|06.08.10 at 3:20 pm ET|
With just over two weeks to go until the NHL Draft, it has become a logical line of thinking to believe the Bruins would be quite risky to assume Windsor Spitfires left wing Taylor Hall will be available with the second overall pick. While either Hall or Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin would be a blessing to the offense, there is no doubt that the Bruins could use a well-rounded winger more than they could use a center. The Edmonton Oilers, who hold the top pick in the draft, have needs all over the ice and will ultimately do what what they feel upgrades their team the most.
Here’s where the irony hits: This draft features the best offensive 1-2 punch since 2001, a class that starred left wing Ilya Kovalchuk and center Jason Spezza. Kovalchuk went first to the Atlanta Thrashers, Spezza went second to the Senators and each embarked upon their careers as NHL All-Stars. If the parallels aren’t apparent yet, recent chatter suggests it could be one of the ’01 stars that messes things up for the Bruins this month.
Spezza, whose contract will see a no-trade clause kick in on July 1, has reportedly grown frustrated with the Ottawa and may want out. While talk that he may have requested a trade could be nothing more than speculation, many have begun guessing where the center could call home next season. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, who Bruins fans should have bookmarked by now for a Hall of Fame Edmonton writer’s take on this draft, sees a potential gameplan for the Oiler’s offseason that “might solve the Taylor vs. Tyler debate.”
“Draft winger Taylor Hall on June 25 with their No. 1 pick at the NHL entry draft, pass on centre Tyler Seguin and trade for Spezza later.
The Senators would almost assuredly take the same three players that were on the table for winger Dany Heatley last summer ‘ Dustin Penner, Andrew Cogliano and Ladislav Smid ‘ in exchange for Spezza, who would become the Oilers’ much-needed first-line centre.”
There you have it. Both teams could afford to due that trade, as Matheson stacks the cap numbers against one another and calls the deal a “virtual wash.” The Oilers would see offensive improvement and have a top line that would be among the best in the NHL, while the Bruins would be improved with Seguin, but would enter the 2010-2011 season without a 30-plus-goal-scoring winger — again.
So what should the Bruins do? If Oilers GM Steve Tambellini targets Spezza, an offer of Blake Wheeler and the second pick isn’t exactly going to change his mind. In fact, if Edmonton can get both Spezza and Hall, the Oilers might even prefer that combo to a deal that included the second and 15th overall picks, which the Bruins likely wouldn’t want to do anyway.
The Bruins may have their hands tied. There is no logic in a wing-deprived team trading a wing or a top pick to move up one spot and one can’t assume the Oilers would even be interested in what the Bruins have to say. SensChirp is reporting the Bruins have interest in Spezza themselves and that the second pick “could be in play” but I would take that with an entire mound of salt. The reality is the team may just have to do two things: Hope Spezza is dealt elsewhere so the Oilers have a bigger shot of taking Seguin and convince themselves that potentially landing the Plymouth center is better than giving up a king’s ransom to secure Hall. For now, all anyone else can do is wait.
|06.05.10 at 12:58 pm ET|
Just three weeks after their season ended, the Bruins may already have taken care of one of their most pressing offseason concerns. The team announced Saturday that it has signed potential unrestricted free agent defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a four-year deal worth a reported $13 million with an annual cap hit of $3.25 million.
Seidenberg played in just 17 games for the B’s after being acquired in a trade deadline deal with Florida on March 3. But during his brief tenure with the team, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound defenseman showcased solid physical play and the ability to generate offense from the blueline.
Generally skating with Zdeno Chara on the B’s top defensive pairing, the 28-year-old Seidenberg contributed two goals and seven assists for the Bruins and an impressive plus-nine rating. He generated an additional 23 points (2 goals, 21 assists) with Florida. His 32 total points and 28 assists for the season was the best offensive showing of his seven-year career.
The Bruins were 9-7-1 with Seidenberg in the lineup before he suffered a season-ending lacerated tendon in his forearm during a contest at Toronto on April 6.
By signing Seidenberg before July 1, the team avoided losing a top end defenseman to free agency. Boston is now assured that Chara, Seidenberg, Dennis Wideman, Matt Hunwick and Andrew Ference are locked in for next season.
Johnny Boychuk remains a potential unrestricted free agent on July 1, but has indicated he wants to stay in Boston.
Seidenberg and Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli will conduct a media conference call at 3 p.m. Saturday. Check back for updates.
|06.04.10 at 3:38 pm ET|
What you’re about to read may come as earth-shattering news, so you might want to sit down as you read this: The Boston Bruins like both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin a lot and claim to not prefer one by a large margin. Deep breaths.
“I’ve been quoted as saying they’re really close and I’ll contnue to say that because that’s what they are for us,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday in a conference call with the media. “They were both very good interviews up in Toronto [at the NHL Scouting Combine] and I had a good meeting with the Seguins in Brampton and I certainly would anticipate the same with the Halls in Kingston.”
Chiarelli is planning to visit Hall’s parents in the next two weeks, but a source told WEEI.com this week that Hall will be with the Bruins this weekend meeting with Chiarelli and other front office members. Seguin will also visit Boston, a place he spoke highly of recently with WEEI.com, though it is unknown when he will make the trip.
The Bruins, who also choose 15th overall and have two selections in the second round, have been putting in more work than simply getting caught up in the Taylor/Tyler craze. There are plenty of players, whether they be Hall’s Windsor teammates in defenseman Cam Fowler and forward Austin Watson or whomever, who could fill serious needs with Boston.
“The fact that we have four picks in the first round and a half, you know, we always pay attention to these things but you’ve really got to focus in on your target guys and the guys that you want and where they should be slotted,” Chiarelli said.
“This is a deep draft, and I know you may hear that on a yearly basis but I’m more in touch with it this year because we have so many high picks. We’ll continue to bring some kids in and we’ll probably finish doing that halfway through next week.”
As for the Big Bad Board (had to make it less football-sounding somehow), are the Bruins set in stone on who they want with the second, or even 15th or 32nd picks for that matter? In a word, no.
“You tweak a little bit,” Chiarelli said. “You put the list up, you generate the list and then you reserve the right to change it based on testing interviews and then your smaller group gets together and you talk about the issues on certain players. It’s not firm until the morning of.”
|06.04.10 at 2:37 pm ET|
Speaking with the media Friday afternoon in a conference call, newly re-upped Bruins forward Shawn Thornton and general manager Peter Chiarelli hit on what led to the tough winger’s two-year extension.
“I wanted to be a Bruin as long as possible,” Thornton said. I love the city, I love being here and I’m still here so I’m really happy to be back and I’m glad we could make it happen.”
With the team just three weeks away from adding a wunderkind prospect in the NHL draft, Chiarelli spoke of what it means to retain a key veteran when seeing an influx of youth.
“It’s important to have any good veteran to help out with the younger guys,” Chiarelli said. “Shawn’s career path has not been the easiest and he commands a level of respect for that reason. ‘¦ He’s put in his time and he’s put in his work and he’s been rewarded for it.”
‘It was a good decision that we made, it was a relatively easy decision that we made and we’re happy to have him back.’
|06.04.10 at 10:49 am ET|
The Bruins have signed winger Shawn Thornton, set to become a free agent on July 1, to a two-year extension that will run through 2012, according to a Bruins press release.
Thornton has racked up 338 regular season penalty minutes in his three years as a Bruin, with 141 of them coming last season. He has totaled 28 regular season points in his tenure in Boston. The 2009-2010 season saw him record a career-high nine assists while finishing fifth in the NHL with 21 fighting majors.
While financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, the Boston Globe is reporting that the deal is worth $1.625 million. Thornton and GM Peter Chiarelli will speak with the media this afternoon, so check back here throughout the day.
|06.03.10 at 2:31 pm ET|
To those who voted overwhelmingly in favor of Taylor Hall in our recent poll regarding which OHL star would be best for the Bruins, NHL.com has bad news for you. Adam Kimelman asked personnel executives from both an Eastern Conference team and a Western Conference team and both said that the Windsor left wing will be selected first overall by the Oilers, with Plymouth center Tyler Seguin falling to the Bruins at pick No. 2.
“Our scout from the East said Hall in Edmonton would evoke memories of the 1980s dynasty teams, while our scout in the West said Hall was just too good to pass on.
With Hall going first, both pegged Seguin going No. 2 to Boston. Our Western scout said Seguin would make Bruins fans forget all about Phil Kessel, who the club had to sacrifice to get this pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs.”
What is just as interesting for fans looking at the draft as more than the first two picks is the fact that both executives have Hall’s teammate, offensive defenseman Cam Fowler going third overall. With the Bruins talking trade with teams, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they could be considering moving up with the 15th overall pick in order to get potentially their best scoring defenseman since Sergei Gonchar.
NHL Central Scouting ranks Fowler as the fifth best prospect in this draft class, but more projections see him as the third overall pick to the Panthers with each passing day. Fowler had 55 points in in 2009-2010, his first season with the Spitfires.
|06.02.10 at 6:53 pm ET|
A source has told WEEI.com that Windsor Spitfires left wing Taylor Hall will be in Boston this weekend visiting with the Bruins front office. A group of prospects will be making the trip, though Hall, who tied for the OHL with 106 points and won his second consecutive Memorial Cup MVP last month, will certainly be the most interesting of the bunch for the team.