June 12th, 2010 by

Boston Bruins impending free-agents: Part I

This is the first of a four-part series, reviewing each of the eight remaining Boston Bruins’ impending free-agents for the 2010-11 NHL season.

Taking many things into consideration, I’ve ranked these players from least important to most—who the Bruins’ brass should keep, and who should go. The NHL free-agency deadline, July 1.

Name, position, status, 2009-10 cap-hit:

Steve Begin: Center, UFA—$850
Johnny Boychuk: Defense, UFA—$500K
Daniel Paille: Left wing, RFA/arbitration eligible—$1.125M
Mark Recchi: Right wing, UFA—$1M
Miroslav Satan: Right wing, UFA—$700K
Vladimir Sobotka: Center, RFA—$750K
Mark Stuart: Defense, RFA/arbitration eligible—$1.3M
Blake Wheeler: Right wing, RFA—$2.825M

Of the eight, here are the bottom two.

8.Vladimir Sobotka: RFA Center

Sobotka has yet to make that jump from being a big fish in a little pond (AHL) to the NHL. Being the total package in Providence, the 22-year-old’s inconsistencies this season were head-scratching. Just 10 points in 61 regular season games, Sobotka failed to step-up with the slew of injuries that riddled the Bruins this year. A physical beast in the first round of the playoffs versus Buffalo (with two assists), Sobotka reverted back to ghost-status against Philadelphia—zero points—and finished with a team-low minus-10 rating.

Bottom line: Year-in year-out, Sobotka hustles his butt off to crack a spot on the Bruins roster. But unfortunately we see the same ‘ol Vladdy that, when not tattooing players, remains pedestrian and struggles to switch from center to wing. Basically, he’s very replaceable, and the Bruins should shop him on Draft day as much as possible.

In-the-system replacements:

  • Maxime Sauve
  • Brad Marchand
  • Drew Larman
  • Joe Colborne
  • Tyler Seguin?

Wishful thinking:

  • Montreal Canadiens UFA Tomas Plekanec—$2.75M salary in 2009-10
  • San Jose Sharks RFA Joe Pavelski—$1.725M
  • Edmonton Oilers RFA Sam Gagner—$875K

7. Miroslav Satan: UFA Right wing 

Picked up for next to nothing ($700K) on Jan. 2, Satan showed he was more than just an aging, past-his-prime winger—but a player with plenty of gas left in the tank, and plenty of offense to contribute. Satan, 35, was arguably one of the best forwards in Black-and-Gold in the playoffs, clicking especially with David Krejci. Definitely a one-way player, Satan’s offensive mindset just won’t work in Claude Julien’s defense-first system.

Bottom line: Satan should land himself a decent-size contract (two-years, $5M?) with another playoff contender. And considering the Bruins’ limited cap space, his roster spot is better off spent to a younger forward…hopefully with the same ability to snipe.

In-the-system replacements:

  • Mikko Lehtonen
  • Jordan Caron
  • Taylor Hall?

Wishful thinking:

  • Los Angeles Kings UFA Alexander Frolov—$2.9M
  • Anaheim Ducks RFA—Bobby Ryan—$765K
  • Nashville Pradators RFA—Patric Hornqvist—$620K
  • Minnesota Wild RFA Guillaume Latendresse—$803K

Tomorrow’s free-agents, numbers 5 & 6.


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