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Bruins buying out Dennis Seidenberg should have been last resort

06.30.16 at 12:18 pm ET
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Dennis Seidenberg

Dennis Seidenberg

The Bruins placed Dennis Seidenberg on waivers for the purposes of buying out the defenseman on Thursday. Seidenberg, 34, had two years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4 million.

While the move should be met with relief from fans that the team has moved on from a player whose contributions have greatly diminished, the manner in which the Bruins did it was highly suboptimal. In buying out Seidenberg, the Bruins will face cap charges of $1.166 million next season, $2.166 million in 2017-18 and $1.166 million the following two seasons.

The better way to have jettisoned Seidenberg would have been to do so via trade, with the Bruins retaining half his salary. That way, the Bruins would face cap charges of $2 million the next two seasons, but the bleeding would stop there. Instead, the Bruins will have over $1 million of dead money on the books in seasons in which they’ll hope to be more of contenders than they are presently.

Furthermore, the most dead money the Bruins will face with this buyout ($2.166 in 2017-18) will come in the season in which the likes of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner will be up for new contracts. Fortunately, they will also see Zdeno Chara’s cap hit drop by over $2.9 million that season.

At the moment, it is unknown whether the Bruins tried a move like the one the Blackhawks did earlier this month, where they shipped out an asset (prospect Teuvo Teravainen) to Carolina in order for the Hurricanes to take a Bryan Bickell’s contract off their hands.

It’s also worth noting that when considering the “savings” of buying out Seidenberg, his roster spot will not be filled for free. Should the Bruins replace Seidenberg with a cheap bottom-six lefty in the $1-2 million range, they might see an upgrade in performance, but it won’t be for much cheaper and they’ll still have to pay those extra millions of buyout dollars down the road. To that end, another option — though probably as unappetizing as the one they chose — would have been to keep Seidenberg on the roster next season and buy him out at a lesser charge next offseason.

Buyouts should always be a last resort, especially with players over 26 who have multiple years remaining on their contract. Whether or not it was, the Bruins felt this was their best option.

Read More: Dennis Seidenberg,

NHL gone wild: Canadiens trade P.K. Subban for Shea Weber, Oilers trade Taylor Hall to Devils, Steven Stamkos staying in Tampa

06.29.16 at 4:14 pm ET
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The NHL has lost its mind. In a pair of blockbuster, shocking deals, the Canadiens have traded defenseman P.K. Subban to the Predators for defenseman Shea Weber, and the Oilers have traded left wing Taylor Hall to the Devils for defenseman Adam Larsson.

In slightly less surprising but still huge news, center Steven Stamkos is reportedly staying with the Lightning, putting a quick end to rumors about the Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Bruins and others. According to Bob McKenzie, his new deal is for eight years with an average annual value of $8.5 million.

On the surface, both massive trades look pretty lopsided. Subban, age 27, is in his prime and is one of the best defensemen in the NHL, while Weber, age 30, has been in decline for a few years now and is really no longer one of the best blueliners in the league.

Meanwhile, Hall is one of the best left wingers in the league and is only 24. Larsson is also young (23), but has yet to prove he’s truly a top-pairing defenseman. Peter Chiarelli, former Bruins general manager and current Oilers GM, has now traded both of the top two picks from the 2010 Taylor/Tyler draft for underwhelming returns.

Why the Bruins won’t offer-sheet Jacob Trouba (unless they’re crazy)

06.29.16 at 2:41 pm ET
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The idea of the Bruins offer-sheeting Jacob Trouba is nonsense. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

The idea of the Bruins offer-sheeting Jacob Trouba is nonsense. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

The idea of the Bruins offer-sheeting Jacob Trouba is nonsense.

The Bruins should love the player. They should certainly covet the 22-year-old restricted free agent defenseman. But the idea of the Bruins offer-sheeting Jacob Trouba is nonsense.

(I’ll word it differently from now on; it’s just the first thing that comes to mind each time.)

With the Bruins in need of pretty much anybody useful on defense, Trouba would be a prize and a half. He’s the guy you pay. He’s what they had in Dougie Hamilton: a skilled right-shot D with size. Is he as good as Hamilton was in Boston? No, but the Hamilton ship has long sailed and the team still needs to replace him.

Yet other than common sense, the Hamilton situation should provide reason enough as to why the idea of the Bruins offer-sheeting Jacob Trouba is nonsense (dammit, sorry. Last time, I promise).

Though there were much bigger reasons as to why the Bruins moved on from Hamilton (him not wanting to stay in Boston, a new leadership group incapable of properly navigating the situation), consider this: The Bruins truly wanted to sign Hamilton, yet they never offered Hamilton more than $6 million a year heading into a $71.4 million cap year. The only way the Bruins could submit an offer-sheet Winnipeg would decline would be for Boston to sign him to a deal with an RFA average annual value of $9,388,080 or greater. Because of how RFA offer sheet AAV is calculated (total money divided by years or five, the lesser of the two), that would mean the Bruins would need to offer Trouba around $7 million for seven years.

So the Bruins, who did not want to give Hamilton more than $6 million annually entering a $71.4 million cap year, would suddenly want to give at least $705,000 more and four first-round picks for a similar (and arguably lesser) player entering the same cap climate? Gee. Tee. Eff. Oh.

Here’s a comparison of Hamilton in Boston and Trouba in Winnipeg, courtesy of Own the Puck:

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 2.29.05 PM

As for why they couldn’t offer-sheet him for less than $9.38 million, the Bruins don’t have the picks, but that’s just one primary reason as to why it wouldn’t happen. The other is that the Jets would simply match. As has been written in this space time and time again, teams don’t sign players to offer sheets that will get matched because all it does is create inflation, which hurts every GM in the league.

The Bruins’ best bet (and only realistic bet) of getting Trouba would be to trade for him. Those talks would likely start with David Pastrnak and at least a first-round pick or two. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad trade for Boston, though it’s worth reminding that right wing is nearly as big a weakness for the Bruins as defense.

Read More: Jacob Trouba, Nonsense,

Milan Lucic denies having agreed in principle with Oilers

06.28.16 at 5:56 pm ET
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Though he visited the team on Tuesday, Milan Lucic told Tuesday that a report that he’s agreed in principle with the Oilers is “bull [rest-of-the-word].”

“I haven’t agreed or signed to anything yet,” Lucic added.

Former Edmonton Journal writer Curtis Stock initially reported that Lucic had chosen the Oilers as his next team.

Though Lucic insists nothing is agreed to yet, Edmonton should still be considered among the favorites to sign Lucic when free agency opens Friday. Another possible destination is Lucic’s hometown Canucks.

The NHL’s interview, which opened Saturday at midnight, is for teams to have general discussions with free-agents-to-be to get a sense of what type of deal they seek. It is not considered a time for negotiations and finalizing contracts, however.

Read More: Milan Lucic,

Bruins don’t qualify Brett Connolly, making him unrestricted free agent

06.27.16 at 6:59 pm ET
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Brett Connolly

Brett Connolly

The Bruins did not extend a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Brett Connolly, meaning the former sixth overall pick will become an unrestricted free agent who can sign with any team as of Friday. The B’s also declined to qualify fellow forwards Landon Ferraro and Ben Sexton.

Boston did qualify its other eligible players in Torey Krug, Colin Miller, Joe Morrow, Chris Casto, Brian Ferlin and the KHL-bound Alexander Khokhlachev. The team could still re-sign the players it opted not to qualify.

The team could still re-sign the players it opted not to qualify, meaning a return to Boston should not be ruled out for Boston. Because Connolly made over $1 million last season ($1.025 million), his qualifying offer would have had to be 100 percent of what he made last season. As such, it is possible the Bruins declined to qualify Connolly in hopes of simply signing the player for less money.

Though he just turned 24 last month, Connolly’s 210-game NHL career has been very disappointing to this point.

After parts of four seasons with the Lightning, he was traded to the Bruins at the 2015 trade deadline in exchange for a pair of second-round picks. He broke his finger in his second practice with the Bruins and ended up getting into just five games with the B’s in that season. Last season, he scored just nine goals and added 16 goals for 25 assists in 71 games.

He scored just two goals over his final 26 games of the season, though one of them was an empty-netter.

Read More: Brett Connolly, Landon Ferraro,

Former Lightning general manager lists Bruins among favorites to sign Steven Stamkos

06.27.16 at 3:28 pm ET
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Steven Stamkos could be made the highest-paid player in the NHL on Friday. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Steven Stamkos could be made the highest-paid player in the NHL on Friday. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Former Lightning general manager Brian Lawton said on Toronto’s TSN 1050 radio that he considers the Bruins a favorite to sign top unrestricted free agent Steven Stamkos. To watch/hear Lawton’s interview with Naylor & Landsberg, click here.

Stamkos, 26, could very well be made the highest-paid player in the NHL when he inks his next contract, presumably when free agency opens on Friday.

“Right now the top three for me — I still think there’s a very, very big chance that he could end up back in Tampa,” Lawton noted, “but I would say Toronto, Tampa, Boston would be the top three.”

Asked about pursuing Stamkos following the NHL draft on Sunday, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney intimated that he would reach out Stamkos’ agent during the NHL’s current interview period for free agents.

“We will take the temperature of whoever will help our hockey club,” Sweeney said. “If it lines up, that’s what we’d like to do. We obviously have flexibility for any particular player that we would like to go after. There’s a lot of coveted ones in the market, so we’ll make all the calls. Absolutely all the calls.”

Potentially working in the Bruins’ favor could be his relationship with coach Claude Julien, whom the B’s retained after missing the playoffs for a second straight year. Stamkos and Julien think very highly of one another, with Julien notably visiting Stamkos in the hospital when the player suffered a broken tibia in a game against the Bruins in 2013.

“I had him at the Olympic Camp and I got to know Steve the person,” Julien said after visiting Stamkos. “When you look at what he is in the league and what he’€™s accomplished, to have that happen to him I thought it was just important to go by and see how he was doing. It was as simple as that.

“He’€™s one of those players that people from all the different cities come up to watch and play and he’€™s one of the reasons we fill buildings and you hate to see that, from anybody’€™s point of view, to see a guy like that get injured that way,” Julien added.

Lawton said that the Maple Leafs would present an attractive destination for the Markham, Ontario native and that Stamkos would be able to handle the attention that would come with playing in such a market.

Tampa’s reported offer for its captain carried a cap hit of $8.5 million, a far cry from the $10.5 million annually that Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews make in Chicago.

“I don’t think that it’s just about money at all for Steven Stamkos,” Lawton said. “I think it’s important — I think that offering him, if it were in fact true, $8.5 million [per year] is — like I said, it’s not about money — but I think in some ways that’s probably a little insulting to Steven.”

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft, Stamkos has had three seasons of at least 90 points and has scored 40 goals three times in his NHL career. Since 2009-10 — his second season in the league — Stamkos’ 516 points rank fourth in the NHL behind Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Kane.

Read More: Claude Julien, Don Sweeney, Steven Stamkos,

Loui Eriksson in talks with six teams, Bruins willing to go past 4 years

06.26.16 at 10:28 pm ET
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Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

As expected, teams have used the NHL’s free agency interview window to approach winger Loui Eriksson, who spent the last three seasons with the Bruins. As of Sunday evening, six teams had contacted Eriksson’s agent about the player.

The Bruins are interested in retaining Eriksson, but have been reluctant to sign Eriksson for anything longer than four years. That said, a source indicated to Sunday night that the Bruins are indeed willing to go beyond four years on a contract carrying a lesser average annual value. Eriksson’s camp believes the soon-to-be 31-year-old will receive at least five years on the open market.

Though the Bruins could still sign Eriksson prior to free agency, he’ll be free to sign wherever when he reaches unrestricted status on Friday.

“I’m sure they’ll be exploring [the interview period],” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said over the weekend. “We’re in a position where we’re going to sign a couple of players and we’ve [been interested] all along. We just don’t know whether or not we’ve found common ground. We clearly didn’t because we didn’t sign, but the discussions were good. They were positive, but it’s a balancing act and we’ll be now in discussions with other players as well.”

A left-shot wing who plays both sides, Eriksson scored 30 goals and added 33 assists for 63 points last season for the Bruins.

Read More: Loui Eriksson,
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