|06.30.15 at 2:44 pm ET|
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.
|06.30.15 at 2:21 pm ET|
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.
What a deal for boston. 1st for Jones and Sean Kuraly. Kuraly will play in NHL now if he decides to leave school. Steal in deal!
— Doug Maclean (@DougMaclean) June 30, 2015
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.
|06.30.15 at 12:54 pm ET|
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.
Sharks give up a 2016 first-round draft pick plus unsigned prospect Sean Kuraly for Martin Jones
‘ Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 30, 2015
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.
|06.30.15 at 12:29 pm ET|
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.
|06.30.15 at 11:39 am ET|
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.
|06.29.15 at 3:51 pm ET|
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.
|06.29.15 at 12:26 pm ET|
NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Middays with MFB on Monday to discuss the Bruins’ rebuilding strategy and the direction they will go after surprise moves prior to the NHL draft last week. To hear the full interview, visit the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
“I can’t see that happening,” McGuire said. “They’re a proud franchise. I can’t see that alienation of their fan base. They’ve been down this road before back in the [mid-1990s]. It was painful. … They’ve still got a very solid infrastructure of players. But again, they’re going to have to pass the torch here because some of their better guys are getting older.
“I can’t see them trading Patrice Bergeron. You put his name out there and every team in the league’s going to want him. … This is my one word of caution on this: I would be really careful pre-judging this thing if I were a Bruins fan, because I do think they have a plan. Doesn’t mean they have to share it with everybody only because you don’t want to show your cards too often in this league. In this league, they throw you anchors, not life jackets.”
According to McGuire, the recent moves made by the Bruins are part of a trend that began last offseason with the departure of Shawn Thornton and Jarome Iginla, among others.
“[My reaction was] that Don Sweeney wanted to put his stamp on the team early on along with Cam Neely that this was clearly something that was approved by ownership, that they felt that maybe something had gone a little bit astray in their building plan and they wanted to try to get it straightened out as soon as possible,” McGuire said. “I remember being in Boston last year when Johnny Boychuk got traded away … and I remember the reaction of the players and it was really negative. They were not happy at all.
“Shawn Thornton moves on to Florida, Jarome Iginla moves on to Colorado, Johnny Boychuk moves on to the New York Islanders and then you see what happens this year — Chiarelli gets fired, Gregory Campbell‘s not coming back, Danny Paille’s not coming back, Milan Lucic isn’t coming back and obviously Dougie Hamilton’s not coming back. Start doing the math. That’s a huge part of your infrastructure, so clearly they knew that they wanted to go in a younger, different direction and they’ve started that process.”