UFA Options: Boston Bruins

Jonathan Willis
April 20 2009 10:34AM

Manny Fernandez

UFA Options is a continuing series that gives a brief run-down of the unrestricted free agent market this summer, team-by-team. Our next team for consideration is the Boston Bruins.

The Boston Bruins look to be in decent shape going forward; they have six unrestricted free agents, but all of them are support players – bottom-six wingers, reserve defensemen, and their backup goaltender.

Notes

  • Age is calculated based on how old the player will be during the 2009-10 season.
  • QualComp/QualTeam are the Quality of Competition/Teammates rankings from Behind the Net; the number appearing is each player’s ranking by position (forward/defense) on his own team.
  • Def/Off Faceoffs is a comparison of the total number of shifts starting in the defensive and offensive zones, courtesy of Vic Ferrari’s Time On Ice. A positive number indicates starting more in the defensive zone, a negative number the opposite.
  • All advanced statistics are courtesy of Behind the Net.

P.J. Axelsson

Vital Stats: 35 years old, 6’1”, 186lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 1,850,000 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 75GP – 6G – 24A – 30PTS, -1 2008-09 Contextual: 7th QualComp, 7th QualTeam, +29 Def/Off Faceoffs 2008-09 Advanced Stats: -5.1 Corsi/60, 1.22 EVPTS/60, 2.10 GFON/60, 1.97 GAON/60

Axelsson was selected by the Bruins late in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, ad has spent his entire 797 game career in Boston. He consistently averages in the 10 goal/20 assist range, and has topped thirty points on exactly one occasion in his career. This was a poor year for Axelsson; normally he ranks far higher in quality of competition and puts up a similar performance.

Mark Recchi

Vital Stats: 42 years old, 5’10”, 195lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 1,500,000 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 80GP – 23G – 38A – 61PTS, -18 2008-09 Contextual: 11th QualComp, 8th QualTeam, +38 Def/Off Faceoffs 2008-09 Advanced Stats: -8.1 Corsi/60, 2.04 EVPTS/60, 2.36 GFON/60, 3.25 GAON/60

Recchi seems likely to retire at the end of the year. He’s had a surprisingly good season, largely spent in Tampa Bay, and has been one of the game’s better power-play specialists over the last few seasons. He was largely written off after being put on waivers by the Penguins back in December of 2007, but if he wanted to come back for another year I don’t see why a team wouldn’t take a chance on him as a stop-gap. He’s a veteran presence with a couple of Stanley Cup rings, and certainly still has some value.

Stephane Yelle

Vital Stats: 35 years old, 6’2”, 186lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 750,000 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 77GP – 7G – 11A – 18PTS, +6 2008-09 Contextual: 12th QualComp, 12th QualTeam, +70 Def/Off Faceoffs 2008-09 Advanced Stats: -5.7 Corsi/60, 1.09 EVPTS/60, 1.67 GFON/60, 1.45 GAON/60

Stephane Yelle is a reliable fourth-line player, and like Recchi adds a veteran presence and has won it all with the Avalanche. He’s cheap and effective in the role, although he’s a non-factor offensively. Yelle is a useful role player but not much else at this point.

Steve Montador

Vital Stats: 30 years old, 6’0”, 211lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 800,000 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 78GP – 4G – 17A – 21PTS, +17 2008-09 Contextual: 8th QualComp, 3rd QualTeam, -86 Def/Off Faceoffs 2008-09 Advanced Stats:: +7.2 Corsi/60, 1.10 EVPTS/60, 3.54 GFON/60, 2.20 GAON/60

I really like Steve Montador. He’s a limited player; a little undersized for a defenseman, limited in his own zone, and he needs to be used judiciously. On the other hand he’s exactly what NHL teams should want in a bottom-pairing defenseman – he adds offensive kick, particularly at even-strength, plays an intelligent game with the puck, and has a very effective passing game. As long as a coach is aware of his limitations he can be a very useful part of a good team – he fits into the same family as Brent Sopel or Marc-Andre Bergeron, except that he’s much cheaper.

Shane Hnidy

Vital Stats: 34 years old, 6’2”, 205lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 757,500 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 65GP – 3G – 9A – 12PTS, +6 2008-09 Contextual: 7th QualComp, 4th QualTeam, +EV Def/Off Faceoffs 2008-09 Advanced Stats: -1.3 Corsi/60, 0.68 EVPTS/60, 2.57 GFON/60, 2.09 GAON/60

Shane Hnidy’s another limited defenseman, but like Montador if he’s used within his capabilities he can fill a role for a good team. His offensive game is limited but not entirely non-existent, and he adds a physical presence on the back end. He’s a low event player who since the lockout has been a good player on a bad team (Atlanta) or a useful player on a good team (first Anaheim, now Boston). As far as #6/#7 defensemen go, they come lots worse than Shane Hnidy.

Manny Fernandez

Vital Stats: 35 years old, 6’0”, 207lbs 2008-09 Cap Hit: 4,333,333 US$ 2008-09 Basic Stats: 28GP, 16W – 8L – 3OTL, 2.59GAA, 0.910SV%, 1 SO

Manny Fernandez has had an interesting career. He’s put up good numbers (for the most part) playing in Boston and Minnesota, but given Minnesota’s notoriously defensive game and how good Boston has been this season, there is still some question about where he fits in the NHL goaltending hierarchy. In all likelihood he’s a competent 1A goaltender; he can be better or worse than that, but that’s the midpoint. He will certainly have an NHL job next season with the goaltending market the way it is.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 I Am The Law
April 20 2009, 10:44AM
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Recchi's numbers almost look like a typo. Those numbers would put him #2 in points, and #3 in goals on the Oilers. "Still has some value", more like, "Sign him now!". Seriously, those are silly numbers for a 42 year old man to be putting up... Maybe this year was an anomaly, but even if he retires after this season, that's a good way to go out...

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#2 Archaeologuy
April 20 2009, 11:10AM
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Ive got to think that if Boston wins it all Recchi will hang em up, but if he feels good then who knows. Cant wait to see MacT tell him he doesnt skate fast enough to...oh...nevermind.

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#3 Ogden Brother
April 20 2009, 11:52AM
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So does Recchi's resurgence officially put an end to the "Crosby makes players better" line of thinking?

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#4 Victoria
April 20 2009, 12:06PM
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From what I've been hearing, Fernandez has been contemplating retirement, so he may not even be back next year. Plus he's got that knee injury problem that keeps popping up throughout his career - I can't see his injury bug being something that improves as he get's older. I wouldn't go for him.

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#5 slipper
April 20 2009, 12:21PM
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A Canucks blog written by Oilers fans?

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#6 Ogden Brother
April 20 2009, 12:48PM
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A real opportunity the Oil should be looking at with Boston would be the trade route. The Bruins have some key RFA's without a lot or wiggle room cap wise.

Bergeron would be a gamble, but he could likely be had for pennies on the dollar.

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#7 Colin
April 20 2009, 01:32PM
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slipper wrote:

A Canucks blog written by Oilers fans?

This series of articles is written for all 3 "family sites" and appears on Oilersnation, Flamesnation and whatever the site for dumb cansucks fans is called simultaneously.

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#8 CM
April 20 2009, 04:42PM
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3 Trades the Oilers Should make.

Trade 1: Vishnovsky and Moreau to FLA for Horton and Bouwmeester 87M/15yr = 5.8M/yr cap hit

Trade 2: Horcoff, Cogliano, Souray, Chorney, Eberle and Schremp to TBL for Lecavalier, Stamkos and Ranger.

Trade 3: Staios and Nilsson to MIN for Harding and Foster 8M/4yr = 2M/yr cap hit

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#9 misfit
April 20 2009, 04:44PM
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If Strudwick walks this offseason, Hnidy might be a serviceable replacement. I've always liked Axlesson, but he'll be 35 next year, and his best days are definately behind him. There aren't too many players of interest among Boston's UFAs. Fernandez is probably the best, but he doesn't really do anything for me.

Where Boston does become interesting, is when you look at the fact that they're at $49M with only 5 defensemen, 9 forwards, and Thomas under contract with Hunwick, Kessell and Krejci all needing new deals. They'll probably be looking to make a couple of trades over the offseason, and we might be decent partners.

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#10 Archaeologuy
April 20 2009, 06:16PM
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@ CM: So trade away D-man who is signed long term for a UFA that we could get in the summer? Then convince TBay to give up 2 Franchise players for Souray and Cogliano + AHLers? THEN convince Minnesota to give us two young guys for a washed up 6th defenseman and the most inconsistent player on the team?

good plan.

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#11 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 08:06AM
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@ Archaeologuy:

Horcoff's not an AHL'er.

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#12 Jonathan Willis
April 21 2009, 08:07AM
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@ CM:

~Gosh, don't you think we should toss in a couple of 7th round picks or something?~

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#13 Archaeologuy
April 21 2009, 08:30AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Horcoff’s not an AHL’er.

I actually just forgot to make fun of him in my reply.

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#14 CM
April 21 2009, 09:34AM
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@ Jonathan Willis: If you think it would put it over the top lets do it.

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