|Loui Eriksson in talks with six teams, Bruins willing to go past 4 years||06.26.16 at 10:28 pm ET|
As expected, teams have used the NHL’s free agency interview window to approach winger Loui Eriksson, who spent the last three seasons with the Bruins. As of Sunday evening, six teams had contacted Eriksson’s agent about the player.
The Bruins are interested in retaining Eriksson, but have been reluctant to sign Eriksson for anything longer than four years. That said, a source indicated to WEEI.com Sunday night that the Bruins are indeed willing to go beyond four years on a contract carrying a lesser average annual value. Eriksson’s camp believes the soon-to-be 31-year-old will receive at least five years on the open market.
Though the Bruins could still sign Eriksson prior to free agency, he’ll be free to sign wherever when he reaches unrestricted status on Friday.
“I’m sure they’ll be exploring [the interview period],” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said over the weekend. “We’re in a position where we’re going to sign a couple of players and we’ve [been interested] all along. We just don’t know whether or not we’ve found common ground. We clearly didn’t because we didn’t sign, but the discussions were good. They were positive, but it’s a balancing act and we’ll be now in discussions with other players as well.”
A left-shot wing who plays both sides, Eriksson scored 30 goals and added 33 assists for 63 points last season for the Bruins.
|Report: Ray Bourque arrested on DWI charges||06.25.16 at 5:17 pm ET|
According to WCVB, Bruins defenseman and Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque was arrested Friday night on DWI charges.
WCVB’s report cited Andover police but offered little information on the specifics as of Saturday evening.
Considered one of the best defensemen of all time, Bourque played for the Bruins from 1979 through 2000 before being traded to the Avalanche. He eventually won the Stanley Cup in his second season in Colorado, the final season of his career.
Bourque captained the Bruins from 1985 until the time of his trade, sharing captain duties with Rick Middleton for the first three years.
A five-time Norris Trophy winner, Bourque scored 410 goals and added 1169 assists for 1579 points — all of which are the most ever by an NHL defenseman — in 1612 NHL games. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
|Bruins don’t see their first-round center as a top-six forward||06.25.16 at 3:24 pm ET|
BUFFALO — The Bruins turned heads late in the first round Friday when they selected 6-foot-2 American center Trent Frederic. After the player was selected, he admitted that though he was tough customer, he had a ways to go offensively.
Modesty, right? Maybe not.
In their own words, the Bruins spent the 29th overall pick on a player whom they don’t see being a top-six forward.
“We had him in the right spot because we all liked him,” director of amateur scouting Keith Gretzky said after the draft. “That’s the one thing: he’s not going to be a top two line guy. We know that. He has some jam, he plays hard. Look at his penalty minutes. We were really fortunate to get him.”
Draft picks can be scratch tickets, but if you’re going to go off the board (as they did in this case; Frederic was considered a mid-to-late second-round pick by many), why not swing for the fences and go for the most talented guy? The most obvious candidate for such a pick was miniature right wing Alex DeBrincat, who at 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds scored 51 goals in each of his first two seasons in the OHL.
Everyone gave the Bruins flack for taking Zach Senyshyn 15th overall last year, but that move still seems more sensible than this one.
By the time the Bruins picked again at No. 49 Saturday, DeBrincat was off the board, having been drafted by the Blackhawks. The Bruins feared that if they passed on Frederic at 29, they might not get another chance at him. Though he could very well prove to be an NHL player, you’d think the Bruins would have been able to find another potential bottom sixer later.
|Don Sweeney gives Jimmy Hayes tough love (and then some)||06.25.16 at 2:20 pm ET|
BUFFALO — While it wasn’t quite the 2013 draft ripping that Peter Chiarelli gave then-Bruins forward Tyler Seguin, Don Sweeney showed Saturday that he’s not afraid to be blunt in describing one of his own players.
Sweeney didn’t hold back when asked what the future holds for Jimmy Hayes as the Dorchester native enters his second season as a Bruin. After being acquired in a trade that sent Reilly Smith to Florida, the Boston College product scored just 13 goals and buried only one puck over his final 23 games of the season.
With the Bruins’ right side in flux, Sweeney painted a clear picture of Hayes’ shortcomings and said he needs the 6-foot-5 wing to be better.
“I think Jimmy had a pretty good start to his year, but he tailed off when the team needed him most,” Sweeney said. “He should take some responsibility for that, I think. We’ve had a pretty frank discussion about it to challenge him to take his game to another level to be able to help out a younger player that he’s played a lot with in Ryan Spooner. I have to put ownership on Jimmy in terms of saying, ‘Hey. You have to take more responsibility.’
“It’s not just about finishing scoring goals; he has the capacity to do that. He gets power play time and net-front time, but to get to the hard areas of the ice with more consistency, it’s an area he needs to improve upon.
“I’m not shy in terms of — just like in my own career going back — coaches acknowledging where you had to work on. We as an organization feel like those are areas where we need to have our players be driven to get better.”
Hayes is entering the second year of a three-year contract that carries a $2.3 million cap hit.
|Bruins will likely reach out to Steven Stamkos||06.25.16 at 2:00 pm ET|
BUFFALO — Canucks general manager Jim Benning was fined by the league for talking about Steven Stamkos too early. Even with the legal interview period now open, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney still chose his words carefully when asked about this summer’s top free agent. In fact, he never even said Stamkos’ name when asked about him.
But he did indicate he’d reach out to the three-time 40-goal-scorer.
“We will take the temperature of whoever will help our hockey club,” Sweeney said with a grin. “If it lines up, that’s what we’d like to do. We obviously have flexibility for any particular player that we would like to go after. There’s a lot of coveted ones in the market, so we’ll make all the calls. Absolutely all the calls.”
Among the other top free agents who could be of interest to the Bruins is former Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo.
Sweeney wouldn’t rule out potentially touching base with former Bruins left wing Milan Lucic, but that ship has sailed. Lucic is set to hit the open market on July 1, with the Oilers among the favorites to sign the 28-year-old.
|Bruins’ Day 2 picks led by Ryan Lindgren, brother of Canadiens’ Charlie Lindgren||06.25.16 at 10:40 am ET|
BUFFALO — The Bruins concluded the 2016 selection with six selections, one trade and zero Canadians.
After selecting New York Native Charlie McAvoy and St. Louis native Trent Frederic in the first round Friday, the B’s opened their Day 2 picks by selecting American defenseman Ryan Lindgren 49th overall.
A left-shot D, Lindgren was the captain of the U.S. National Under 18 team. The 6-foot-0, 198-pounder had six goals and 19 assists for 25 points with 60 penalty minutes on 61 games last season. NHL Central Scouting ranked Lindgren as the 49th-best North American skater in the draft.
Lindgren, who hails from Minneapolis and is committed to the University of Minnesota, is the younger brother of Canadiens goaltending prospect Charlie Lindgren.
“We were talking about that before when I got picked by Boston,” Lindgren said. “There’s a little rivalry there, so that will be pretty cool.”
Known as a physical defender who blocks shots, Lindgren drew praise by Don Sweeney for his personality.
“Lindgren’s character spoke volumes to us,” Sweeney said. “The complete level that he has, we’re really excited about the depth of where we’re at.”
The Bruins did not have a pick in the third or fourth round, though they had back-to-back picks in the fifth round. Boston spent the selections on Finnish left wing Joona Koppanen and American defenseman Cameron Clarke.
Koppanen is a winger with ample size (6-foot-4, 192 pounds) who put up 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 40 games for the Ilves Under-20 team in Finland.
Clarke stands at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds. The right-shot defenseman had 50 points (nine goals, 41 assists) in 59 games last season for Lone Star of the North American Hockey League. He is committed to play at Ferris State next season.
In the sixth round, the Bruins went with Swedish forward Oskar Steen. The 5-foot-9, 188-pounder had eight goals and 24 assists for 32 points playing junior hockey in Sweden.
The B’s then flipped their seventh-round pick to the Panthers for a 2017 sixth-rounder.
|Free agent interview period open; Bruins set to explore options beyond Loui Eriksson||06.25.16 at 9:46 am ET|
BUFFALO — With Loui Eriksson likely headed to free agency and the period for teams to interview free agents having opened at midnight, the Bruins are set to lay the groundwork for whatever their July 1 plans may be.
Those plans still may include retaining Eriksson, but he figures to get plenty of attention from other clubs willing to go longer than the four-year term from which the Bruins have not budged.
“I had a good conversation with Loui’s group, J.P., [Friday],” general manager Don Sweeney said late Friday night. “We’ll continue to see. Obviously the period to talk to other teams is opening and I’m sure they’ll be exploring that. We’re in a position where we’re going to sign a couple of players and we’ve [been interested] all along. We just don’t know whether or not we’ve found common ground. We clearly didn’t because we didn’t sign, but the discussions were good. They were positive, but it’s a balancing act and we’ll be now in discussions with other players as well.”