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Don’t quit your day jobs

06.23.10 at 5:16 pm ET
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Courtesy of Oilers_Travels and retweeted by the Oilers, here are a couple of pictures of top NHL prospects Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin taking batting practice at Angel Stadium. The two are in town for the NHL draft on Friday night.

Read More: 2010 NHL Draft, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin,

Chiarelli on Horton, draft, free agents

06.23.10 at 3:31 pm ET
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It was a foregone conclusion that this week was going to be gigantic for the Bruins in some way, shape, or form, and with two days to go until the NHL draft, Peter Chiarelli and co. got a head start on making headlines by flipping the 15th overall pick and defenseman Dennis Wideman to the Florida Panthers in exchange for right winger Nathan Horton and center Gregory Campbell.

As the draft grows nearer and the Bruins come closer to finally making the second overall selection after months of buildup, the team that finished the regular season last in the NHL goals suddenly appears to be in very good shape to have a notably upgraded scoring force. From how Chiarelli spoke, that may start with Horton.

“He’s tremendous shooter, Nathan. He’s a big body, he can skate, he can play physical. There’s a lot of things to like about him, and we’re going to be getting a highly skilled forward with the No. 2 pick with some speed.

“We thing at the end of the day, if we do nothing else to our forwards, we’re adding an established big power-forward shooter and a real speedy young legs skill guy. We’re happy with that.”

On the subject of the embattled Wideman, Chiarelli called the team’s playoff points leader last year a “key part of our defense that we had to give up.” In making the trade, however, the Bruins were able to shake things up offensively without disturbing the core of the team.

“It wasn’t about changing the culture,” Chiarelli said. “It was just about changing the makeup of the team after the ups and downs. I am relatively happy with the room and the personalities in it. It was more of the makeups, [or] semantics maybe.”

Even with Wideman gone and the shot at Cam Fowler seemingly out the window, Chiarelli said adding another defenseman was “not a pressing urgency” and that though the team likes puck-moving defensemen, whichever defender(s) may be added won’t necessarily fit that mold.

“If we do add something, it may not be purely what you’d characterize as a ‘puck mover,'” Chiarelli said.

Chiarelli once again reiterated that if a deal does happen with Edmonton in order to secure whomever the Bruins prefer between Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin (they do hold one in slightly higher regard), the actual picks are unlikely to be swapped, and the Oilers would simply take the other player first overall.

Should they stay put, they won’t face the pressure that is on the Oilers to take the right guy. Hall and Seguin have been hyped as equally elite superstars in the making. So would the Bruins dare invest heavily into what would ultimately be a very difficult choice between the two players?

“If you make an informed decision, I think ‘risk’ is a better word than ‘courage,'” Chiarelli said. “We put that into our equation. It may be that the price that I have to pay to do that is unattainable. I can’t meet it. I’m not at that point yet.

“These are things that we look at. We look at the risk involved, we look at the fit, we look at the kids, we brought both kids in. There’s a lot involved in making this decision.”

The only real news that came in the conference call involved the team’s free agents. Regarding restricted free agents, Chiarelli said he will give a qualifying offer to Campbell. The Bruins blog reported last week that Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler had also received offers.

As for unrestricted free agents, Chiarelli said he has kept in contact with the agents for Mark Recchi and Johnny Boychuk but that he had nothing to report. The team has also told Steve Begin that they won’t be able to potentially negotiate with him until after free agency opens, as the team is “looking at other options.” Chiarelli has not yet spoken to anyone from Miroslav Satan.

Read More: Nathan Horton, NHL Draft, Peter Chiarelli,

Bruin nemesis Cooke re-ups with Pittsburgh

06.23.10 at 10:35 am ET
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Bruin fans will be hard pressed to forget the questionable, blindsided hit Matt Cooke delivered on Marc Savard on March 6. Replays confirm the maliciousness of the blow, although Cooke was never penalized on the ice and received no fine from the league office. The hit knocked out Savard until the Flyers series in May.

Known for being a pest on the ice, Cooke re-signed with the Penguins Wednesday, a reported three-year, $5.4 million contract. One of the Penguins’ top penalty-killers, he had 15 goals and 15 assists last season, to go along with a plus-17 and 183 hits. Cooke, who also has played for Vancouver and Washington, could have become a free agent July 1.

Read More: Bruins, Matt Cooke, Penguins,

Top two picks in last 25 NHL drafts

06.23.10 at 8:28 am ET
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On Friday the Bruins will have the second pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, their highest pick since picking Joe Thornton first overall in 1997. There have been rumors about the B’€™s trading the pick for more picks or possibly a star player, but the Bruins have emphatically denied any plans to give it away. With Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall expected to go 1-2, it will be the biggest 1-2 punch since the Alex Ovechkin-Evgeni Malkin combo of 2004.

The No 1 pick always is the solid, franchise-building player who can score the most, hit the best, skate the fastest or defend the best. He also can also easily wear the ‘C’ on his sweater within a few years of his debut because he can command respect. In the past, there have been famous No. 1 picks including Guy Lafleur, Denis Potvin, Mario Lemieux, Pierre Turgeon, Mike Modano, Mats Sundin, Eric Lindros, Joe Thornton, Vincent Lacavalier, Rick Nash, Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane.

Then, of course, there is the overlooked No. 2 pick in the draft. In many cases, this pick can also be a blessing for a team, just as good as a No. 1 pick, depending on the class. Some of the great No. 2s: Brendan Shanahan, Petr Nedved, Chris Pronger, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, the Staal brothers, Evgeni Malkin and James van Riemsdyk.

Here’€™s a list of the past 25 top two picks in the NHL draft.

2009

1. New York Islanders: John Tavares, London (OHL)
2009-present: 82 games, 24 goals, 30 assists, 54 points, 22 PIM, -15 plus/minus
2. Tampa Bay Lightning: Victor Hedman, Modo Ornskoldsvik (Elitserien)
2009-present: 74 games, 4 goals, 16 assists, 30 points, 79 PIM, -3 plus/minus

2008

1. Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos, Sarnia (OHL)
2008-present: 161 games, 74 goals, 67 assists, 95 points, 77 PIM, -15 plus/minus
2. Los Angeles Kings: Drew Doughty, Guelph (OHL)
2008-present: 163 games, 22 goals, 64 assists, 86 points, 110 PIM, +3 plus/minus Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bruins, NHL Draft,

Source: Thomas not on Philly’s radar

06.22.10 at 4:59 pm ET
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Rumors that have linked the Flyers to the Bruins in recent trade discussions might be just that, according to a source close to the situation. Though the Bruins have been shopping Tim Thomas, the goaltender is “not on [Philadelphia’s] radar,” said the source. Thomas, who carries a $5 million salary cap hit will be a little easier to take on for interested teams with Tuesday’s news that the NHLPA has exercised an inflator clause to bump the salary cap up to about $59 million.

Thomas, who went 36-11-7 with a 2.10 goals against average en route to winning the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top netminder in ’08-’09, lost his starting job to Tuukka Rask this past season and had offseason hip surgery. He went 17-18-8 with a 2.56 GAA this past season and has three years remaining on his four year, $20 million deal.
Read More: 2010 NHL Draft, Tim Thomas,

Horton ready to help a playoff team

06.22.10 at 4:36 pm ET
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New Bruin Nathan Horton, who has been a 20-goal scorer in every season since 2005 and had 31 in the ’06-’07, said on Tuesday that he is determined to be a 30-goal scorer with the Bruins. Calling them a “stable, historic, and successful franchise,” Horton said he wants to be a difference-maker on a team that is no stranger to the playoffs.

“Definitely,” Horton said when asked if he is putting pressure on himself to make the Bruins the winner in a deal in which they shipped Dennis Wideman and two draft picks to the Panthers in exchange for Horton and fellow winger Gregory Campbell. “That’s what my goal is and I think it’s definitely reachable. I’m going to try my best and I’m very excited to wear the Bruins crest on my chest. I’m just very excited to be there. It’s a new opportunity and a new home and me and my family are just ecstatic right now.

“This is what every kid dreams about,” Horton added. “To be on an Original Six team and play for the Boston Bruins. I think if you’re a young kid and you’re coming in, it’s a dream come true.”

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Read More: 2010 NHL Draft, Nathan Horton,

Bruins get Horton, Campbell for Wideman, picks

06.22.10 at 1:58 pm ET
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TSN’s Bob McKenzie has reported the Bruins have traded Dennis Wideman, the 15th overall pick in Friday’s NHL draft, and a 3rd-round pick in 2011 to the Panthers in exchange for forwards Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell. A source told WEEI.com Sunday night that Horton expected to be traded and that the Bruins were close to acquiring him.

Horton, who was the third overall pick by the Panthers in ’03 and the answer to any draft-day trivia question involving Marc-Andre Fluery (he was the player the Panthers took after trading down two spots and giving the top pick to the Penguins), hasn’t put up numbers that scream “top pick” in his NHL career. He has had just one 30-goal season (31 in ’06-’07) and hasn’t totaled more than 62 points in any of his six seasons.

The Bruins will likely play Horton at right wing after he spent the last two seasons playing center for the Panthers. Perhaps a move back to his natural position will lead to improved offensive output.

The Panthers had been trying to unload Horton, who carries a $4 million cap hit in each of the next three seasons. In trading Wideman and his $3,937,500 cap hit, the deal comes off as a financial wash. Campbell is a restricted free agent after carrying an $800,000 cap hit last season. Additionally, by not taking a player with the 15th overall pick (or higher had they moved up), the Bruins won’t be committed to a performance bonus-laden contract. If the cap stays as $56.8 million the Bruins would currently have just under $5 million in cap space, not accounting for an estimated $3.75 cap hit for Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin.

Wideman was far from a fan favorite in Boston despite posting a plus-32 in the ’08-’09 season. Campbell, on the other hand is the son of NHL Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. Should be an interesting exchange with Marc Savard on take-your-father-to-work day…

Read More: 2010 NHL Draft, Dennis Wideman, Nathan Horton,
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