Ever since Blackhawks propsect Kevin Hayes turned down the offer to sign with the Chicago Blackhawks, he has become a hot ticket item around the NHL. It also should come as no surprise that the Bruins are showing interest in him. Besides Joe Haggerty reporting it, it was also reported by Mark Divver and that not only the Bruins but the Avs, Rangers, and Coyotes are also in the running for him. So that should give a little more credence to it.
Now it’s no secret that the Bruins are up against the wall right now. They have managed their cap situation in a horrible fashion and have 2 of the most important young players on the team to try and sign. But there is some logic that can be put forth to at least give an argument for signing Kevin Hayes. And before his “off-ice shenanigans” are brought up: if the Bruins didn’t already know they wouldn’t be taking a chance.
So, what is the logic behind signing him? With Thornton gone and Eriksson heading up to the Top 6, two holes have opened up on the third and fourth line. Everyone expects the Bruins to put in some of the Providence stand outs (Spooner / Griffith / Khokhlachev come to mind) and sort of play musical chairs with them until they find something that sticks.. and in the worst case scenario they play Spooner on the third and then try to keep convincing us that Jordan Caron is worth the roster spot. Getting Hayes would make this easier in a way. Hayes is a dedicated winger, not a centere. I bring this up because a large portion of the players the Bruins want to call up are centeres. The fourth line’s issue can easily be solved with swapping Campbell to the wing and putting in Spooner, but it’s also been speculated he will stay in the middle with Caron on his right. It would be much better for the team to utilize Spooner over Caron and the big contributing factor to that is that Spooner is faster than Caron and for a team that is lacking speed his services will be needed. The other factor is that Spooner was more consistently productive than Caron this year. Spooner played 20 non consecutive games during the 2013-14 season and logged 11 assists and a multi-assist game against Nashville where he showed off his skating ability. Compare that to Caron’s 3 points in 35 non consecutive games. Caron has gotten plenty of chances and ample ice time to prove himself, Spooner logged more than double Caron’s points in his first season getting increased time with the Bruins. So if the Bruins play Spooner on the 4th line you can lay it out to be “Paille – Spooner – Campbell” so that allows Hayes to take over on the third line with Kelly and Soderberg (Kelly – Soderberg- Hayes). Kelly can be put down to the 4th line and then bring up Spooner and have him on the third line, which would work great and it’s already been seen that Carl and Ryan have chemistry together.
The only thing is that finding a spot for him isn’t what people are worried about. The cap situation is what people are worried about, and I already made a point of highlighting that when I started the post. So what should the Bruins do?
Smith and Krug can easily accept bridge contracts and then worry about their extensions in a year or so when the cap raises. Hayes can only be signed to an ELC so that’s three players being wrapped up with very little “now” money and with the raising cap their extensions should be absolutely no worry. Not to mention, there are several players on the Bruins main roster who can still be moved between now and October that will relieve money from the cap. And lest we forget the LTIR money that gets taken off.
The Bruins have a shot to add solid young and talented depth to give the team what it needs. The younger and faster this team get’s, the longer they can remain competitive.