|07.14.14 at 11:12 am ET|
The Bruins have avoided arbitration with Matt Bartkowski by inking him to a one-year, $1.25 million deal, according to Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada. Bartkowski was the only Bruin to file for arbitration.
Bartkowski served as an extra defenseman for the Bruins last season before becoming a second-pairing blue-liner in place of the injured Dennis Seidenberg. With the Bruins currently possessing a surplus of defenseman, Bartkowski could either return as an extra defenseman or be traded in a deal to get the B’s some help on the wing.
With Bartkowski now signed, the Bruins have approximately $4.418 million dollars in salary cap space. The team still has multiple players left to sign, including restricted free agents Matt Fraser and Jordan Caron as well as entry level free agents Reilly Smith and Torey Krug.
Neither Smith nor Krug can negotiate with other teams, as their entry level deals have expired but they are not yet eligible for restricted free agency.
|07.13.14 at 10:27 pm ET|
During Peter Chiarelli‘s press conference to conclude development camp, he discussed the future of some of the team’s prospects and shared that the team has discussed moving Gregory Campbell to the wing to allow one of the team’s center prospects to reach the NHL.
He also discussed a lot of other things. Here are some of the other bits:
– Chiarelli said that the players who dealt with injuries late last season are all on schedule to be ready for training camp. That group includes Chris Kelly (back), Matt Fraser (foot) and Adam McQuaid (multiple injuries).
– It’s been a common occurrence in Chiarelli’s tenure as Bruins GM to not let his star players reach free agency, so it’s likely he’ll try to get new deals for David Krejci and Johnny Boychuk done before next summer if he intends to keep the players.
“I’m not going to go into details as to our negotiations,” Chiarelli said. ‘I can say that we will try and get guys done, I try and be proactive and we’re working on a couple things right now.”
– Chiarelli said he wasn’t surprised by the eight-year deals with annual $10.5 million cap hits that were given to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
– Fraser’s shot alone is enough to make him a darkhorse candidate to replace Jarome Iginla on Boston’s first line next year. Asked about that being a possibility, Chiarelli noted the left-shooting Fraser’s experience on the right side.
“He’s played on the right side; he can really shoot it,” Chiarelli said. “We haven’t got him signed yet but we’ll get him signed shortly. He’s showed that he can play a two-way game and that you can put him up on that lineup because you end up getting all the matchups, right? So you have to have a responsible player up there. But you know, he’s a guy that we’re going to have a look at.”
– Some free agents remain unsigned, a group that includes right wing Lee Stempniak, a player with whom the Bruins have spoken. Cap space is tight, so while it’s no sure thing the Bruins will sign any free agent for their NHL roster, they’re still looking at them.
“There’s a list of guys that I’m looking at and there is also a list of guys internally,” Chiarelli said. “I like the competition, you’ve heard me talk about the competition. I think it really energizes the team and guys bubble up, they thrive in it. So I’m balancing the two things and there are a lot of our players available right now.”
– One of the three forward spots that are open for the Bruins won’t go to a fighter. The B’s have Bobby Robins and Tyler Randell in the AHL if they need them, but Chiarelli said he feels the Bruins already have team toughness.
“I believe it’s already there, I do,” he said. “Also, we have a couple of candidates that played in Providence that surely could fit in if we need them. I really think it’s already there, I do, and you’re going to see Adam back, whoever’s playing D. We’ve got some tough guys there that can hold up their own, so I believe it’s already there.”
– The Bruins have lots of assets that they could trade if they want to add a forward that way. Chiarelli said that for now, trade talks have slowed throughout the league.
“There’s stuff going on; it’s just not fast,” Chiarelli said. “There’s parameters and deals talked about and it’s just kind of pushing it along slowly. There’s not urgency. It may happen that it happens on the eve of training camp or two days before, because the player has to get to that camp from where he is but, it’s slow. It’s slow.”
|07.13.14 at 1:36 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins learned this season that Carl Soderberg was too good at center to play out of position on the wing, so they moved their third-line center, Chris Kelly, to left wing and saw that trio with Loui Eriksson become a superb third line.
General manager Peter Chiarelli said Sunday that the team has discussed moving Campbell out of his natural center position to allow one of the young centers to play in the NHL.
The team has been hesitant to move Spooner or Khokhlachev to the wing because they feel the players are better suited for the middle.
“When you move someone to the wing it’s the board work, and that’s what’s really tough,” Chiarelli said. ‘It’s almost like pick your poison a little bit with the young guys, but those two players both have really good sticks and they’re smart, so body position and timing, getting pucks out of the boards, that’s the trickiest part when you move from center to wing, and then standing start.”
Campbell is tougher than both Spooner and Khokhlachev, so he’s more of a sure thing to be able to handle the board work and required battling that comes with playing on the wing.
Such a move would certainly be very Bruins of the Bruins. Claude Julien loves having multiple centers on a line, as it gives him multiple players who can effectively take draws and give the Bruins possession. It’s part of the reason Rich Peverley, a center who was used primarily at wing in his Bruins career, was such a valuable asset in his Boston days.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|07.13.14 at 1:06 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins completed their five-day development camp Sunday, with general manager Peter Chiarelli counting 2014 first-round pick David Pastrnak and 2013 second-round pick Linus Arnesson among the bright spots.
“I was pleased with Pastrnak,” Chiarelli said. “There’s only been a couple players that have shown that at these camps over the years. He’s still got a little bit of a ways to go, but I’m very happy with Pastrnak.”
Pastrnak is a right-shot right wing, which the Bruins currently don’t have on their roster. Asked whether he felt Pastrnak could be a longshot candidate to make the Bruins’ roster, Chiarelli noted that Pastrnak still needs to fill out physically, but didn’t rule it out.
“You never know,” Chiarelli. “I don’t want to place too much of a burden on this kid’s shoulders, but he was good. The hesitation that you have is that he’s 170, 173 pounds. He’s wiry strong, but you never know. Speed, skill, sense is all there. It would be nice, but we’ll see.
“He’s young. To throw someone [in] at that age, at that weight, but there’s been guys that have done it.”
As for Arnesson, Chiarelli clarified that the Swedish defenseman will not turn pro this year. Due to transfer rules, Arnesson would be ineligible to play in the AHL this season if he went pro (only the NHL), so he will play in Sweden next season. It is in his contract that he will attend Bruins’ camp and then go back to his Swedish club.
Under the Swedish transfer agreement, Pastrnak, who is Czech but plays in Sweden, can be signed by July 15 in order to attend camp without the Bruins having to pay more money to the federation.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|07.12.14 at 10:56 pm ET|
WILMINGTON – The only piece of equipment David Pastrnak brought with him to Bruins’ development camp were his skates. As Bruce Cassidy joked after Saturday’s session, he might need new ones.
The Bruins’ first-round pick is clearly one of the best skaters on the ice at the annual camp held mostly for B’s prospects who have yet to turn pro, but, almost like a cartoon character running too fast, Pastrnak has been falling down all over the place.
“I don’t know what that is,” an amused Cassidy said Saturday. “I think he’s almost too fast for himself sometimes. I don’t know if his skates are a little worn … maybe he was due for a new pair in August and he’s getting by on the old ones.”
Added Cassidy: “His feet are so fast, so I assume that there’s something up, it’s either the ice gets a little slushy for him or maybe the top end of his steel is worn off there.”
Pastrnak, a skilled right wing from the Czech Republic who plays in Sweden, attributes the difficulty staying on his feet to a lack of ice time in recent months due to a back injury suffered last season and the offseason. By his estimation, he’s only been on the ice for three weeks out of the last four months.
“It’s not an excuse,” he added. “I can’t forget [how to skate]. It will go away. I’m starting to feel better and better.”
Even with the rustiness ‘ either literally or figuratively ‘ Pastrnak has been impressive. Cassidy compared him in this camp to Tyler Seguin in the 2010 development camp and Alexander Semin from when the former Capitals head coach first had Semin in camp.
That isn’t to say that Pastrnak’s NHL-ready or close to it. It’s a rarity for players outside the first couple of picks to make the NHL the season after they’re drafted, so don’t count on Pastrnak to snag a job in Boston. Still, he was non-committal on where he thinks he’ll play next season.
“I’m just trying to enjoy every day,” Pastrnak said. “I’m not trying to think about what will happen after one month. You don’t know what will happen in one month. Nobody knows that, so I just try to live every second and every minute like I can. I’m not trying to think about tomorrow, what happens tomorrow, because you never know what will happen tomorrow.”
|07.10.14 at 7:50 pm ET|
When assistant coach Geoff Ward left the Bruins last month for a head-coaching gig in Germany, Providence coach Bruce Cassidy seemed a good candidate to replace him.
He’s been an effective coach at the AHL level and has developed a number of NHL players for Boston, most notably playing a big role in the organization’s knack for churning out NHL defensemen. Cassidy, who has already interviewed for the position, made clear Thursday at development camp that he wants the NHL gig.
“Do I want to be [in Boston]? I want to be in the NHL every year,” Cassidy said with a smile. “Simple as I can say.”
Despite his hopes, Cassidy’s tone and words in a press conference following Thursday’s development camp session suggested an expectation on his part that he might be back in Providence next year.
“That’s where I am now,” Cassidy explained. “So whatever happens down the road with the vacancy here will happen, but I’m always preparing for Providence.”
Peter Chiarelli said last week that though Cassidy may be a strong candidate, the team needs to weigh whether he is more valuable on the NHL staff or keeping the Providence-Boston pipeline strong.
“Claude and I have spoken with him and we have to decide that,” Chiarelli said last week. “We’ve got probably four or five other names and Claude is meeting with some of them over development camp. Bruce has been very instrumental in these young kids coming up and playing, so we have to decide that. I almost feel like he is part of our staff right now, there is so much interaction between Don Sweeney and him or myself and him and even Claude talks to him.
“Sometimes that position’s more valuable in certain instances than an assistant coaching position. Both are quite valuable and I just feel strongly about Bruce and I have had that discussion with him so we’ll see where that one goes but I know Claude has already talked to him and has had a good interview with him.”
|07.09.14 at 10:57 pm ET|
There is a great big European defenseman on the ice at Bruins development camp.
His name is Oleg Yevenko, he stands 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds and he’s from Belarus. He’s 23 years old and isn’t a member of an NHL organization; he’s in town on an invitation from the B’s (he was in the Devils prospect camp last year and the Islanders prospect camp two years ago). He plays his college hockey at UMass, where he’ll be a senior in the fall. He also played for Belarus in the IIHF World Championship back in May.
And, like many giant players before him, the question is obvious: Can he skate?
It’s a question that was applied to the 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara for years, and the answer wasn’t always yes. With hard work came the skating, and Chara, a third-round pick of the Islanders, became Chara.
“He’s definitely the example,” Yevenko said Wednesday of Chara. “He’s one of the best defensemen in the league at the moment. He uses his size very, very well and there’s a lot to learn from that guy.”
Yevenko strives for a future in the NHL, something that led him to North America at the age of 18.
A hockey player since he was 8 years old, Yevenko got a tryout with the Fargo Force of the USHL and made the team. If that team sounds familiar, it’s because that’s where Bruins goaltending prospect Zane Gothberg played before heading to the University of North Dakota.
Gothberg’s been watching Yevenko for years, from the not-so-pretty to the better-than-not-so-pretty.
“He’s a huge body, man. I remember him coming to camp in Fargo,” Gothberg said. “He could barely move his boots and stuff; had a tough time skating. Now, he’s come a heck of a long way. He’s got good feet for a big man. It’s obviously something he [still] could work on, but that’s with anything in everybody; you’ve always got something to work on.”
Yevenko takes a lot of penalties and was suspended multiple times in his three years in the USHL. He views his size as a big part of that, which is reminiscent of the difficulty Dougie Hamilton – albeit a much younger Dougie Hamilton — had in junior hockey being physical without being called for infractions.
“Every decent or big collision, normally you get called,” Yevenko said. “That’s one of the things that happened during the last year, too. You get called a lot, sometimes get suspended. It kind of influences your game to a certain degree. Maybe on a conscious level, you’re just more careful when you come in a corner because you don’t want to put your team in a bad position.”
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