Note: You could probably apply a lot of these discussions to other “buyers” in the free agent market, although I’m gearing this for Bruins fans since they’re probably sad in their cubicles today.
THE METAPHORICAL FROZEN FOOD AISLE
Ales Hemsky - Apparently people thought I was trolling Bruins fans by mentioning Hemsky as a possible Plan B/C/whatever letter they’re on, but I was only half-kidding. Hemsky’s a talented player (albeit a fragile one) who is almost certainly going to come cheaper than Iginla. He’s also easier to shelve if things aren’t working since he isn’t basically a superhero on skates like Jarome. Dessert rating: Delicious rainbow sherbet that can occasionally be too tart.
Ryan Whitney - Whitney’s a guy who would work a lot better in fantasy than reality, as his offensive skills and defensive warts make a less-than-desirable double-edged sword. As a QB for the Bruins’ putrid PP, he’d suddenly become very appealing fantasy-wise, but I’d recommend them looking for help elsewhere. Dessert rating: An enticing Jelly Belly that ends up being one of those revolting popcorn-flavored bits.
Jay Bouwmeester and Lubomir Visnovsky: Two useful defensemen who I’d greenlight authoritatively enough that I grouped them together. Both carry contracts that are becoming more manageable as time goes on and both are appealing skill-wise (they sure can skate) to boot. Bouwmeester has a better chance to be valuable longer while Lubo is the more brilliant offensive player and will probably come a lot cheaper. Dessert rating: Decadent and a little dangerous, like tiramisu.
(You could probably place Keith Yandle close to that group, although his stock seems to have slipped a bit in the last year or so. Call him the inferior vanilla tiramisu, then.)
Ryane Clowe - He’d probably fare better in change of scenery, but honestly, I’m not crazy about him. Fantasy-wise, Boston would be a boon though. At least he’s back in action after dealing with a shoulder injury. Dessert rating: A treat I just don’t really “get,” like Peeps.
Derek Roy - Maybe a little on the redundant side, but if the price is right, I’d think about nabbing him. Wherever he lands, I expect him to finish the season strongly - health permitting - because he’s skilled, versatile and in a position to make (or miss out on) a lot of money. Dessert rating: That superfluous extra scoop of ice cream.
Mike Ribeiro - Uh, after this? Doubtful. A different team would reap some serious rewards if the impasse with the Washington Capitals pushes him out, though. (Dare I ask: Chicago?) Dessert rating: The version of cake you associate with childhood memories of terrifying clowns.
INJURY NOTES (full list) and QUICK HITS
Kris Letang is back on the IR with a broken toe … Ryan O'Reilly might be a fantasy gem after all. He has a point-per-game now (13) after a two-goal, five-assist run in his last four games … Speaking of 13 in 13, Michael Ryder’s two-goal output from Wednesday give him 13 points in 13 games as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. (He has 27 points in 32 games overall.) Meanwhile, Erik Cole has two goals and zero assists in 12 games with the Dallas Stars … Brandon Dubinsky won’t travel with the Columbus Blue Jackets during their current road trip. Interestingly, CBJ only played one game on the road during that 12-game point streak, so if you want to poke holes in their legitimacy (beyond questions about Sergei Bobrovsky keeping this up), go with that home/road disparity … Niklas Backstrom and the Minnesota Wild are now on a seven-game winning streak. Also winning? Backstrom’s accountant and agent; he’s waiting on a new contract … Don’t be surprised if Michael Cammalleri ends up being the scorer the Flames turn to in the post-Iginla era. I mean, unless he gets traded, too … The Avalanche are a mess, but that P. A. Parenteau, Matt Duchene and Jamie McGinn line looks like it could be a difference-maker going forward.