|Claude Julien wants to stay with Bruins as long as he’s wanted||06.10.15 at 11:29 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Claude Julien said Wednesday that the Bruins did not give him permission to talk to other teams and that he didn’t necessarily want it.
That’s a lot of faith to have in the Bruins keeping him, but Julien said his impression throughout his two-month stay in coaching purgatory was that he would be back with the Bruins.
“The impression I got from the get-go was that they were hoping to keep me and it was going to depend on the new GM,” Julien said. “And I agree: As much as you want the new GM to be comfortable with his guy, it’s the same thing. If the new GM doesn’t like me as a coach, I don’t want to be here either.
“I understood that right from the get-go when Peter was let go. Basically, I was waiting to see if that was going to be a good match and it turned out to be.”
The fact that new general manager Don Sweeney took as long as he did to make a decision on Julien suggests he could be on a short leash. Julien said he feels good about his job security based on philosophical similarities with Sweeney.
“I know a lot of speculations have been made on whether this is temporary or whatever it is,” Julien said. “But we’re really committed and determined to take this team and move forward in the right directions. Don and I have had talks and have a very, very similar outlook on what’s needed and what we want to do. There was never an issue there at all. That’s why it’s worked out. We seemed to be seeing the same things.”
Jukuen said he intends to make adjustments to his coaching style, but that he intended to do that anyway, noting that he and his assistants met two days after the season to outline their intended changes.
When pressed on what those changes were, Julien said pretty much the same thing that Peter Chiarelli said before being fired and Sweeney said after being hired: transition the puck better.
“There are things we feel we can do with the way the game has changed a little bit to help out transition game a little better,’ Julien said. ‘There was a time when our transition game was good with the way teams were forechecking.
“Teams’ forechecking has changed a lot so there are thing we feel we can do with our transition game that we feel we can do a lot better with creating some speed. We had already kind of addressed that and we’re going to introduce that into camp like we do every year. To me, those aren’t changes. Those are adjustments like we do every year.”
|Claude Julien says he feels safe working for Cam Neely||06.10.15 at 10:39 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Claude Julien is back for a ninth season as Bruins coach, and he said Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena that he doesn’t feel his status is temporary.
Furthermore, he said he feels safe working for B’s president Cam Neely, who has reportedly wanted to fire him in the past. The Boston Globe reported after the season that Neely wanted to relieve the coach in January.
“That’s what’s been out there. Is it the truth? That’s the biggest question,” Julien said of Neely wanting him gone.
Neely infamously said years ago that the Bruins can’t win games by a 0-0 score, something that was perceived as a shot at Julien. Both he and Julien say they’ve moved past that comment — Julien even noted they go out for drinks — but that isn’t what’s in question. What’s in question is whether Neely is going to want Julien gone again at some point.
“I think it’s foolish to think that a president is just hovering over a coach’s head, waiting [to] fire him,” Julien said. “He’s had the power, I guess, to do that, and he didn’t. I think right there and then, it’s got to tell you something. It’s not an issue for me.”
More to come from Julien.
|How Victor Hedman plays into Dougie Hamilton conversation||06.09.15 at 1:06 pm ET|
Victor Hedman has most definitely arrived. His sixth season in the NHL, despite an injury detour early in the season, has cemented his status as one of the top defensemen in the league. The Bruins could use someone like that, and they can only hope Dougie Hamilton becomes such an impact player.
They can do more than hope, actually. They can look at the players’ career paths and project accordingly.
Like Hamilton, Hedman is a big, skilled, offensively creative defenseman whose detractors note a lack of physicality. He was also a top prospect in his draft (second overall in 2009).
Hedman’s bigger than Hamilton; he’s 6-foot-6 and, after coming into the league at 220 pounds, is now listed at 230 pounds. Hamilton is 6-foot-5 and 212 pounds. He could stand to continue to bulk up.
Yet where Hamilton has Hedman — and pretty much everyone — is how his career has begun. If Hamilton has reached his ceiling, he’ll be a solid player who has a solid career. There’s little reason to think that, however, as he has outperformed plenty of great defensemen who ascended to stardom after their first three seasons.
Back in April, we compared Hamilton to P.K. Subban, Drew Doughty, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Alex Pietrangelo, looking at the how they performed in their entry-level contracts and noting the contracts those players got. Given that Hedman has become one of the top young blueliners in the game, it’s worth revisiting with his numbers as well.
|Bruins won’t bring back Carl Soderberg||06.08.15 at 12:14 pm ET|
Carl Soderberg’s time with the Bruins is done, as agent J.P. Barry confirmed a Boston Globe report that the team will not be making an offer to the 29-year-old center.
The Bruins don’t have much wiggle room given their salary cap situation. As such, they informed Barry that they won’t be able to make the player a legitimate offer given their current status. Boston’s next move regarding Soderberg should be to trade his rights to a team hoping to sign him before free agency begins. Teams typically receive draft pick compensation in such moves.
Soderberg played out the final year of a three-year, $3.025 million contract with the Bruins and will become a free agent on July 1. He will be considered among the best free-agent centers available, along with Chicago’s Antoine Vermette.
With Soderberg gone, Ryan Spooner will become the favorite to slide into the vacancy at third line center. Alexander Khokhlachev also figures to be in the mix.
In 161 career regular season games with the Bruins, Soderberg scored 29 goals and added 65 assists for 94 points. He had one goal and five assists for six points in 14 playoff games.
In other Bruins news, the team announced the signing of Providence College center Noel Acciari on Monday. For more on Acciari, click here.
For more Bruins new, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Picking in middle of first round guarantees little for Bruins (and everyone else)||06.04.15 at 6:00 am ET|
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.
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.
|Pre-combine look at forwards Bruins could target in NHL draft||05.30.15 at 9:30 am ET|
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 »
|Bruins sign Anton Blidh to entry-level contract||05.29.15 at 10:21 am ET|
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.