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Barry Melrose on MFB: Bruins need more than Brett Connolly to make playoffs

03.02.15 at 11:57 am ET
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Barry Melrose

Barry Melrose

ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose joined Middays with MFB to discuss the NHL trade deadline and the Bruins’ playoff prospects heading into the stretch run. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Sunday night, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli traded two second-round draft picks to the Lightning for 22-year-old forward Brett Connolly.

“I like Connolly,” Melrose said. “He’s a good young player. I think he’s certainly somebody down the road that could play some big minutes for the Boston Bruins. But I don’t know if he’s good enough to put them in the playoffs.”

Added Melrose: “[Connolly] is a good player, he’s a good young kid, he’s been successful where he’s been, but he’s not ready to change the fortunes of the Boston Bruins right now.”

The trade deadline is Monday at 3 p.m., and the Bruins still have time to make another deal.

“Make a deal, get a player that you need to make your team better,” Melrose said, discussing whether the Bruins will make more moves before the deadline. “Get [David] Krejci back, and all of a sudden you become a really good team instead of just a team hoping to make the playoffs.”

The Bruins currently occupy the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers, who recently added future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, are just two points behind.

“You saw Jagr go to Florida, Florida’s won two games since that’s happened,” Melrose said, adding: “It basically comes down to a playoff battle between Boston and Florida, and I think they play each three times yet. I just think Boston’s got to do more to make sure that they make a playoff spot.”

Added Melrose: “If the Boston Bruins miss the playoffs right now, probably some people will lose their jobs.”

However, Melrose believes that the Bruins will be able to hold on and finish the regular season in playoff position.

“I just can’t believe that [the Bruins] will be outplayed the last 20 games of the season by the Florida Panthers,” Melrose said.

For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Barry Melrose, Boston Bruins, Brett Connolly,

Trade deadline: Canadiens land Jeff Petry from Oilers

03.02.15 at 9:13 am ET
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In a market that has seen some just-OK players move for high draft picks and top prospects, the Canadiens got perhaps the most reasonable deal of any team that has rented at the trade deadline.

The Habs acquired some much-needed help on their woeful blueline by landing Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry, who was the best remaining defenseman among the names expected to be traded. For his services, Montreal parted with a second-round pick and a conditional fifth that will become a fourth or third depending on whether Montreal wins zero, one or two rounds in the postseason.

TSN’€™s Ryan Rishaug was the first to report the trade and its terms.

Though their need on the back end isn’€™t as desperate as Montreal’€™s, the Bruins’€™ biggest need is defense. The fact that Petry is a rental could have deterred Boston from making a similar deal. The Bruins’€™ only move to this point has been for a controllable player in pending restricted free agent Brett Connolly.

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Bruins acquire F Brett Connolly from Lightning

03.02.15 at 6:18 am ET
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Brett Connolly

Brett Connolly

The Bruins announced early Monday that they have acquired right wing and former sixth overall pick Brett Connolly from the Lightning for their second-round picks in the next two drafts.

Connolly, 22, has 12 goals, three assists for 15 points with 38 penalty minutes in 50 games this season. He has skated on Tampa’€™s third line recently with Valtteri Filppula and Cedric Paquette.

In his 134-game career, covering parts of four seasons, he has 18 goals, 14 assists and 72 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 181-pound British Columbia native tied for third in the AHL with 31 goals during the 2012-13 season in 71 games with the Syracuse Crunch. His 63 points ranked ninth.

In acquiring Connolly, the sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft, the Bruins paid a steep price, but sought and obtained an actual piece going forward rather than a rental. The 22-year-old forward will be a restricted free agent at season’s end after playing this season on a one-year, two-way deal.

On the Lightning end, one might ask why Tampa would trade a good young player off its NHL roster in a season in which the Lightning are pushing for a top spot in the Eastern Conference. It’s very possible that the team wanted to open a spot for young forward Vladislav Namestnikov and were in turn motivated to trade Connolly, who would have required waivers to be sent down. Tampa would have certainly lost Connolly on waivers if they tried to send him to the AHL.

General manager Peter Chiarelli will hold a press conference Monday at 5 p.m. to discuss the deal and any other moves the Bruins might make.

To hold you over in the meantime, here’s a video of Connolly and fellow 2010 top prospects being uncomfortable with Don Cherry.

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Reports: Keith Yandle traded to Rangers

03.01.15 at 4:50 pm ET
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The Rangers have acquired Keith Yandle from the Coyotes, according to multiple reports.

According to TSN’€™s Darren Dreger, New York sent its 2016 first-round pick, a second-round pick, top forward prospect Anthony Duclair and defenseman John Moore for Yandle, defenseman Chris Summers and a 2015 fourth-round pick. The Coyotes will reportedly retain half of Yandle’€™s salary, meaning the Rangers will only be charged half of the defenseman’€™s $5.25 million cap hit through next season before Yandle hits free agency.

The large haul brought in by the Coyotes for Yandle adds to a big trade deadline for the Arizona. The Coyotes received a first-round pick and defensive prospect Klas Dahlbeck from the Blackhawks for center Antoine Vermette Saturday.

With the moves made, the Coyotes now have two first-round picks in each of the next two drafts. Additionally, they have the third-lowest point total in the NHL and stand a good chance of plummeting further in the race for Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.

Bruins have two roster spots open after reportedly waiving Craig Cunningham

03.01.15 at 1:18 pm ET
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The Bruins are making room for potential trade acquisitions, as the team opened a roster spot Sunday by placing Craig Cunningham on waivers with the intention of assigning him to Providence, TSN’€™s Bob McKenzie reported.

This is the second time the Bruins have waived Cunningham this season, as the team successfully got him to Providence just before the start of the regular season. Cunningham’€™s removal leaves the Bruins with 21 players on their active roster, meaning the team has two open spots it can fill before reaching the 23-man limit.

The Bruins have been burned by waivers recently, however, as the Oilers picked up Matt Fraser when the B’€™s waived him in December.

Cunningham would seem to have a future with the Bruins should they keep him, as he would be an ideal fourth-line center for the team in the coming seasons. Chris Kelly is currently centering the fourth line at the moment, a luxury for the B’€™s as they try to solidify their bottom-six.

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

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Sunday Skate Live Chat: Trade deadline edition

03.01.15 at 6:42 am ET
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Where should the Bruins turn now that Antoine Vermette is a Blackhawk? How much should Peter Chiarelli be willing to give up at the trade deadline? Is one of the hosts best friends with a Parks and Recreation star now? Discuss that and more in this week’s Sunday Skate Live Chat with Pete Blackburn, DJ Bean and Joe McDonald.

To listen to the show, click here.

Live Blog Sunday Skate Live Chat
 

Blackhawks trade for Antoine Vermette

02.28.15 at 11:39 pm ET
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The Blackhawks acquired Antoine Vermette Saturday night, sending a 2015 first-round pick and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck to Arizona for the 32-year-old center.

The move crosses off another trade deadline option for the Bruins, as Boston was believed to be interested in Vermette’€™s services. Vermette will be a free agent at season’€™s end.

Arizona had long held out for a first-round pick before trading Vermette. The Bruins have no plans to trade their first-rounder, according to a source.

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