penguins in five games.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson
Kevin Shattenkirk had one goal and six points in 13 playoff games this spring. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

Kevin Shattenkirk had one goal and six points in 13 playoff games this spring. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

Eliminated in round one, the Bruins have become spectators, or potential window-shoppers rather, of the remaining field still skating in the second round and beyond of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

And while there was and is shortage of pending free agents about to get paid in this year’s hunt for Lord Stanley, one player in particular stuck out when it came to a potential Boston landing spot, and that was Blues-turned-Capitals puck-moving defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

Linked to the Bruins prior to the deadline deal that sent him from the Blues to the Capitals, you had the feeling a lot (of millions and years) rode on Shattenkirk’s time with the Presidents’ Trophy winning Capitals. It was in D.C. where he recorded two goals and 14 points in 19 contests before a one-goal, six-point postseason run in Washington.

But if his stint with the Caps, which likely ended by way of Wednesday’s Game 7 defeat at the hands of the Penguins, taught you anything, it’s that the Bruins would be smart to sit out the upcoming Shattenkirk sweepstakes this July.

Obviously, Shattenkirk’s production is incredible. Between the Blues and Caps, Shattenkirk recorded 13 goals and 56 points this season. Those 56 points were the fourth-most among NHL defensemen this season, and only Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman, and Brent Burns had more. Those three defenders make up this year’s Norris Trophy finalists, by the way. And Shattenkirk’s 189 points in 289 games since the start of the 2013-14 season rank as the 11th-most in the NHL over that span, while his 34 playoff points in 60 postseason tilts stand as the seventh-most among defenders over the last six seasons. He’s been a model of consistency over that span, too, with at least 40 points in the last five full NHL seasons (he had 23 in the lockout-delayed year).

But the Bruins do not need him, and/or specifically his heavy cap hit, against their books next year and for five years after that.

For two years in a row now, the Bruins have invested in experience and playoff production. Matt Beleskey was the first step in that direction, as the Bruins signed him to a five-year, $19 million deal after he scored eight goals and nine points in a 16-game postseason run with the Ducks. The Bruins followed that signing up with a five-year, $30 million contract for David Backes about a month after Backes captained the Blues to their first Western Conference Finals appearance since 2001. Neither player has been particularly outstanding in Boston — Beleskey was a complete non-factor for the Bruins this season while Backes was not a strong right-side fit for David Krejci — and not to the point where it’s justified the B’s rush to sign them at their current rates, anyways.

The 28-year-old Shattenkirk’s skill and ceiling is undeniably higher than the physical, roleplayer build of both Beleskey and Backes, sure, but do the Bruins really need to risk adding another albatross of a long-term deal to their books?

 

The number one priority for the Bruins is re-signing restricted free agent David Pastrnak. The good news for the Bruins, of course, is that the player wants to be here, and the Bruins have the money to keep him here. That said, it’s still going to cost some significant coin, likely anywhere from the $5.75 to $6.25 million per year range if I had to guess. That would eat up over half of the B’s projected cap space remaining for next year’s group (the B’s have about $10.4 million at their disposal this summer), and even if a player such as Kevan Miller ($2.5 million) or Adam McQuaid ($2.75 million) is plucked in the expansion draft, it’s still entirely too tight to fit a player such as Shattenkirk into the mix without having to move a piece off your roster somewhere else.

That makes limited sense for a Bruins team whose problems are up front and on the wings and not on the backend, where they already have Torey Krug making over $5 million per season and on the heels of a career-best 51 points during the regular season.

That’s also without mentioning the fact that the Bruins will have to pay both Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy in 2020, and that they already have $46 million committed to that year’s roster and with just eight players signed. The idea of making that number $52 million and with just nine players — and make it an even $58 million and with 10 players if you include Pastrnak in with your hypothetical Shattenkirk addition — would seem like cap suicide, especially if Carlo and McAvoy continue to develop into the surefire top-four studs that they appeared to be in their NHL debuts this past season.

And also, have we entertained the idea that Shattenkirk is not a franchise-altering defenseman? Because he’s not.

If Shattenkirk could not put an otherworldly Capitals team over the top, there’s no sense in trying to convince yourself that he would be the perfect tonic for the Bruins. And of course it goes without saying that the Capitals had problems much bigger than a hot-and-cold Shattenkirk in the postseason, but he was most certainly not part of the solution. You could make the case that his defensive gaffes actually helped accelerate Washington’s annual springtime choke, and he had none bigger than the one in last night’s Game 7 (helped by Alex Ovechkin), which led to the ultimate nail in the coffin with the goal that made it 2-0 Penguins.

That won’t change the demand for a player like Shattenkirk, however, and that means the price won’t change.

It’s expected that he’ll receive a contract anywhere from $6 to maybe even $7 million per season, and that the deal will run for at least six years. That’s a massive commitment that a number of teams previously linked to the New York native — like the Maple Leafs, Rangers, Devils, Flyers, or perhaps even the talent-starved Red Wings — can afford given their championship windows or franchise state, but one that’s entirely too rich for the B’s blood this summer. And the summer after that. And on and on and on.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson

The Senators have advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.</p>
<div class=



The 2018 Winter Classic will be played at Citi Field. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

The 2018 Winter Classic will be played at Citi Field. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Believe it or not, the NHL is going back outdoors next season, and they’re going to do it without the Chicago Blackhawks.

In New York for Game 6 between the Rangers and Senators, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced to NBC Sports that the 2018 Winter Classic will be played at Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y., the home of the New York Mets, between the Rangers and Sabres.

The announcement is not a shock to most, as Newsday had this scoop back in March, and this will become the second Winter Classic for both the Rangers and Sabres. The Sabres were the home team in the first Winter Classic, played at Ralph Wilson Stadium back in 2008, and the Rangers last skated in the Winter Classic back in their 2012 head-to-head with the Flyers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

Two rather bizarre notes about this game. One: This game will not feature the Islanders, who are considered the local favorites of that area (and have considered that neighborhood as a potential location for their next arena). Two: This will count as a home game for the Sabres, as the Rangers are contractually obligated to play all their home games at Madison Square Garden.

The Bruins have participated in the event twice, and have been the home team both times, with the 2010 Winter Classic held at Fenway Park and the 2016 Winter Classic played at Gillette Stadium.

This will be the 10th Winter Classic in NHL history, and the TV ratings for the Winter Classic has dropped in three straight years.

Blog Author: 
Ty Anderson