|Bruins trade Carl Soderberg’s rights to Avalanche||06.25.15 at 5:10 pm ET|
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Bruins traded center Carl Soderberg’s right to the Avalanche Thursday, officially concluding a three-year marriage that ended when the team told him weeks ago that they wouldn’t be offering him a contract for next season.
By trading Soderberg’s rights, the Bruins get an asset, however small, in exchange for essentially nothing. The pick is Boston’s 2016 sixth-rounder, which was sent to Colorado at the trade deadline in a deal that sent Jordan Caron to Colorado and Maxime Talbot to Boston. The Avalanche, meanwhile, will have a six-day head start to sign Soderberg before he reaches unrestricted free agency on July 1.
Though he struggled down the stretch this season, Soderberg will be one of the top players in free agency should he make it there. With the center pool extremely thin this summer, Sodergberg figures to command a hefty raise from the $1,008,333 cap hit he had over the course of a three-year deal signed when he came to Boston from Sweden during the lockout-shortened 2013 season. With the Bruins strapped for cap space, his departure seemed inevitable.
In that sense, the Bruins might be kicking themselves for not getting more for Soderberg when they could have. Boston was sitting in the second and final Wild Card spot leading up to the NHL trade deadline on March 2. Rather than throwing in the towel and trading players for assets (Soderberg likely would have fetched the Bruins a first-round pick and possibly more), the Bruins opted to keep their players and try to make the playoffs.
The circumstances were tricky, as then-general manager Peter Chiarelli knew he needed to make the playoffs in order to keep his job, but he wasn’t allowed to be a major buyer due the organization’s decision to not trade away future assets. Given that the B’s ended up missing the playoffs, the end result in hindsight was a blown opportunity on the part of management.
In 161 career regular-season games for the Bruins, Soderberg had 29 goals and and 65 assists for 94 points. His first real contribution to the Bruins came when he was forced into the Stanley Cup Final due to Patrice Bergeron‘s injuries, with Soderberg dressing in a pair of games against the Hawks despite having just six NHL games under his belt to that point.
That 2013 season burned the first year of his deal, with the Bruins starting Soderberg at left wing the following season. Soderberg proved far more productive at center once the B’s moved him to his natural position midway through the 2013-14 season, skating Chris Kelly alongside him take down-low responsibilities in Boston’s zone. Soderberg worked well in tandem with Loui Eriksson, who returned to being a 20-goal scorer last season with a full year as Soderberg’s linemate.
The Bruins acquired Soderberg, who was originally drafted 49th overall by the Blues in 2004, in a 2007 trade that sent goaltender Hannu Toivonen to St. Louis. Soderberg’s rights were deemed expendable by the Blues because the player had opted to remain in his home country of Sweden, where he continued to play professionally before finally leaving for the NHL in 2013.
Soderberg expressed a strong desire to stay in Boston, but he plans to play in the NHL next season regardless of location. A return to Sweden is not expected, as he figures to have ample suitors.
|Don Sweeney has lists from all Bruins with partial no-trade clauses; Loui Eriksson lost full-no trade when B’s missed playoffs||06.25.15 at 3:20 pm ET|
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Bruins general manager Don Sweeney doesn’t feel the need to make trades this weekend, but he’s more than prepared to.
Sweeney revealed during Thursday’s pre-draft availability that he has collected the proper lists from each Bruins player with a partial no-trade clause. Such lists, which vary in number of teams, reveal teams to which a player would accept a trade.
“Absolutely. I have every list,” Sweeney said.
Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand, Loui Eriksson, Chris Kelly and Dennis Seidenberg are Boston’s players with no-trade clauses, with Lucic, Marchand, Kelly and Eriksson having lists. David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask have no-movement clauses for the foreseeable future, with Krejci’s and Rask’s statuses changing to no-trades over time.
Eriksson waived his no-trade clause to come to the Bruins from Dallas two years ago, but his no-trade was preserved in writing at the time, which means he still has his no-trade rights.
According to sources, Eriksson had a full no-trade, but when the Bruins missed the playoffs last season, it reverted to a 14-team list. Lucic has a 15-team list, while Kelly can approve a trade to up to eight teams. Seidenberg has a full no-trade until Dec. 30, 2016, after which it will become an eight-team list. Seidenberg has said that he would waive his no-trade clause to facilitate a deal if Boston tried moving him.
The size of Marchand’s list is currently unknown. Because he is 27, he will become qualified for no-trade rights on July 1, if that is indeed when they kick in. Players cannot have no-trade rights unless they are old enough (or have enough NHL service) to qualify for unrestricted free agency status. Marchand still has two more years on a cap friendly deal ($4.5 million cap hit), so the idea of him being traded would figure to be a moot point. Of the aforementioned group of players, he is the biggest no-brainer to keep.
At some point this offseason, the Bruins will turn to the trade market in an effort to clear salary cap space. The Bruins have $59,841,667 committed to 15 players for next season, with the upper limit of the salary cap set at $71.4 million this week. Boston still needs to sign restricted free agents Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly to new contracts. Don Sweeney has also expressed an interesting in re-signing unrestricted free agent Adam McQuaid.
Sweeney said that he does not necessarily feel a need to swing his deals before the draft begins Friday.
“I think every situation is different,” Sweeney said. “You could look at getting past the draft and getting past free agency as teams say, ‘OK, well I missed that first wave; there will be another wave of player movement opportunity.’ I think just everybody is looking to explore whatever they can at this particular time because the opportunity presents itself on a bunch of different levels.”
|Sides meet, but Bruins and Dougie Hamilton still not close on contract extension||06.25.15 at 2:22 pm ET|
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and agent J.P. Barry met Wednesday night in Florida as the sides continue to discuss Dougie Hamilton’s next contract.
The sides are not close to a deal, as the meeting focused on where Hamilton stands at this point in his career and the term of a potential contract. Sweeney declined to reveal his preference for term when asked at Thursday’s pre-draft availability.
Sweeney described the status of negotiations as “further discussions” and said the sides are keeping “real, real good communication” in an effort to strike a deal.
Asked whether signing Hamilton before July 1 (the start of restricted free agency for Hamilton) is his priority, Sweeney replied, “In a perfect world, it would be.”
“You’ve got to have two sides to make a deal,” Sweeney added. “We’re just going to continue to explore that and communicate as best we can to continue to find the right deal.”
Sweeney said that if a team is to present Hamilton with an offer sheet in July, the B’s would “have to be aware and prepared for it.” It is expected that the Bruins would match any deal, though they would like to sign Hamilton on their own terms.
“We’re going to do whatever we have to do in order to protect the player,” Sweeney said when asked about potential financial maneuvers to ensure that the Bruins don’t lose Hamilton.
Given the salary cap in the NHL, the ideal scenario for the Bruins would be to sign Hamilton, a rising star, to a lengthy contract to buy out years of unrestricted free agency. That way, the Bruins would get more of Hamilton’s prime years for less money. Hamilton is four seasons away from having the service time accrued to be an unrestricted free agent. The max length for a team signing their own player to a contract is eight years.
Where that gets tough for the Bruins is that they don’t have the cap space to sign a player for a high average annual value, which is what such a contract would require. A shorter contract would command less per year, but the Bruins would either have to pay more at the end of it or risk losing their player on the open market down the road.
Both Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly are also days away from restricted free agency. The Bruins have already begun talks with the representatives for both players. Sweeney reiterated that he hopes to re-sign Adam McQuaid.
Sweeney and Barry are expected to meet again before the end of draft weekend.
|Patrice Bergeron wins third Selke Trophy||06.24.15 at 7:18 pm ET|
Bergeron is now a three-time winner of the Selke, which is given to the best defensive forward in the NHL as voted upon by the Pro Hockey Writers Association. Bergeron first won the award in the 2011-12 season and finished a close second to Toews in 2013 before earning consecutive Selke wins.
Bergeron is just the fifth player to win the Selke three times, joining Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau, Jere Lehtinen and Pavel Datstyuk. Only Gainey has won it four times.
The votes came down to the wire in Bergeron’s favor, as Bergeron recieved 1083 voting points to Toews’ 1051. Kopitar was a distant third with 364.
The 29-year-old Bergeron led the NHL with a 60.2 faceoff percentage this past season and was second in the league with an 8.99 percent CorsiRel. He also led the Bruins with 55 points, tying Dougie Hamilton for the team lead with 32 assists and scoring 23 goals.
While Toews’ quality of competition was higher than Bergeron’s this season, Bergeron had tougher shifts than both Toews and Kopitar based zone starts and boasted better possession numbers.
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|Bruins to host Jets in 2015-16 home opener||06.24.15 at 12:08 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Wednesday that their home opener will take place Oct. 8. The B’s will host the Jets in the Garden’s first game of the 2015-16 season.
The rest of the NHL‘s schedules are expected to be released on Thursday.
|Bruins sign Zane McIntyre to 2-year entry-level contract||06.23.15 at 3:25 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Tuesday that they have signed goaltender Zane McIntyre to a two-year entry-level contract.
Originally taken by the B’s in the sixth round of the 2010 draft, McIntyre has developed into one of the top goaltending prospects in hockey, finishing as a Hobey Baker finalist and winning the Mike Richter Award last season at North Dakota.
In three seasons at North Dakota, McIntyre set school records in career save percentage (.927) and goals against average (2.08). He posted a 58-24-9 career record.
Formerly Zane Gothberg, McIntyre changed his surname name to his mother’s maiden name following his grandmother’s passing in 2014. With his mother remarrying and sister getting married, McIntyre made the change to continue the family name.
The signing of McIntyre leaves the Bruins pretty loaded at goaltender, as 28-year-old Tuukka Rask is followed by 2012 first-round pick Malcolm Subban and McIntyre on the organizational depth chart. Boston still needs to sign a backup goaltender for the NHL team, however, as Niklas Svedberg departed for the KHL this offseason.
|NHL salary cap for 2015-16 set at $71.4 million||06.23.15 at 12:36 pm ET|
The NHL and NHLPA announced Tuesday that the salary cap upper limit for the 2015-16 season has been set at $71.4 million. The lower limit is $52.8 million.
The upper limit for the recently concluded season was $69 million, meaning teams will have $2.4 million more in cap space than was previously allotted.
Not counting Marc Savard, the Bruins currently have $59,841,667* against the cap committed to 15 players (nine forwards, five defensemen and one goalie) for next season, with Dougie Hamilton, Brett Connolly and Ryan Spooner all restricted free agents.
* The B’s have internal candidates (ex. Brian Ferlin, Joonas Kemppainen, Alexander Khokhlachev, Seth Griffith, Joe Morrow) to fill some of their roster vacancies, but only players with one-way contracts (or obvious NHLers such as David Pastrnak) were included in the aforementioned calculation.