Jun 9, 2011

Around the NHL: SC Finals Game 4 Thoughts, Reimer, Drury

The Boston Bruins once again routed the Vancouver Canucks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals by a score of 4-0 to tie the series up at 2 with the teams now heading back to Vancouver for Game 5.

Getty Images

AT: Another day, another Bruins rout at home. That Horton hit has changed the dynamics of this Boston team in ways one can only imagine. Yes, without Horton there is a gaping hole in the roster, but this team is playing some inspired hockey right now. Vancouver simply looked lethargic. The game started off pretty even, but once more the Bruins just turned on the gas and drove Luongo out. I never thought I'd see the series this close. On paper, Vancouver is the superior team. Faster, more skilled and more chemistry. But you have to give credit to Boston and especially Tim Thomas. He has been the reason this series isn't over right now.

CH: When the Rome/Horton incident happened, I really thought it would be a game changer for Boston and nothing else. I don't believe that much in momentum within a series, though I do believe there are extenuating circumstances where that can happen. I didn't think that was the case here, but I don't think it could even be argued that it wasn't a factor in Game 4. It just wasn't close. The biggest thing that Boston will take into Game 5 - the Tim Thomas/Alex Burrows altercation at the end of the 3rd period. When your goalie, who is pitching a shutout, stands up for himself like that and stands up for the crest on his jersey, it says a ton. Obviously, Game 5 is a huge game, but unlike going into Game 3 where the pressure was on Boston, the pressure is all on Vancouver. Should be a great game, but I think Vancouver pulls out Game 5.

According to TSN.ca, The Toronto Maple Leafs have locked up goaltender James Reimer to a 3 year contract for $5.4 million with a cap hit of $1.8 million each year.

Photo credit: Bridget Samuels

AT: No brainer move for Toronto. Reimer put up spectacular numbers as just a 23 year old on a subpar Toronto team. He finished the season with a 20-10-5 record and a very, very respectable .921% save percentage. Good for Reimer. It looks like the Maple Leafs may have finally found a franchise goaltender after signing JS Giguere didn't turn out as expected and the Jonas Gustavsson experiment seems to be on the decline.

CH: Three years might be a lot for him after only one year, but that's par for the course right now. For example, the Islanders gave Grabner, Okposo, MacDonald, and Nielsen long-term deals after one season. Reimer had a very good rookie season for Toronto and could be a big part of their future. The Leafs are going to be on the rise shortly.

According to the New York Daily News, the remainder of Rangers captain Chris Drury's contract will be bought out by the team. This will incur a a $3.3m cap hit against the team. The team also plans on buying out the remainer of Wojtek Wolski's contract, incurring a $666,667 charge against the cap.

AT: I had a feeling this was coming to be quite honest. I know many Ranger fans who were upset with the play of Drury this year and the year past. Especially with his severely time limiting injuries, I can see why Sather wants him out. This clears up a bit of cap space for the Rangers, however they still need to sign or trade RFAs Brandon Dubinsky (who is reportedly asking for $4.5m), Ryan Callahan, Artem Anisimov, Brian Boyle, Matt Gilroy,  Chad Johnson, Mike Sauer and also have Ruslan Fedotenko, Steve Eminger, Bryan McCabe Vinny Prospal and Alex Frolov (who I doubt gets resigned). The constantly heard rumor is that the Rangers are in hot pursuit of the unanimous #1 UFA this offseason, Brad Richards. I really question if they will be able to fit him under the cap if the $7m+ that Richards is supposedly asking for is what he's sticking to.

CH: Fact of the matter is that Drury was not producing for the Rangers and you can't keep a $7m+ liability on your fourth line. This will help the Rangers, but the guy is still going to cost them $3.3 million on the cap this year and $1.6 million next year. Alex outlined the Rangers cap situation above, so I'll fuel some speculation on Drury and the Islanders. I don't think it happens unless Drury takes a salary under $1m to play on the fourth line. And even that, would that be worth it? Drury played 24 games this past season and scored one goal. To me, the Islanders can't afford that. There are plenty of durable fourth line centers available for them to look at in UFA who can provide what Drury is projected to next season. More on the Islanders fourth line later today.

As far as Wolski, Larry Brooks just came out and said the Rangers are now not planning on buying him out, which means his $3.8 million contract will remain on the cap. With Drury's buyout and all the FAs they need to sign, I'm not so sure they'll be able to make Brad Richards work as of right now.

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