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Offer sheet an unlikely tactic for Bruins

06.30.15 at 9:24 pm ET
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RFA COMPENSATIONWhen noon hits on Wednesday, teams will officially be able to sign restricted free agents to offer sheets.

Well, some will. The Bruins probably won’€™t.

In order to sign a player to an offer sheet, a team must have the proper draft picks to surrender should the rights-holding team opt not to match. The picks must be that team’€™s natural picks and not selections acquired from other clubs.

So, while the Bruins have a pair of first-rounders next year (their own and the Sharks’€™) as well as the Islanders’€™ second-rounder, they do not have their own second-round pick. That selection was sent to Tampa in the Brett Connolly trade.

That means they would not be able to sign a player to a contract with an RFA compensation number in the following ranges:

– $1,826,3280-$3,652,659 (second round pick)
– $5,478,986-$7,305,316 (first, second and third-round picks)
– $7,305,316-$9,131,645 (two firsts, one second and one third-round pick)

Just a reminder: RFA compensation is not calculated like cap hits (total money before before 40 divided by years of contract before 40, not that the 40 thing is relevant to an RFA anyway), but rather by total money divided by years or five, whichever is smaller.

As such, the team could in theory offer a player a seven-year deal worth $6.63 million a year, which would bring that number to $9.28 million. In that case, the Bruins wouldn’€™t need to give up a second-rounder, but rather four first-round picks. Given the murky waters the Bruins appear set to navigate, gambling future first-round picks would not be a wise move.

In Tuesday’€™s pre-free-agency conference call, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was asked about the possibility of offer-sheeting a player.

‘€œWell, I think every club has that club in their bag, so to speak,’€ Sweeney said. ‘€œIf you’€™ve got the space to be able to do it, and certainly teams that are pushed up against it, you feel that pressure. So yeah, there’€™s not a general manager, I don’€™t think, that wouldn’€™t look at every opportunity to improve their club. An offer sheet is definitely a possibility from every angle, for every team.’€

Unless the Bruins are planning on spending a whole lot (or very little), don’€™t expect them to use the tactic unless they can first re-acquire that pick from Tampa. Furthermore, it isn’t like the Bruins have a whole lot of money to spend. Including the estimated $969,000 in overages from last season and the $2.75 million retained in the Milan Lucic trade, the Bruins have $61,160,667 committed to 16 players for the 2015-16 season, not counting Marc Savard. The salary cap’s upper limit is $71.4 million.

The trade market remains Sweeney’€™s best shot at improving the team.

Read More: Don Sweeney,

Dougie Hamilton signs team-friendly contract with Flames

06.30.15 at 2:44 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

Perhaps Don Sweeney was on to something.

The Flames poured salt on Boston’€™s wound Tuesday, signing Dougie Hamilton to a very team-friendly six-year deal worth $34.5 million total with an annual cap hit of $5.75 million. The signing was first reported by TSN’€™s Darren Dreger.

The Hamilton extension comes four days after the Bruins traded the 2011 ninth overall pick to Calgary because they felt they could not sign the player.

The numbers on the contract make the whole situation all the more interesting. Hamilton was seeking a deal similar to Drew Doughty’€™s eight-year contract worth $7 million annually. The Bruins’€™ highest offer to Hamilton was reportedly for six years and $5.5 million annually, which is very similar to what Hamilton took with the Flames.

That gives credence to Sweeney’€™s line Friday about how the Bruins didn’€™t feel Hamilton would be “comfortable” in Boston.

Hamilton declined to comment on his time in Boston during a conference call Tuesday, even when asked if he could deny that he wanted out.

Even if Hamilton’€™s preference was to play elsewhere, the Bruins can still expect criticism for receiving only picks for a player considered to be a major asset.

Boston received a first-round pick (15th overall) and two second-rounders (Nos. 45 and 52) in last week’€™s draft for Hamilton. While that’€™s a mediocre haul for a 22-year-old top defenseman who has yet to enter his prime, it is more than the B’€™s would have received had Hamilton signed an offer sheet for the money he got from Calgary.

Had Hamilton signed a six-year, $34.5 million deal in restricted free agency, its annual number would have been calculated by dividing the total money by five, making the number $6.9 million. That would qualify the Bruins to receive a first, second and third-round pick if they chose not to match.

Of course, teams would have had to offer more had the Bruins kept Hamilton and gone into restricted free agency. The deal Hamilton took with Calgary would have been a no-brainer to match.

Read More: Dougie Hamilton,

Newly acquired Bruins prospect Sean Kuraly will stay in school

06.30.15 at 2:21 pm ET
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Touching base with WEEI.com Tuesday afternoon, Miami of Ohio coach Enrico Blasi said that center Sean Kuraly, whose rights the Bruins acquired earlier in the day, will stay in school for his senior season next year.

Blasi sang the praises of Kuraly, whom he called a “horse,” and noted that the 22-year-old will be the RedHawks’€™ captain this season. The Bruins are aware of Kuraly’€™s intention to stay in school.

After the Bruins got Kuraly and San Jose’€™s 2016 first-round pick for goaltender Martin Jones, former Blue Jackets general manager Doug MacLean tweeted that Kuraly was a “steal” for Boston and that he is an NHL-ready player. The B’€™s will have to wait, it seems.

Kuraly was a fifth-round pick of the Sharks in the 2011 draft. The Bruins will still have his rights when he finishes his senior season. He scored 19 goals and added 10 assists for 29 points in 40 games last season for the Red Hawks.

Read More: Sean Kuraly,

Bruins trade Martin Jones to Sharks for first-round pick, prospect

06.30.15 at 12:54 pm ET
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The Martin Jones era is over.

(Martin Jones was on the Bruins.)

Shortly after acquiring him from the Kings in the Milan Lucic trade, the Bruins have flipped the goaltender to the Sharks, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

The package of San Jose’s first-round pick and the rights to Sean Kuraly presents a strong return for Martin, a restricted free agent goaltender looking for an opportunity to start somewhere.

With the trade of Martin, the Bruins have now turned Milan Lucic (and $2.75 million in retained salary) into Los Angeles’ first-round pick Friday, San Jose’s first-round pick next year, and a pair of prospects in Kuraly and defenseman Colin Miller.

Kuraly spent the last three seasons playing college hockey at Miami University in Ohio. He was a teammate of Bruins prospect Austin Czarnik, whom Boston signed as a free agent late last season.

The 22-year-old Kuraly is a left shot who stands at 6-foot-2 and 201 pounds. Last season, he scored 19 goals and added 10 assists for 29 points in 40 games.

Read More: Martin Jones, Milan Lucic, Sean Kuraly,

Don Sweeney says he isn’t rebuilding Bruins or trading Tuukka Rask

06.30.15 at 12:29 pm ET
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Don Sweeney is adamant that the Bruins are not going through a rebuild.

To some degree, his actions reflect that he doesn’€™t think the Bruins will bottom out. For example, no team planning on rebuilding would send a third-round pick in two years away in exchange for bottom-of-the-roster player, as the B’€™s did this week by acquiring Zac Rinaldo for a 2017 third-round pick.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Sweeney’€™s stance on his team’€™s direction remained unchanged from the weekend.

“I don’€™t think it’€™s a rebuild,” Sweeney said. “We didn’€™t strip this down.”

The Bruins have made a number of moves of late, which have left fans believing the Bruins are indeed undergoing an overhaul. The trades of Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic have made the current roster considerably worse, while the re-signing of Adam McQuaid and the trade for Rinaldo have been met with confusion.

The Bruins still have a core of Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron in place, which could still allow them to contend for the playoffs. Further moves figure to better indicate the team’€™s direction.

Sweeney insisted that one piece of the team’€™s core will remain in Boston. Tuukka Rask was rumored to be discussed at some length, however small, during the draft in Florida over the weekend, but Sweeney rejected the notion that he would trade his goaltender.

Tuukka Rask not on the market,” Sweeney said. “I’€™m not sure where those necessarily come from. I can deliver emphatically that did not happen.”

Rask has six years remaining on an eight-year deal with an annual cap hit of $7 million.

Read More: Don Sweeney, Tuukka Rask,

Bruins qualify select RFAs, face nearly $1 million in cap overages next season

06.30.15 at 11:39 am ET
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Don Sweeney

Don Sweeney

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney shared in Tuesday’€™s pre-free agency conference call with reporters that the Bruins sent qualifying offers to restricted free agents Ryan Spooner, Brett Connolly and Martin Jones. The team declined to qualify Matt Lindblad, Rob Flick and Adam Morrison.

Sweeney said that the door has not been closed on Lindblad, Flick or Morrison potentially returning to the B’€™s.

He also noted that the Bruins are facing nearly a million dollars in cap overages from last season.

Sweeney said that bonuses to Dougie Hamilton and a couple of other players from last season leave the Bruins facing approximately $969,000 in overages that will go against this season’€™s salary cap.

As such, the Bruins will have nearly $3.7 million in dead money against the cap in the coming season. The Bruins dealt with a similar issue last season, when they had nearly $5 million in cap overages, due largely to the bonus-laden contract given to Jarome Iginla a season earlier.

With Sweeney’€™s estimate and the newly acquired Zac Rinaldo factored into our running count of Boston’€™s cap space, the B’€™s now have $61,160,667 committed to 16 players (not counting Marc Savard). Many young players on two-way contracts could also push for spots, such as Joe Morrow, Brian Ferlin and Colin Miller. Sweeney said that the Bruins remain in talks with teams about trading Savard, whose $4.017 is put on long-term injured reserve each season but could help a team trying to get to the cap floor. The Flyers made a similar move over the weekend by trading Chris Pronger‘s contract to Arizona.

The salary cap’€™s upper limit for next season is $71.4 million. Free agency begins Wednesday, but even by trading Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, the Bruins will not be in a position to be a major spender unless they trade more players.

That might not be such a bad predicament, as this summer’s free agency class is extremely thin. The forward group is led by 27-year-old left wing Matt Beleskey, who had the first 20-goal season of his career last season with the Ducks and figures to command big money.

Andrej Sekera headlines the group of potentially available defensemen, though the Kings could still re-up him before free agency opens.

Read More: Don Sweeney,

Bruins trade for Zac Rinaldo, seemingly on purpose

06.29.15 at 3:51 pm ET
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The Bruins continued their bewildering offseason Monday by swinging a trade with the Flyers for forward Zac Rinaldo.

Boston sent a third-round pick in the 2017 draft to Philadelphia for Rinaldo, a 25-year-old who has more games served in suspensions (14) than he has goals scored in his NHL career (eight). The most notable part of the Ontario native’s career to date was when he was handed an eight-game ban for this hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.

Rinaldo has two years remaining on his contract, which carries a cap hit of $850,000. He was originally drafted in the sixth round by the Flyers in 2008.

Read More: Zac Rinaldo,
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