|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.
|Chris Breen signs 1-year, 2-way deal with Bruins||07.02.15 at 3:49 pm ET|
The Bruins signed defenseman Chris Breen to a one-year, two-way contract worth a potential $600,000 at the NHL level on Thursday.
Breen, a 26-year-old left shot blueliner, spent all of last season with the Providence Bruins. It was his first season in the Bruins organization after playing the first four years of his professional career with the Flames organization.
The 6-foot-7, 224-pound defenseman will have his work cut out for him if he seeks a spot in Boston, as the B’s have a number of blueliners contending for a spot in an offseason that has seen the departure of Dougie Hamilton and the addition of Colin Miller.
|Don Cherry on MFB: Milan Lucic is ‘[going to] come back with a force’ this season||07.02.15 at 12:52 pm ET|
Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry joined Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the Bruins’ recent moves. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
Prior to the NHL draft Milan Lucic and 22-year-old defenseman Dougie Hamilton were traded to the Kings and Flames, respectively. The trades caught many by surprise, though the return for both of them gave the Bruins pieces to work with, namely those acquired in the Lucic trade.
The winger was traded to Los Angeles for goaltender Martin Jones, defenseman Colin Miller and the No. 15 overall pick in last Friday’s draft. The B’s were able to flip Jones to the Sharks afterwards for a first-round pick in 2016 and the rights to Miami Redhawks rising senior Sean Kuraly.
“I think what happened is [Lucic] sort of fell out of favor with that  goals [last season],” Cherry said. “You expected more goals from him. I have to admit, he wasn’t Lucic of old last year, but somehow or other, I always think of the Bruins, I think of them as tough and everybody thinks of them as tough.”
“Lucic, I know he had an off-year last year, but he’s [going to] come back with a force,” he added. “When you think of the Bruins, when everybody thinks of the Bruins, they think of Lucic, and then a 22-year-old guy. … You don’t get a 22-year-old stud like that guy and Calgary now has the best defense in the league, there’s no doubt about it.”
Following Hamilton being traded there were reports saying Hamilton was a “loner” and an “uppity kid.” Cherry said that wouldn’t matter to him if he were coaching the Bruins.
“If I had Hamilton, somehow I’d work him in, and that’s the job of the organization,” he said. “When I hear he doesn’t work and he’s a loner, who cares? Look at the way he plays, it’s on the ice. I don’t care if he’s a loner or not. I don’t believe in that stuff.”
|Taking a look at Bruins roster after busy start to offseason||07.02.15 at 12:15 pm ET|
If you’ve forgotten what exactly the Bruins roster looks like after all these moves, it’s understandable.
In a nutshell, the Bruins have moved things around offensively while taking a step back defensively this offseason. The team has multiple candidates to take jobs on both offense and defense, though the team’s top-nine looks more or less set at this point.
Including goaltender Jeremy Smith ($600,000 on a two-way deal), the Bruins have approximately $63,085,667 against the cap committed to 18 players for next season.
Here’s our attempt at a forward/defense depth chart after Don Sweeney’s flurry of moves. (Read it vertically rather than horizontally, as these are not projected lines.)
|Bruins sign Jeremy Smith to 1-year deal||07.01.15 at 9:25 pm ET|
In announcing their flurry of acquisitions Wednesday, the Bruins slipped in an interesting name that had yet to come up during free agency: Jeremy Smith.
The B’s announced that they had signed the goaltender, who split time with Malcolm Subban in Providence last season, to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level. That would make it likely that Smith will at the very least contend to be the backup in Boston behind Tuukka Rask next season.
Smith has never played in the NHL. The Bruins have had mixed results with giving unproven veteran AHLers their backup gig in recent seasons. Chad Johnson proved to be a steal for $600,000 in the 2013-14 season, while the team lost faith in Nicklas Svedberg last season on the same contract. Svedberg bolted Boston early in the offseason to play in the KHL. Both Johnson and Svedberg had one-way deals, however, so Smith could easily be stashed in Providence for less money should he not make the big club.
Assuming Smith makes the team, the Bruins have $63,085,667 against the cap committed to 18 players for next season.
|Source: Bruins sign Matt Beleskey to 5-year deal||07.01.15 at 6:21 pm ET|
The Bruins have signed left wing Matt Beleskey to a five-year, $19 million contract, according to a source. The deal carries an annual cap hit of $3.8 million.
TSN’s Darren Dreger was the first to report the terms of the deal.
The 27-year-old Beleskey scored a career-high 22 goals last season for the Ducks. He figures to serve as a replacement for Milan Lucic, who was traded to the Kings last week.
The cap hit of Beleskey’s contract comes as a surprise, as his status as the top wing in a weak free agent class suggested he might cash in on a mega-deal. However, a source told WEEI.com prior to free agency that Beleskey was “not just going to take the biggest payday,” and that the Bruins were an ideal fit.
It looked unlikely that a deal would happen in the hours after free agency opened, however, as Beleskey began weighing offers from multiple clubs while the Bruins stayed relatively quiet. It’s believed that Boston jumped in as the day went on before emerging as the front-runner.
With the addition of Beleskey for $3.8 million and the trade of Reilly Smith and Marc Savard to the Panthers, the Bruins now have $62,485,667 committed to 17 players for next season.