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Peter Chiarelli hopes to sign Torey Krug, Reilly Smith to fair extensions soon

09.29.14 at 1:30 pm ET
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Reilly Smith

Reilly Smith

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said after signing Torey Krug and Reilly Smith to one-year deals Monday that he hopes to get extensions signed with the players soon.

Krug and Smith were both entry level free agents, meaning they were not eligible for arbitration and could not negotiate with other teams, so they were essentially forced to settle for the $1.4 million deals the cap-space-strapped Bruins gave them.

“Throughout the process I explained to them that we have some challenges here cap-wise and it was important for them to get in and play,” Chiarelli said. “We’€™ll try to bang out an extension as soon as we can because those are two kids, two young men, that we want to have in the mix. They missed a week and change but they both always are in pretty good shape.”

Both Krug and Smith expressed their preference to stay in Boston beyond this season. They’€™ll both be restricted free agents at season’€™s end if they are not signed by then.

“I want to be in Boston for as long as I can,” Krug said. “With this group of guys, you see the attitude in here and what it takes to win, and it’s something that I want to be a part of for as long as I can. Right now I’m just happy to be back and get through this season and make sure I do my job. I’ve never had an issue with having to prove myself again and I’ll try to do it again. We’ll see where it takes me.”

Both Smith and Krug were aware that their contracts for the coming season are less than they might be worth, but they both expressed optimism that they will eventually come to terms on fair value for their next contracts.

Said Chiarelli: “I explained to them throughout the process that these are two players we’€™d like to keep. Just please be patient with us and we’€™ll hammer away at it as soon as we can to try and keep these guys. So that means right away, on a one-year deal, right away you work at it and you can try and get something done. So, yeah. In the context of keeping them, yeah, these are two players that are good performers for us and they’€™re young. Young legs are good in this business.”

The Bruins still need to trade someone — likely a defenseman –€” to be cap-compliant, but Chiarelli said Monday that he is not going to “€œforce anything.”

Read More: Peter Chiarelli, Reilly Smith, Torey Krug,

Bruins playing with fire with Reilly Smith, Torey Krug contracts

09.29.14 at 9:09 am ET
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Torey Krug and Reilly Smith both took one-year deals. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Torey Krug and Reilly Smith both took one-year deals. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The Bruins got two blossoming young players, one a power-play cog and the other a second-line right wing, to take one-year contracts worth $1.4 million apiece.

Yet when all is said and done — and admittedly, we don’€™t say this often around these parts — Monday’€™s signings may not end up in the ‘€œAdvantage: Chiarelli’€ column.

Both Smith and Krug had exactly no leverage. They were entry-level free agents (players who had reached the end of their entry level deals but hadn’€™t accrued enough NHL service time to qualify for restricted free agency), so they were only allowed to negotiate with one team. That team happened to only have $3.218 million in cap space, so the summer, as well as the first 11 days of training camp, served as a waiting game of sorts.

On Monday, the wait ended, and the players swallowed their pride and took what is essentially the hockey version of the franchise tag, but instead of getting big money, they got underpaid.

That’€™s great for the Bruins this season. They don’€™t have to trade Johnny Boychuk, which was the worst-case scenario all along, and they don’€™t have to trade Chris Kelly, who despite carrying a high cap hit ($3 million), makes the Bruins a better team in ways unquantifiable. They still have to trade someone to fill out their roster with their young forwards or Simon Gagne, but the savings required is now under $1 million.

With the one-year deals to Smith and Krug, however, the Bruins are asking for trouble going forward. They already have $49,897,857 against the salary cap committed to 10 players (Marc Savard not included) for the 2015-16 season, with some important players still unsigned past this season.

The big ones: Johnny Boychuk and Carl Soderberg are both in the final year of their contracts before unrestricted free agency, while Smith and Krug can now be added to a restricted free agent class highlighted by Dougie Hamilton. Signing Hamilton to a multi-year deal that will eat up the early years of his prime is critical if they want to avoid the mistake the Canadiens made by giving P.K. Subban a bridge deal and then having to give him an eight-year, $72 million contract.

Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Adam McQuaid are also unrestricted free agents to be, while Jordan Caron, Justin Florek and Niklas Svedberg are set to become restricted free agents at season’s end. Peter Chiarelli has said he is going to trade a defenseman; McQuaid ($1.566 million cap hit) or Bartkowski ($1.25 million) would be enough to solve the Bruins’ cap situation for now.

If the Bruins had more cap space, the safe play would have been to give both Krug and Smith two- or three-year deals with cap hits of $2.5 million or more. With good seasons –€” Krug had 40 points last season and Smith raced out to 18 goals in the first 52 games of the season before getting sick during the Olympic break and being ineffective down the stretch of the regular season — both players could command even more than that next summer, but unlike these negotiations, they’€™ll be able to both file for arbitration and talk to other teams.

This isn’€™t so dissimilar from what happened when the Bruins signed Jarome Iginla last summer. Knowing cap space was tight, they bet on the current season by giving Iginla a deal that would see most of its money count against the next season in the form of a cap penalty. They got a great season out of Iginla, but ultimately were unable to sign him and ended up in the sticky situation in which they currently find themselves.

The Bruins are again betting on this season. Time will tell if it pays off or results in a messy offseason next summer that sees them lose more players.

Read More: Reilly Smith, Torey Krug,

Bruins sign Torey Krug and Reilly Smith to 1-year contracts

09.29.14 at 8:22 am ET
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Torey Krug

Torey Krug

The Bruins announced Monday morning that they have signed defenseman Torey Krug and forward Reilly Smith to one-year contracts worth $1.4 million apiece.

The B’€™s, who entered training camp with $3.218 million in cap space, ultimately did not have to trade anyone in order to create more room to sign Smith and Krug, who were entry level free agents unable to negotiate with other teams.

Though getting the players to take low dollars is a financial win for the Bruins this season, it also presents a major risk to the B’s going forward. Both Smith and Krug will be restricted free agents at the end of the season and will have arbitration rights.

It also adds Smith and Krug to Boston’s list of players it needs to sign going forward. Both Johnny Boychuk and Carl Soderberg will be unrestricted free agents at season’s end, while Dougie Hamilton, Smith and Krug are among the B’s restricted free agents-to-be.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Reilly Smith, Torey Krug,

Gregory Campbell questionable for start of season

09.28.14 at 5:37 pm ET
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Gregory Campbell was once again absent from practice for the Bruins Sunday, and with the clock ticking down to Oct. 8, Claude Julien admitted after practice that Campbell might not be ready for the opener.

Campbell, who has been out with a core injury, has yet to take the ice in training camp. He is part of a competition for fourth-line playing time, as he, Alexander Khokhlachev and Ryan Spooner are all possibilities to center the fourth line. The team will consider him at wing if either of the young centers claim a job.

“I’d say right now it’s questionable,” Julien said of Campbell’s readiness. “Questionable means it could go either way, and I don’t know if he’ll be ready for that opener. From what I’m hearing, there’s a possibility he could be skating this week. That will be determined on how he progresses the next few days here.”

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

 

 

Seth Griffith, Zach Trotman among 11 Bruins cuts

09.28.14 at 1:59 pm ET
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Seth Griffith

Seth Griffith

The Bruins cut 11 players from training camp Sunday, with Seth Griffith and Zach Trotman the biggest names among them.

Also sent to Providence were forwards Alex Fallstrom, Brian Ferlin, Jared Knight, Matt Lindblad, Tyler Randell and Ben Sexton. Defensemen Chris Casto and Joe Morrow were also sent down. Bracken Kearns, who was in on a tryout, was released from his tryout agreement. Randell must clear waivers before he can be assigned to Providence.

Trotman figured to be cut, as his status as perhaps Providence’€™s defensemen doesn’€™t do much considering Boston’€™s logjam on defense. Griffith, however, is something of a surprise cut, as the Bruins gave him ample looks in Reilly Smith’€™s spot on the right wing of Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line with Brad Marchand.

David Pastrnak returned to practice for the B’€™s, skating on a line with Ryan Spooner and Ville Leino. The Bruins’€™ camp roster (34 players counting the injured Gregory Campbell and Linus Arnesson as well as Anthony Camara, who is out with an illness) is now small enough to ice one big group rather than two. Saturday’€™s lines were as follows:

Lucic – Krejci – Eriksson
Marchand – Bergeron – Gagne
Kelly – Soderberg – Fraser
Paille – Cunningham – Caron
Leino – Spooner – Pastrnak
Florek – Khokhlachev – Robins

Defensemen: Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Kevan Miller, Matt Bartkowski, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, David Warsofsky, Chris Breen, Adam McQuaid

Goalies: Tuukka Rask, Niklas Svedberg, Malcolm Subban, Jeremy Smith

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

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Milan Lucic makes preseason debut as Bruins beat Red Wings

09.27.14 at 11:16 pm ET
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Milan Lucic made his preseason debut as the Bruins beat the Red Wings, 3-1, Saturday night in Detroit.

Lucic, who sat out Boston’€™s first three preseason games as he recovered from offseason wrist surgery, played 14:57 for the B’€™s, registering no shots on goal and taking three minor penalties.

The Bruins got goals from Dougie Hamilton and Ville Leino, with Brad Marchand securing the victory with an empty-netter. Hamilton assisted on Leino’€™s goal, giving him a two-point night.

Tuukka Rask played two periods for the B’€™s, stopping 14 of 15 shots faced. Jeremy Smith stopped all eight shots he faced in the third period.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Dougie Hamilton, Milan Lucic,

Seth Griffith, Jordan Caron have multi-point games as Bruins fall to Capitals

09.26.14 at 10:36 pm ET
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Jordan Caron

Jordan Caron

The Bruins suffered a 5-4 overtime loss Friday night as they faced the Capitals in their second preseason meeting in three days.

Seth Griffith and Jordan Caron had two points apiece for Boston, with Caron assisting both of Griffith’€™s goals. The B’€™s also got scoring from Matt Fraser (his second power-play goal in as many games this preseason) and Matt Lindblad.

Caron stole the puck from Washington defenseman and high-priced free agent acquisition Matt Niskanen to set up Griffith’s first goal and took part in an impressive passing sequence on Griffith’s second goal. After the game, Claude Julien spoke of what Caron’s play is doing for his chances of earning a full-time spot this season after serving as the team’s 13th forward last season.

“I thought he had a real strong game tonight,” Julien told reporters. “There’€™s no doubt he’€™s fighting for a spot,and he wants to show us that he belongs here, and if he plays like that, he’€™s got a real good chance of sticking.”

The Capitals got two power play goals from Alexander Ovechkin, with their other regulation scoring coming from Michael Latta and Liam O’€™Brien. Troy Brouwer scored the game-winner in overtime.

Niklas Svedberg, who is expected to be Tuukka Rask‘€™s backup this season, played the entire game for Boston.

For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Jordan Caron, Seth Griffith,
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