Add Marian Hossa to the mix and this year’s mediocre bear stew becomes a Cup contender.
Rumors abound of a potential Marian Hossa deal. Some say the Bruins have a shot; I’m slightly dubious. However, if it’s at all possible, I say go for it.
Marian Hossa is a 6’1″, 210 pound stud. He has 635 career points in 687 games. He played all 82 games last season, finishing with a career-high 100 points. He’s 29 and an unrestricted free agent this off-season, giving the Thrashers reason to trade him for less rather than let a top value like Hossa walk away for nothing. Even in somewhat of an “off year” the guy is on pace for 71 points in 78 games. Hossa has already notched 26 goals–a tally that quite possibly could end up leading the Bruins for the season.
Pair Hossa with former teammate Marc Savard atop the B’s number one line and you got something. A power play of Hossa, Savard, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman on the blue line, along with either Chuck Kobasew or Glen Murray on the wing would improve an already solid attack (9th place at 18.7%) and become truly dynamic. Find a way to shore up the penalty kill unit (79.4%; 26th out 30 teams) and you’ve got a contender in the Eastern conference.
Because Manny Fernandez and Patrice Bergeron are highly unlikely to return this season, the Bruins basically have a $9 million cap exception with which to acquire any number of players. If Boston were to acquire Hossa from the Thrashers the team would still have an additional $2 million left from Bergeron and Fernandez’s cap numbers, as well as the difference sent to Atlanta (should be several millions) to pursue another forward or defenseman for the remainder of the season. Additionally, Aaron Ward’s contract ends after this season, and along with Alexei Zhamnov’s ghost contract, the Bruins should receive another $6+ million in cap relief next year.
The Bruins certainly can take on contracts, thus offering cap space to Atlanta. But, other than that, what’s left?
First and foremost, Phil Kessel. The shoot-out king has heart (he beat cancer like it was nothing), but his style of play won’t remind you of the iconic Bruin we all love and miss: Terry O’Reilly. Instead, Kessel is sort of a poor man’s Sergei Samsonov right now, with a chance to be a bit better than his Garden predecessor was in his prime–think an 80-point scorer eventually should things all come together. I don’t expect Kessel to reach his full potential for several years, which makes me more than willing to include him in any deal for a quality front-line scorer such as Marian Hossa.
Phil Kessel beat cancer and beats goalies with regularity in shootouts, but his overall play still leaves something to be desired.
Additionally, Boston has a slew of decent prospects to throw out there. Milan Lucic (who I love), Dave Krejci, Mark Stuart, and several promising minor leaguers headline a group of young Bruins with value.
I’m not sure if an offer of Kessel plus one or two fellow youngsters and a draft pick or two is what Atlanta seeks; Thrashers’ GM Don Waddell has indicated otherwise, but I don’t know what other type of package he can reasonably expect to receive, giving the Bruins a better shot at landing the premier player available at this year’s trade deadline.
Here’s hoping Peter Chiarelli can get it done.