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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.

Read More: Brett Connolly,
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.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Craig Cunningham,
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.”

Read More: Antoine Vermette, Chris Kelly,
5 things we learned as Bruins handle Coyotes in last game before trade deadline 02.28.15 at 8:05 pm ET
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In the Bruins’€™ final game before Monday’€™s trade deadline, they delivered a message that they haven’€™t delivered enough this season: This group can be dominant.

The team needs reinforcements to go far, with a top-four defenseman rivaling consistency for the biggest thing standing between this Bruins team and a deep run. Still, Boston turned in a thorough performance Saturday and took an easy 4-1 victory against a bad Coyotes team (box) in an effort that was more promising than

Patrice Bergeron‘€™s line scored a pair of goals against potential trade targets, while Ryan Spooner’€™s line continued to show it has the offensive chops to make up for its defensive shortcomings. The team chased Arizona starting goalie Mike Smith after putting four of their first 20 shots past him.

Tuukka Rask, after finally getting a night off Friday, came 9:39 away from his third shutout of the season, with Martin Erat breaking it up late in the game.

The Bruins’€™ play of late –€” wins in three of four games –€” and their current standing in the final Eastern Conference wild card spot leaves management with a difficult decision regarding whether the Bruins should be big buyers in a season that’€™s seen injuries and subpar play prevent the team from getting any traction.

Here are four more things we learned Saturday:

VERMETTE LOOKS ROUGH IN LIKELY FINALE

Antoine Vermette may be the biggest name remaining of the players expected to be dealt, which probably says more about this trade market than it does about Vermette.

Nevertheless, Vermette being in town Saturday meant the Bruins, who are believed to be interested in Vermette’€™s services, got a chance to watch him on Garden ice. The takeaway: He isn’€™t going to dominate top lines, and he’€™s now gone six straight games without a point.

Matched up against Bergeron’€™s line early, Vermette was exposed Saturday night for a first-period Brad Marchand goal. Vermette was passive in the offensive zone, as Marchand broke the puck out cleanly with a pass through Vermette to Bergeron. The Bruins took the puck the length of the ice before Marchand took a feed from Reilly Smith and fired it in from the left circle.

Patrice Bergeron is as difficult an opponent as there is in the NHL and Saturday was in all likelihood Vermette’€™s final game with the Coyotes, so the environment and circumstances may have factored into the veteran center’€™s performance. Either way, the guy isn’€™t worth a first-round pick.

BRUINS BEAT YANDLE, TOO

The thought here has been that the Bruins shouldn’€™t give up much for Vermette unless defenseman Keith Yandle comes with him. Well, just in case the Bruins are interested in that, the Bergeron line did its best to lower his value, too.

Bergeron scored his 18th goal of the season thanks to Smith outbattling Yandle in front of the net. With the players fighting for position in front and Yandle’€™s stick elevated, Bergeron’€™s pass in front went off the Milton native’€™s skate and past Smith to make it 3-0.

Yandle has one more year remaining on his contract after this season at $5.25 million. He’€™s a terrific offensive player, but plays like Saturday’€™s will happen with him.

SPOONER LINE SCORING

As we’€™ve written before Ryan Spooner’€™s line with Milan Lucic and David Pastrnak is going to make defensive mistakes, and the Bruins can live with that as long as the line scores.

Four games into the experiment, the Bruins (relatively, given what this season has been) are alive and well. Members of the Spooner line have totaled three goals over the last two games and four in the four games they’€™ve been together, as Spooner netted the game-winner Friday night in overtime and Pastrnak scored on the shift following a power play in the second period.

Lucic scored his 13th goal of the season Saturday after Pastrnak chipped the puck into the zone, with the bouncing puck causing Mike Smith to leave his net and quickly retreat. This allowed Lucic to throw the puck off the goalie’€™s skate from behind the net for the game’€™s first goal.

The line had to be bailed out a couple times ‘€” Dennis Seidenberg bailed out Pastrnak in the second and Rask bailed out Spooner after missing the puck in the neutral zzone on a third-period chance, but that’€™s to be expected. As long as the goals for outweigh the goals against, the Bruins can get away with playing the three together.

CHARA ON POINT LIKE A DECIMAL IS

Part of the Bruins’€™ recent revamp of their power play included a position change for Zdeno Chara. It worked out for the Bruins Saturday night.

After playing forward as the net-front man on the first power play unit since the beginning of last season, Chara was moved to the point on the second unit. Boston’€™s second group had a very rough go of it during Boston’€™s first power play, struggling with a pair of entries, the first of which resulted in a clear and the second of which saw Pastrnak go offsides.

The group made up for it in the second period, as Chara took a pass from Reilly Smith and stepped into a one-time from the top of the right circle that went flying past a screening Carl Soderberg and Mike Smith.

Bruins recall goaltender Jeremy Smith on emergency basis 02.27.15 at 1:33 pm ET
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The Bruins recalled goaltender Jeremy Smith from Providence on an emergency basis Friday.

Niklas Svedberg was reportedly the only goaltender at morning skate, with Claude Julien telling reporters after the skate that Tuukka Rask was sick.

Rask has not had a night off since Jan. 8. With Smith up, the Bruins have the options of sitting Rask and dressing Svedberg and Smith.

Read More: Jeremy Smith, Tuukka Rask,
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