Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bruins Walkaway From Tanabe

The Boston Bruins made a big leap into the free agency pool adding Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard. Just when it looked like they were about to get past the cheapness that surrounded the Mike O'Connell reign of error, they show us that maybe this isn't true. Boston announced today that they are walking away from David Tanabe's one year $1.275 million arbitration award.

Tanabe is a 26 year old defenceman that was expected to fill a role on the Bruins 2nd or 3rd line. He has almost 400 games NHL experience and is a solid but so far unspectacular defenceman. His game is an offensive game and he has struggled to learn the finer points of defensive play. He was a first round pick by Carolina in 1999 and is reaching the age where he will likely enter the prime of his career. Defenceman often take a big step forward around Tanabe's age. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect that he might as well. If he does, he would certainly be worth $1.275 million. He most certainly would provide more than youngsters Andrew Alberts and Milan Jurcina, who will be asked to fill his minutes.

Tanabe is now an unrestricted free agent. He can sign with any team that wants him. He suddenly becomes one of the most attractive ufa defenceman left on the market (disagree? pick another - not too many options left are there and those that exist are well into their 30's).

Boston is probably shooting for revenue sharing money if they keep payroll below $36 million. Tanabe probably improves the bruins marginally over any other defenceman they can give his minutes to at this point, but who cares? Any fans who have been enticed to buy back into the Bruins because of the Chara and Savard signings probably won't have second thoughts over a cheap decision to not pay a depth defender who might be about to develop into a decent defender.

Here is a TSN story on the issue.

I figure it's because they want to stay cheap as you suggest, and intend to make a move on Leetch.
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