2022 Offseason

burstnbloom

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Jul 12, 2005
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I don't have a ton of time before my first class, but I'll try to revisit later...

Firstly, anyone who hears the Neely-Sweeney Gang talking about changing tactics and hears words like Dump, Chase, and Grind is right to be worried...we've seen too many chumps get too much money and ice time in recent seasons. But I think people are missing some of the nuance here.

From reading all of the Athletic articles, my takeaway on what the FO is saying:
  • We try to generate too much offense based on clean breakouts. If a team stops up our breakout we didn't show the ability to adjust our game.
  • Our zone entries were too predictable, especially on the powerplay, this caused too many turnovers
  • Given these factors the FO wants to see adjustments to switching up to more of a dump and retreive (which given their love of bangers falls in line with their ideals)
  • Offensively we don't offer enough of a varience in tactics, relying almost exclusively on cycling. When other teams drop 5 down low to stymie this, we don't adjust. Sweeney specifically mentions working high to low and getting the D core scoring more.
  • Butch is too tough on the kids and needs to trust them more even if they're not as sound defensively if he wants.
Now, I think a lot of this is coming out of the fact that we just lost to a very good Carolina team who
  • stiffled our breakouts with aggresive forecheck and pinching D
  • dig a great job on their blueline of denying clean zone entries
  • plays a very aggressive style where they want to get pucks in behind the other team and force turnovers
  • play a low-high game in the OZ where they like to get shots from the point, and use their forecheck to tip/collect rebounds/harass the other team back into turnovers.
I'm sure some of this is just philisophical, although it's hard not to imagine the line about Ronal Reagan...he always believed the last thing someone told him. I do wonder how much recency bias is in play here.

I don't think they're quite as neandrathalic as people are suggesting here, and I do think there is some merit to making different adjustments, but I don't think trying to emulate Carolina (who has spent a few years building a team around his philosphies) when you've got a completely different roster is the right move. If they want to change things and move to a different model then we probably need a new coach and some significant roster changes.
this is a really good post, thank you. I can't speak for everyone, but I think you've articulated a lot of the justification for some of my snarkiness around what I've said in this thread. I think you're right about what they are saying. I think what worries me is that Carolina's system of offense is not new or innovative. Going low to high and using point shots to generate offense is a pretty old school approach to offense. It's also really really inefficient. I wish I could remember the writer, it may have been Shayna, but I read an article last offseason where the author wrote about how the canes personnel have allowed them to out pace the data on their offensive system. The conclusion was basically that their D and forwards, collectively, have the speed and consistency to outpace the efficiency numbers of the system to generate offense. The Islanders play a similar system in the ozone, but they suck at generating offense, because their personnel aren't able to effect the process in the same way. I'm very skeptical that this D and forward core has what it takes to emulate Carolina.

The vast majority of the "good" offensive teams in today's NHL run a 2 man forecheck with forwards who are comfortable pushing the puck to the slot. This tends to generate high danger opportunities. Bruce's offenses score off the rush and then off the cycle but you're right in that if a cycle team just waits for a perfect opportunity, the defense isn't going to allow that opportunity. This team's offense just doesn't go through the slot enough outside of the first line stars and Taylor Hall. The rest just don't have the ability or will to get to the net off the cycle since it requires being able to outplay your check 1 on 1. I just don't think they have the personnel to do that with any regularity.

My worry, based on what the GM and PResident have said this week, is that they believe this roster is built to achieve efficiency with the type of system they are proposing. I don't see any evidence of that.
 

Dummy Hoy

Angry Pissbum
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Jul 22, 2006
7,693
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That was my understanding on the tactics too- the high volume / low efficency can work if you're young, fit, fast, and driven.

Most teams have been switching to a 2-3 OZ system with the two forecheckers on the puck and the high forward rotating high and then attacking downhill through the slot. Some teams, like Florida, run kind of a hybrid between that and the CAR style run and gun.

Boston plays a slow, methodical game...I think the FO would like to see more of an adjustment to a modern, faster game. I just think (agreeing 100% with your last line @burstnbloom ) they may be picking the wrong way to go about that. But I'm no expert.
 

TheRealness

Don't make him go all Lucic on your ash
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Feb 8, 2006
11,521
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I've seen this quoted multiple times in this thread, and from my perspective (8 years with the team working closely with both) it is not accurate. Maybe @TheRealness has info I am unaware of, but if he does it's something I never observed.
I certainly do not have any more info than you! It was an assumption I made based on their time together, and history of the club with similar folks like Sinden.

I appreciate you putting me in my place and correcting me! Thanks Fris.
 

Frisbetarian

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Dec 3, 2003
4,983
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I certainly do not have any more info than you! It was an assumption I made based on their time together, and history of the club with similar folks like Sinden.

I appreciate you putting me in my place and correcting me! Thanks Fris.
My intention was not to "put you in your place," and I apologize if I came off as harsh. I just wanted to correct the record on their association, which from what I observed is merely a work relationship.
 

TheRealness

Don't make him go all Lucic on your ash
SoSH Member
Feb 8, 2006
11,521
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My intention was not to "put you in your place," and I apologize if I came off as harsh. I just wanted to correct the record on their association, which from what I observed is merely a work relationship.
No need to apologize! I appreciate you correcting the record. You were not harsh at all.
 

ColdSoxPack

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
Jul 14, 2005
1,633
Simi Valley, CA
Well Rick Bowness is available. I can't recall a sitting head coach being talked about in the media by the front office the way they are talking about Bruce Cassidy. Maybe less honesty would be better.
 
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jsinger121

@jsinger121
SoSH Member
Jul 25, 2005
16,669
Well Rick Bowness is available. I can't recall and sitting head coach being talked about in the media by the front office the way they are talking about Bruce Cassidy. Maybe less honesty would be better.
LOL Rick Bowness. It’s pretty unbelievable he’s still coaching in the NHL as he last coached Boston 30 years ago.
 

Jordu

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Apr 30, 2003
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From reading all of the Athletic articles, my takeaway on what the FO is saying:
  • We try to generate too much offense based on clean breakouts. If a team stops up our breakout we didn't show the ability to adjust our game.
  • Our zone entries were too predictable, especially on the powerplay, this caused too many turnovers
  • Given these factors the FO wants to see adjustments to switching up to more of a dump and retreive (which given their love of bangers falls in line with their ideals)
  • Offensively we don't offer enough of a varience in tactics, relying almost exclusively on cycling. When other teams drop 5 down low to stymie this, we don't adjust. Sweeney specifically mentions working high to low and getting the D core scoring more.
  • Butch is too tough on the kids and needs to trust them more even if they're not as sound defensively if he wants.
Now, I think a lot of this is coming out of the fact that we just lost to a very good Carolina team who
  • stiffled our breakouts with aggresive forecheck and pinching D
  • dig a great job on their blueline of denying clean zone entries
  • plays a very aggressive style where they want to get pucks in behind the other team and force turnovers
  • play a low-high game in the OZ where they like to get shots from the point, and use their forecheck to tip/collect rebounds/harass the other team back into turnovers.
I'm sure some of this is just philisophical, although it's hard not to imagine the line about Ronal Reagan...he always believed the last thing someone told him. I do wonder how much recency bias is in play here.

I don't think they're quite as neandrathalic as people are suggesting here, and I do think there is some merit to making different adjustments, but I don't think trying to emulate Carolina (who has spent a few years building a team around his philosphies) when you've got a completely different roster is the right move. If they want to change things and move to a different model then we probably need a new coach and some significant roster changes.
This is an excellent and perceptive summary. Thanks. I’m just no so sure making the adjustments the FO talked about requires firing Cassidy and bringing on a new head coach.

No one is talking about Cassidy “losing the room” or saying “we need a new voice.” He coached the team to the postseason the past five seasons.

Cassidy brings a lot to the team. He’s got a great hockey mind and, in public at least, keeps an even keel.

I hope Cassidy and Neely/Sweeney can agree to make the needed adjustments. I hope Cassidy is flexible. I wonder how Cassidy will react if the FO says he needs to fire Sacco and Dean.
 

PedroSpecialK

Comes at you like a tornado of hair and the NHL sa
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Dec 12, 2004
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With some time to reflect and read more about what Neely / Sweeney have put out in the media, I am there with @Dummy Hoy. I think the FO didn't like the way the B's were outclassed in arguably 5 of those 7 games, and don't want to rush to the conclusion that they made poor roster construction decisions. Carrying the puck into the zone, cycling deep, getting it back to the points, and getting pucks on net is not a bad strategy in a vacuum - but when a team not only snuffs it out but is better in executing it, you're not really able to adapt to a whole new playing style on the fly. At least, most teams aren't - and it's not without significant risk in a series that went to the brink.

I think there's some level of frustration (internally) at not adjusting to this mid-series - but I think that's somewhat misplaced. To Cassidy's credit, he ultimately won 3 of the last 5 games of the series - IMO this falls on roster construction that pushed Josh Brown into a playoff game and includes ~40 person-minutes per night for guys in Forbort/Carlo who treat the puck like a hand grenade - for 2/3 of your time even strength, one of those guys is out there killing you in the offensive zone. Grz playing hurt for four full months to the point of being scratched at the end, and Lindholm getting brained in game 2 didn't help things, but there aren't many other playoff teams with that much ice time for such offensively inept defensemen - especially in a system so heavily involving them to generate offense.

I don't see this as Neely / Sweeney setting the stage to fire Cassidy before the season necessarily, but if (say) Bergeron is done and the B's have a slow start through 15-20 games with a cap-strapped roster, I imagine that'll be when Bruce gets the axe. I think, ultimately, moving on from Sweeney would be the right move, as I don't think he's the right guy to lead a transition team. He executed his plan to generate cap space twice - the first time, he used that space shrewdly. This time, he's become Chiarelli. I looked back at the transactions in his tenure, and came away with some takeaways

Pros:
  • Despite the Stempniak and Ritchie deadline stinkers (at relatively low long-term opportunity costs), he's a shrewd deadline dealer. I wish we could bubble wrap him and roll him out to GM only come deadline week
  • He drafted McAvoy - this franchise would be in an extremely dark place without him
  • He is able to re-sign star players for at- or below-market rates (Chia gets credit for Bergeron)
    • Marchand
    • Pastrnak
    • McAvoy
    • Hall
Cons:
  • He's trending downward, and is making repeated mistakes - particularly in the UFA market when it comes to aging, physical players
  • He is inclined to retain his own non-star players, to a fault (a trait Chiarelli had as well)
    • Specifically, Coyle and Carlo's contracts look like shit
    • Reilly was a luxury signing given their affinity for Forbort
  • Times they've had 1st/2nd round picks, either their scouting or draft strategy has not been up to snuff, Lysell and Lohrei aside
  • Andersson, Vaakanainen, Frederic, Beecher were all seen as high-floor, relatively low-ceiling players - you can get those types of players as late round picks or UDFAs instead of spending first or second rounders on them.
 
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RedOctober3829

Member
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Jul 19, 2005
52,241
deep inside Guido territory
To me, they don't even have a plan of what they want to do long-term and haven't had one for a long time. Last year, they got beat up against the Islanders so they go get guys like Forbert and Foligno while giving Frederic an expanded role. So now they get outplayed by Carolina and it seems like they want to go a 180 and get more creative. Sweeney and Neely operate at a whim to try to get something out of this core and it has gotten them literally nowhere. They are in cap jail because their failure to draft and develop enough young players to play the bottom 6/bottom D pairings has necessitated spending way more than they should for depth guys. I feel as bad about their future as I ever have.
 

lexrageorge

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Jul 31, 2007
14,970
With some time to reflect and read more about what Neely / Sweeney have put out in the media, I am there with @Dummy Hoy. I think the FO didn't like the way the B's were outclassed in arguably 5 of those 7 games, and don't want to rush to the conclusion that they made poor roster construction decisions. Carrying the puck into the zone, cycling deep, getting it back to the points, and getting pucks on net is not a bad strategy in a vacuum - but when a team not only snuffs it out but is better in executing it, you're not really able to adapt to a whole new playing style on the fly. At least, most teams aren't - and it's not without significant risk in a series that went to the brink.

I think there's some level of frustration (internally) at not adjusting to this mid-series - but I think that's somewhat misplaced. To Cassidy's credit, he ultimately won 3 of the last 5 games of the series - IMO this falls on roster construction that pushed Josh Brown into a playoff game and includes ~40 person-minutes per night for guys in Forbort/Carlo who treat the puck like a hand grenade - for 2/3 of your time even strength, one of those guys is out there killing you in the offensive zone. Grz playing hurt for four full months to the point of being scratched at the end, and Lindholm getting brained in game 2 didn't help things, but there aren't many other playoff teams with that much ice time for such offensively inept defensemen - especially in a system so heavily involving them to generate offense.

I don't see this as Neely / Sweeney setting the stage to fire Cassidy before the season necessarily, but if (say) Bergeron is done and the B's have a slow start through 15-20 games with a cap-strapped roster, I imagine that'll be when Bruce gets the axe. I think, ultimately, moving on from Sweeney would be the right move, as I don't think he's the right guy to lead a transition team. He executed his plan to generate cap space twice - the first time, he used that space shrewdly. This time, he's become Chiarelli. I looked back at the transactions in his tenure, and came away with some takeaways

Pros:
  • Despite the Stempniak and Ritchie deadline stinkers (at relatively low long-term opportunity costs), he's a shrewd deadline dealer. I wish we could bubble wrap him and roll him out to GM only come deadline week
  • He drafted McAvoy - this franchise would be in an extremely dark place without him
  • He is able to re-sign star players for at- or below-market rates (Chia gets credit for Bergeron)
    • Marchand
    • Pastrnak
    • McAvoy
    • Hall
Cons:
  • He's trending downward, and is making repeated mistakes - particularly in the UFA market when it comes to aging, physical players
  • He is inclined to retain his own non-star players, to a fault (a trait Chiarelli had as well)
    • Specifically, Coyle and Carlo's contracts look like shit
    • Reilly was a luxury signing given their affinity for Forbort
  • Times they've had 1st/2nd round picks, either their scouting or draft strategy has not been up to snuff, Lysell and Lohrei aside
  • Andersson, Vaakanainen, Frederic, Beecher were all seen as high-floor, relatively low-ceiling players - you can get those types of players as late round picks or UDFAs instead of spending first or second rounders on them.
I don't fault Sweeney for Carlo. He had a promising start to his career; wondering if the repeated concussions have been a problem for him. His contract is not so out of line that if he turned a corner, still feasible for a defenseman in his mid-20's, he would still be a tradeable asset. Then again, my assessment of Carlo has generally been more positive than most here.

Agree that Coyle's contract is looking less fun.

At the same time, he did trade Lucic and let Loui Eriksson walk, with the latter move being none too popular here at the time it happened.

Not sure I'm ready to call Beecher a bust. Low first round picks are always hit-or-miss; same applies to Vaak, Frederic, and Andersson was a late 2nd rounder, and nobody in that part of that draft has done anything yet in the NHL. Sweeney's drafting hasn't been that bad once you remove 2015, and even with 2015, 2 of those 3 picks were in the median outcome of their draft slot.

EDIT: Not disagreeing that moving on from Sweeney wouldn't be the worst idea. His down moves seem to outweigh his good, and the assessment of whether he is the best person to lead the team forward is what matters here. I just need to recall who would be doing the hiring of the next GM, and just feel the need to note that the next GM hire could easily be a disaster.
 
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MiracleOfO2704

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Jul 12, 2005
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At the same time, he did trade Lucic and let Louie Eriksson walk, with the latter move being none too popular here at the time it happened.
I’m relatively sure most of us were okay with letting Loui Eriksson walk, especially when Jim Benning gave him 6/$42m. Most people’s problem was immediately lighting that money on fire in the form of at-the-17th-tee David Backes for 6/$36m with movement protections.
 

lexrageorge

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Jul 31, 2007
14,970
I’m relatively sure most of us were okay with letting Loui Eriksson walk, especially when Jim Benning gave him 6/$42m. Most people’s problem was immediately lighting that money on fire in the form of at-the-17th-tee David Backes for 6/$36m with movement protections.
I had that bad memory stored and quietly repressed in a safe space.

Until now.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

posts 18% useful shit
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Nov 17, 2010
12,828
I don't fault Sweeney for Carlo. He had a promising start to his career; wondering if the repeated concussions have been a problem for him. His contract is not so out of line that if he turned a corner, still feasible for a defenseman in his mid-20's, he would still be a tradeable asset. Then again, my assessment of Carlo has generally been more positive than most here.

Agree that Coyle's contract is looking less fun.

At the same time, he did trade Lucic and let Loui Eriksson walk, with the latter move being none too popular here at the time it happened.

Not sure I'm ready to call Beecher a bust. Low first round picks are always hit-or-miss; same applies to Vaak, Frederic, and Andersson was a late 2nd rounder, and nobody in that part of that draft has done anything yet in the NHL. Sweeney's drafting hasn't been that bad once you remove 2015, and even with 2015, 2 of those 3 picks were in the median outcome of their draft slot.

EDIT: Not disagreeing that moving on from Sweeney wouldn't be the worst idea. His down moves seem to outweigh his good, and the assessment of whether he is the best person to lead the team forward is what matters here. I just need to recall who would be doing the hiring of the next GM, and just feel the need to note that the next GM hire could easily be a disaster.
Going a step further, Coyle performed really well after his acquisition. There was absolutely talk here about him - if able to perform to the same level - potentially being the 2C of the future.

Carlo never felt like a 1st pair D, but his early career performance certainly earned the benefit of the doubt.
 

burstnbloom

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Jul 12, 2005
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I’m relatively sure most of us were okay with letting Loui Eriksson walk, especially when Jim Benning gave him 6/$42m. Most people’s problem was immediately lighting that money on fire in the form of at-the-17th-tee David Backes for 6/$36m with movement protections.
If I remember correctly, the consternation about Loui was that Sweeney kept him as their "own rental" for a team that lost out on making the playoffs on the last day. He could have netted some future assets at that deadline. I don't remember people being upset letting Loui walk.
 

lexrageorge

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Jul 31, 2007
14,970
If I remember correctly, the consternation about Loui was that Sweeney kept him as their "own rental" for a team that lost out on making the playoffs on the last day. He could have netted some future assets at that deadline. I don't remember people being upset letting Loui walk.
To be fair, the Bruins were in first place in the Atlantic division at the trade deadline that season, with a comfortable 10 point lead over the 4th place Red Wings, and no GM is going to deal a key player for prospects/picks in that situation. Even if Sweeney wanted to, he would have been blocked by ownership. And then the Bruins promptly collapsed and lost their playoff spot to tiebreaker.
 

PedroSpecialK

Comes at you like a tornado of hair and the NHL sa
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Dec 12, 2004
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Carlo never felt like a 1st pair D, but his early career performance certainly earned the benefit of the doubt.
Carlo's extension was signed less than a year ago, in July '21. This was four months after Wilson brained him on March 5. This was his second major concussion IIRC after Ovechkin had plastered him from behind four years prior, costing him his 2017 postseason.

Carlo missed ~24 days after the Wilson hit, returning for a 3/30 game against NJD where he logged 22 minutes, then left in the 1st period of the subsequent game against the Penguins with an upper body injury. It's unclear if this was yet another concussion, or a recurrence of symptoms from the Wilson concussion. He remained out for another month, returning for the last four games of the regular season and the playoffs, but was knocked out of the Islanders series in game 3 by Cal Clutterbuck and wouldn't return in the series.

The way to approach retaining a player who has just suffered two confirmed (and possibly three total) concussions in a three month span is not a six year contract - especially a player who is, in effect, a specialist.
 

burstnbloom

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Jul 12, 2005
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To be fair, the Bruins were in first place in the Atlantic division at the trade deadline that season, with a comfortable 10 point lead over the 4th place Red Wings, and no GM is going to deal a key player for prospects/picks in that situation. Even if Sweeney wanted to, he would have been blocked by ownership. And then the Bruins promptly collapsed and lost their playoff spot to tiebreaker.
That's a good point. It feels like an unfair criticism in hindsight.
 

Myt1

serves you chicken wings
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I don't fault Sweeney for Carlo. He had a promising start to his career; wondering if the repeated concussions have been a problem for him. His contract is not so out of line that if he turned a corner, still feasible for a defenseman in his mid-20's, he would still be a tradeable asset. Then again, my assessment of Carlo has generally been more positive than most here.

Agree that Coyle's contract is looking less fun.

At the same time, he did trade Lucic and let Loui Eriksson walk, with the latter move being none too popular here at the time it happened.

Not sure I'm ready to call Beecher a bust. Low first round picks are always hit-or-miss; same applies to Vaak, Frederic, and Andersson was a late 2nd rounder, and nobody in that part of that draft has done anything yet in the NHL. Sweeney's drafting hasn't been that bad once you remove 2015, and even with 2015, 2 of those 3 picks were in the median outcome of their draft slot.

EDIT: Not disagreeing that moving on from Sweeney wouldn't be the worst idea. His down moves seem to outweigh his good, and the assessment of whether he is the best person to lead the team forward is what matters here. I just need to recall who would be doing the hiring of the next GM, and just feel the need to note that the next GM hire could easily be a disaster.
The Carlo issue to me is more about being overly philosophically risk averse in a way that has the unintended effect of causing behavior that seems relatively mundane, but actually is more detrimental (and therefore riskier) in the long run.

It’s easy to look at Carlo’s age, size, and pre-injury underlying numbers and think, “Hey, let’s extend this guy before we risk him having a great year and becoming more expensive.” It’s illusion of control stuff.

It’s harder to accept the uncertainty of the universe stuff to say, “Shit, this guy had a bunch of concussions, and the last one was on a real nothing hit, maybe we just stand pat with him for a bit, see whether he returns to form, and run the risk that he pleasantly surprises us and makes himself more expensive.”

I have no real world insight, so this is armchair human behavior stuff. But that sort of mindset strikes me as the same thing that gets you going to the “no longer elite but hard nosed respected former captain,” well twice (Backes and Foglino), and “wide body who ostensibly can play in the tough parts of the ice with snarl” (both Ritchie brothers) twice each. It makes you sign Forbort, because big and penalty kill. It makes you not take a risk on putting more eggs in the basket of a young, underpriced goalie who might allow you go spend bigger at other spots for real talent.

It makes you start Tuukka Rask in a must win Game 6 in which anyone with eyes knows he can’t move and you know he might need career ending surgery. It makes you keep the door open for him to come back, despite the utterly unlikely possibility that it will work. It makes you hope that Krecji comes back instead of moving on like he won’t.

It keeps you from pushing all in, while still getting you to trade away just enough of your future assets to materially harm the future team.

It’s spending to the cap, but by splurging on bottom 6 and bottom pair, because those risks are diffuse and not individually identifiable, rather than risking more of a stars and kids approach, hoping that the latter catch lightning in a bottle. Because you look more obviously like an asshole if you’re paying a guy $5-6M over his production level than paying three guys $2M over their production level.

As for the Cassidy stuff, I think that Neely and Sweeney’s comments are driven by the last three playoff series losses, which played out in somewhat similar fashion. On offense, the Bruins get kept to the outside by more physical teams who also use a heavier forecheck to pressure strong possession but undersized D-men like Gryz (made for the regular season, but not post season hockey when the whistles get swallowed, IMHO). I think it would be a mistake to think they’re pointed solely—or even mostly—at this past series.
 
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Kenny F'ing Powers

posts 18% useful shit
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Nov 17, 2010
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Carlo's extension was signed less than a year ago, in July '21. This was four months after Wilson brained him on March 5. This was his second major concussion IIRC after Ovechkin had plastered him from behind four years prior, costing him his 2017 postseason.

Carlo missed ~24 days after the Wilson hit, returning for a 3/30 game against NJD where he logged 22 minutes, then left in the 1st period of the subsequent game against the Penguins with an upper body injury. It's unclear if this was yet another concussion, or a recurrence of symptoms from the Wilson concussion. He remained out for another month, returning for the last four games of the regular season and the playoffs, but was knocked out of the Islanders series in game 3 by Cal Clutterbuck and wouldn't return in the series.

The way to approach retaining a player who has just suffered two confirmed (and possibly three total) concussions in a three month span is not a six year contract - especially a player who is, in effect, a specialist.
The Carlo issue to me is more about being overly philosophically risk averse in a way that has the unintended effect of causing behavior that seems relatively mundane, but actually is more detrimental (and therefore riskier) in the long run.

It’s easy to look at Carlo’s age, size, and pre-injury underlying numbers and think, “Hey, let’s extend this guy before we risk him having a great year and becoming more expensive.” It’s illusion of control stuff.

It’s harder to accept the uncertainty of the universe stuff to say, “Shit, this guy had a bunch of concussions, and the last one was on a real nothing hit, maybe we just stand pat with him for a bit, see whether he returns to form, and run the risk that he pleasantly surprises us and makes himself more expensive.”

I have no real world insight, so this is armchair human behavior stuff. But that sort of mindset strikes me as the same thing that gets you going to the “no longer elite but hard nosed respected former captain,” well twice (Backes and Foglino), and “wide body who ostensibly can play in the tough parts of the ice with snarl” (both Ritchie brothers) twice each. It makes you sign Forbort, because big and penalty kill. It makes you not take a risk on putting more eggs in the basket of a young, underpriced goalie who might allow you go spend bigger at other spots for real talent.

It makes you start Tuukka Rask in a must win Game 6 in which anyone with eyes knows he can’t move and you know he might need career ending surgery. It makes you keep the door open for him to come back, despite the utterly unlikely possibility that it will work. It makes you hope that Krecji comes back instead of moving on like he won’t.

It keeps you from pushing all in, while still getting you to trade away just enough of your future assets to materially harm the future team.

It’s spending to the cap, but by splurging on bottom 6 and bottom pair, because those risks are diffuse and not individually identifiable, rather than risking more of a stars and kids approach, hoping that the latter catch lightning in a bottle. Because you look more obviously like an asshole if you’re paying a guy $5-6M over his production level than paying three guys $2M over their production level.

As for the Cassidy stuff, I think that Neely and Sweeney’s comments are driven by the last three playoff series losses, which played out in somewhat similar fashion. On offense, the Bruins get kept to the outside by more physical teams who also use a heavier forecheck to pressure strong possession but undersized D-men like Gryz (made for the regular season, but not post season hockey when the whistles get swallowed, IMHO). I think it would be a mistake to think they’re pointed solely—or even mostly—at this past series.
You could say all the same things about Bergeron.

Bergeron suffered his 4th concussion on April 2nd, 2013. He was out for 3 weeks, came back for the last 7 games of the regular season and put up 0G 1A, followed by a 0G 1A through six games against Toronto in round 1 before saving the season in game 7.

Three months later, he signed a 8 year contract that has worked out pretty well.

Risk, reward, etc etc etc.
 

PedroSpecialK

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Yes, that was Bergeron's 4th concussion in the NHL - his first being Randy Jones in '07, then Seidenberg in December '08, then nothing for 2.5 years until Giroux's hit during the '11 Cup run - he did not miss a game and came back for the ECF of course. Two concussions in a two year span, the first of which was enough to sideline him for a few das at most, should not be treated the same as suffering at least two, and either incurring a third or experiencing recurring symptoms from the first, in a 3 month span. Carlo was an RFA as well, rather than a UFA like Bergeron - they likely had an opportunity to go for a two-year bridge deal (believe Carlo would have been an arb-eligible RFA next offseason) at a similar AAV to keep the long-term risk low.

Bergeron is also the type of player they were right to be willing to take that risk on, in terms of overall value on both sides of the puck he is a borderline generational talent. Carlo is not in that ilk - there are literally dozens of other defensemen who are more valuable.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Carlo in a vacuum aside... I should caveat that this all is revisionist as hell. I don't recall being particularly bothered by either Carlo or Coyle (in fact I'm pretty sure I was a fan of Carlo's deal), or even by any non-Forbort/Foligno deal in the moment this past offseason - but I'm also not responsible for having a long-term plan for this franchise. Sweeney is, and now has nearly 30% of the cap tied up in 6 players that are either bottom 6 forwards, 4-7 defensemen, or backup G:

Coyle - $5.25m, 4 years left
Ullmark - $5m, 3 years left
Carlo - $4.1m, 5 years left
Foligno - $3.8m, 1 year left
Forbort - $3m, 2 years left
Reilly - $3m - 2 years left (I don't dislike Reilly at this price fwiw - but they value Forbort over him)

Add in Wagner ($1.35m), Smith ($3.1m), Frederic ($1.05m), Nosek ($1.75m), Steen ($0.8m), Zboril ($1.138m), and Clifton ($1m) and you're looking at $34m for the 13 'bottom half' of the roster spots, an average of ~$2.62m per roster spot. For context, with 23 spots per roster and a cap of $81.5m, the average NHL salary would be $3.5m if every team spent to the cap - in reality, it's closer to $2.7m. That means the Bruins are paying a hair under the league average salary per roster spot on the slots they should be filling with guys making $800k-$1.8m. I can imagine designating Ullmark as the 'backup' will draw some ire, so for comparison's sake denoting Swayman puts the B's at $2.3m per roster spot for this group.

Decided to take a look at the cost per for similar roster spots among Cup-contending teams - included the bottom 6 forwards, bottom 3 defensemen, backup G, and three most relevant "scratch" players per CapFriendly depth charts to make it an apples-to-apples 13 roster spots.

Avalanche

Forwards: Burakovsky ($4.9m), Compher ($3.5m), Aubé-Kubel ($1.075m), Cogliano ($0.5m), Sturm ($0.725m), Helm ($1m)
Defensemen: Johnson ($6m), Manson ($2.05m), Byram ($0.894m)
Backup G: Francouz ($2m)
Scratches: Murray ($2m), O'Connor ($0.725m), Johnson ($0.7m)
Total: $26.07m
Per roster spot: $2m (24% lower)

Blues

Forwards: Schenn ($6.5m), Kyrou ($2.8m), Barbashev ($2.25m), Toropchenko ($0.775m), Bozak ($0.75m), Walker ($0.75m)
Defensemen: Leddy ($2.75m), Bortuzzo ($1.375m), Rosén ($0.75m)
Backup G: Husso ($0.75m)
Scratches: Scandella ($3.275m), Perunovich ($0.925m), Brown ($0.75m)
Total: $24.4m
Per roster spot: $1.88m (28% lower)

Note: including Krug as 4D in place of Leddy bumps the per-roster spot total up to $2.16m, still 17% lower than what the B's are spending

Flames

Forwards: Lucic ($5.25m), Toffoli ($4.25m), Dubé ($2.3m), Järnkrok ($1m), Ritchie ($0.9m), Lewis ($0.8m)
Defensemen: Zadorov ($3.75m), Gudbranson ($1.95m), Kylington ($0.75m)
Backup G: Vladar ($0.75m)
Scratches: Välimäki ($1.55m), Carpenter ($1m), Stone ($0.75m)
Total: $25m
Per roster spot: $1.92m (27% lower)

Lightning

Forwards: Hagel ($1.5m), Colton ($1.125m), Perry ($1m), Bellemare ($1m), Maroon ($0.9m), Paul ($0.749m)
Defensemen: Černák ($2.95m), Rutta ($1.3m), Foote ($0.85m)
Backup G: Elliott ($0.9m)
Scratches: Bogosian ($0.85m), Nash ($0.75m), Claesson ($0.75m)
Total: $14.624m
Per roster spot: $1.12m (57% lower)

Lightning are an extreme example, and arguably the best-run organization in the league. Throw Point in if you'd like, it only moves them up to $1.62m per spot.

Hurricanes - probably the closest comparable

Forwards: Kotkaniemi ($6.1m), Staal ($6m), Niederreiter ($5.25m), Domi ($2.625m), Fast ($2m), Martinook ($1.8m)
Defensemen: Cole ($2.9m), DeAngelo ($1m), Smith ($0.8m)
Backup G: Raanta ($2m)
Scratches: Bear ($2m), Stepan ($1.35m), Lorentz ($0.725m)
Total: $34.55m
Per roster spot: $2.66m (1.5% higher)

How do they do it? Pretty simple in the end - they have Jarvis and Necas as top-6 wings on ELCs, have Slavin / Skjei / Pesce locked up for two more years minimum at a total of $14.6m AAV, and were even able to complete a spite-filled $6.1m signing of Kotkaniemi this past offseason via offer sheet. They also actually get value out of the bottom of their lineup rather than treading water - specifically, Niederreiter - Staal - Fast as their third line I'd argue won them the series overall.

The Bruins on the flip side will be spending more than that defense total on Lindholm / McAvoy, have no top-line ELC talent incoming beyond Lysell probably in two years, and are going to be up against it unless they can really swindle some teams.

The formula isn't hard. Sweeney had navigated the cap space for the team to be set up to acquire or sign talent for the top-half of the lineup. He instead spent it on entirely fungible players, both in terms of player retention and UFA acquisitions. That is the slow road to mediocrity in a nutshell.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Yes, that was Bergeron's 4th concussion in the NHL - his first being Randy Jones in '07, then Seidenberg in December '08, then nothing for 2.5 years until Giroux's hit during the '11 Cup run - he did not miss a game and came back for the ECF of course. Two concussions in a two year span, the first of which was enough to sideline him for a few das at most, should not be treated the same as suffering at least two, and either incurring a third or experiencing recurring symptoms from the first, in a 3 month span. Carlo was an RFA as well, rather than a UFA like Bergeron - they likely had an opportunity to go for a two-year bridge deal (believe Carlo would have been an arb-eligible RFA next offseason) at a similar AAV to keep the long-term risk low.

Bergeron is also the type of player they were right to be willing to take that risk on, in terms of overall value on both sides of the puck he is a borderline generational talent. Carlo is not in that ilk - there are literally dozens of other defensemen who are more valuable.
You're really underplaying Bergerons history with concussions. He had four concussions over 6 years. There's a reason he was so emotional when he got that previously highlighted 4th concussion. The dudes career nearly ended due to concussions 15ish years ago. Acting like he was less of a concussion risk than Carlos can't be genuine.

Was Carlos worth the risk? Fair question. But we've seen that risk pay off in the past.
 

Myt1

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You could say all the same things about Bergeron.

Bergeron suffered his 4th concussion on April 2nd, 2013. He was out for 3 weeks, came back for the last 7 games of the regular season and put up 0G 1A, followed by a 0G 1A through six games against Toronto in round 1 before saving the season in game 7.

Three months later, he signed a 8 year contract that has worked out pretty well.

Risk, reward, etc etc etc.
No, you couldn’t. The amount of time between Bergeron’s concussions was substantially longer, and his last one wasn’t on an absolutely nothing check. And he was a UFA and a far more advanced player than Carlo, having already won a Selke and finished in the Top 5 two other times.

So the two situations have literally nothing to do with each other besides, “Yeah, but concussions.”

It’s the sort of analogy that someone makes when they’re interested in something other than facts.
 

Myt1

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You're really underplaying Bergerons history with concussions. He had four concussions over 6 years. There's a reason he was so emotional when he got that previously highlighted 4th concussion. The dudes career nearly ended due to concussions 15ish years ago. Acting like he was less of a concussion risk than Carlos can't be genuine.

Was Carlos worth the risk? Fair question. But we've seen that risk pay off in the past.
Yup. Following up a ridiculous analogy with a strawman that doesn’t bother to address the other points @PedroSpecialK made. That’s when you know you’re getting a “genuine” post.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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No, you couldn’t. The amount of time between Bergeron’s concussions was substantially longer, and his last one wasn’t on an absolutely nothing check.
And it's well documented that getting a concussion puts you at greater risk for more concussions. He had four concussions and was at a much higher risk for them. His career was derailed once already due to them, so I'd certainly say there was a risk to giving him an 8 year contract only 3 monthes after receiving his 4th brain injury.

And he was a UFA and a far more advanced player than Carlo, having already won a Selke and finished in the Top 5 two other times.
Neat. That's why he was offered longer years and more money than Carlo. It certainly doesn't make him less predisposed to getting more concussions. What the fuck are you talking about?

So the two situations have literally nothing to do with each other besides, “Yeah, but concussions.”

It’s the sort of analogy that someone makes when they’re interested in something other than facts.
Nope. Comparing Carlos and Bergeron as players to try and justify the risk of future concussions is what someone does when they aren't interested in facts.

The contract Bergeron signed was basically $1.5 - 2M a year less than other top players were getting at the time. That was the tradeoff that was made to take the long term risk of more concussions. Obviously there was concerns from both sides that more concussions were a risk. There was plenty of digital bandwidth spent on the topic, so choosing to conveniently forget that now shows how important winning an internet argument is, I guess.

And while Carlo did suffer those concussions and then signed his 6 year contract, he also played 79 games this season. He was 3rd on the defense in minutes, 2nd in shifts played, 3rd in defensive zone starts, etc etc. All things you expect out of a top 4 defenseman. He was also the only player on the defense to have more takeaways than giveaways - a combination that's a byproduct of his defensive skill as well as his unwillingness/inability to be more offensive.

The team also has done a great job building around that deficiency, as both he and McAvoy are peppered all along the top of fly shift goals, shifts, %'s, etc.

The kid signed a 6 year contract at 23 for $4M a year. That's a perfectly reasonable contract for a stay at home D who showed an ability to be a top 4 defenseman. And, despite the concussions prior to signing, he played 79 games this season. Of all the contract issues on this team, Carlo's 6/$4M seems pretty defensible.
 

Myt1

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And it's well documented that getting a concussion puts you at greater risk for more concussions.
Yes, it does. None of this, or course, contradicts the fact that having those same concussions in a shorter period of more recent time probably also puts you at even higher risk, especially when the most recent one doesn’t even involve any contact to the head

He had four concussions and was at a much higher risk for them. His career was derailed once already due to them, so I'd certainly say there was a risk to giving him an 8 year contract only 3 monthes after receiving his 4th brain injury.
Literally no one is saying that there was no risk to giving Patrice Bergeron a contract after his concussion. If your argument were better, you wouldn’t have to strawman over and over again.

We’re saying that the circumstances are sufficiently dissimilar as to render your analogy of little value. Let us count the ways:

1. Carlo had a more compacted time frame in which he received his concussions.

2. Carlo’s most recent concussion was on a relatively mundane hit.

3. Patrice Bergeron was a UFA, Carlo was not, increasing the downside risk of not re-signing Bergeron in a manner simply not present for Carlo.

4. Patrice Bergeron already had a nine year career of very high level play, including a Selke and two top five finishes, while Brandon Carlo had a five year career of . . . being Brandon Carlo, increasing the downside risk of not having Bergeron in a manner simply not present for Carlo.

Neat. That's why he was offered longer years and more money than Carlo. It certainly doesn't make him less predisposed to getting more concussions. What the fuck are you talking about?
Something more nuanced and sophisticated than merely, “But concussions!!!1!” I understand that this is difficult for you to follow, because you have difficulty reading the posts to which you are responding, while simply making your same barely responsive point over and over again.

Nope. Comparing Carlos and Bergeron as players to try and justify the risk of future concussions is what someone does when they aren't interested in facts.
Seriously? Those are literally additional facts that go into the equation to identify relative risks and rewards. Do you buy stocks based only on the likelihood that the company will go bankrupt, with no reference whatsoever to the likely price outcomes if it does not?

The contract Bergeron signed was basically $1.5 - 2M a year less than other top players were getting at the time. That was the tradeoff that was made to take the long term risk of more concussions. Obviously there was concerns from both sides that more concussions were a risk. There was plenty of digital bandwidth spent on the topic, so choosing to conveniently forget that now shows how important winning an internet argument is, I guess.
Still literally haven’t done that. Again, if your internet argument didn’t suck, you wouldn’t have to make things up.

And while Carlo did suffer those concussions and then signed his 6 year contract, he also played 79 games this season. He was 3rd on the defense in minutes, 2nd in shifts played, 3rd in defensive zone starts, etc etc. All things you expect out of a top 4 defenseman. He was also the only player on the defense to have more takeaways than giveaways - a combination that's a byproduct of his defensive skill as well as his unwillingness/inability to be more offensive.

The team also has done a great job building around that deficiency, as both he and McAvoy are peppered all along the top of fly shift goals, shifts, %'s, etc.

The kid signed a 6 year contract at 23 for $4M a year. That's a perfectly reasonable contract for a stay at home D who showed an ability to be a top 4 defenseman. And, despite the concussions prior to signing, he played 79 games this season. Of all the contract issues on this team, Carlo's 6/$4M seems pretty defensible.
Ah, yes, the fallacy of relative privation, but n support of a vociferous argument against a completely mundane statement that <checks notes> signing Brandon Carlo to his contract extension might have been based on an overly cautious mindset that didn’t want to risk the possibility that he might make himself slightly more expensive.

It’s just a bad analogy. It’s OK, we all make them. But being dishonest about my and @PedroSpecialK ‘s posts to try to cover that up is worse.
 
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Kenny F'ing Powers

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Yes, it does. None of this, or course, contradicts the fact that having those same concussions in a shorter period of more recent time probably also puts you at even higher risk, especially when the most recent one doesn’t even involve any contact to the head



Literally no one is saying that there was no risk to giving Patrice Bergeron a contract after his concussion. If your argument were better, you wouldn’t have to strawman over and over again.

We’re saying that the circumstances are sufficiently dissimilar as to render your analogy of little value. Let us count the ways:

1. Carlo had a more compacted time frame in which he received his concussions.

2. Carlo’s most recent concussion was on a relatively mundane hit.

3. Patrice Bergeron was a UFA, Carlo was not, increasing the downside risk of not re-signing Bergeron in a manner simply not present for Carlo.

4. Patrice Bergeron already had a nine year career of very high level play, including a Selke and two top five finishes, while Brandon Carlo had a five year career of . . . being Brandon Carlo, increasing the downside risk of not having Bergeron in a manner simply not present for Carlo.



Something more nuanced and sophisticated than merely, “But concussions!!!1!” I understand that this is difficult for you to follow, because you have difficulty reading the posts to which you are responding, while simply making your same barely responsive point over and over again.



Seriously? Those are literally additional facts that go into the equation to identify relative risks and rewards. Do you buy stocks based only on the likelihood that the company will go bankrupt, with no reference whatsoever to the likely price outcomes if it does not?



Still literally haven’t done that. Again, if your internet argument didn’t suck, you wouldn’t have to make things up.



Ah, yes, the fallacy of relative privation, but n support of a vociferous argument against a completely mundane statement that <checks notes> signing Brandon Carlo to his contract extension might have been based on an overly cautious mindset that didn’t want to risk the possibility that he might make himself slightly more expensive.

It’s just a bad analogy. It’s OK, we all make them. But being dishonest about my and @PedroSpecialK ‘s posts to try to cover that up is worse.
Your concern with Carlo was as follows:

It’s harder to accept the uncertainty of the universe stuff to say, “Shit, this guy had a bunch of concussions, and the last one was on a real nothing hit, maybe we just stand pat with him for a bit, see whether he returns to form, and run the risk that he pleasantly surprises us and makes himself more expensive.”
He signed his contract then he played 79 games this season. There was no signs that his previous concussions had anything to do with his level of play. We have no evidence that the concussion this post season will even affect his offseason workouts, let alone game 1 of next season. He may never get another one again.

So why the fuck are you trying to make his contract out to be an albatross due to concussions? The Carlo contract was low risk, high reward. There was very little in his history of play to assume he wouldn't earn his $4M salary. And the concussions YOU cited in your initial post didn't affect him for the entire regular season. So, the risk has still payed off.

Conversely, "standing pat for a bit to see if he returns to form" is the most revisionist bullshit you've posted in a while. And that's saying something. If you told anyone at the start of the year that Carlo would play 79 healthy games, almost 100% of people would think his $4M tag would be a solid value. You wanted to see if he would "return to form" due to concussions. Concussions had NOTHING to do with his play or availability for the entire regular season.

The risk of the contract was health related. He was healthy all season and should be healthy to start next season. Finding value on contracts like this is critical for success against the salary cap. There's a million other places to point at when finding fault with this management team. Carlo being healthy and playing at a $2-3M level instead of a $4M level?

Dumb.
 

Myt1

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Your concern with Carlo was as follows:
If you actually read the post, it’s not “a concern with Carlo.” It’s a “Hey, maybe this thing in a list of eight or nine is indicative of a particular way of thinking.”

He signed his contract then he played 79 games this season. There was no signs that his previous concussions had anything to do with his level of play.
Oh, I think there were. He was jumpier with the puck in his own end and seemed a step slower in his decision-making, leading to things like bad pinches and recoveries, and almost getting his D partner killed in the playoffs. His possession metrics were also down, though he got more defensive zone starts this year.

We have no evidence that the concussion this post season will even affect his offseason workouts, let alone game 1 of next season. He may never get another one again.
Wait a second. This you?

And it's well documented that getting a concussion puts you at greater risk for more concussions.
That’s weird. What’s the completely honest and not at all outcome motivated reason for changing your tune here?

So why the fuck are you trying to make his contract out to be an albatross due to concussions?
That’s a good question. Let me go back and check the post where I did that . . . Oh wait, that’s right, I did literally nothing of the kind and this is like your fifth strawman because attempting to hide your stupidity with dishonesty is pretty much your schtick.

Go ahead, though. Quote the post where I did that.
The Carlo contract was low risk, high reward. There was very little in his history of play to assume he wouldn't earn his $4M salary. And the concussions YOU cited in your initial post didn't affect him for the entire regular season. So, the risk has still payed off.

Conversely, "standing pat for a bit to see if he returns to form" is the most revisionist bullshit you've posted in a while.
What are you even talking about? How is talking about how someone could have thought about something in summer 2022 “revisionist bullshit” about what happened after? I know that reading and writing aren’t exactly your strong suits, but this isn’t even English.

And that's saying something. If you told anyone at the start of the year that Carlo would play 79 healthy games, almost 100% of people would think his $4M tag would be a solid value. You wanted to see if he would "return to form" due to concussions. Concussions had NOTHING to do with his play or availability for the entire regular season.

The risk of the contract was health related. He was healthy all season and should be healthy to start next season. Finding value on contracts like this is critical for success against the salary cap. There's a million other places to point at when finding fault with this management team. Carlo being healthy and playing at a $2-3M level instead of a $4M level?
You know what?

You’re absolutely right.

What I should have done—instead of singling out Carlo in a post entirely about him and how his contract was a godawful albatross and the biggest mistake of this management team’s history—was write a post that talked about this management team’s risk-averse style and actions more broadly. I could have used other examples to make a more philosophical point and everything.

Hell, I could have even said something about the issue you raise here at the end, and how the aggregate effect of below-contract performance from the cheaper players on the team might be a harmful issue that was not as readily apparent. I could have even framed it as something like “those risks are diffuse and not individually identifiable.”

You’re right. That would have been a much more interesting post. It might have even looked something like this:http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/2022-offseason.36569/post-5007267

Buddy, your initial response to posts from two different posters was to argue that you could have said the same things about Patrice Bergeron that we said about Brandon Carlo. And you were totally right; those situations were completely analogous, with the minor exceptions of the facts that they were different players with different injury histories, different overall talent levels, different track records of performance, different difficulties in acquiring replacements, and completely different contract statuses.

Apparently having now understood the folly of your initial, absolutely asinine response, you’ve fallen back on your favorite hobby horse: lying about the posts to which you are responding.

You have to be a lot better at writing to cover up that much stupidity with that much dishonesty. Though, how you haven’t improved at that particular gambit with all the practice you get absolutely blows my mind.
 
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jk333

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I have no say around here but you two should take it to dms.
Probably but @Myt1 ‘s post above about the Bruins being too risk averse is spot on to me.

3 examples:
-trading Lucic for 13/14/15 with the intention of turning those picks into Hannifin (let us not mention their picks from this draft as it’s not my point)
-freeing cap this season to add another forward but not finding a trade partner
-signing Ulmark- they intended to bring back Rask AND signed Ulmark? it makes no sense and the money could have been used to sign a better forward before the season began.

I was against the Carlo contract but it’s not the biggest problem. He’s serviceable. It’s the larger makeup of the team/contracts that is the issue.
 

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Petagine in a Bottle

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I’m surprised to see anyone questioning the Ullmark deal; that seems totally revisionist. I thought the consensus at the time was that nothing could be expected from Rask and that depending on Swayman was to risky .
 

PedroSpecialK

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I think there's a bit of revisionist history going on in regards to Carlo's contract (with the exception of @PedroSpecialK - the man is prescient).

Look at this thread - the overall vibe is that the contract is happiness at the cost, and general optimism with his level of play and potential to get better.

https://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/bruins-extend-brandon-carlo-6-years-4-1-mil-aav.34043/
Well then. Must have been the Coyle deal I was OK with at the time.
 

Zososoxfan

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Yes, that was Bergeron's 4th concussion in the NHL - his first being Randy Jones in '07, then Seidenberg in December '08, then nothing for 2.5 years until Giroux's hit during the '11 Cup run - he did not miss a game and came back for the ECF of course. Two concussions in a two year span, the first of which was enough to sideline him for a few das at most, should not be treated the same as suffering at least two, and either incurring a third or experiencing recurring symptoms from the first, in a 3 month span. Carlo was an RFA as well, rather than a UFA like Bergeron - they likely had an opportunity to go for a two-year bridge deal (believe Carlo would have been an arb-eligible RFA next offseason) at a similar AAV to keep the long-term risk low.

Bergeron is also the type of player they were right to be willing to take that risk on, in terms of overall value on both sides of the puck he is a borderline generational talent. Carlo is not in that ilk - there are literally dozens of other defensemen who are more valuable.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Carlo in a vacuum aside... I should caveat that this all is revisionist as hell. I don't recall being particularly bothered by either Carlo or Coyle (in fact I'm pretty sure I was a fan of Carlo's deal), or even by any non-Forbort/Foligno deal in the moment this past offseason - but I'm also not responsible for having a long-term plan for this franchise. Sweeney is, and now has nearly 30% of the cap tied up in 6 players that are either bottom 6 forwards, 4-7 defensemen, or backup G:

Coyle - $5.25m, 4 years left
Ullmark - $5m, 3 years left
Carlo - $4.1m, 5 years left
Foligno - $3.8m, 1 year left
Forbort - $3m, 2 years left
Reilly - $3m - 2 years left (I don't dislike Reilly at this price fwiw - but they value Forbort over him)

Add in Wagner ($1.35m), Smith ($3.1m), Frederic ($1.05m), Nosek ($1.75m), Steen ($0.8m), Zboril ($1.138m), and Clifton ($1m) and you're looking at $34m for the 13 'bottom half' of the roster spots, an average of ~$2.62m per roster spot. For context, with 23 spots per roster and a cap of $81.5m, the average NHL salary would be $3.5m if every team spent to the cap - in reality, it's closer to $2.7m. That means the Bruins are paying a hair under the league average salary per roster spot on the slots they should be filling with guys making $800k-$1.8m. I can imagine designating Ullmark as the 'backup' will draw some ire, so for comparison's sake denoting Swayman puts the B's at $2.3m per roster spot for this group.

Decided to take a look at the cost per for similar roster spots among Cup-contending teams - included the bottom 6 forwards, bottom 3 defensemen, backup G, and three most relevant "scratch" players per CapFriendly depth charts to make it an apples-to-apples 13 roster spots.

Avalanche

Forwards: Burakovsky ($4.9m), Compher ($3.5m), Aubé-Kubel ($1.075m), Cogliano ($0.5m), Sturm ($0.725m), Helm ($1m)
Defensemen: Johnson ($6m), Manson ($2.05m), Byram ($0.894m)
Backup G: Francouz ($2m)
Scratches: Murray ($2m), O'Connor ($0.725m), Johnson ($0.7m)
Total: $26.07m
Per roster spot: $2m (24% lower)

Blues

Forwards: Schenn ($6.5m), Kyrou ($2.8m), Barbashev ($2.25m), Toropchenko ($0.775m), Bozak ($0.75m), Walker ($0.75m)
Defensemen: Leddy ($2.75m), Bortuzzo ($1.375m), Rosén ($0.75m)
Backup G: Husso ($0.75m)
Scratches: Scandella ($3.275m), Perunovich ($0.925m), Brown ($0.75m)
Total: $24.4m
Per roster spot: $1.88m (28% lower)

Note: including Krug as 4D in place of Leddy bumps the per-roster spot total up to $2.16m, still 17% lower than what the B's are spending

Flames

Forwards: Lucic ($5.25m), Toffoli ($4.25m), Dubé ($2.3m), Järnkrok ($1m), Ritchie ($0.9m), Lewis ($0.8m)
Defensemen: Zadorov ($3.75m), Gudbranson ($1.95m), Kylington ($0.75m)
Backup G: Vladar ($0.75m)
Scratches: Välimäki ($1.55m), Carpenter ($1m), Stone ($0.75m)
Total: $25m
Per roster spot: $1.92m (27% lower)

Lightning

Forwards: Hagel ($1.5m), Colton ($1.125m), Perry ($1m), Bellemare ($1m), Maroon ($0.9m), Paul ($0.749m)
Defensemen: Černák ($2.95m), Rutta ($1.3m), Foote ($0.85m)
Backup G: Elliott ($0.9m)
Scratches: Bogosian ($0.85m), Nash ($0.75m), Claesson ($0.75m)
Total: $14.624m
Per roster spot: $1.12m (57% lower)

Lightning are an extreme example, and arguably the best-run organization in the league. Throw Point in if you'd like, it only moves them up to $1.62m per spot.

Hurricanes - probably the closest comparable

Forwards: Kotkaniemi ($6.1m), Staal ($6m), Niederreiter ($5.25m), Domi ($2.625m), Fast ($2m), Martinook ($1.8m)
Defensemen: Cole ($2.9m), DeAngelo ($1m), Smith ($0.8m)
Backup G: Raanta ($2m)
Scratches: Bear ($2m), Stepan ($1.35m), Lorentz ($0.725m)
Total: $34.55m
Per roster spot: $2.66m (1.5% higher)

How do they do it? Pretty simple in the end - they have Jarvis and Necas as top-6 wings on ELCs, have Slavin / Skjei / Pesce locked up for two more years minimum at a total of $14.6m AAV, and were even able to complete a spite-filled $6.1m signing of Kotkaniemi this past offseason via offer sheet. They also actually get value out of the bottom of their lineup rather than treading water - specifically, Niederreiter - Staal - Fast as their third line I'd argue won them the series overall.

The Bruins on the flip side will be spending more than that defense total on Lindholm / McAvoy, have no top-line ELC talent incoming beyond Lysell probably in two years, and are going to be up against it unless they can really swindle some teams.

The formula isn't hard. Sweeney had navigated the cap space for the team to be set up to acquire or sign talent for the top-half of the lineup. He instead spent it on entirely fungible players, both in terms of player retention and UFA acquisitions. That is the slow road to mediocrity in a nutshell.
This post is so key to me. It's roster construction 101 and explains the Bruins situation perfectly. Now, I'd be curious to know how this compares to the Cup-winning and even the SCF iterations, but for the here and now this is what drives me bananas about Neely/Sweeney. It's not a secret how other teams are doing it. Hell, the Bolts haven't had Brayden Point for 3 games this series and are getting by with 11 forwards.
 

Myt1

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I have no say around here but you two should take it to dms.
I think I made my point, but I’m not going to DM a guy for further conversation about his “disagreement” with a post that apparently resides entirely within his fever dream.
 

Myt1

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I think there's a bit of revisionist history going on in regards to Carlo's contract (with the exception of @PedroSpecialK - the man is prescient).

Look at this thread - the overall vibe is that the contract is happiness at the cost, and general optimism with his level of play and potential to get better.

https://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/bruins-extend-brandon-carlo-6-years-4-1-mil-aav.34043/
http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/bruins-extend-brandon-carlo-6-years-4-1-mil-aav.34043/post-4504638

http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/bruins-round-2-thread-new-york-islanders.33615/post-4456955

More to the point, do we really have to have made a particular criticism of a move in real time to talk about it a year later? It’s revisionist history to claim that one took a position that one did not take. It’s not revisionist history to use the benefit of hindsight to review prior actions and put them in a broader context, and that word has now been used poorly three times in the past page or so to attack a position for extrinsic reasons rather than engaging with it.
 
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kenneycb

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http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/bruins-extend-brandon-carlo-6-years-4-1-mil-aav.34043/post-4504638

http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/bruins-round-2-thread-new-york-islanders.33615/post-4456955

More to the point, do we really have to have made a particular criticism of a move in real time to talk about it a year later? It’s revisionist history to claim that one took a position that one did not take. It’s not revisionist history to use the benefit of hindsight to review prior actions and put them in a broader context, and that word has now been used poorly three times in the past page or so to attack a position for extrinsic reasons rather than engaging with it.
I don't think he's saying that at all. I find it useful to understand how people were feeling in the moment, compare it to how people feel today and use that to understand what's changed over the last 12 months - the player, the analysis, both, or something else entirely. I did the same thing as TSC when this line of conversation started.
 

Myt1

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I don't think he's saying that at all. I find it useful to understand how people were feeling in the moment, compare it to how people feel today and use that to understand what's changed over the last 12 months - the player, the analysis, both, or something else entirely. I did the same thing as TSC when this line of conversation started.
I think that all makes sense. If the point is no more or less than that hindsight is 20/20, I’d probably just use that as the phrase I guess. “Revisionist” has a different nuance that involves lying about the past, IMHO. :)
 

Frisbetarian

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I don't have a ton of time before my first class, but I'll try to revisit later...

Firstly, anyone who hears the Neely-Sweeney Gang talking about changing tactics and hears words like Dump, Chase, and Grind is right to be worried...we've seen too many chumps get too much money and ice time in recent seasons. But I think people are missing some of the nuance here.

From reading all of the Athletic articles, my takeaway on what the FO is saying:
  • We try to generate too much offense based on clean breakouts. If a team stops up our breakout we didn't show the ability to adjust our game.
  • Our zone entries were too predictable, especially on the powerplay, this caused too many turnovers
  • Given these factors the FO wants to see adjustments to switching up to more of a dump and retreive (which given their love of bangers falls in line with their ideals)
  • Offensively we don't offer enough of a varience in tactics, relying almost exclusively on cycling. When other teams drop 5 down low to stymie this, we don't adjust. Sweeney specifically mentions working high to low and getting the D core scoring more.
  • Butch is too tough on the kids and needs to trust them more even if they're not as sound defensively if he wants.
Now, I think a lot of this is coming out of the fact that we just lost to a very good Carolina team who
  • stiffled our breakouts with aggresive forecheck and pinching D
  • dig a great job on their blueline of denying clean zone entries
  • plays a very aggressive style where they want to get pucks in behind the other team and force turnovers
  • play a low-high game in the OZ where they like to get shots from the point, and use their forecheck to tip/collect rebounds/harass the other team back into turnovers.
I'm sure some of this is just philisophical, although it's hard not to imagine the line about Ronal Reagan...he always believed the last thing someone told him. I do wonder how much recency bias is in play here.

I don't think they're quite as neandrathalic as people are suggesting here, and I do think there is some merit to making different adjustments, but I don't think trying to emulate Carolina (who has spent a few years building a team around his philosphies) when you've got a completely different roster is the right move. If they want to change things and move to a different model then we probably need a new coach and some significant roster changes.
Excellent post, Justin! I was horrified when I read the bolded comments, and took a look at the offensive success of teams when they dump the puck into the OZ. Unsurprisingly, teams that are not Carolina who use dump and chase tend to score fewer goals the more they enter the OZ sans control.

51828

The above shows the 5 on 5 dump in rate and expected goals for each team over the last 3 seasons. The Hurricanes are the outliers denoted in orange.

And just for comparison sake, below is controlled entries vs XPG:

51829

As you can see, teams who bring the puck in with control generate more offense. Again, no surprise.

A few other general comments on your post and the Bruins season. The team was (IMO) far too conservative in their OZ passing, and very predictable in the way they tried to exit the DZ. I can't share too much more, but the team's DZ and NZ turnovers were very high, and they took a very very low percentage of their shots from the slot area. The true shooting percentage (goals/shot attempts) from outside the slot is 1.4%, from the slot it's 10.1%, so you have a greater than 7 times better chance to score from the slot. Shot location was a big issue.

Re: the Carolina series, the Carolina strategy to pinch the walls when the Bruins were trying to break out was the perfect way to stop the Bruins from leaving their own end. It is imperative for Boston to attempt more stretch passes out of the DZ, if only so teams have to guess a little. Their DZ exits/passing strategy was extremely tilted, but despite telegraphing their DZ passing scheme, the Bruins still took a very good team to 7 games. This team was very close to going to a quite winnable 2nd round vs the Rangers...

IMO, part of the scoring issues the Bruins have is because of strategy/coaching, and part is because of the lack of talent.

One last thought. Your comments on the issues the team faces while cycling were pretty much spot on. The Bruins generated fewer scoring chances off the cycle than an average team, and when they did get cycle chances, they really struggled to get them on net, and rarely scored when they did. The team was near the bottom of the league in G/60 off the cycle.
 
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4 6 3 DP

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It’s spending to the cap, but by splurging on bottom 6 and bottom pair, because those risks are diffuse and not individually identifiable, rather than risking more of a stars and kids approach, hoping that the latter catch lightning in a bottle. Because you look more obviously like an asshole if you’re paying a guy $5-6M over his production level than paying three guys $2M over their production level.
Just wanted to say this is spot on and exactly the problem I see with the Sweeney roster approach. Their depth isn't good depth. And it's paid like elite depth.
 

Myt1

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Just wanted to say this is spot on and exactly the problem I see with the Sweeney roster approach. Their depth isn't good depth. And it's paid like elite depth.
Thanks. Also,


to the team and management, I can look at just about any set of factual circumstances and craft a plausible, superficially appealing narrative that may or may not bear any relationship at all to reality. It’s how my brain is wired to help others make sense of a chaotic world for fun and profit.
 

4 6 3 DP

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Thanks. Also,


to the team and management, I can look at just about any set of factual circumstances and craft a plausible, superficially appealing narrative that may or may not bear any relationship at all to reality. It’s how my brain is wired to help others make sense of a chaotic world for fun and profit.
I think we all agree that separating conjecture from educated speculation is a key part of quality message boarding. I don't think you're actually attempting to psycho-analyze Don Sweeney but it's fair to say his moves reflect a risk management approach similar to what you've suggested, whether that's whats going on in his mind. I'd say that's a more educated guess than whether Trevor Story can only hit after he visits Texas <ducks>
 

jk333

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I’m surprised to see anyone questioning the Ullmark deal; that seems totally revisionist. I thought the consensus at the time was that nothing could be expected from Rask and that depending on Swayman was to risky.
My issue isn't specifically with Ullmark than the overall spend on supporting cast. But I do feel like when you spend 5M/year (for 4 years) and then immediately replace the player in the middle of that same season with an injured veteran and for the next season he's going to be a 1B or backup, its at least worth reconsidering if the move was smart.

He was pretty good and they did need a goalie. @RIFan made a great case in a previous thread about how team culture and being competitive is important to developing talent in the NHL. You can't just tank. Just feel like they've invested a lot of money in a backup goalie, 3rd pair D, 3rd/4th line while completely lacking centers and it is going to bite them. OTOH, @RIFan also mentioned that they needed a goalie last offseason; I just feel like there was savings to be used elsewhere.
 

TFP

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@RIFan made a great case in a previous thread about how team culture and being competitive is important to developing talent in the NHL.
Also to build on this point - making the playoffs in the first place has experience value. Younger guys getting experience playing any playoff hockey at all is helpful in their development and growth, even if they lose in an early round. The two years McAvoy and Pasta (and others) played and lost in the 1st/2nd round helps them get to the point where they make a Cup final run in year 3.

That's worth more to me than any marginal gains in draft position.
 

RIFan

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My issue isn't specifically with Ullmark than the overall spend on supporting cast. But I do feel like when you spend 5M/year (for 4 years) and then immediately replace the player in the middle of that same season with an injured veteran and for the next season he's going to be a 1B or backup, its at least worth reconsidering if the move was smart.

He was pretty good and they did need a goalie. @RIFan made a great case in a previous thread about how team culture and being competitive is important to developing talent in the NHL. You can't just tank. Just feel like they've invested a lot of money in a backup goalie, 3rd pair D, 3rd/4th line while completely lacking centers and it is going to bite them. OTOH, @RIFan also mentioned that they needed a goalie last offseason; I just feel like there was savings to be used elsewhere.
I stand by my previous defense of the cultural aspect, but I've started to believe that Sweeney and Neely's pursuit of cultural fit is actually becoming a hindrance to building out the team. They keep bringing in the Folignos, Backes', Forbots' of the world because they think they look and act like what they feel a Bruin should be. I have little doubt they completely dismiss some options because they are concerned about the "fit in the locker room". It wasn't Sweeney pulling the trigger, but it goes back to the Seguin trade which does fall at least partially on Neely. There is nothing they seem to love more than the multi-year college captains. Most of them have the same traits in common; high character and high floor, but low ceiling. Character certainly can matter, but they also need to have the trust in the veteran leadership that they can keep the locker room in order and get the "suspect" players with the program. Character counts, but talent wins. They need to take a flyer or two on some guys that maybe were a little late maturing but have the talent to make a leap. I'm not thinking anything extreme like drafting a Logan Mailloux, but possibly target a few more low floor/high ceiling or guys that need a change of scenery. They need to come to the realization that their approach has been good, but not nearly good enough and at some point they need to take a different approach.