|10.07.14 at 10:42 am ET|
David Pastrnak was sent to Providence, so he was also missing.
Campbell, who did not play all preseason due to a core injury, is not expected to play Wednesday. Krejci left Saturday’s preseason finale with what Claude Julien called a “very, very minor” and is questionable for Wednesday’s season-opener.
The Bruins’ lines in practice were as follows:
Lucic – Spooner/Caron – Fraser
Kelly – Soderberg – Eriksson
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Paille – Cunningham – Robins/Gagne
Chara – Hamilton
Seidenberg – McQuaid
Krug – Miller
|10.06.14 at 12:18 pm ET|
The trade of Johnny Boychuk left a tough hole to fill on the right side of the Bruins’ second defensive pairing. Not only was Boychuk a dependable player alongside Zdeno Chara on the top pairing for years, but his work in anchoring the second pairing without Chara in the postseason is what allowed the B’s to team Chara and Dennis Seidenberg with success in the 2011 and 2013 postseasons.
Prior to Saturday’s trade, Boychuk had been skating with Seidenberg on the second pairing. That leaves Seidenberg, who is still shaking the rust off after not playing since last December, without a partner. Assuming that the B’s opt to keep Dougie Hamilton alongside Chara on their top pairing and Torey Krug remains on the third pairing, here are the internal candidates to replace Boychuk:
Bartkowski is a terrific skater who makes the game exciting for both the right and wrong reasons. He was given a top-4 spot (and then had it taken away, and then had it given back, and then had it taken away, etc.) last season when Seidenberg went down, but that doesn’t mean he’s a shoo-in to return to the second pairing.
Playing Bartkowski on the second pairing would mean that Seidenberg, a left shot who plays the right side when teamed with Chara, would need to move to the right-side to accomodate the left-shooting Bartkowski. Seidenberg and Bartkowski were paired together at points prior to Seidenberg’s injury and again on Saturday night and have not looked good together. By my count, the two played were paired together for eight games last season, with Bartkowski posting an even rating in four of the games, a minus-1 in three of them and a plus-1 in one to combine for a minus-2.
It’s been a weird tenure for Bartkowski in Boston thus far. After being stolen from the Panthers in the hilarious trade that also sent Seidenberg to Boston for Byron Bitz, Craig Weller and a second-round pick, Bartkowski was the final cut on the Stanley Cup-winning 2010-11 team, spent three years in Providence, was(n’t) traded to the Flames for Jarome Iginla, started last season as the seventh defenseman and eventually was Seidenberg’s replacement.
He was sick to begin last postseason and was a scapegoat of sorts as the Bruins were upset by the Canadiens in the second round, though the Bruins taking him in and out of the lineup in that series in favor of Andrej Meszaros probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do for his confidence.
McQuaid is a solid third-pairing blueliner who is both responsible in his own and end extremely mean wherever he is on the ice. Yet to assume he can be a top-4 defenseman for a full season and postseason would be irresponsible on the part of the Bruins.
Last season was the most frustrating season of what’s been a frustrating NHL career for McQuaid. Since taking Mark Stuart‘s job during the 2010-11 season, McQuaid has dealt with injury after injury, with last year being doomed by a quad injury that limited him to just 30 games. When it became clear that he wouldn’t be able to return at any point of the postseason, McQuaid got surgery on an ankle that had been bugging him as well.
So, like Seidenberg, McQuaid is trying to regain his form after a long time out of game action (his last regular season game was Jan. 19).
If the Bruins attempt to trade for a top-six forward, McQuaid could still be a candidate to be moved. His $1.56 million cap hit would allow the B’s, who figure to have $3.1 million in cap space going into the season, to add a player who makes decent money provided they also move other assets such as draft picks (they have their first-round pick and have four second-rounders in the next two drafts) or prospects. The Bruins’ depth on D ‘ Zach Trotman is in the AHL because of it ‘ would still make them able to overcome another blueliner, albeit one outside their top-4, being moved.
If all goes well, this is the guy who eventually replaces Boychuk. Miller is a right shot and the strongest player on the Bruins under 6-foot-9. His skill set is the closest to Boychuk’s of any of the players in this group, but he has a long way to go.
Though he got some minutes with Chara and an opportunity to defend a 6-on-5 against the Penguins, the Bruins generally sheltered Miller as a rookie. As a third-pairing player, the Bruins were careful with his matchups (his -.901 CorsiRel quality of competion was the second-lowest on the team; only his partner in Krug player easier minutes). Krug was also the only player with a higher offensive zone start percentage than Miller.
Claude Julien did not shelter Boychuk last season. The B’s put him out against whatever was leftover for opponents after Chara and Patrice Bergeron‘s line discarded the team’s first line. Boychuk had a .385 CorsiRel quality of competition; only Chara (1.5) and Hamilton (.386) played tougher minutes.
This isn’t to suggest that Miller can’t handle an uptick in competition now or won’t be able to later in the season. It just means that if the Bruins are going to give him the opportunity to replace Boychuk, they can’t hide him like they did last season.
The Bruins mix and match with their pairings throughout the season, and the guess is that they’ll probably do that again as they audition Boychuk’s replacements. With three legitimate candidates, don’t assume that whoever’s teamed with Seidenberg Wednesday night will be there all season. The money here is on Miller to be the last man standing.
|10.05.14 at 4:13 pm ET|
According to Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada, forward Jack Skille was the only player on waivers to get claimed Sunday, meaning that Bruins Jordan Caron, David Warsofsky and Craig Cunningham all cleared.
Warsofsky will be assigned to Providence, while Caron and Cunningham will remain with the Bruins. The B’s waived Caron and Cunningham so that they would have the flexibility to send the players up and down between the NHL and AHL early in the season.
All three players can now go up and down between Boston and Providence for the next 30 days without risking waivers, unless they play in 10 NHL games in that span.
|10.05.14 at 10:41 am ET|
With the season opening at home Wednesday against the Flyers, the Bruins don’t have long to be upset about the loss of one of their best teammates.
Still, even coach Claude Julien said after Saturday’s preseason finale that the team will take a little time to get over “the sting” of losing Johnny Boychuk ($3.37 million) to the harsh realities of today’s salary cap NHL.
Torey Krug, just 23, now understands just how important managing the salary cap is for each team after spending most of the summer without a contract because GM Peter Chiarelli couldn’t fit him under the cap. Krug and Reilly Smith had to wait all summer and through most of camp to sign their $1.4 million deals because the team couldn’t sign them.
“[It’s] another lesson in the business for me,” said Krug. “I learned a few things this summer for sure, and it’s always going to be part of it forever as long as this game exists and the cap situation exists in this sport, so it’s tough to see him go for sure.”
Several defenseman will have to pick up the slack for Boychuk and will have the opportunity to step right in play a bigger role for the 30-year-old who was considered one of the heart-and-soul parts of their Stanley Cup run in 2011 and their finals appearance in 2013.
Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug are all younger than Boychuk and all will likely get chances to play alongside Dennis Seidenberg on Boston’s No. 2 D-pairing.
“I mean it’s been like this the last few years so it doesn’t really change anything,” Seidenberg said. “For me, it’s just trying to play wherever they put me and trying to do it well.”
“I didn’t know that’there was some talk about different things and stuff but I was pretty much shocked,” McQuaid said in reacting Saturday. “I don’t know, I guess maybe we all just kind of had that hope in the back of our minds that somehow we could all stay. He’s a guy that’s a huge part of this team and for me a guy that always put a smile on my face every day. Always came to the rink in a good mood and was cracking jokes. I think I’ve played seven pro seasons and six have been with Johnny so we’ve been through a lot together. He’s a guy that’I don’t think it’s really sunk in quite yet’but a guy that will be sorely missed.”
|10.04.14 at 11:06 pm ET|
“I don’t think my thoughts differ from anybody else,” Julien said after his team’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Red Wings Saturday night. “I think we’re all disappointed to see him leave. As I mentioned, Peter [Chiarelli] eluded to that in his press conference. It stings for everybody. He was a good player, he was a good person, very well liked.
“Unfortunately our game is in that position where sometimes we’re forced to make those unpopular decisions. For a coaching staff, we’ll miss him like everybody else. But we have a job to do, and we feel we have a lot of good players here that we can certainly overcome this. And that’s just the way it goes, and part of hockey, and part of a tough day. You hope we’ll be able to turn the page here and by the time we start the season we’ll be ready to go.”
That position, of course, is a result of a salary cap squeeze, brought on – in part – with the signing of David Krejci. Now, the 30-year-old Boychuk (due $3.4 million in the final year of his three-year contract) will head to the Islanders while Julien is left to find a replacement to pair with Dennis Seidenberg.
He has several options, starting with Matt Bartkowski. Adam McQuaid, Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug will also be asked to carry a bigger load.
“I think there’s no doubt that the experience those young guys got was valuable,” Julien said. “But at the same time, we’ve got to remember that we’ve got Seidenberg, we’ve got McQuaid back in our lineup, which is two more veterans. That certainly helps that youth maybe not be so young. So those are things. But the guys that got that experience ‘ you’re talking about Bartkowski, talking about Krug, you know Dougie Hamilton. I think those things will certainly pay off for us.”
|10.04.14 at 8:22 pm ET|
Patrice Bergeron had a hat trick Saturday night at TD Garden as the Bruins lost to the Red Wings, 4-3, in a shootout in their preseason finale.
David Krejci left the game after two shifts in the second period, returned for a third five minutes later before leaving the game for good. Following the game, Claude Julien said that Krejci had a “very, very minor” issue that would not be a factor going forward.
Bergeron scored all three of Boston’s goals, tying the game at one in the first period, burying a rebound of a Dougie Hamilton shot at 3:14 of the third period and finishing off a nice play by Carl Soderberg at 10:46 of the period.
Detroit got goals from Riley Sheahan, Xavier Ouellet and Andrej Nestrasil.
Both Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak dressed for the B’s, playing for the second time in as many nights. Pastrnak, who was skating on a line with Spooner and Carl Soderberg, had a great scoring chance with just over a minute to play, but had a pair of shots stopped by Petr Mrazek.
Tuukka Rask was in net for the Bruins, who will open the regular season Wednesday when they host the Flyers at the Garden.
|10.04.14 at 5:14 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Saturday that he traded defenseman Johnny Boychuk due to the team’s salary cap situation and because he found the return ‘ two second-round picks and a conditional third ‘ to be strong value. He did concede one point, however.
“This doesn’t make us better now, obviously,” Chiarelli said, “but it’s something that, when I look at it in a series of steps, I think we made the right move.”
Chiarelli mentioned “steps” throughout the press conference to discuss Saturday’s trade with the Islanders. When asked what his next move was, the B’s general manager said that there may be roster moves in the coming days.
Boychuk is a free agent at season’s end and figures to command big money on the open market. Chiarelli said that he did not attempt to sign Boychuk before trading him.
Moving Boychuk, while making the current roster worse, gives the team one less big name to sign before the start of next season. Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Reilly Smith will all be restricted free agents, while Carl Soderberg will be an unrestricted free agent. Though the salary cap is expected to go up from it’s current $69 million ceiling, the already have $49,897,857 against the salary cap committed to 10 players (not including Marc Savard) for the 2015-16 season.
“We’ve got a lot of people to sign,” Chiarelli said. “There’s a list of priorities and part of my job is to prioritize things. That’s a little bit of how it shakes out. I’d love to keep this team together player-to-player as long as I could if I felt it was prudent on the hockey front and the financial front. I’ve tried to keep the critical mass together and will continue to provide the right moves for the organization.”
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