As you may or may not know, I consider myself a predictions guy. I enjoy making a good prediction. But while we look ahead to a New Year, there are just too many unknowns for me to predict what’s going to happen in 2017. Therefore, I’ve chosen to tell you what promises I’d like Boston’s teams to make. Here’s what I hope will be their New Year’s resolutions, if you will:
Let’s start with the only Boston team (in the four major sports) to not make the playoffs in 2016. As I write this, if the playoffs began today, the Bruins would be in the tournament, ending a two-year drought. If they were to somehow miss out on the playoffs for a third straight year, or underachieve in the playoffs if they made it, then you’ll hear plenty of people in Boston shouting for Tuukka Rask to be traded. Here’s hoping that trade never goes down.
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Rask turns 30 in March. He’s making $7.5 million this season and next. Over the final five years of his current contract — including this year — Rask will make $35 million, with an average annual salary of $7 million. He’s having a great season, re-establishing himself as one of the league’s best goaltenders. Entering Monday night, Rask’s 17 wins is tied for third-most, and his 1.87 goals-against average ranks second in the NHL, behind Devan Dubnyk’s 1.57 GAA.
All is quiet on the “trade Tuukka” front right now. But the minute things start to go wrong, you’ll be hearing it again. I’ve been consistent with defending Rask over the years, telling you that the Bruins should not trade him. And even if the B’s miss out on the playoffs again this year, or if things go drastically wrong if they do make it, I’ll be singing the same tune. Don’t trade Tuukka. Please, Bruins, promise me that.
The C’s are trying to build off a 48-win season last year, which included a first-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Entering Monday, the Celtics are 18-13, and hold the No. 3 seed in the East. The addition of Al Horford and his 2.1 blocks per game — which ranks sixth in the NBA — has certainly helped. But they need more help than that. That’s why I’m hoping they dangle the Brooklyn picks in an attempt to make a blockbuster trade before the trade deadline.
The Celtics own a right-to-swap with Brooklyn in 2017, and straight up own the Nets’ first-round pick in 2018. As I write this, Brooklyn is tied with Philadelphia for the worst record in the league at 7-22. The C’s are currently one superstar player away from contending in the East. Knowing the value of those two Brooklyn picks, the Celtics might be able to package those picks with a player or two and talk another team into sending a superstar to Boston. Please, Celtics, dangle those Brooklyn picks at the trade deadline.
If the Sox wanted to stay put and make no more moves the rest of this winter, they would still be the biggest winners of the offseason. That’s because of the trade that landed them one of the best pitchers in baseball in Chris Sale. But here’s hoping that Dave Dombrowski is not done pulling the trigger on blockbusters in 2017.
Like I wrote last week, if the Red Sox wanted to, they could get nuts and try to put together another trade package that consists of some younger MLB players like Blake Swihart, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Drew Pomeranz, along with some more prospects. Some people think I’m crazy. But I just want the Sox to do everything they can to stack their rotation. And I just feel like they still have enough to make another big trade to acquire another top-of-the-rotation guy. So, please, Red Sox, don’t be afraid to make another blockbuster trade, either this offseason or at the trade deadline.
The obvious one here would be to hope that the Pats win another Super Bowl, which is what they’re favorited to do. But I’m going to look ahead to after the Super Bowl, when people begin to wonder what Bill Belichick is going to do with Rob Gronkowski. Here’s what I hope. I hope the Patriots hold onto Gronk, even with his injury history.
Gronkowski was placed on season-ending injured reserve earlier this month. And some in New England have hinted at a potential trade, in what would be a “get something for him while you can” move. For the record, given Gronk’s ability when he is healthy, I think that type of move would be ridiculously stupid. Which is why I don’t think the Patriots will do that. They know they’re better with him than without him. Please, Patriots, hold on to Gronkowski.