|With PTO a possibility, free agent Daniel Paille dealing with uncertainty||09.04.15 at 1:44 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — When Gregory Campbell signed a two-year deal with Columbus worth $1.5 million a year on the opening day of free agency, it was fair to assume that fellow Merlot Line castoff Daniel Paille would soon have a new contract and team of his own.
Yet as Paille took the ice Friday at an informal skate with a group that included Bruins past (Shawn Thornton really won’t go away) and present, he wasn’t wearing the jersey of any team. Instead, he was wearing a black NHL Players’ Association jersey.
Paille wasn’t wearing the jersey to brag about his days as the Bruins’ player rep; he was wearing it because, in the first week of September, the free agent doesn’t have a team.
“It’s certainly a different kind of challenge,” Paille said. “It’s definitely something you prepare for but obviously don’t want to go through. I knew going into free agency there could be this chance. I’m definitely not too keen on being in this position.”
The aforementioned position is this: There are a few teams interested in Paille, but they want him to come to attend training camp on a professional tryout (PTO). Paille obviously wants a contract, so as his agent discusses both possibilities with teams, all Paille can do is prepare himself for whatever camp he’ll attend in two weeks, whether it’s as a member of the team or as someone still trying to get signed.
Worse players than Paille have been signed (John Scott) and traded for (Zac Rinaldo) this offseason, but he finds himself among a large group of veterans who haven’t inked deals. Why? The message Paille has received from teams is similar to the one he heard in his final weeks as a Bruin: They want to go younger.
Young players are more important now than perhaps ever in the NHL, as having good players on their first or second contracts helps teams more with the cap than signing a bunch of veterans. If teams feel they have an NHL-ready forward, they aren’t going to give a player like the 31-year-old Paille a contract and mess with the youngster’s development.
If no teams sign Paille, he could play in Europe. He spent the lockout in Finland playing for Ilves Tampere, but he doesn’t want to head overseas until he exhausts his NHL options.
“I still believe I can get a job [in the NHL],” Paille said. “I’m going to continue to fight for that.”
Paille was benched for the last nine games of the season as the Bruins got players back from injury and made their final push for a playoff spot. Once the B’s were eliminated, management had Peter Chiarelli tell Paille and Campbell they wouldn’t be back before firing Chiarelli.
“Definitely a big portion of me I think not being signed is not being able to play in those last [nine] games,” Paille said. “I gave everything in my power to get back in the lineup, regardless of what I did.”
While Paille was not happy being a healthy scratch, he said his memories of Boston are much bigger than a few bad weeks.
“Towards the end, obviously, you get frustrated with how things ended, but for me I just looked at my whole experience,” he said. “It was great in Boston. I’m not going to let that last part of my time here affect the wonderful years that I had here. I’m grateful that I had spent six years in Boston. That’s what I’m taking out of it the most. I couldn’t be happier being part of this organization when I was here.”
Paille says he understands why the Bruins moved on. It will be an easier pill to swallow once he finds his next job.
|Chris Kelly glad he wasn’t among Bruins traded (and one last Carl Soderberg story)||09.03.15 at 4:06 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — If someone were to tell you the Bruins would be trading three forwards this offseason, it would be reasonable to figure Chris Kelly would be one of them.
He isn’t a bad player — contrary to what folks who listen to talk radio more than they listen to games will tell you, he’s a fine bottom-sixer who could once again perform well in a contract year — but if the Bruins wanted to cut costs, trading his $3 million cap hit would be a viable option.
Really, the Bruins could still trade Kelly if they want to sign another free agent (Cody Franson remains unsigned), but for now it appears Kelly will play out the final year of his four-year contract. That’s the way he wants it.
“I’m happy to be back, obviously,” Kelly said after Thursday’s informal skate at Ristuccia Arena. “Boston’s a great place. We’ve got a great team. We’re excited to start up. You hit that point where you just want camp to start and you want some games to come and then the season to start. I think we’re all anxious to get rolling again.”
Kelly submitted his list of eight teams to which he’d accept a deal this offseason. It is unknown whether Don Sweeney tried aggressively to move him over the summer; Kelly said he tried not to think about the possibility.
“Wondering does you nothing,” he said. “Moves can happen to anyone at any time. I think management’s job is to make your team better, and they’re going to make the moves that they feel are going to make the team better. Me wondering at home isn’t going to serve anyone any good.”
Kelly, who turns 35 in November, would figure to center the fourth line this season. He scored just seven goals in 80 games last season, and though he did light the lamp 20 times in the last time he was in a contract year (2011-12), it’s unlikely he could return to that production given that he could end up playing with Zac Rinaldo.
Soderberg strikes one last time
Thanks to Kelly, we can add one last bit to the legend of Carl Soderberg’s three years in Boston.
Soderberg, a native of Sweden who’s fluent in English, is as nice a guy as you’ll meet, but he also has a really dry sense of humor. His quirks showed throughout his time as a Bruin.
He once ended a very short media session in the 2013 playoffs by announcing he had to take a shower. Another time he said he couldn’t talk because he was going to go buy a car, and, when asked the next day how he fared, was stone-faced in responding, ‘I don’t have a car.’ When Matt Bartkowski asked the sharp-dressed Soderberg after one practice if he was going to church, Soderberg had no reaction.
The Bruins traded Soderberg’s rights to the Avalanche prior to the draft, with Soderberg promptly cashing in with a five-year, $23.75 million deal.
“Good for Carl for getting rewarded for his play,” Kelly said Thursday. “He’s another guy who was a great teammate and a friend.”
When Kelly texted his linemate of two seasons to congratulate him on the new deal, perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Soderberg did not respond for some reason.
“I think Carl changed his number quite quick because I sent him a note,” Kelly said with a grin. “Otherwise, he just forgot about all his old teammates, because I sent him a note to congratulate him and I don’t know.”
Soderberg and Kelly complemented one another well. When jokingly asked if he’d be able to carry on without Soderberg, Kelly responded, “Will Carl be able to carry on?”
The Avalanche are in town on Nov. 12.
|Report: NHL moves trade deadline to Feb. 29 for 2015-16 season||09.02.15 at 5:02 pm ET|
According to Renaud Lavoie of TVA, the NHL has moved the trade deadline to Feb. 29 for the 2015-16 season.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) September 2, 2015
The trade deadline has recently been held in March. Last season, it was March 2 and the previous season it was March 5. Don’t count on it being Feb. 29 every year, of course.
|Patrice Bergeron ready for different training camp than Bruins have had in recent years||09.02.15 at 3:01 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The voluntary practices that take place prior to training camp in September are very informal. The optional attendance means the group of Bruins that take the ice can be pretty varied from one day to the next. With guys like David Pastrnak, Chris Kelly and Dennis Seidenberg not making it on Wednesday, there weren’t as many familiar faces as there were the day before.
Take that approach and apply it to building the actual roster, and you’ve got the 2015-16 Bruins.
Turnover was the name of the game this offseason, which means that plenty of time this preseason (and, realistically, the first couple months of the regular season) will be devoted to new guys fitting in and current Bruins getting familiar with new teammates. Where past training camps have largely been focused on the previous year’s team shaking off the cobwebs while minimal roster spots were open for competition, this month figures to be quite a bit busier.
“It’s going to be different from the past few years,” Patrice Bergeron said after Wednesday’s skate at Ristuccia Arena. “I’ve been here a little longer, so there’s been some years before where it’s been a complete change, so it is going to be different from the past few years, but I’ve been through that before. I think it’s just about getting to know the guys on and off the ice.”
Among the new faces are Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, Zac Rinaldo, Colin Miller and Matt Irwin. Beleskey is considered the biggest prize, as he was the top free agent wing this offseason after scoring 22 goals for the Ducks last season.
“It’s our job as leaders and veteran guys to make guys feel comfortable off the ice and even on and make everyone realize it’s about everyone,” Bergeron said. “It’s not just one guy or two guys here. It’s about everyone going towards the same direction if you want to have some results.”
The players who left are more notable than the ones coming in, as Dougie Hamilton (Flames), Milan Lucic (Kings), Reilly Smith (Panthers) and Carl Soderberg (Avalanche) were all traded. The Hamilton loss is the biggest, but the other departures could hurt the Bruins in the short term while the new guys get settled in. With Smith gone, Bergeron and Brad Marchand seek a new full-time right wing for their line for the second time in three years.
Asked about Hamilton leaving, Bergeron was complimentary of the player’s character. After all, when Hamilton made the Bruins in 2013, Claude Julien said his character was more like Bergeron’s than that of fellow young star Tyler Seguin.
Yet Hamilton’s exit raised many questions, particularly when it became apparent he did not want to sign a new contact with the Bruins. While Hamilton wasn’t necessarily the most popular guy among his teammates, there was never any indication that things were so bad that the sides wouldn’t want to move forward together.
“I think he’s still the same guy,” Bergeron said when reminded of Julien’s comparison. “He’s low-key and he’s trying to get better. I wish him all the best, and I can’t really say what happened because I’m not sure what happened.’
Bergeron said didn’t see the trade coming.
“I didn’t get that sense,” he said when asked if he’d ever detected unhappiness on Hamilton’s part. “There’s been discussions between him, the management, his agent that I’m not aware of, so I can’t really go any further.”
Veterans still have another couple weeks before training camp kicks off on Sept. 17. The informal practices provide an opportunity for this much-altered squad to jell, and they could likely use it.
|Brad Marchand tells NHL.com he had offseason elbow surgery||09.01.15 at 9:32 pm ET|
Marchand, who led the Bruins with 24 goals last season, told Kalman he had offseason surgery to fix torn tendons in his elbow, which had been hampering him since the start of the 2014 playoffs. Kalman noted that Marchand spent six weeks in a cast following the surgery before switching to a splint for another three or four weeks. The 27-year-old, who is in town skating with teammates in preparation for training camp, said he is “feeling good now” after recovering from the surgery and hopes to be at 100 percent for the start of the season.
“There were days where I couldn’t even hold my stick,” Marchand told Kalman. “It was always tough to shoot. There’d be times throughout the year where it was good. But when it was bad it was tough to even … like I wasn’t shooting in practice and stuff like that. So it definitely affected my game a bit. So it was good to get it done.”
To read Kalman’s story, click here.
|Bruins announce rookie camp roster||09.01.15 at 5:06 pm ET|
The Bruins announced their training camp roster for next week’s rookie camp on Tuesday.
Rookie camp will open next Thursday and last into the following week. It includes a rookie camp in Buffalo in which they’ll play prospects from the Sabres and Devils next weekend.
Boston’s rookie camp roster, which includes the team’s three first-round picks from June, is as follows:
Forwards: Noel Acciari, Anton Blidh, Colby Cave, Austin Czarnik, Jake DeBrusk, Mitchell Dempsey, Jesse Gabrielle, Colton Hargrove, Justin Hickman, Joonas Kemppainen, Jordan Maletta, Eric Neiley, Zachary Senyshyn, Frank Vatrano.
Defensemen: Linus Arnesson, Brandon Carlo, Max Everson, Max Iafrate, Jeremy Lauzon, Frankie Simonelli, Jakub Zboril.
Goaltenders: Matthew Ginn, Zane McIntyre, Daniel Vladar.
Dempsey and Maletta are attending camp on an invite basis. Dempsey was drafted by the B’s in the seventh round of the 2013 draft.
|Bruins announce training camp schedule||08.27.15 at 5:29 pm ET|
The Bruins announced their preliminary schedule for training camp on Thursday. Main camp begins on Sept. 17, as it does throughout the league.
Prior to that, the B’s will hold their rookie camp, which opens on Sept. 10 and will take place mostly in Buffalo, as the B’s will participate in a rookie camp in which they’ll face the face prospects from the Devils and Sabres.
Main camp will begin with off-ice testing on Sept. 17 before players take the ice the following day. Most of the camp practices will take place at TD Garden, though there are certain dates scheduled for Ristuccia Arena. The coming season will be the Bruins’ final season at Ristuccia before moving to Warrior Ice Arena, which is currently being constructed in Brighton.
The regular season opens on Oct. 8, when the B’s host the Jets at the Garden.