Does Ryan Spooner have a future with the Boston Bruins?

OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 12: Ryan Spooner
OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 12: Ryan Spooner /

With his arbitration case on the horizon, and calls for a trade, Ryan Spooner may find himself in a jersey other than the Boston Bruins.

"A restricted free agent that filed for arbitration earlier this month, and with a July 26 arbitration hearing date set between the B’s and Spooner’s camp, the asks have come out, with the Boston Bruins offering $2 million, while Spooner has requested $3.85 million. -Ty Anderson of WEEI"

Alright, Spooner wants almost double what the Boston Bruins are interested in paying him. That sounds bad, but this isn’t uncommon in arbitration cases. The two sides will probably agree to something in the $3 million range.

That’s all fine and dandy, but what’s more interesting is what will happen after a contract is agreed upon. Trade talks have been swirling around Spooner for months due to incomplete game. For that same reason, he is a polarizing player for the fans.

What does he bring to the table?

Ryan Spooner is a power play specialist for the Boston Bruins gifted with strong play-making abilities. Without him, and his 18 power play points, it’s unlikely that the black and gold would have had the league’s 7th best PP unit. For this reason, a lot of fans really enjoy him.

After all, the Bruins have definitely had their fair share of woes in this department. Yes, I’m looking at you 2011 team. So having a player with Spooner’s skill set is great.

Sadly, there’s another side to his game.

In the defensive zone, he’s a liability. That’s why he was -9 and -8 during his two full seasons with Boston. Even though he got a boost playing significant power play minutes.

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This is not what you want out of a third line center, which Spooner will continue to be in Boston. Third liners need to be able to play both sides of the ice. I’m not saying the bottom six has to be a bunch of goons. They can have offensive skill, but not if it means they can’t handle themselves in their own zone.

DETROIT, MI – JANUARY 18: Ryan Spooner
DETROIT, MI – JANUARY 18: Ryan Spooner /

Also, for a natural center, Spooner is fairly unreliable at the face off dot. Last year his FO% was 38.9. That makes it pretty obvious why he played the wing while we were up a man.

While it’s clear he has value, the Bruins should take a page out of Bill Belichick’s handbook here. Move on from the older, more costly Spooner in exchange for younger, cheaper and maybe even better prospects.

Which prospects you ask?

If you weren’t already aware, the Boston Bruins happen to have a ton of talented, young prospects hoping to make the NHL squad this year. Two of these guys make trading Spooner a real possibility in my eyes.

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First there is Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, or JFK, who many have slotted into Spooner’s third line center role. Second, we have Anders Bjork. He’s a left shot that could play on the top six and could fill in for Spooner on the power play unit.

Sure, maybe I’m over reacting. JFK only appeared in one game last year, and Bjork has yet to make his debut. I don’t have a problem with waiting until training camp arrives to see where these guys are at, but let’s assume their ready and…

…Talk about possible trades.

I’ve written before about the possibility of trading Ryan Spooner. I thought he could be a valuable asset in a trade for Matt Duchene or in a move for Jonas Brodin. While those rumors have begun to die down, that doesn’t mean trading Spooner is out of the question.

Right now I’m not exactly sure what I would want in exchange. This is the benefit of waiting because then it will be easier to see what holes need to be filled. Whatever Sweeney ends up doing I just have one rule.

Next: Boston Red Sox: Did Rafeal Devers get the call too early?

Make sure the trade leaves the Boston Bruins in a better place down the road. Whether that’s by adding a prospect, draft pick or rising player I don’t care. Just please don’t trade Spooner for a 34 year old on an expiring contract.