|Don Sweeney didn’t say the thing that everyone thinks Don Sweeney said||07.15.15 at 7:43 pm ET|
Don Sweeney deserves a lot of the criticism he’s received this offseason. He traded Dougie Hamilton for a relatively minuscule package, overpaid for Adam McQuaid and, for some reason, traded a third-round pick for Zac Rinaldo. There’s plenty to criticize without adding in quotes he didn’t say.
On Tuesday morning, a couple of tweets referring to a quote from Sweeney made the rounds. The tweets suggested the Bruins felt they adequately replaced Milan Lucic, Hamilton and Reilly Smith with Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes. Believing it to be true, folks rightfully pointed out how silly that logic was.
Being busy with development camp, the whole thing was overlooked on this end. After finally listening to the appearance (which came on WAAF), Sweeney did not say that. Essentially, he said the Bruins lost guys who scored and they need the ones who came in to score. Here’s his answer to Lyndon Byers’ question about replacing Hamilton:
“Well, LB, we did a goal exercise prior to going into the draft and free agency, and clearly between Milan, Reilly and Dougie, it was about 41 goals in the course of [last] year. Now, Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes had, you know, good offensive years and accounted for 41 goals between them, so we certainly had to be cognizant of goals going out and goals coming in. Clearly, those guys are going to have to come in and score.”
Much like Sweeney shouldn’t be let off the hook when he screws up, he shouldn’t be criticized for things he didn’t say.
|Bruins sign Jakub Zboril to entry level contract||07.15.15 at 5:30 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Wednesday that they have signed defenseman Jakub Zboril, the first of their three first-round picks in last month’s draft, to his entry level contract.
Zboril, a 6-foot-1, 184-pound blueliner is among the prospects at this week’s development camp. A well-rounded defenseman, Zboril had 13 goals and 20 assists for 33 points in 44 games for the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs.
The signing of Zboril likely will not impact his track to the NHL. Because he plays in the Canadian Hockey League as a member of a QMJHL team, Zboril has to be returned to his junior club if he doesn’t stay in the NHL, per the NHL/CHL transfer agreement. Zboril can play nine NHL games before the first year of his contract would be burned, though he isn’t expected to push for NHL time this season.
Zboril’s circumstances will be different than that of 2014 first-rounder David Pastrnak, who was playing in Europe when he came to the Bruins and therefore was allowed to spend much of last season in the AHL as a member of the Providence Bruins. Pastrnak was the youngest player in both the AHL and NHL last season.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Notes from Day 2 of Bruins development camp: Joonas Kemppainen speaks||07.15.15 at 3:17 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins prospects took the ice for the second day of development camp Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena, with the injured Joonas Kemppainen (hamstring) still not participating.
Here are some notes from the second day of the four-day camp:
– Joonas Kemppainen said he suffered his hamstring injury while training last Monday. The 27-year-old Swedish import does not speak English well, but he articulated his frustration with being kept off the ice well enough.
Said Kemmpainen: “It sucks to do some rehab work, but I hope to [have] a quick recovery.”
It’s still possible that Kemppainen could get on the ice Thursday or Friday.
– Providence College coach Nate Leaman was among the instructors on the ice Wednesday. The coach of the national champions is familiar with at least two players in camp in forwards Noel Acciari and Brandon Tanev, both of whom played for him last season. Acciari signed with the Bruins as a free agent, while Tanev is in camp on an invite basis.
– Fifteenth overall pick Zach Senyshyn showed off his skill set a bit more Wednesday, beating defenseman Jeremy Lauzon in a 1-on-1 drill and sliding the puck past third-round pick Daniel Vladar from a tough angle.
– Defenseman Max Iafrate is an interesting kid. While he too has a very hard shot, he doesn’t have much in common with his father, Al Iafrate, regarding their paths to the NHL.
Al, a longtime NHL defenseman who played for the Bruins when Max was born back in 1994, was the fourth overall pick in the 1994 draft. Max, meanwhile, went undrafted and had been in three different development camps (Washington, San Jose and Colorado) prior to signing his first professional contract this summer with the Bruins.
“I’m a 21-year-old on an AHL contract,” he said. “There’s tons of different ways to get there, but [Al] got there pretty easy. He was in the NHL when he was 18. He didn’t really face anything that I’ve had to face.”
The 6-foot-2, 218-pounder will play in Providence next season, where the Bruins hope he will follow Kevan Miller as an unheralded player who developed into an NHL contributor.
“I think any defenseman that goes into Providence is going to learn a lot quickly,” Jay Pandolfo said. “Bruce Cassidy and Kevin Dean do an unreal job down there. I played a long time, and going down there this year, I learned a ton from those guys.”
– P.J. Axelsson, a Bruins scout who is serving as an instructor this week, is enjoying his new profession. Axelsson, who played his entire NHL career with the Bruins before playing four seasons back home in Sweden, admits he’s still getting used to being a scout.
“So far, I love it,” Axelsson said. “I’m still learning, obviously; I’ve only been doing it for two years, but it’s fun.”
|Notes from Day 1 of Bruins development camp||07.14.15 at 3:50 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins held their first day of on-ice work as the ninth annual development camp got underway Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena. The camp, which is headlined by goaltender Zane McIntyre and Boston’s trio of first-round picks from last month’s draft, will run until Friday.
Here are some notes from Tuesday, which featured two different groups that took the ice two times apiece in addition to off-ice testing:
– Absent from the sessions was Joonas Kemppainen, a 27-year-old center from Finland who was signed this summer. Development coach Jay Pandolfo said that Kemppainen suffered a hamstring injury in recent weeks, but could be on the ice later in camp. Kemppainen is on a two-way contract and could potentially contend for a spot in Boston this season.
– After the on-ice sessions, Pandolfo reiterated what we already knew: None of this year’s draft picks will be in the NHL this season.
Said Pandolfo: “I don’t think we’re expecting to see another [David] Pastrnak here, so we’ve got to make sure we’re patient with those guys.”
– McIntyre is here for the sixth consecutive year, making him the most frequent attendee in the camp’s history. The 2010 sixth-round pick was a project when he was drafted, but he comes to New England this season as one of the best goaltending prospects in hockey. The 22-year-old signed with Boston this offseason, but could have opted to become a free agent and sign elsewhere. Check back later for a piece on his decision to sign with the B’s.
McIntyre was joined by 2015 third-round pick Daniel Vladar and Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig.
– It’s early for real impressions to be made, but Jake DeBrusk stood out the most among the Bruins’ three first-round picks based solely on his size. Listed at 6-foot-0 and 174 pounds, DeBrusk looks a bit bigger and thicker. Pandolfo said the 18-year-old is not done growing, so he could be a powerful player down the road.
“He plays hard. … He’s still got plenty of room to put on weight, but he was a little taller than I thought, too,” Pandolfo said. “If he can keep gaining some weight and add size, it’s going to help us for sure.”
– Former Bruins forward and current Bruins scout P.J. Axelsson served as a coach for Tuesday’s sessions. As a responsible forward who hails from Sweden, he would figure to be a good influence on 2015 second-round pick Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson.
Other coaches included Bruins assistants coach Joe Sacco and Doug Jarvis, goalie coach Bob Essensa, Providence head coach Bruce Cassidy, Providence assistant coach Kevin Dean and skating coach Kim Brandvold.
– Miami University center Sean Kuraly, whom Boston acquired from the Sharks in the Martin Jones trade, is among the attendees. Pandolfo said after the on-ice sessions that Kuraly “fits the mold of a Bruin.”
– Pandolfo isn’t wild about spending much of the camp scrimmaging, though he did say he’s thinking about potentially having a 4-on-4 scrimmage on Friday. That would provide some of the stronger skaters an opportunity to showcase their attributes.
|Bruins announce development camp roster||07.08.15 at 7:58 pm ET|
The Bruins announced the roster for next week’s development camp on Wednesday. The group of prospects is headlined by the team’s trio of first-round picks from last month’s draft, as well as development camp mainstay Zane McIntyre.
The roster is as follows:
Forwards: Noel Acciari, Jack Becker, Anders Bjork, Anton Blidh, Colby Cave, Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, Frank Dichiara, Ryan Donato, Ryan Fitzgerald, Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Jesse Gabrielle, Colton Hargrove, Danton Heinen, Justin Hickman, Cameron Hughes, Alex Iafallo, Joonas Kemppainen, Sean Kuraly, Andrew Poturalski, Zachary Senyshyn, Brandon Tanev, Frank Vatrano, Mike Vecchione
Defensemen: Matt Benning, Brandon Carlo, Brien Diffley, Zach Frye, Mark Hamilton, Max Iafrate, Emil Johansson, Jeremy Lauzon, Rob O’Gara, Jakub Zboril
Goaltenders: Michael Garteig, Zane McIntyre, Daniel Vladar
Dichiara, Iafallo, Poturalski, Tanev, Vecchione, Diffley, Frye, Hamilton and Garteig will attend the camp on an invite basis.
The annual prospect camp, now in its ninth year, will begin Tuesday at Ristuccia Arena.
|New Bruins Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes arrive in Boston||07.07.15 at 5:32 pm ET|
New Bruins Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes met with the press at TD Garden Tuesday. Both players come to Boston with the pressure of improving an offense that struggled last season, but the duo embrace the idea of playing in Boston.
For Hayes, it’s a return home. The Dorchester native is on his fourth organization at just 25 years of age, but it’s the organization he’s long wanted to call his employer.
“This has been a dream come true for me,” Hayes said. “To be able to come home to my hometown and my family and be able to have this opportunity to win another championship for this city is a dream come true.”
The 6-foot-6 right wing is coming off a 2014-15 season in which he scored a career-high 19 goals for the Panthers. Upon being traded to the B’s last week for Reilly Smith, Hayes inked a three-year contract extension with a $2.3 million average annual value.
Even richer is Beleskey, who took a five-year contract worth $19 million (an AAV of $3.8 million) on the first day of free agency. The trade of Smith and Marc Savard‘s contract for Hayes’ rights gave the B’s financial flexibility to sign the player with some breathing room against the salary cap’s $71.4 million upper limit.
Beleskey is the most notable player the B’s have added in an offseason that has seen Dougie Hamilton (Flames) and Milan Lucic (Kings) depart. Beleskey figures to replace Lucic on David Krejci‘s left wing, but he says he’ll play wherever coach Claude Julien feels is appropriate.
“I’m going to play my same game: be a power forward, get in on the forecheck and go to the net hard,” Beleskey said. “That’s what I’m going to do, and if he sees me play wherever, it doesn’t really matter. I’m going to do what he needs me to do, and he’ll put me where he thinks I belong.”
The 27-year-old Beleskey hopes to build on the first 20-goal season of his career. Asked whether the vacancy in Boston’s top six (and thus opportunity to skate with Krejci or Patrice Bergeron) made the B’s an attractive destination, he said Boston would be an ideal landing spot regardless of the roster.
“It’s the Boston Bruins. It’s an extremely attractive place to be,” he said. “I looked at their team, and I talked with my agent, my family, and it’s always been a place I’ve liked.”
One pressure that Beleskey won’t face is that of playing in his hometown. The Windsor, Ontario native is far from home, whereas Hayes now has the opportunity ‘ and potential burden ‘ of playing in front of friends and family.
Hayes says he hasn’t gotten ticket requests just yet, but given that his father is a ticket broker, that might work out well for his family.
“I’ll leave that one for my dad,” Hayes said with a grin. “Keep his ticket business going in a little bit.”
|Bruins sign Jimmy Hayes to 3-year deal, Brett Connolly to 1-year deal||07.06.15 at 2:34 pm ET|
The Bruins have signed right wings Jimmy Hayes and Brett Connolly to new contracts, the team announced Monday.
Hayes’ contract is a three-year deal with an average annual value of $2.3 million, while Connolly has agreed to a one-year contract with an AAV of $1.025 million.
With Hayes and Connolly signed, the Bruins have approximately ($66,410,667) committed to 20 players for next season.
While the Bruins owned both players’ rights as restricted free agents, both players will look to make a name for themselves in Boston next season after playing the bulk of their NHL careers elsewhere.
Connolly, acquired at the trade deadline from Tampa for a pair of second-round picks last season, played just five games for the Bruins after returning from a hand injury suffered in his first practice with the team. The 23-year-old had no goals, two assists and 10 penalty minutes in his late-season stint in Boston’s lineup.
The sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Connolly had 12 goals in 50 games for the Lightning last season before being moved to the B’s due to a surplus of right wings in Tampa.
Hayes, 25, was acquired last Wednesday in a deal that sent Reilly Smith and Marc Savard‘s contract to the Panthers. The Dorchester native was a second-round pick of the Maple Leafs in 2008 before being traded to Chicago in 2010. He played parts of three seasons for Chicago prior to a trade to the Panthers in November of 2013. The Boston College product enjoyed the best season of his career last season for Florida, scoring 19 goals and adding 16 assists for 35 points in 72 games.
The team also signed forward Brandon DeFazio to a two-way contract.