|10.01.14 at 3:15 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Wednesday that forwards Ryan Spooner, Alex Khokhlachev and Justin Florek and goalie Jeremy Smith have been released from training camp and sent to Providence. Smith will have to clear waivers first.
Spooner, Khokhlachev and Florek were all contenders for open forward spots on the Bruins roster, especially on the third and fourth lines. Spooner played in 23 games last season, recording no goals and 11 assists. Florek had a goal and an assist in four regular-season games, plus one goal in six playoff games.
Khokhlachev was Providence’s leading scorer last season, tallying 57 points (21 goals, 36 assists) in 65 games. Spooner registered 11 goals and 35 assists in 49 games in Providence, while Florek had 19 goals and 19 assists in 69 AHL games. Smith spent last season with the Springfield Falcons — Columbus’ AHL affiliate — and posted a 21-14-3 record with an .898 save percentage.
|09.30.14 at 11:10 pm ET|
As the Bruins continue to assess the candidates vying for open forward spots, David Pastrnak remains out of game action due to his recovery from a shoulder injury.
Pastrnak has been practicing since Sunday and took the most contact he’s taken thus far in Tuesday’s practice. In particular, he bounced back from a huge hit from defenseman Kevan Miller during drills.
Still, with no preseason games under his belt and just two left on the Bruins’ schedule, Pastrnak’s chances of making the B’s as the first or third-line right wing are dwindling. Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s game that the B’s hope Pastrnak will be able to play either Friday against the Islanders in Connecticut or in Saturday’s preseason finale against Detroit.
“Our goal is to hopefully get him in a game,” Julien said. “Today he practiced well; I think he had more contact today, so he’s certainly looking good, but until the trainers tell us that he’s ready for games, we’re not going to play him. He’s a young player that we’re certainly not going to take a risk with. For our sake and for his sake, he would like to at least get a game in and see how he fits in.”
If the Bruins maintain hope that Pastrnak could play in the NHL this season and don’t see enough to make up their minds in the preseason, they can keep him on the roster and play him for up to nine games without burning the first year off his entry level contract. That would seemingly provide ample time to decide whether the speedy right wing is worth keeping in Boston or sending back to his team in Sweden.
“It’s not my call. You’re asking the wrong person,” Julien said when asked of that possibility. “It’s not my call when it comes to that.”
Loui Eriksson manned the right wing on the first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic Tuesday against the Islanders (their first time playing a game together this preseason), with Julien admitting after the game that the trio struggled. Then again, it’s worth remembering that it took until the ninth game of the season with Jarome Iginla last year that Boston’s first line really started clicking.
|09.30.14 at 9:42 pm ET|
The Bruins came back from a two-goal deficit in the third period of Tuesday’s preseason game against the Islanders but ultimately fell, 5-3.
Boston first got on the board in the first period with a goal from Patrice Bergeron putting in his own rebound, but three straight goals from the Islanders gave them a 3-1 lead heading into the third. After Brad Marchand took a cross-checking penalty, Matt Bartkowski scored a shorthanded goal and Marchand took a pass from Loui Eriksson upon exiting the penalty box for a breakaway on which he tied the game. Cal Clutterbuck beat projected Providence backup goaltender Jeremy Smith to make it 4-3 with 3:09 remaining in the game. The Islanders got an empty-netter from Scott Mayfield with 1:11 to seal the victory.
Niklas Svedberg started the game for the Bruins, allowing one goal on eight shots. Smith took over halfway through the second and allowed two goals late in the second before settling down in the third.
Torey Krug and Reilly Smith did not play, but are expected to this weekend. The Bruins’ lineup for the game was as follows:
Lucic – Krejci – Eriksson
Marchand – Bergeron – Cunningham
Gagne – Soderberg – Fraser
Caron – Kelly – Robins
Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – Boychuk
Bartkowski – McQuaid
The Bruins have two more preseason games remaining. They’ll play the Islanders in Connecticut on Friday before wrapping up the preseason Saturday evening against the Red Wings. The B’s will host the Flyers in their season-opener Oct. 8.
|09.30.14 at 12:57 pm ET|
The Bruins held two practice sessions Tuesday at TD Garden in anticipation of Tuesday night’s preseason game against the Islanders.
Torey Krug and Reilly Smith took part in both sessions, though they are expected to be kept out of the lineup. They could get their first preseason action Friday in Connecticut.
David Pastrnak took part in the second session and will not play Tuesday. Though the team said that he is not officially cleared for full practice with the team, he is clearly taking contact, as was evident when he took a big hit from Kevan Miller Tuesday.
Anthony Camara (undisclosed), Linus Arnesson (groin) and Gregory Campbell (core) are all still out for the B’s.
|09.29.14 at 4:08 pm ET|
The Bruins released veteran forward Ville Leino from his tryout agreement and sent defenseman Chris Breen to Providence Monday.
After Monday’s practice, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Leino is weighing his options between trying to stay in the NHL or heading to Europe.
“I talked to Ville this morning in part because of Reilly [Smith] coming back and we had to cut down some numbers, too,” Chiarelli said. “So I spoke with him this morning and he wasn’t sure what he was going to do as far as NHL or European competition.”
Breen was signed this summer as a free agent after spending his first four professional seasons in the Flames organization.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|09.29.14 at 1:30 pm ET|
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 “force anything.”
|09.29.14 at 9:09 am ET|
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 ‘Advantage: 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.
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