Sunday, 27 May 2012

Boston Bruins: Xtreme Make-Over Edition – the Goalies

It’s that time of year again: the Stanley Cup finals. It has been 1 year since the Bruins won a Cup. Time for change!

 Most of these offseason analyses look at who is a UFA, RFA, or available to trade. So let’s do that and more. Thanks to CapGeek.com for our data. We will break this analysis into three: the goalies; the defense; and, the offense. Remember this is the Xtreme Make-Over edition. First: the Goalies.

 Most talk around the goalie situation revolves around whether Thomas or Rask should be traded. Now, publicly, Bruins’ management insists they want to keep the current tandem. Can’t be done!

 And trading Rask to just stupid. He has great NHL numbers and is ready to be a number one. He is your future and is signable as a RFA. Now I like Khudobin as a back-up to Rask but not as a back-up to Thomas. Thomas would need more rest and Khudobin, although he has good NHL numbers, still needs more experience to take on that workload. Meanwhile a Rask / Khudobin tandem with Rask working the vast majority of games works for me.

 However Rask, a RFA, needs to be signed to a long-term deal, maybe 5 years, at $3 million per year.  Khudobin needs to be extended beyond his current $900, 000 for 1 year; perhaps an addition 2 years at $1 million per. Khudobin’s current deal for the upcoming season is one-way, meaning he will be available to 29 other teams if the Bruins don’t keep him with the big club. Now did Chiarelli make a big mistake here or does he have a plan? A plan to trade Thomas.

 Having a great goalie is key to winning in the NHL playoffs; proven last year with Thomas’ performance and again this year with Quick and Brodeur about to face off. Now here are my other reasons to trade Thomas. Thomas, having the greatest value in trade, will bring the most return. I am in no way diminishing Thomas’ ability in my argument to trade him. Exactly the opposite actually. A traded Thomas may just go out and win a Vezina to prove a point. This is what makes him so valuable to trade even if he only has 1 year left on his contract. Thomas has 1 year at a $3 million salary but a $5 million cap hit.

 The most convincing reason for trading Thomas is in answering the following question: Does Thomas (and his agent) see his future as a back-up making $1 or $2 million over 3 years following his current deal or do they see him as a starter demanding a $5 million per year deal for an additional 3 or 4 years? I think the latter. This precludes being able to resign Rask this year and Thomas next year without tying up too much money in this current tandem. A Rask / Thomas tandem at $8 million per or a Rask / Khudobin tandem for $4 million?

 Now is the time to trade Thomas, maximize the return and use the $4 million in cap room to upgrade elsewhere. What can the Bruins’ get for Thomas? Let’s look at the defense and offense first. Maybe we can make a package deal. Next time we look at the defense.

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