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Monday, October 25, 2010

Stop The Presses - Blake Wheeler is Available

Boston is shopping 24 year old
Blake Wheeler, 6'5" 205 lbs
Boston Bruins have to make some roster moves by December because they expect Marc Savard and Marco Sturm to return from LTIR (Long Term Injury Reserve).

In order to move them from LTIR Boston must do two things first:
(1) Move two players from their 23-man NHL roster
(2) Remove $5.1 mil cap salary.

There are several rumours on how they intend to fix their cap problem.  Waiving Michael Ryder ($4 mil cap salary) is the most prominent one.

Other speculation has Boston trading Blake Wheeler ($2.2 mil cap salary) as part of resolving the problem.  On 13th of October, Joe Haggerty tweeted about Wheeler's uncertain future with Boston.  We both speculated on the chances of Boston trading him to Toronto.  As Joe put it, this option allows Boston to get something of value.

Moving both Ryder and Wheeler brings Boston within the cap plus lowers its bonus cushion usage to $1.1 mil from $2.2 mil.

With projected bonuses, Toronto has $2.93 mil cap space without using its $4.35 mil (7.5% of $58 mil cap) bonus cushion.  Acquiring Blake Wheeler can eat up a substantial amount of cap room.  $1.5 mil if Wheeler is acquired by 1st of December.  This will put Toronto in a position of having to use its bonus cushion to acquire a first line forward.  Hold this thought for later.

Boston's offer of 24-year old Blake Wheeler should tantalize Brian Burke.  Wheeler is 6'5" 205 lbs and drafted fifth overall in 2004 Entry Draft.  He was Phoenix's first round draft pick but never signed with them.  Instead, he signed with Boston in June 2008 as a free agent after finishing his university hockey career.

He was Phil Kessel's teammate on Boston in the 2008-2009 season and Team USA at the World Juniors.

Blake Wheeler has good NHL scoring stats as shown below.  He shows good promise given what he has done before the age of 24.  He is the same age as Kris Versteeg, Tyler Bozak, and Nikolai Kulemin.  Boston is trading him because they are set on their top six forwards with Marc Savard, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, and Tyler Sequin.

2008-09 22 Boston Bruins 8121244536461632315014.0
2009-10 23 Boston Bruins 82182038-4531431215911.3
2010-11 24Boston Bruins 602204000110.0
Career 3 Seasons 169 394685321033063532012.2

By now, you must have reached the conclusion it is a good idea to add Blake Wheeler to a team with small forwards who are not scoring goals.

This brings us back to Toronto's cap.  Adding him in December brings Toronto's cap room down to $1.43 from $2.93 excluding the $4.35 mil bonus cushion.  Removing a roster player so the NHL roster has 22 players can lessen the impact.  But, who do you choose?  

Tyler Bozak is the only forward with a two-way contract which allows sending/recalling him to/from the minors without going through waivers.  However, he will have to be in one awful slump to consider him for assignment.  But, if this was the case, it will save $1.22 mil in cap salary.  Plenty of cap room to acquire an elite player after Christmas without dipping into the bonus cushion.

Waiving John Mitchell at this time can save $506k in cap salary.  But, he has to clear recall waivers to be called up.  This leaves enough cap room to acquire an elite player by the trade deadline.

In all likelihood, Brian Burke will only acquire Blake Wheeler if he believes he has a big deal in the works, where he has an idea of who is leaving Toronto's roster.  Otherwise, acquiring Wheeler dramatically reduces his trade options.

Oh yes, I almost forgot.  What will Boston want for Blake Wheeler?  It is unlikely they want an NHL roster player.  They are trying to keep their carry-over bonus penalty low.  Chiarelli will want a good draft pick or a prospect.  My guess, Luca Caputti and a late round draft pick.  But, it is only a guess.


Today, on The Bill Watters Show, Brian Burke revealed he has two solid trade offers from other teams.  Toronto also has a scout at tonight's game between Montreal and Phoenix.

You can get updates on Blake Wheeler and Boston Bruins by follow Joe Haggerty @HackswithHaggs on twitter.

Follow @Leafschatter 

Post Script

Good update from Joe Haggerty at

Also, good video link by Mark Easson at


  1. Bruins have dug themselves into a pretty serious cap hole.

    I heard the other day on some MSM medium (can't remember anymore) that the Bruins were still looking to add a defenseman and are likely still interested in Kaberle.

    I could see this being similar to the "growing deal" post that you did on the devils where the Bruins get Kaberle and cap relief for some meaningful forward help for the Leafs.

    All of this assumes that the Bs have the kinds of players Burke is interested in and that Kaberle is willing to waive (which he hasn't been in the past) but hey, a guy can dream, right?

  2. Wow. Great nugget of information.

    Side bar comment. Just finished posting a comment on your blog as you made this comment. Talk about synchronicity.

    Let me add fuel to the fire. Also heard Brian Burke and Peter Chiarelli are Pheasant Hunting (together) this week. I bet Burke will let Chiarelli know he likes Lucic, Horton, and Bergeron.

    Cap numbers seem to work with the names mentioned. Now it comes down Burke's and Chiarelli's likes and dislikes and what compromises they can with hit.

    Hopefully, Burke isn't afraid of getting shot for asking for these players. Oh well, I will take the bullets for him.

  3. You know what, Bergeron makes a lot of sense and I never really considered him.

    I doubt Horton moves (he's been solid and he's a new acquisition) but a guy like Bergeron that has underperformed on Boston but has legitimate top six pedigree makes sense for both sides.

    Also he's a centre which the Leafs need and which Boston has in abundance (Kreci, Savard, Seguin, Colborne)

  4. I think Bergeron makes sense as well.

    But, you have to first ask about Horton and Lucic.

    Coincidently, starting next year, Bergeron's cap salary is close to Kessel's.

    So, who has the nerve to blog about it?

  5. Not me!

    I'd be shocked if either Lucic or Horton are even discussed by Chiarelli but wouldn't be surprised to see a Bergeron, Wheeler and Ryder (just because the Leafs have deep pockets and this sweetens the pot) deal, potentially for Kaberle. There needs to be significant shaking up in Boston to get them under the cap and a Kaberle-Chara powerplay has to be an attractive proposition.

    I'm not saying it will happen, but it does seem to make sense for both sides.