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Coyotes claim Craig Cunningham off waivers from Bruins 03.02.15 at 12:18 pm ET
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Craig Cunningham

Craig Cunningham

The Bruins lost Craig Cunningham on waivers to Coyotes Monday, a league source confirmed to The move was first reported by ESPN’€™s Pierre LeBrun.

Cunningham, who had two goals and an assist for three points in 32 games for Boston this season, was placed on waivers Saturday as the Bruins made room on their roster for potential additions. The team had also waived him prior to the season, with the player going unclaimed.

This marks the second time this season that the Bruins have lost a forward on waivers. Matt Fraser was claimed by the Oilers after the Bruins waived him in December. Fraser has three goals in 21 games for Edmonton since being claimed.

Cunningham is a bigger loss than Fraser was. The gritty, defensively sound forward spent time on Boston’s fourth line this season and appeared to be a clear favorite to center the line next season. Losing him for nothing hurts the Bruins going forward, even if it has minimal impact on this season.

The Bruins originally drafted Cunningham in the fourth round (97th overall) of the 2010 draft. He played three seasons in Providence before splitting time between Providence and Boston this season.

Cunningham was named Providence’€™s captain prior to this season.

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Trade deadline: Canadiens land Jeff Petry from Oilers 03.02.15 at 9:13 am ET
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In a market that has seen some just-OK players move for high draft picks and top prospects, the Canadiens got perhaps the most reasonable deal of any team that has rented at the trade deadline.

The Habs acquired some much-needed help on their woeful blueline by landing Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry, who was the best remaining defenseman among the names expected to be traded. For his services, Montreal parted with a second-round pick and a conditional fifth that will become a fourth or third depending on whether Montreal wins zero, one or two rounds in the postseason.

TSN’€™s Ryan Rishaug was the first to report the trade and its terms.

Though their need on the back end isn’€™t as desperate as Montreal’€™s, the Bruins’€™ biggest need is defense. The fact that Petry is a rental could have deterred Boston from making a similar deal. The Bruins’€™ only move to this point has been for a controllable player in pending restricted free agent Brett Connolly.

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Bruins acquire F Brett Connolly from Lightning 03.02.15 at 6:18 am ET
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Brett Connolly

Brett Connolly

The Bruins announced early Monday that they have acquired right wing and former sixth overall pick Brett Connolly from the Lightning for their second-round picks in the next two drafts.

Connolly, 22, has 12 goals, three assists for 15 points with 38 penalty minutes in 50 games this season. He has skated on Tampa’€™s third line recently with Valtteri Filppula and Cedric Paquette.

In his 134-game career, covering parts of four seasons, he has 18 goals, 14 assists and 72 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 181-pound British Columbia native tied for third in the AHL with 31 goals during the 2012-13 season in 71 games with the Syracuse Crunch. His 63 points ranked ninth.

In acquiring Connolly, the sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft, the Bruins paid a steep price, but sought and obtained an actual piece going forward rather than a rental. The 22-year-old forward will be a restricted free agent at season’s end after playing this season on a one-year, two-way deal.

On the Lightning end, one might ask why Tampa would trade a good young player off its NHL roster in a season in which the Lightning are pushing for a top spot in the Eastern Conference. It’s very possible that the team wanted to open a spot for young forward Vladislav Namestnikov and were in turn motivated to trade Connolly, who would have required waivers to be sent down. Tampa would have certainly lost Connolly on waivers if they tried to send him to the AHL.

General manager Peter Chiarelli will hold a press conference Monday at 5 p.m. to discuss the deal and any other moves the Bruins might make.

To hold you over in the meantime, here’s a video of Connolly and fellow 2010 top prospects being uncomfortable with Don Cherry.

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Reports: Keith Yandle traded to Rangers 03.01.15 at 4:50 pm ET
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The Rangers have acquired Keith Yandle from the Coyotes, according to multiple reports.

According to TSN’€™s Darren Dreger, New York sent its 2016 first-round pick, a second-round pick, top forward prospect Anthony Duclair and defenseman John Moore for Yandle, defenseman Chris Summers and a 2015 fourth-round pick. The Coyotes will reportedly retain half of Yandle’€™s salary, meaning the Rangers will only be charged half of the defenseman’€™s $5.25 million cap hit through next season before Yandle hits free agency.

The large haul brought in by the Coyotes for Yandle adds to a big trade deadline for the Arizona. The Coyotes received a first-round pick and defensive prospect Klas Dahlbeck from the Blackhawks for center Antoine Vermette Saturday.

With the moves made, the Coyotes now have two first-round picks in each of the next two drafts. Additionally, they have the third-lowest point total in the NHL and stand a good chance of plummeting further in the race for Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.

Bruins have two roster spots open after reportedly waiving Craig Cunningham 03.01.15 at 1:18 pm ET
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The Bruins are making room for potential trade acquisitions, as the team opened a roster spot Sunday by placing Craig Cunningham on waivers with the intention of assigning him to Providence, TSN’€™s Bob McKenzie reported.

This is the second time the Bruins have waived Cunningham this season, as the team successfully got him to Providence just before the start of the regular season. Cunningham’€™s removal leaves the Bruins with 21 players on their active roster, meaning the team has two open spots it can fill before reaching the 23-man limit.

The Bruins have been burned by waivers recently, however, as the Oilers picked up Matt Fraser when the B’€™s waived him in December.

Cunningham would seem to have a future with the Bruins should they keep him, as he would be an ideal fourth-line center for the team in the coming seasons. Chris Kelly is currently centering the fourth line at the moment, a luxury for the B’€™s as they try to solidify their bottom-six.

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Blackhawks trade for Antoine Vermette 02.28.15 at 11:39 pm ET
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The Blackhawks acquired Antoine Vermette Saturday night, sending a 2015 first-round pick and defenseman Klas Dahlbeck to Arizona for the 32-year-old center.

The move crosses off another trade deadline option for the Bruins, as Boston was believed to be interested in Vermette’€™s services. Vermette will be a free agent at season’€™s end.

Arizona had long held out for a first-round pick before trading Vermette. The Bruins have no plans to trade their first-rounder, according to a source.

Antoine Vermette unsure of what trade deadline holds, but Chris Kelly wants him on Bruins 02.28.15 at 9:01 pm ET
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The Bruins like Antoine Vermette, but the price for him is high. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Bruins like Antoine Vermette, but the price for him is high. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Antoine Vermette knows he just played his last game as an Arizona Coyote. It can’€™t be easy to not know what, or rather where, is next.

“I don’€™t know what I’€™m thinking,” he said after the Bruins beat the Coyotes Saturday. “It’€™s obviously a strange position, and it’€™s not a fun one. It’€™s not the way you see it. As a group here, it’€™s not the position you want to be in. It’€™s a little strange, to say the least.

“You’€™ve got to take it as a man, and it’€™s part of the game, unfortunately. It’€™s not easy.”

The veteran center is expected to be moved before Monday’€™s trade deadline, and though the asking price is high (reportedly a first-round pick), the Bruins are among the teams believed to be in on the 32-year-old free agent to be.

Vermette had no shots on goal and was a minus-1 on the day Saturday. He was matched up early against Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line and struggled.

Among the reasons why the B’€™s might be interested in Vermette is the Ottawa connection with Peter Chiarelli. Vermette played for the Senators from 2003-2009 and was a linemate of Chris Kelly‘€™s for three seasons.

Having been traded before, Kelly could understand Vermette’€™s postgame mood.

“Obviously it’€™s a difficult time. You guys love it, but it’€™s tough, especially for guys with families, to uproot midseason and things like that, but I played with Vermy for a few years in Ottawa and we’€™re still good friends,” Kelly said.

“He’€™s a great player. He plays every key position, he plays power play, kills penalties, last minute [whether] you’€™re up or down, he’€™s out there. Just a quality guy. He’€™s been around a long time, and any team that gets him, they’€™re going to be extremely happy with what they get.”

Asked whether he would like the Bruins to be that team, Kelly voiced his support for a potential Vermette acquisition.

“Yeah. Yeah, why not?” Kelly said. “€œI think if we have that opportunity and he comes, it would be great to see him and play with him again. We had a lot of great memories. We played together quite often in Ottawa and it was fun.”

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