Kirk Luedeke of The Red Line Report and the New England Hockey Journal joined The Adam Jones Show to discuss the busy week that was for the Boston Bruins.
First and foremost was the eight-year contract extension for Tuukka Rask. While any long-term deal for any player is a risk, it was really the best option for the Bruins.
“The way I look at the eight-year deal is if they signed him to another one-year contract, he’d be an unrestricted free agent next year. If they signed him to a two- or three-year deal, they’d be dealing with even bigger bucks as an unrestricted,” Luedeke said. “So what they basically did was bought — depending on what you wanted for this deal, if you didn’t want eight, let’s say you wanted three — well then the Bruins essentially bought five years of unrestricted free agency at what is probably going to be a pretty good rate, considering [Henrik] Lundqvist is already sitting at $6.8 million, and he’s due for a new contract next year.”
As for the risks of the long-term deal, the team determined they didn’t outweigh the need for quality goaltending.
“Right now, it’s tough to swallow,” Luedeke said of the eight-year, $56 million deal. “And let’s face it – it’s risky, because anything could happen to him. If his play goes down for whatever reason, this is going to be one of those bones of contention, where people are going to point to this. There’s risk here for the team, but I think at the end of the day, they looked at what he’s done in the past and what he did certainly this playoff run, and they’re saying, ‘Hey, we’re not paying Tuukka for what he did this year. We’re paying him for what we think he’s going to do for us down the line as we are in this finite window of Stanley Cup contention.’ And the goaltending is an essential ingredient to any Stanley Cup championship.”
Luedeke also offered his thoughts on the prospects that came to Boston as part of the Tyler Seguin-Loui Eriksson trade.
“I like these guys because I saw them a lot this year in Cedar Park, outside of Austin, where they played for the AHL farm club,” Luedeke said. “What they basically got in Matt Fraser is a potential top-six forward. He’s a little slow out of the blocks, but he’s not a terrible skater. He’s getting better, he’s got an excellent shot, good offensive upside. He’s not the most defensively astute player, so whether he comes in and contends for a spot right away, I think he’ll be in the mix certainly, one of the last cuts at training camp, just because he has NHL experience and he’s had 70 goals in the regular season over the past two [AHL] regular seasons.
“And then Reilly Smith is a little smaller guy, but he’s fast. He’s similar to [Rich] Peverley. He might have a higher offensive upside, but he’s not as defensively skilled and smart and experienced as Peverley was.
“Finally, Joe Morrow’s the offensive defenseman who probably the best potential of all of them. But he’s risky because his defensive game isn’t as polished and he’s got some development to do. But if his skating … he’s got a big cannon of a shot, he’s real offensively inclined. If all that stuff comes together, the thought of having him, Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug in your top six one day is pretty nice, because those are three pretty accomplished offensive players. Stick them with some good defensive partners and you could have a really nice top six one day.”
Luedeke also offered his thoughts on the future of Malcolm Subban, how the goaltending situation in Providence will likely shake out next year, who has the best chance to land a spot on the Bruins’ third line to begin the season and whether Peter Chiarelli might make another trade this summer.