|Ryan Spooner shines as Bruins prospects wrap up development camp||07.02.12 at 2:41 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins’ sixth annual development camp is in the books, as the B’s prospects finished the six-day camp with a power skating session and a scrimmage Monday at Ristuccia Arena.
Forward Ryan Spooner was the star of the day, scoring two goals for the white team in the black and white scrimmage. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli called Spooner “one of the usual suspects” when it comes to players pushing for an NHL job this season along with fellow 2010 second-round pick Jared Knight and defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Both Knight and Spooner will head to the AHL if they don’t make the team out of camp, as they finished their junior careers last season in the OHL.
More to come from camp.
|Zane Gothberg ready for school||07.01.12 at 11:42 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Zane Gothberg came into his first development camp a quirky 17-year-old who had recently finished high school. Two years later, he’s the most seasoned veteran of the camp among six goaltending prospects.
In town for his third camp, Gothberg has more experience on the Ristuccia ice than the likes of first-round pick Malcolm Subban or the older Parker Milner. When he first arrived in 2010 (his draft year — Gothberg was a sixth-round choice of the B’s), he was ready to embark on his USHL career. After two successful seasons with the Fargo Force, he’ll head to the University of North Dakota in the fall.
Gothberg had to be patient after committing to North Dakota. Both Brad Eidsness and Aaron Dell were upperclassmen last season, so the coaches decided it would be best for Gothberg to spend another season in the USHL.
With Eidsness graduated, Gothberg, who had a 2.22 goals-against average and .921 last season for Fargo, will finally begin his college career with the hope of competing with Dell for playing time in the WCHA.
“There’s a good opportunity presenting itself,” Gothberg said. “Going in, I’ll be competing for the starting job. Competition only brings out the best in you, so I’m looking forward to it and it will be a good year. I’m really ready to step up to the next level and see what I can do there too.”
It’s a good thing Gothberg likes the competition, because with as many netminders in town for development camp as there are, he has to do even more to get the attention of coaches and the fans packing the stands. Providence coach Bruce Cassidy said as much Sunday, pointing out that the number of goalies and the fact that not all the drills involve shooting means that the netminders aren’t being worked quite as hard this summer.
“It’s different in the sense that there’s a lot more goalies and you don’t see as many shots,” Gothberg said. “The shots that you do see, your senses are kind of heightened because you’re not so fatigued from the previous day or two. Camp’s been good, seeing shots and really focusing on tracking shots and going from there.”
Two years ago, Gothberg made quite the first impression on the Boston media by explaining that he liked to “keep the room spunky and stuff” and added that he could occasionally be found getting pumped up before games by listening to Miley Cyrus. Though his musical taste has changed a bit — he’s more of a Jason Aldean guy these days — his eccentric personality hasn’t. That’s why it isn’t a surprise that he’s getting along with Subban, whose joking nature has helped him make a similar impression on the media.
“He’s a great kid, a great guy,” Gothberg said of Subban . “He likes to joke around here and there, and that’s just like [the rest of the Bruins’ goalies], and I respect that. He’s a good goaltender. Everyone here is too. … We definitely have a good time.”
|Tough guy Anthony Camara adds offense and intrigue||07.01.12 at 4:09 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Entering last summer’s development camp, Bruins’ 2011 third-round pick Anthony Camara had fought fellow B’s prospect Tyler Randell during the OHL season, making for some interesting stories. This year, the tough youngster says he has no such stories with current B’s prospects, but he has hit Malcolm Subban where it hurts — even if Subban won’t admit it.
“I scored a couple of times on Subban this year,” the reserved Camara said. “I don’t think there are too many guys in here who I fought this year, but I definitely got Subban for a couple of goals.”
Subban begs to differ.
“I’ve seen him make a few nice passes, but I don’t know about him scoring on me,” last week’s first-round pick said with a smirk. “I know he does everything else pretty well though.”
Turns out Subban — a hit with the media and teammates — is already lying to them one week into his Bruins career. Camara, who didn’t do much scoring at all prior to being drafted by the B’s, has indeed scored a rather nifty goal on the Belleville Bulls netminder, albeit off a broken play. Still, a goal’s a goal, and Camara put quite a few in this past season.
Based on where he was drafted and what he might be becoming, there are few Bruins prospects more intriguing than Camara. The B’s turned heads last June when they drafted Camara, a fighter first and foremost, in the third round. The 6-foot-1 left wing had only scored eight goals in the OHL in his draft year, and just six in the previous season, but Boston saw enough in Camara to take him 81st overall.
The Toronto native used last summer’s development camp to show that he was more than just a grinder, but this past season saw Camara really add the element of offense to his game. He scored seven goals in 35 games for Saginaw before being traded to the Barrie Colts. There, he added nine more goals in 31 games with the help of a Hall-of-Famer.
“I just felt like I had more opportunity when I got traded,” Camara explained Sunday. “Definitely I put up some good numbers in [Saginaw], but when I got traded my coach was Dale Hawerchuk and he definitely knows how to play hockey. He put a couple numbers up in his day [1409 to be exact], so he taught me a few things in different situations. That definitely helped me out.”
Claude Julien took in a bit of last year’s development camp and came away particularly impressed with Camara, calling him a “pretty tough individual that can play the game.” At this year’s camp, the Bruins have observed Camara — who got in 15 fights this past season — as being every bit as tough as he was when they drafted him, but more offensively potent.
“He’s better,” Providence coach Bruce Cassidy said after Sunday’s scrimmage. “‘¦ He wants to get noticed, finishing checks. He also prides himself on wanting to be able to to play with the puck. He doesn’t want to be typecast, so to speak, and he wants to have an all-around game.”
While the stats made it easy for Camara to be typecast on draft day, he certainly isn’t among his future teammates.
“He’s a great player,” Subban said. “He brings great energy to the game, a great hitter with a great shot.”
A great shot that can get past Subban.
|Peter Chiarelli expects Bruins to ‘be quiet’ early in free agency||06.29.12 at 12:54 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins general Peter Chiarelli said Friday that he does not expect the team to make a splash on the first day of free agency Sunday.
“My gut is telling me that we’ll be quiet,” Chiarelli said. “That’s my gut. Now, if you at how we’ve built the team over the years, but for my first year and when we signed [Michael] Ryder, we haven’t really gone out and hit a couple of home runs on July 1. Maybe I look at the trade market after July 1, but my gut is I’ll probably be quiet.”
The Bruins, who have already re-signed unrestricted free agents Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell this summer, will return the vast majority of their 2011-12 roster next season. Wing Jordan Caron will likely take on a bigger role while defenseman Dougie Hamilton stands strong chance at making the team.
|Bruins sign Alexander Khokhlachev as he prepares for KHL||06.29.12 at 12:40 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli shed light on 2011 second-round pick Alexander Khokhlachev‘s situation Friday, confirming that the Russian forward will play in the KHL next season but noting that the Bruins have agreed with him on an entry level deal, allowing them to retain his rights. The deal will not be registered with the league until Sunday.
Khokhlachev, 18, will play one season in the KHL for Moscow Spartak (where his father is the general manager) before returning to North America to turn pro in the 2013-14 season.
“The plan is now for him to play in Russia,” Chiarelli said. “He’ll attend our camp, and then he’ll go back for the Russian team — his father is the [general] manager there. After one year, he’s under our [control]. He wants to be an NHL player, and he’s making strides towards that.”
Khokhlachev’s season with the Windsor Spitfires [OHL] was cut short by a lacerated kidney last season, an injury from which he still hasn’t fully recovered. He’s taking part in this week’s development camp, but is not taking contact.
The 5-foot-10 forward had 34 goals in 67 games in his draft year before adding 25 more in 56 games this past season. There may be more room for growth against higher competition in the KHL, something “Koko,” as he is called, looks forward to.
“I will be playing with men,” Khokhlachev said. “It’s not junior hockey. It’s a lot of guys who have played in the NHL before, so it’s a really good league, the second[-best] league in the world. ‘¦ In OHL, I play against [younger] guys, and in [the KHL] I’ll play against men.”
Said Chiarelli: “If you have an hour, I could go through all the positives and negatives of both,” Chiarelli said. “What we decided with Koko was that it’s a unique set of circumstances with his dad being the manager there and saying, ‘Look, it’s one year and then back to North America.’ He felt it was right for him, and at the end of the day we went along with him on this. We’re going to support him on it.”
Khokhlachev’s English was very limited when he was first drafted by the B’s last summer, but he seems to have a much better handle on the language after another year of lessons. He said Friday that he’ll be able to continue practicing his English in Russia, as his KHL team will have an American goaltender and a Canadian defenseman.
|Reaction to the Tuukka Rask deal||06.28.12 at 4:36 pm ET|
With the Bruins and Tuukka Rask reportedly agreeing in principle to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, several points can be drawn. Here’s some quick analysis of the signing.
– Given that Rask has never started the majority of the regular-season games in any season in his NHL career, this deal is a smart one for the B’s. It allows Rask, who was limited to just 22 starts last season due to being Tim Thomas‘ backup and later being injured, to prove to the Bruins that he’s an elite starting goaltender before they pay him as such.
The most starts Rask has had in a single season was 39 back in the 2009-10 season, when he led the NHL with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. He had 27 starts in the 2010-11 season before last season’s 22.
– Rask, who would have been a restricted free agent this Sunday (the first day of free agency), will be a restricted free agent again at the end of this deal. A player needs to either be 27 years of age or to have played seven seasons in the league in order to be an unrestricted free agent, and the now-25-year-old Rask will be neither next July 1. That means that there’s no possibility that Rask can put together a mammoth season and bolt next summer without the Bruins getting anything return. If Rask ends up getting big money out of this move, it will come from the Bruins unless they trade him or see him signed away via an offer sheet. The latter scenario would be as rare as it gets, so don’t count on him going anywhere.
– Malcolm Subban doesn’t have anything to do with this. The 18-year-old OHL goaltender and 2012 24th overall pick is still years and years away from being an NHL goaltender, so there’s no chance that the B’s gave Rask one year with the idea of replacing him with Subban in 2013.
– While the one-year deal isn’t a major shock for reasons listed above, the $3.5 million total could be a bargain for the Bruins. It’s a big raise for Rask, who carried a $1.25 million cap hit over the course of his recently expired two-year, $2.5 million deal, but the guess here was that Rask’s next deal would end up getting a deal somewhere around $4 million range. If he puts together a brilliant season for the B’s, he could end up getting paid much more than that each year in his next deal. With Thomas’ deal expired by then (if they don’t trade him), the B’s will have that space against the cap to commit to Rask.
– Speaking of next deals, Peter Chiarelli is going to have a lot of work to do over the course of the next year. Nathan Horton, Andrew Ference and Anton Khudobin will be unrestricted free agents next summer, while Rask, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Jordan Caron will all be restricted.
|Bruins reportedly give Tuukka Rask one-year deal||06.28.12 at 4:14 pm ET|
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie (via twitter), the Bruins and goaltender Tuukka Rask have agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.5 million deal. Rask was set to become a restricted free agent on Sunday, the opening of free agency.
Last season, Rask was limited to 22 starts due to an abdomen/groin injury suffered in March. He posted an 11-8-3 record with a 2.05 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. He is expected to be the team’s No. 1 goalie next season, with Anton Khudobin serving as the backup.
In order to be an unrestricted free agent, a player must be either 27 years of age or have played seven years in the league. Rask, 25, will not have met either of those benchmarks, so he will be a restricted free agent again following the coming season.