|03.01.16 at 12:02 am ET|
The biggest name the Bruins came away with at the trade deadline was the one they kept in Loui Eriksson. After that, they made the questionable decision to double down as buyers and add a couple of veterans that figure to take the spots of young players down the stretch.
It’s debatable whether the Bruins should have acquired Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles, but what’s done is done. Those guys will be used as part of a potential playoff run. Here’s our best guess as to how.
The Bruins probably didn’t give up a second-rounder and a fourth-rounder so Stempniak could be a bottom-sixer, so the guess here is that he’ll replace Brett Connolly on Patrice Bergeron’s right wing. That would bump Connolly to either the bottom six or the press box.
Stempniak will provide Bergeron with another scorer on his line, as he has 13 even-strength goals this season to Connolly’s six.
Here’s how Stempniak compares to Connolly in all facets of the game:
The 35-year-old left shot defenseman could play on the left side of Boston’s second or third pairing. That gives the Bruins options regarding guys like Torey Krug and Dennis Seidenberg who can be bumped to the left side, and the guess here is that his presence will push young lefty Joe Morrow out of the lineup.
|02.29.16 at 3:17 pm ET|
In addition to keeping Loui Eriksson, the Bruins swung a trade with the Hurricanes for 35-year-old defenseman John-Michael Liles and added forward Lee Stempniak from New Jersey.
Boston sent a third-round pick in 2016, a fifth-round pick in 2017 and former third-round pick Anthony Camara to Carolina. Liles, a left shot, has six goals and nine assists for 15 points in 64 games this season. The Indianapolis native has also played for the Avalanche and Maple Leafs in his career.
The Bruins will be Stempniak’s ninth team. In 63 games for the Devils this season, Stempniak has 16 goals and 25 assists for 41 points. The Bruins gave up a 2017 second-rounder and a 2016 fourth-rounder for Stempniak, a very steep price considering that they could have had him months ago for nothing.
Stempniak went to school at Dartmouth and lives in Boston. He spent the weeks leading up to training camp skating with the Bruins as he remained without a contract. The Bruins offered him a professional tryout that he declined in favor of a PTO with the Devils that led to a one-year deal in September. Though the Bruins passed on the opportunity to add him at the time, he had hoped the Bruins would bring him in as a free agent.
“I think it would be a good fit. It’s a great organization,” Stempniak told WEEI.com in September. “I’ve heard great things. I’ve gotten to know some of the guys. I like them and have a lot of respect for some of their players, just the way they train, the way they play and as people. It’s definitely appealing, but for me, it’s sort of weighing the options. I’ve talked to more teams over the last couple of weeks and things have really picked up. [It’s about] finding the right opportunity at this point.”
The acquisition of Stempniak makes this summer’s trade for Zac Rinaldo sting even more than initially expected. Rather than simply sign Stempniak, the Bruins traded a third-round pick in 2017 for Rinaldo, who is now in Providence. They’ve since spent second-and-fourth-round picks on Stempniak, meaning it has cost second, third and fourth-round picks to end up with a player they could have had for nothing more than a contract.
In addition to Monday’s trades, the Bruins sent centers Joonas Kemppainen and Max Talbot to Providence.
|02.29.16 at 3:04 pm ET|
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the Bruins did not trade Loui Eriksson at the trade deadline and will continue to work on an extension for the player.
Eriksson, 30, is in the final year of a six-year contract that carries a $4.25 million cap hit. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney admitted Sunday that he was shopping the player, though he noted his preference was to keep the player. The Bruins and Eriksson were not close on a new contract as of Sunday evening, though they now have until July 1 to reach an agreement.
The team did make a trade in the final minutes leading up until Monday’s trade deadline, however, adding veteran defenseman John-Michael Liles from the Hurricanes and winger Lee Stempniak from New Jersey.
|02.29.16 at 1:52 pm ET|
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Bruins are trying to complete a trade for 33-year-old Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis.
BOS making a big push for Dan Hamhuis.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 29, 2016
Worth keeping in mind, however, is that Hamhuis has a full no-trade clause, meaning he could block a potential trade to Boston if he were so inclined.
Hamhuis, a left shot, will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Should he be acquired by Boston, he would likely slot in as Boston’s second-pairing left defenseman and kill penalties. A potential acquisition of him would allow the Bruins to play Dennis Seidenberg on the right side on any of their pairings or on the left of the third pairing. Here is a comparison of Hamhuis and Seidenberg, the latter of whom has been Boston’s second-pairing left defenseman for much of the season:
|02.29.16 at 11:06 am ET|
WILMINGTON — With hours to go until the 3 p.m. trade deadline, Bruins forward Loui Eriksson participated in Monday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena.
The Bruins are still determining whether to trade Eriksson, make a last-ditch effort to sign him to a contract extension or potentially keep him past the deadline without a new contract inked. Both sides have indicated that the possibility of the B’s keeping Eriksson unsigned is real, though the guess here is that it’s a situation Boston would like to avoid.
After sending him to Providence for a two-game conditioning loan, the B’s brought Tyler Randell back up for Monday’s practice. Zac Rinaldo, who remains on waivers until noon, did not practice and was the only absence. Should he go unclaimed, the Bruins can either keep him on their roster or send him to Providence. (Update: Rinaldo has been sent to Providence, according to the AHL transactions page.)
The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Monday that Rinaldo would have a hearing for his illegal check to the head of Cedric Paquette in Sunday’s loss to the Lightning. Rinaldo has not been suspended as a member of the Bruins, though he came to Boston this summer having been suspended a total of 14 games over the course of his Flyers career.
Max Talbot, who cleared waivers Saturday, remains on the NHL roster and was on for the start of Monday’s skate, though he left the ice just a few minutes into the practice.
|02.28.16 at 9:13 pm ET|
The Bruins got a rare goal from defenseman Kevan Miller — a point-shot wrister off a clean faceoff win by Joonas Kemppainen — and took a 1-0 lead over Tampa Bay just over six minutes into Sunday night’s Atlantic Division, second-place showdown at TD Garden.
However, the Bruins decidedly lost the special-teams battle on the night and it cost Boston both the lead and the game as the Lightning scored the next four goals en route to a 4-1 victory.
Tampa Bay now has extended a two-point lead over Boston in the Atlantic standings while also pulling two points behind division-leading Florida, who lost in Minnesota on Sunday. With the Boston loss, idle Detroit now also has a game-in-hand on the B’s as the Red Wings trail the Bruins by just one point for third place.
Here are four more things we learned Sunday:
|02.28.16 at 6:59 pm ET|
The Bruins placed two of their frequent fourth-line forwards on waivers over the weekend, as Max Talbot and Zac Rinaldo had their contracts and rights exposed for other NHL teams to claim. Talbot cleared those waivers, while Rinaldo will remain available to a claim by another team through Monday at noon.
Boston General Manager Don Sweeney explained the decisions to the assembled media before Sunday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“There’s certain times a year when you have an opportunity before deadlines to create flexibility,” Sweeney said. “Both those [moves] represent that. I’ve had talks with both players. Zac [Rinaldo] is playing tonight. There are plenty of players that have gone on waivers and nothing has happened. In both counts that might be the case. But we have certain deadlines we have to adhere to. In order to create flexibility with some of the discussions we’ve had that was something we had to do. As difficult as those conversations are to have, you have to have them and do what’s best for the hockey club.”
Players that have cleared waivers can be loaned to the American Hockey League, saving NHL teams their equivalent salary cap hit up to a max of $950,000. Talbot’s cap hit this season is $743,279 and Rinaldo’s is $850,000.
Talbot, 32, has played 36 games this year with two goals and four assists on the campaign. Talbot was not in Sunday’s lineup and has been a healthy scratch for six of Boston’s last seven games.
Rinaldo, 25, was acquired by the Bruins last summer from Philadelphia in exchange for a third-round draft pick. Through 51 games played, Rinaldo has one goal, two assists, and 81 penalty minutes.
“I still believe that Zac is a player that we needed, the type of player that we needed,” said Sweeney. “Did I know that Tyler Randell would be able to come in and fill a gap? Did I think Landon Ferraro necessarily would come in and fill another gap? No, those are things you don’t necessarily have a feel for before the season started.”
Sweeney continued: “I felt that our team lacked energy at times last year and I think Zac has done a good job in that regard. Has he produced to the level maybe he’s capable when you watch him in practice every day? No, he’d probably be the first to tell you that. But I think his game has certainly come a long way where he’s put himself in questionable situations … even penalties he takes now most of them are borderline calls in a lot of occasions. I think he infuses a lot of energy. He’s been used on the penalty kill a little bit, again something he can probably grow at because of the way he skates, the courage that he has. I think it’s infectious for our club. He’s fit in well. We’ll see whether somebody else thinks that, we might lose that asset and we’ll go from there. But it allowed us this time, deadline, for flexibility’s sake.”