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Don Sweeney confirms Claude Julien will return as Bruins coach

06.05.15 at 10:19 am ET
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Meeting with the media at the NHL scouting combine in Buffalo on Friday, new general manager Don Sweeney confirmed that coach Claude Julien and his staff will return next season.

Julien’s status had been in question since the Bruins failed to make the playoffs and Peter Chiarelli was fired as GM. Although Julien is starting a three-year contract extension he signed in November of last year, there was some concern that the team was no longer responding to him and it might be time for a change from Julien’s defense-oriented approach.

When he was introduced as GM last month, Sweeney said he planned to meet with Julien to discuss the disappointing season and what changes might need to be made. Sweeney said Friday that he did not speak to any other coaching candidates before deciding to stick with Julien and his staff.

“I needed to have conversations with each and every [coach] to know we were in agreement,” Sweeney told reporters Friday. “I’m not going to apologize for taking a little time to go through the process.”

Julien, 55, has a 351-192-79 record in eight seasons in Boston. He guided the Bruins to a championship in 2011 and another Stanley Cup Final appearance two years later.

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Picking in middle of first round guarantees little for Bruins (and everyone else)

06.04.15 at 6:00 am ET
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When the draft rolls around later this month, the Bruins will pick higher than they have in recent years. That does not guarantee success or even suggest it, for draft picks are scratch tickets. Even the early ones.

Boston picks 14th overall in this year’€™s draft, putting them in the middle of the first round. The last time the B’s had a pick in the teens, they moved it to Florida in the Nathan Horton deal. That trade turned out to be a slam dunk not only because it netted the Bruins a pair of players who helped them win the Stanley Cup, but because Derek Forbort, the player selected with that pick after Florida flipped it to Los Angeles, has yet to play an NHL game.

In the NFL, Forbort would be considered a massive bust. In the NHL, the two-year pro’s career to this point given his draft status is not surprising. While Forbort could eventually make it, it’€™s common for first-round picks to not play a single game in the NHL. Such has been the case with 21 of the 210 players drafted in the first round from 2005-2011 (10 percent).

Top-10 picks have a high success rate. Picks after that do not, so as the Bruins prepare to draft inside the first 20 picks for the first time since 2011 (Dougie Hamilton), they do so with the odds still stacked against them.

The Bruins, who usually picked in the mid-to-late first round under Peter Chiarelli, had a very poor track record, even missing on a top-10 pick in Zach Hamill. While that was undoubtedly an organizational issue, it’s worth keeping in mind that missing on the later first-round picks is par for the course.

It’€™s commonly known that the late first-round can be a swampland, which is why multiple second-round picks can often be worth more than one late first-rounder. We tried to quantify this by breaking the first round into three ranges (Picks No. 1-20, 11-20 and 21-30) and seeing how many were hits and how many were misses. Here are the findings, with an explanation below.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.27.16 AM

As the chart shows, the numbers are pretty overwhelming regarding the dropoff from the first 10 picks to anything after that. The middle of the first round is a bit better than the late-first, but such picks are still usually unsuccessful.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 NHL Draft,

Report: Bruins sign Providence College C Noel Acciari

06.02.15 at 9:25 am ET
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According to ESPN’s John Buccigross, the Bruins have signed Providence College center Noel Acciari to a two-year, free agent deal.

Acciari, a captain with National Champion Providence this past year, finished with 15 goals and 17 assists. For his three years as a Friar, he scored 32 goals and had 33 assists. He graduated this past year, but had another year of eligibility left as he red-shirted his freshman year.

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Pre-combine look at defensemen Bruins could target in NHL Draft

05.31.15 at 9:47 pm ET
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Jeremy Roy is the 21st-ranked North American skater by Central Scouting. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Jeremy Roy is the 21st-ranked North American skater by Central Scouting. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The annual NHL scouting combine will take place this coming week in Buffalo, meaning the Bruins will get a close look at the prospects they’€™ll consider with the 14th overall pick in June’€™s draft.

Here’€™s a quick look at some of the guys who might be around the Bruins’€™ range and a few for whom they’€™d have to trade up to secure. Click here for a look at forwards. Following is a look at the defensemen.

GUYS THE BRUINS COULD GET

Jakub Zboril, Saint John (QMJHL), 6-foot-0 3/4, 184 pounds

Shoots: L

The Czech native is described by NHL.com as an offensive defenseman, but many scouting reports note that he’s more of a traditional defender than many of his projected first-round peers. EliteProspects.com describes him as a “low-risk, high-reward” player. NHL.com’s Adam Kimelman projects Zboril to the Bruins in his latest mock draft.

Thomas Chabot, Saint John (QMJHL), 6-foot-1 1/2, 180 pounds

Shoots: L

Like many of the first-round defense prospects, Chabot’s offensive tools are what figure to attract teams. This piece from the Buffalo News notes that Chabot’s decision-making must improve, however. Having admittedly never seen this guy play, these descriptions make him sound a little like a smaller Joe Morrow.

Jeremy Roy, Sherbrooke (QMJHL) 6-foot-0, 188 pounds

Shoots: R

Roy is considered one of the better two-way defensemen in this draft. EliteProspects.com praises his play without the puck, awareness and intangibles, calling him a “catalyst for positive plays in all three zones.”

Jacob Larsson, Frolunda (Sweden Jr.), 6-foot-2, 191 pounds

Shoots: L

Scouting reports note Larsson’s all-around game and plus decision-making. The Bruins got themselves a solid defensive prospect out of Sweden a couple years ago in Linus Arnesson, so perhaps they’ll turn their attention to scout P.J. Axelsson’s territory once again.

Noah Juulsen, Everett (WHL), 6-foot-1 1/2 174 pounds

Shoots: R

Juulsen’s output increased tremendously from his first year in the WHL to this past season, jumping from 10 points in 59 games in 2013-14 to 52 points (nine goals, 43 assists) in 68 games this season. EliteProspects.com praises his poise with the puck, but also notes a tendency for him to overthink.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 NHL Draft,

Pre-combine look at forwards Bruins could target in NHL draft

05.30.15 at 9:30 am ET
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Kyle Connor is the best American forward not named Jack Eichel in this draft. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Kyle Connor is the best American forward not named Jack Eichel in this draft. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The annual NHL scouting combine will take place this coming week in Buffalo, meaning the Bruins will get a close look at the prospects they’€™ll consider with the 14th overall pick in June’€™s draft.

Here’€™s a quick look at some of the guys who might be around the Bruins’€™ range and a few for whom they’€™d have to trade up to secure. We’€™ll break these posts down into forwards and defensemen, starting with forwards.

GUYS THE BRUINS COULD GET

Mikko Rantanen, RW, TPS Turku (Finland), 6-foot-3 1/2, 211 pounds

The top international prospect in the draft according to NHL Central Scouting, Rantanen is hyped for having a strong shot, among other qualities. He had just nine goals and 19 assists for 28 points in 56 games this season in SM-liiga, Finland’€™s top professional league. Mock drafts have him going in the top 10, so this could be wishful thinking for the B’€™s.

Pavel Zacha, C, Sarnia (OHL), 6-foot-3, 210 pounds

Played in the Czech Extraliga before coming over to North America. The 18-year-old was nearly a point-per-game player in his first season with the Sting, scoring 16 goals and adding 18 assists for 34 points in 37 games, but he also missed ample time with injuries. Remember: Injuries in his draft year helped David Pastrnak slide to the B’€™s in the late first round last year.

Timo Meier, RW, Halifax (QMJHL), 6-foot-1, 209 pounds

The Switzerland native plays a heavy game and compares himself to Max Pacioretty. Meier is a left-shot right wing, similar to current Bruins Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith. Worth noting: The QMJHL has been kind to the Bruins in the past (Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand), but Boston’€™s last first-round pick from the Q was Jordan Caron.

Mathew Barzal, C, Seattle (WHL), 5-foot-11 1/4, 175 pounds

Mike Morreale of NHL.com projected Barzal to the Bruins in his post-lottery mock draft. If that were to happen, Barzal could be quite the value pick.

Once considered a possibility to go third overall in this draft, a knee injury this past season hurt Barzal’€™s stock. Considered an elite offensive talent, a team prioritizing taking the best player available could capitalize should he slide. Barzal’€™s also an alum of the BCHL’€™s Coquitlam Express, which is where Milan Lucic played before the WHL.

Kyle Connor, LW, Youngstown (USHL), 6-foot-1, 177 pounds

Committed to play at the University of Michigan next season, Connor is a speedster who receives praise for his defensive play. Connor is ranked as the sixth-best player in the entire draft by TSN’€™s Craig Button, whereas Central Scouting ranks him as the No. 13 North American player.

Travis Konecny, C, Ottawa (OHL), 5-foot-9 3/4, 175 pounds

Konecny is a fast right-shot center whom the 67’€™s drafted first overall in the 2013 OHL draft. He hasn’€™t set the OHL on fire yet, but he has produced at more than a point-per-game pace in each of his two seasons in Ottawa.

Jansen Harkins, C, Prince George (WHL), 6-foot-1 1/4, 182 pounds

Frequently compared to David Krejci for being a well-rounded center, Harkins is the son of former Flames second-round pick Todd Harkins and the nephew of former Bruins left wing Brett Harkins.

Evgeny Svechnikov, LW, QMJHL, 6-foot-1 3/4, 199 pounds

After playing junior hockey back home in Russia for the three previous seasons, Schechnikov enjoyed a very strong first season in the QMJHL this year with 32 goals and 46 assists for 78 points in 55 games. Svechnikov brings a combination of skill and physicality.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2015 NHL Draft,

Bruins sign Anton Blidh to entry-level contract

05.29.15 at 10:21 am ET
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The Bruins have signed 2013 sixth-round pick Anton Blidh to an entry-level contract, the team announced Friday.

A forward who spent last season playing for Frolunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League, Blidh had five goals and no assists over 48 games last season. He totaled one goal and six assists the previous season between Frolunda HC and Karlskrona HK of Swedish Division 1.

The 20-year-old left wing is listed at 6-foot-0 and 181 pounds. He becomes the second member of the 2013 draft class to sign his entry-level with the B’s, joining fellow Sweden native Linus Arnesson. The B’s signed Arnsesson last June, with the second-round pick coming over from Sweden late in the season and playing 11 games for Providence.

The Bruins did not have a first-round pick in 2013, as it was dealt to the Stars in exchange for Jaromir Jagr.

 

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Bruins sign Finnish F Joonas Kemppainen to 1-year deal

05.21.15 at 9:27 pm ET
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The Bruins on Thursday announced the signing of forward Joonas Kemppainen to a one-year, two-way contract.

Kemppainen, 27, was second on the Finnish team in scoring at the IIHF World Championships, finishing with three goals and six assists in eight games.

Kemppainen, who stands 6-foot-2, 213-pounds, played for Oulun Karpat of the Finnish Elite League in 2014-15, recording 11 goals, 21 assists and a plus-15 rating in 59 games. He added 10 goals and 14 assists with a plus-14 rating in 19 playoff games.

He has played nine seasons in the Finnish Elite League with three teams, totaling 62 goals, 99 assists and a plus-41 rating in 464 regular-season games.

 

Read More: Joonas Kemppainen,
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