|03.03.15 at 7:12 pm ET|
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun wrote a story Tuesday that commended the Bruins for the hockey deal they made by getting Brett Connolly, but also revealed a couple of not-so-smart trade proposals the team sent out for a not-so-great player.
As had been reported throughout the season, the Bruins long had interest in then-Sabres forward Chris Stewart. LeBrun wrote that the Bruins offered at least two different packages involving good draft picks for the player but were rebuffed. The Sabres held out too long for a better deal and, after the Bruins got Connolly instead, Buffalo settled for a 2017 second-rounder from the Wild. The Sabres also had to retain half of Stewart’s salary.
A source told ESPN.com that on Saturday the Bruins offered the Sabres two second-round picks in exchange for Stewart, goalie Michal Neuvirth and depth forward Brian Flynn. Obviously that deal wasn’t accepted, the Sabres wanting a specific prospect that Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli just didn’t want to give up, feeling it was too high a price to pay.
Once Boston moved on Connolly overnight Sunday with the cost being two-second picks going to the Lightning, the bigger-package deal with the Sabres was off the table.
But even as far back as on the eve of the season, back in early October, the Bruins are believed to have offered Ryan Spooner and a second-round pick for Stewart. Murray decided to wait for a better offer. And again, the Sabres GM could very well have got that better offer in other years, it just didn’t play out that way this time.
Moving Spooner or a mid-round pick for Stewart wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Moving Spooner and a second-rounder would have been silly, especially considering Stewart’s difficulty staying motivated and the fact that he will be a free agent after the season. Chiarelli owes Tim Murray for turning those offers down, as they were both far better than what Buffalo ended up getting for Stewart.
|03.03.15 at 6:15 pm ET|
The Bruins might be wise to explore trading Dennis Seidenberg this offseason. By all indications, they didn’t try it at the trade deadline.
Nick Kypreos speculated on Sportsnet last month that the Bruins were trying to dump Seidenberg in order to shed cap space before the trade deadline, but that was likely untrue. The Bruins never approached Seidenberg about waiving his no-trade clause and the team was not going to sell this season.
Still, it got Seidenberg’s attention.
“When your name pops up, you always think, but I hadn’t heard anything from here, which is the most important thing,” Seidenberg said Tuesday. “[The media’s] job is to write stuff and get conversation going, and people jump on that.”
Seidenberg is in the first year of a four-year, $16 million deal. He has a no-trade clause that he has said in the past he’d waive if the Bruins asked him to. His goal, however, is for it to not come to that.
“You can never feel safe no matter what — if you have a no-trade clause or not,” the 33-year-old said. “That’s why you always want to play your guts out and try to do your best to make it as hard as possible for them to trade you.”
Even if a team in better playoff standing had traded for the veteran defenseman, Seidenberg said that he considers the Bruins to be in as good a shape for a deep run as anyone else.
“This is where I want to be,” Seidenberg said. “This is the team I want to be on. I never doubted that I was going to leave. We’re a very tight group, and we’re going to pick it up and we’re going to play solid hockey. We all want to and hopefully it will happen.”
|03.03.15 at 1:15 pm ET|
WILMINGTON – Brett Connolly knows he hasn’t reached his ceiling. He’d like to do that with the Bruins.
The 2010 sixth overall didn’t become one of the league’s better players like Tampa’s previous first-rounders in Steven Stamkos (2008) and Victor Hedman (2009). He became expendable with the Lightning due to a crowded group of right wing prospects and was flipped to the Bruins for a pair of second-rounders in the wee hours of Monday morning.
After his first practice with the Bruins, Connolly said he feels he hasn’t scratched the surface of his potential.
“Oh yeah, for sure. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy coming in. Everything wasn’t always going to be going my way. I’ve had some ups and downs,” Connolly said. “I’ve played some good hockey, I’ve played some not-so-good hockey. I’ve been up and down. I played my first year [in the NHL. [During] the lockout, played in the American League, had a good team in the American League, went to the finals there. Then last year, up and down and this year obviously stayed the whole year. It’s exciting. I’m looking to take that next step and hopefully it’s here in Boston.”
This is not the first time Peter Chiarelli has targeted a high pick of small-market team whose career wasn’t going perfectly. Though Nathan Horton had a 30-goal season with the Panthers, he wanted a change in 2010 and Chiarelli gave up Boston’s first-round pick and Dennis Wideman for him.
That trade was obviously very successful for the Bruins. Connolly would like to have the same impact.
“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s a good situation. It’s all up to me and the way I play. I just want to come in here and do the things that I’ve been doing in the last month. I feel like my game’s been taking off a little bit in the last month. [I’ve been] scoring a little bit. Obviously not playing as much as I would have liked in the last month, but playing physical and getting in on the forecheck and going to those dirty areas and chipping in a little bit offensively, scoring a few. Again, you just want to fit in as much as you can, so I’m excited.”
Connolly was not a rental. The 22-year-old will not put the Bruins over the top offensively right now, but he figures to be a key young part for them going forward.
With 12 goals this season, his first full NHL campaign, Connolly obviously arrives with expectations to perform, but he doesn’t need to live up to the top-10 pick billing that he had in Tampa. That might be a breath of fresh air for the young right wing.
“[I’m] just another piece of the puzzle. Obviously, you want it to go upwards your whole career, but a lot of the time it doesn’t do that,” he said. “Maybe a change of scenery will be good for me. I’m excited, obviously. It’s going to take a little bit to get familiar with everything. Obviously everything’s different, so you want to get comfortable as fast as possible and get comfortable out there on the ice, too. It’s exciting.”
|03.03.15 at 12:33 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — It’s not clear when or where Gregory Campbell will next play in the Bruins’ lineup.
Campbell has yet to be cleared for contact, but he said he is “coming along” in his return from an upper-body injury. The veteran center, who said he got hurt in the first period of last Sunday’s game against the Blackhawks, practiced with the Bruins Tuesday. He said he feels “progressively better” but is not sure whether he will be ready to play Thursday.
When Campbell is ready to return, his spot in the lineup won’t be as clear as it was before. In addition to adding to the top nine with Brett Connolly, the Bruins picked up fourth-line center Max Talbot, who could potentially push Campbell out of the lineup.
“I think we added two good players to the team, so wherever they’re going to play, they’re going to help our team,” Campbell said. “They’re players that bring different things, but in Max, he’s won before and he’s a good role player. In Brett, he’s a skilled guy, so there’s a lot of potential.
“I don’t really know how it’s going to shake out, but I know they’re going to help us.”
Chris Kelly has been centering the fourth line while Campbell has been out, and the line has, perhaps not surprisingly, been better. There was talk of potentially moving to Campbell to wing this season, which never happened, but it could now given the many options that Claude Julien for his fourth line.
“Maybe, yeah. Maybe. Whatever [Julien] wants,” he said. “Whatever he decides is going to benefit the team the most. It’s good to have some options. It’s good to have some centermen that are able to take draws and some interchangeable parts. Whatever’s going to happen, I’m sure it’s going to be best for the team.”
|03.03.15 at 10:58 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Brett Connolly has arrived in Boston, as the recent trade acquisition joined his new Bruins teammates in Tuesday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena.
Conolly will wear No. 14 with the Bruins. With another practice day before Thursday’s game, the Bruins seemingly eased Connolly in by skating him as the fourth member of Boston’s fourth line. Gregory Campbell, who has been out since last week with an upper-body injury, returned to practice. Peter Chiarelli said Monday that Campbell was “very close” to being ready to return.
Adam McQuaid did not practice, with Claude Julien saying after the practice that the defenseman was given a maintenance day. Given that the Bruins did not practice Sunday or Monday, that’s an awful lot of maintenance.
Max Talbot, Boston’s other trade acquisition, was not on the ice. The lines were as follows:
|03.02.15 at 6:35 pm ET|
Peter Chiarelli opened his press conference by explaining why he didn’t trade for a defenseman, so it’s not like the GM thought he’d made all the necessary moves at the trade deadline.
Chiarelli explained that the team was better off taking its chances with the depth defensemen the Bruins have — Joe Morrow, Zach Trotman, David Warsofsky – rather than spending big on a player who might not be markedly better.
Prices were high at the deadline and the Bruins aren’t having a great season. As such, Chiarelli didn’t push all his chips in. He made a hockey deal brighten next season’s prospects by getting 22-year-old right wing Brett Connolly from Tampa and he added forward depth with Max Talbot, but he opted against a major move this season.
The Bruins sit in the eighth spot of the Eastern Conference and rental players netted teams like Arizona (Antoine Vermette) and Carolina (Andrej Sekera). Asked if he was tempted to get in on the action and sell, Chiarelli said it a consideration that the B’s didn’t go far with.
“I feel that we have a team that will make the playoffs, and if you can get in, when you get in, anything goes,” he said. “So we talked about it, but I didn’t — we didn’t — really go down that route. In fact, we never went down that route.”
Charlie Jacobs’ comments in January about an organization-wide “evaluation process” suggested that people could be fired if the team missed the playoffs. The trade deadline was Chiarelli’s last big opportunity to do something to potentially save his job.
Chiarelli balked at the idea of drastically overpaying for players or moving a first-round pick. In that sense, he showed restraint in not doing something detrimental to the franchise for the sake of just getting into the playoffs.
“I feel that we’ve improved the team, and as I said, I think this is a good group, and some years, you don’t win the Presidents’ Trophy,” Chiarelli said. “Some years, you finish sixth or seventh; some years, you don’t make the playoffs. [It is] incumbent that we make the playoffs – and you have down years for reasons that I won’t get into, but you all know why, sometimes, you don’t, and sometimes, you do. We’ve tried to improve the team, we feel we’ve improved the team, and we hope for a good run coming up.”
|03.02.15 at 4:37 pm ET|
In the Bruins’ third and final move Monday, the team swapped AHL forwards with the Wild, as winger Jared Knight was sent to Minnesota for 2011 first-round pick Zack Phillips. The trade was first reported by the Providence Journal’s Mark Divver.
Phillips, a center who has not yet cracked the NHL, has seven goals and eight assists for 15 points this season with the Iowa Wild.
Knight was drafted by the Bruins in the second round of the 2010 draft. He was selected with the second-round pick acquired by the Bruins in the Phil Kessel trade.
Though he projected to be an NHL player with a rather simple game of going to the net, injuries and struggles in the AHL prevented him from ever pushing for a spot in Boston.