Mike Napoli (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

It’s getting to that magical time of year when the trade machine starts to ramp up around the league. Even though the Red Sox aren’t likely to buy players like the fans hoped they would, they can still be active in the July trade market. One of the first names the Red Sox discuss with other teams should be Mike Napoli. Napoli hasn’t been performing to expectations, but he has a good playoff track record and an expiring contract, so an acquiring team would not need to make a long-term commitment. One would think that despite his struggles in 2015, Ben Cherington should not have much trouble moving Napoli at the trade deadline.

The Pros

Napoli has always had very good control of the strike zone, and that remains true in 2015. His .305 OBP is currently nothing to write home about, but it is also significantly higher than his .203 batting average. Continue reading Mike Napoli Should be on the Trade Block »

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Matt Beleskey

Friday was a crazy day for the Boston Bruins.

Early in the day it was discovered that GM Don Sweeney had traded Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames for three draft picks.

“Dougie for three draft picks? You have got to be kidding me,” much of Boston and I thought when we heard of the deal. Nobody was kidding though, this was real. This was Don Sweeney’s first trade as the Bruins general manager, kicking Hamilton out of town, and acquiring Calgary’s first round, and two second round picks.

Confusion ensued. Continue reading NHL Draft Day Dust has Settled, Now the Bruins Need a Winger »

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lucic hamilton

The Bruins were busy for the early part of Friday, trading away both Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic. The Bruins then made three selections in a row in the first round,a  move that was unprecedented across the NHL. Hamilton was the best young defenseman the Bruins had and Lucic was a major piece on two Stanley Cup Finalist teams who embodied much of hard-nosed, physical style the Bruins have been known for. The shakeup comes at time when the team is bumped up against the cap and still reeling from missing the playoffs.

The day began with Hamilton being shipped off to the Calagry Flames. The Bruins received the 15th, 45th, and 52nd picks in the 2015 draft in return. Not long after, the Bruins sent Lucic to the L.A. Kings in exchange for the 13th pick in the 2015 draft, goalie Martin Jones, and defenseman prospect Colin Miller. The Bruins absorbed $2.75 million of Lucic’s 2015-16 cap hit to make the deal work.

Hamilton was an unrestricted free agent and his unwillingness to accept Boston’s contract offer ended up being the major factor behind the Bruins decision to move him. It is definitely a downgrade to their defense corps overall and will force the Bruins to rely heavily on young, unproven players next season. Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow have seen limited action with Boston and may end up playing a majority of the season with big club. Miller could also factor in as well.

Lucic was in the final year of a contract that would have cost the Bruins a $6 million cap hit. The power forward suffered through one of his worst NHL seasons in 2015, leaving some to question if had begun breaking down. There is no question that the Bruins will miss his presence both on the ice and in the locker room and he could be a major help to a Kings team trying to return to Stanley Cup form.

These moves left the Bruins with picks 13 (Kings), 14 (their own), and 15 (Flames) in the draft and the team used all three. They became the first team since 1968 to make three straight first round picks. With the 13th pick, the Bruins selected Jakub Zboril, a defenseman who plays a tough style at 6’1″, 185 pounds. The Bruins then took left wing Jake DeBrusk with the 14th pick and  wing Zachary Senyshyn with the 15th pick. Zboril is the most NHL ready of the three and Senyshyn has the farthest to go in terms of development. It was reported that the Bruins tried hard tp move in to the top five to take impact defenseman Noah Hanifin, but they were unable to close the deal.

The Bruins still have the rest of the Summer to alter and upgrade their roster but barring anything else drastic, this will be a much younger looking Black and Gold Squad when the puck drops in October.

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Terry Rozier (Justin Aller/Getty Images)

I wrote before the draft that having a pick outside the lottery meant that Thursday night didn’t really matter unless Celtics GM Danny Ainge pulled off something crazy. Well, it appears that he tried, failed and got a consolation prize of a bunch of limited but somewhat talented pieces to add to his roster of limited but somewhat talented pieces.

I also mentioned before the draft that the collections of picks Ainge has collected the last few years might not seem as valuable as it might seem and trading them sooner rather than later would be smart. Apparently, other teams felt the same way as one after another rejected the heavily protected future first rounders that Ainge was likely throwing at them to try and move up in the draft. Continue reading In Ainge We Trust… I Guess? »

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1. Red Sox:

* Napoli two hits – trade him

* Buchholz good start Wednesday night – trade him

* Jackie Bradley, who was robbed of the Gold Glove last year, two hits and threw another run out at the plate – give him right field and 200 at bats

* Think about a line up next year with Betts, Holt, Vazquez, Bradley, Bogaerts make a combined $3mm and then Pedroia, Sandoval, Ortiz and Hanley making $70mm.

* When you have to send Rusney Castillo and Joe Kelly down to Pawtucket in the same week – someone should lose their job

* The Red Sox are on pace to win 70 games – that means over the last four years – three of those years are the worst in the last FIFTY years. (70-92 – 2015 / 71-91 – 2014 / 69-93 – 2012) Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Hank Finkel – Celtics Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes To You »

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USA Today Sports/ Mark Konenzy

The long wait for the 16th pick is over and the Celtics have selected Terry Rozier, guard, University of Louisville. With both big men Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor going in the top three and the Lakers making the move to take D’Angelo Russell number two overall, there were few surprises in the top three picks. The rest of the lottery showed many names that fans and experts predicted would be drafted however not necessarily in the order that most had thought. Continue reading Celtics Draft Terry Rozier, R.J. Hunter, Jordan Mickey; Make No Trade »

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Patrice+Bergeron+Washington+Capitals+v+Boston+JZKm2Shu5BSl

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron won the 2015 Selke Trophy on Wednesday for the league’s best defensive forward. It was his second Selke win in a row and his third overall. Bergeron won the award in 2012 and 2014 while finishing second in 2013.

His 60.2% faceoff percentage was the best in the NHL and he also led the Bruins in points with 55. It was also the second year in a  row Bergeron led the league in total faceoff wins. According to analytics, Bergeron was one of the best puck possession players in the league in 2014-15.

He finished ahead of Jonathan Toews and Anze Kopitar in the voting, two players Bergeron has a lot of respect for.

“You’re always very happy about that, and obviously it’s all about the help you get from your teammates. But I’m not surprised to see Jonathan and Anze again this year. They’re two amazing players, and I’m very honored to be nominated in the same category as them,” Bergeron said in an interview.

 

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