Archive for June, 2009

Chiarelli: ‘We have room to sign our guys tonight’

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli held a Tuesday afternoon conference call with reporters, and confirmed that the team has enough room under the salary cap to sign all of their restricted free agents prior to the July 1 deadline for RFAs.

After July 1 the Bruins RFAs (Phil Kessel, Matt Hunwick, Byron Bitz) can begin accepting offer sheets from opposing NHL teams, and Chiarelli said that it’s a roll of the dice that the Bruins are willing to take. Chiarelli is surely taking into account the fact that teams can go 10 percent over the salary cap in the summer, but must fit snugly under the $56.8 cap number before the start of the 2009-10 hockey season.

The “read-and-react” philosophy that Chiarelli is employing is one that your humble hockey writer opined about on Monday, and it looks as if there won’t be any Kessel trade in the works over the next couple of days. Instead the B’s GM is fine with watching how things play out when the July 1 free agent shopping period begins, and players like Kessel can be wooed by other teams. 

It was assumed that Chiarelli couldn’t fit Kessel’s $5 million per season salary demands under the cap, but perhaps the 21-year-old sniper is asking for something closer to $4.25-4.5 million. Either way, Chiarelli said he doesn’t anticipate coming to terms with any of his free agents prior to Wednesday.

‘€œWe have room (under the cap) to sign our guys at what they’€™re asking tonight, but we’€™re not going to do it,” said Chiarelli. “There’€™s a risk allowing these guys to go out unsigned into the market place, I understand that. That’€™s a risk we’€™re willing to take and we’€™re also willing to continue to negotiate.’€

Other tidbits from the conference call:

–Chiarelli restated that his No. 1 priority in a world with no salary cap would be another No. 1 or No. 2 defenseman to ease some of the pressure off Zdeno Chara in terms of on-ice minutes.

‘€œMy (wish) list would probably include an impact defenseman, either a 1 or a 2 (pairing). It’€™s more minutes to sort of ease the pressure on Zdeno (Chara),” said Chiarelli. “Z can play both (the right or left) side, and it’€™s not just (getting a right-handed shot).

“If we don’€™t do anything with our ‘€˜D’€™ then I’€™m happy with it. You have to remember that two of our defenseman didn’€™t play in the last series (against Carolina) and I feel that’€™s a big part that’€™s missing. Let’€™s say I don’€™t have that (imaginary) $12 million or whatever, I’€™m happy with where I’€™m at defensively. If I don’€™t do anything defensively, then I’€™d like to get some size on the wing.”

–Both Matt Hunwick and Byron Bitz have arbitration rights as RFAs and have until 5 p.m. on July 5 to opt for arbitration with the Bruins concerning their contracts.

–Peter Schaefer has cleared waivers and the Bruins have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to decide whether they’ll but out the remainder of his contract. Schaefer was scheduled to make $2.1 million this coming season, but Chiarelli said Schaefer’s contract settlement would amount to an approximate $566,667 salary cap hit for the next two seasons.

UPDATE: The Bruins sent out a release on Tuesday evening that announced the Bruins were buying out Schaefer’s contract, and the B’s will have an additional $566,667 cap hit on the books for the next two seasons. Schaefer is now a free agent capable of signing with any other NHL team.

Thomas and Kessel invited to Team USA camp

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

A pair of Boston Bruins players have received the worthy honor of potentially playing for a Gold Medal for the Red, White and Blue of the United States. It just remains to be seen if both players remain members of the Bruins by the time the Olympics actually get here in February.

USA Hockey announced on Tuesday that Bruins goalie Tim Thomas and forward Phil Kessel have been invited to the Men’€™s Olympic Orientation Camp from August 17-19, 2009 at the Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, Illinois (6690 S Route 53 Woodridge, IL 60517). They were among 34 American players that made the first cut en route to filling out a roster for the United States Men’s Olympic Hockey Team.

“I think it’s obviously a great honor for both of them,” said Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. “With respect to Tim, he’s going to challenge for No. 1 and I would expect that given the season that he had. With Phil it shows that he’s really in their plans because he’ll be injured while going into this camp and they feel very strongly about including in all these orientation things because he’s in their plans.

“It’s exciting for both, and I think we’re going to have more of our players being part of these kind of camps in order to prepare (for the Olympics). I’m sure you’re going to see some more of our players that are going to come up for their respective national teams.”

The camp is designed to assist in the preparation of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team that will compete at the XXI Olympic Winter Games to be held from Feb. 12-28, 2010, in Vancouver, B.C. Of the 34 invites to the Orientation Camp, 23 players (20 skaters and three goaltenders) will be chosen to represent Team USA at the 2010 Olympics. With Kessel expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season following labrum and rotator cuff/shoulder surgery, the winger won’t be taking part in any on-ice drills during the August camp.

Tim Thomas set a career high with 36 wins this year and was the winner of the 2009 Vezina Troph while  finishing the 2008-2009 regular season as the league leader in Goals Against Average (2.10) and Save Percentage
(.933), and played in his second straight NHL All-Star Game. 

Thomas appeared in all 11 postseason games for the Bruins, finishing with the playoff’€™s best Goals Against Average (1.85) and second best Save Percentage (.935).

Phil Kessel established career highs in goals, assists and points this year after tallying a team-best 36 goals, 24 assists and 60 points in 70 games.  Kessel become the club’€™s first 30-goal scorer since 2005-2006 and compiled the longest point streak in the NHL this season after recording a point in 18 consecutive games from November 13-December 21,
2008 (14-14=28 totals during this span). Kessel appeared in all 11 postseason games for the Bruins and contributed six goals and five assists.

2009 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Orientation Camp Roster
Goaltenders: Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, Tim Thomas

Defensemen: Tom Gilbert, Tim Gleason, Ron Hainsey, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Mike Komisarek, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, Brian Rafalski, Rob Scuderi, Ryan Suter, Ryan Whitney

Forwards: David Backes, David Booth, Dustin Brown, Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan Callahan, Chris Drury, Scott Gomez, Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, Jamie Langenbrunner, Ryan Malone, Mike Modano, Kyle Okposo, T.J. Oshie, Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski, Bobby Ryan, Paul Stastny.

Some RFA rules on the eve of July 1 free agency period

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Bruins RFAs Phil Kessel, Matt Hunwick and Byron Bitz are scheduled to become eligible to receive offer sheets from other teams beginning on Wednesday at noon, and there are plenty of rules within the RFA and offer sheet process per the rules of the CBA. The Bruins have seven days to match an offer sheet, can’t trade a player once they received an offer sheet, and would receive draft pick compensation for any RFAs signed by other teams.

If Kessel is signed to an offer sheet by another NHL team, it would have be in the $5 million per year range for the Bruins to really toy with the notion of not matching the offer sheet. The sniping winger would easily receive that in the open market, and it’s a pretty fair assumption that Kessel should end up with a slightly bigger paycheck than the $3.75 million per year David Krejci received earlier this month.

Here’s a few Q&A’s from the great website about the entire RFA process:

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A PLAYER SIGNS AN OFFER SHEET? Once a player signs an offer sheet, the team (“New Team”) giving the offer will submit it to Central Registry and must also notify the player’s original team (“Prior Team”) of the offer sheet.  The Prior Team has seven (7) days from the date it receives the offer sheet to choose whether to accept the terms of the offer sheet or decline. 

If they choose to accept, then the salary, signing bonuses (if any), and reporting bonuses (if any) in the Offer Sheet become a binding SPC on both the Prior Team and the player.  If they decline, then all of the terms specified in the Offer Sheet become binding on the New Team and the player and the Prior Team receives compensation from the New Team as set forth below.

CAN THE PRIOR TEAM TRADE THE PLAYER’S RIGHTS IF HE SIGNS AN OFFER SHEET? NO!  From Article 10.3(a), Once an Offer Sheet for a Restricted Free Agent has been received by the Prior Club, the Prior Club may not Trade or otherwise Assign its Right of First Refusal for such Restricted Free Agent.

— IF THE TEAM MATCHES, CAN THEY TURN AROUND AND TRADE THE PLAYER? Again, no.  From Article 10.3(b), The Prior Club may not Trade that Restricted Free Agent for a period of one year from the date it exercises its Right of First Refusal.

WHAT IS THE COMPENSATION REQUIRED FOR SIGNING A RFA TO AN OFFER SHEET? For 2008-09, the compensation due for signing a RFA to an Offer Sheet is listed below. This last year’s compensation schedule, and things might have raised slightly given the rising level of NHL contracts, but the compensation should be roughly the same for this summer. Here are the numbers:

Amount (Compensation Due)
$863,156 or less (None)
$863,156 – $1,307,811 (3rd round pick)
$1,307,812 – $2,615,625 (2nd round pick)
$2,615,623 – $3,923,437 (1st and 3rd round pick)
$3,923,437 – $5,231,249 (1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick)
$5,231,249 – $6,539,062 (Two 1st’s, one 2nd, one 3rd round pick)
$6,539,062 or more (Four 1st round picks)

 The amount is determined by taking the total compensation due in the Offer Sheet, and dividing by the number of years specified in the Offer Sheet, or five (5) – whichever is less.

Example:  A team signs a RFA to an offer sheet which calls for salaries of $4 million in Years 1 and 2, and $5 million in Years 3 to 5.  The average amount for compensation purposes is $4.6 million ($23 million divided by 5 years) – so the compensation required in 2008-09 would be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick.

Example:  A team signs a RFA to an offer sheet which calls for a salary of $3.5 million per year for 6 years.  Even though the Averaged Salary on the offer sheet would be $3.5 million, for compensation purposes the average amount is $4.2 million ($21 million divided by the lesser of the number of years on the offer sheet, or 5) – so the compensation due in 2009-10 would be one 1st’s, one 2nd, and one 3rd round pick.

— The numbers in the table above change at the same rate as the change in the Average League Salary.
— Teams must use their own draft picks for the purpose of compensation, including picks that were traded and later reacquired.  They cannot use draft picks acquired from other teams (which were not originally theirs) to offer as compensation.
— A team can have multiple offer sheets active, provided it has the necessary draft picks available to offer as compensation.
— From Article 10.4,
      — Clubs owing one (1) draft selection must have it available in the next draft.
      — Clubs owing two (2) draft selections in different rounds must have them available in the next draft.
      — Clubs owing three (3) draft selections in different rounds must have them available in the next draft.
      — Clubs owing two (2) draft selections in the same round, must have them available in the next three (3) drafts.
      — Clubs owing three (3) draft selections in the same round must have them available in the next four (4) drafts, and so on.

When a Club owes two (2) or more draft selections in the same round, the signing Club does not elect the years in which such selections shall be awarded to the Prior Club; rather, the selections next available will be transferred to the Prior Club (i.e., a Club that owes two (2) selections has them available in the next two (2) drafts ‘€“ that is when they are transferred).

Report: Schaefer placed on waivers by the Bruins

Monday, June 29th, 2009

According to a TSN report, Bruins winger Peter Schaefer was placed on waivers on Monday along with St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay McKee and Florida Panthers forward Brett McLean. Schaefer spent the entire 2008-09 season with the Providence Bruins and scored 26 points in 47 AHL games — a casualty of the salary cap system where his $2.1 million cap hit would have proven unwieldy for the B’s at the NHL level last season. Schaefer scored 26 points in 63 games for the Bruins in 2006-07 after GM Peter Chiarelli traded for the former Ottawa Senator forward prior to the season.

Placing Schaefer on waivers could be a precursor for buying out the soon-to-be 32-year-old’s contract for the 2009-10 season, but that hasn’t taken place as of yet. Contract buyouts come at two-thirds the cost to the club, with the team gaining the ability to spread out the cost of the buyout over twice the amount of time remaining on the contract (eg. with one year left on the contract for each of these players, the cost against the team’s cap is spread out over the next two seasons). For Shaefer, that means a contract buyout would add a total of $700,000 to Boston’s cap hit for the next seasons.

NHL Draft Wrap-Up

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

In case you missed our NHL draft coverage this past weekend, here’s a wrap-up including in-depth player profiles, analysis, and live blogging from Montreal by our Bruins expert – Joe Haggerty:

Live Blogs

Coverage of first-round pick Jordan Caron

Coverage of third-round pick Ryan Button

Coverage of fourth-round pick Lane MacDermid

Coverage of sixth-round pick Tyler Randell

Coverage of seventh-round pick Ben Sexton

Overall wrap-up

Recchi: returning to ‘Boston is my first choice’

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

MONTREAL — Boston Bruins winger Mark Recchi was in Montreal for the NHL Draft this weekend, and told the Inside Hockey Radio Show Saturday that the Bruins are his top choice as an unrestricted free agent. B’s GM Peter Chiarelli has also indicated that he’d like to have Recchi back in the Boston fold after showing he’s still got plenty to offer in terms of offense and leadership. It’s expected the Bruins will address Recchi and Boston’s other UFAs after making a decision on RFAs like Phil Kessel, Matt Hunwick and Byron Bitz.

The 41-year-old Recchi scored 61 points all-together in the 2008-09 hockey season, and finished with 10 goals and 6 assists in 18 games for the B’s following the trade deadline. Recchi was a factor on both the power play, and 5-on-5 as a pesky force tipping pucks in front of the net. 

‘€œWe talked to Peter and he just left me a message a few minutes ago,” said Recchi to the Inside Hockey Radio Show on Saturday. “The situation with Boston (Chiarelli) has got some things to figure out cap-wise. But Boston is my first choice and I’€™m going to give them every opportunity in the world to figure things out, so I can go back there. They treated me great after I came there at the trade deadline, and I’€™m more than willing to give them a little extra time to figure things out.’€

Last but not least…

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

With their final pick, 206th overall in the seventh round, the Bruins selected center Ben Sexton. The 18-year-old played in the Central Junior ‘€œA’€ Hockey League for the Nepean Raiders in 2008-09, where he scored 14 goals with 21 assists in 38 games.

Hailing from Ottawa, Sexton is the son of former Senators GM Randy Sexton (currently assistant GM for the Florida Panthers).