|Don Sweeney says he isn’t rebuilding Bruins or trading Tuukka Rask||06.30.15 at 12:29 pm ET|
Don Sweeney is adamant that the Bruins are not going through a rebuild.
To some degree, his actions reflect that he doesn’t think the Bruins will bottom out. For example, no team planning on rebuilding would send a third-round pick in two years away in exchange for bottom-of-the-roster player, as the B’s did this week by acquiring Zac Rinaldo for a 2017 third-round pick.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Sweeney’s stance on his team’s direction remained unchanged from the weekend.
“I don’t think it’s a rebuild,” Sweeney said. “We didn’t strip this down.”
The Bruins have made a number of moves of late, which have left fans believing the Bruins are indeed undergoing an overhaul. The trades of Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic have made the current roster considerably worse, while the re-signing of Adam McQuaid and the trade for Rinaldo have been met with confusion.
The Bruins still have a core of Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron in place, which could still allow them to contend for the playoffs. Further moves figure to better indicate the team’s direction.
Sweeney insisted that one piece of the team’s core will remain in Boston. Tuukka Rask was rumored to be discussed at some length, however small, during the draft in Florida over the weekend, but Sweeney rejected the notion that he would trade his goaltender.
“Tuukka Rask not on the market,” Sweeney said. “I’m not sure where those necessarily come from. I can deliver emphatically that did not happen.”
Rask has six years remaining on an eight-year deal with an annual cap hit of $7 million.
|Bruins qualify select RFAs, face nearly $1 million in cap overages next season||06.30.15 at 11:39 am ET|
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney shared in Tuesday’s pre-free agency conference call with reporters that the Bruins sent qualifying offers to restricted free agents Ryan Spooner, Brett Connolly and Martin Jones. The team declined to qualify Matt Lindblad, Rob Flick and Adam Morrison.
Sweeney said that the door has not been closed on Lindblad, Flick or Morrison potentially returning to the B’s.
He also noted that the Bruins are facing nearly a million dollars in cap overages from last season.
Sweeney said that bonuses to Dougie Hamilton and a couple of other players from last season leave the Bruins facing approximately $969,000 in overages that will go against this season’s salary cap.
As such, the Bruins will have nearly $3.7 million in dead money against the cap in the coming season. The Bruins dealt with a similar issue last season, when they had nearly $5 million in cap overages, due largely to the bonus-laden contract given to Jarome Iginla a season earlier.
With Sweeney’s estimate and the newly acquired Zac Rinaldo factored into our running count of Boston’s cap space, the B’s now have $61,160,667 committed to 16 players (not counting Marc Savard). Many young players on two-way contracts could also push for spots, such as Joe Morrow, Brian Ferlin and Colin Miller. Sweeney said that the Bruins remain in talks with teams about trading Savard, whose $4.017 is put on long-term injured reserve each season but could help a team trying to get to the cap floor. The Flyers made a similar move over the weekend by trading Chris Pronger‘s contract to Arizona.
The salary cap’s upper limit for next season is $71.4 million. Free agency begins Wednesday, but even by trading Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, the Bruins will not be in a position to be a major spender unless they trade more players.
That might not be such a bad predicament, as this summer’s free agency class is extremely thin. The forward group is led by 27-year-old left wing Matt Beleskey, who had the first 20-goal season of his career last season with the Ducks and figures to command big money.
Andrej Sekera headlines the group of potentially available defensemen, though the Kings could still re-up him before free agency opens.
|Bruins trade for Zac Rinaldo, seemingly on purpose||06.29.15 at 3:51 pm ET|
The Bruins continued their bewildering offseason Monday by swinging a trade with the Flyers for forward Zac Rinaldo.
Boston sent a third-round pick in the 2017 draft to Philadelphia for Rinaldo, a 25-year-old who has more games served in suspensions (14) than he has goals scored in his NHL career (eight). The most notable part of the Ontario native’s career to date was when he was handed an eight-game ban for this hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.
Rinaldo has two years remaining on his contract, which carries a cap hit of $850,000. He was originally drafted in the sixth round by the Flyers in 2008.
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: ‘I do think [the Bruins] have a plan’||06.29.15 at 12:26 pm ET|
NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire joined Middays with MFB on Monday to discuss the Bruins’ rebuilding strategy and the direction they will go after surprise moves prior to the NHL draft last week. To hear the full interview, visit the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.
“I can’t see that happening,” McGuire said. “They’re a proud franchise. I can’t see that alienation of their fan base. They’ve been down this road before back in the [mid-1990s]. It was painful. … They’ve still got a very solid infrastructure of players. But again, they’re going to have to pass the torch here because some of their better guys are getting older.
“I can’t see them trading Patrice Bergeron. You put his name out there and every team in the league’s going to want him. … This is my one word of caution on this: I would be really careful pre-judging this thing if I were a Bruins fan, because I do think they have a plan. Doesn’t mean they have to share it with everybody only because you don’t want to show your cards too often in this league. In this league, they throw you anchors, not life jackets.”
According to McGuire, the recent moves made by the Bruins are part of a trend that began last offseason with the departure of Shawn Thornton and Jarome Iginla, among others.
“[My reaction was] that Don Sweeney wanted to put his stamp on the team early on along with Cam Neely that this was clearly something that was approved by ownership, that they felt that maybe something had gone a little bit astray in their building plan and they wanted to try to get it straightened out as soon as possible,” McGuire said. “I remember being in Boston last year when Johnny Boychuk got traded away … and I remember the reaction of the players and it was really negative. They were not happy at all.
“Shawn Thornton moves on to Florida, Jarome Iginla moves on to Colorado, Johnny Boychuk moves on to the New York Islanders and then you see what happens this year — Chiarelli gets fired, Gregory Campbell‘s not coming back, Danny Paille’s not coming back, Milan Lucic isn’t coming back and obviously Dougie Hamilton’s not coming back. Start doing the math. That’s a huge part of your infrastructure, so clearly they knew that they wanted to go in a younger, different direction and they’ve started that process.”
|10 post-draft thoughts on a chaotic weekend for Bruins||06.27.15 at 3:49 pm ET|
SUNRISE, Fla. — The Bruins brass arrived in Florida with a team that was a few tweaks away from contending again. The B’s leave it with a better chance at getting 2016 top prospect Auston Matthews than the Stanley Cup.
What’s done is done, however, and Bruins fans have no choice but to proceed hoping the front office knows what it’s doing.
Here are 10 thoughts with the draft in the books:
— The fact that the Bruins used 10 of the 11 picks that they had after Friday’s trades means they either see this team’s return to glory as a long-term project or that their plans to turn those picks into something else failed. It might be more the latter than the former. The B’s insist they were aggressive in their efforts to get into the top 10 to take Noah Hanifin, Ivan Provorov or Zach Werenski.
— If there’s an “other shoe to drop” in order for the Bruins to ice a Cup-contending roster next season, you’d have to figure it will be extremely difficult to execute now. It’s abundantly clear that the Bruins need to make moves to save the immediate future, so trade partners will be wise to up their prices just like they did when Peter Chiarelli’s job was on the line.
— Speaking of Chiarelli, the moves that the B’s made might have been avoided if Neely fired Chiarelli during the season and sold off parts then. Carl Soderberg could have fetched the B’s a first-round pick at the trade deadline, which the Bruins hypothetically could have used to get into the top 10. At the very least, it would have allowed the Bruins to seek young players for someone like Hamilton rather than just taking picks.
Of course, the performance of Boston’s front office on Friday might leave some Bruins fans regretting ever wanting the B’s to can Chiarelli.
|Bruins keep their picks, add 7 more prospects on second day of draft||06.27.15 at 10:28 am ET|
SUNRISE, Fla. — For the second straight day, the Bruins used a bevy of draft picks to … draft players.
After using three consecutive picks on Friday, Boston spent seven of the eight picks it took into the second and final day of the draft. The only pick traded was a fifth-rounder that the B’s sent to Minnesota.
The B’s kicked off the second day by drafting Tri-City (WHL) defenseman Brandon Carlo with their first pick of the second round (37th overall). They then took center Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (a Boston University commit) with the 45th pick and defenseman Jeremy Lauzon (Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL) with the 52nd.
Carlo is a big kid at 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds. He was rated as the No. 25 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, which is well ahead of Zachary Senyshyn, whom Boston chose 15th overall Friday night. Central Scouting had Senyshyn as the 38th North American skater.
While Carlo has similar size to the recently traded Dougie Hamilton, they are not similar players. Carlo described himself as more of a defensive defenseman, with Kirk Luedeke of the Red Line Report and New England Hockey Journal projecting him to be a shutdown player.
The pick was originally the Flyers’, but it was sent to the Islanders in the Andrew MacDonald trade before being flipped to Boston in the Johnny Boychuk trade.
|Breaking down Bruins’ moves from Friday||06.27.15 at 8:36 am ET|
SUNRISE, Fla. — The Bruins did a lot on Friday. It’s obvious that the moves as a whole represent a horrid day for new general manager Don Sweeney, but at least one of them made sense in a vacuum.
As such, here’s an attempt to break down each of the individual moves made by the Bruins:
Bruins trade Dougie Hamilton to Flames for picks No. 15, 45 and 52
One-word summary: Unforgivable.
The Hamilton fiasco represents really two lapses on the part of Don Sweeney.
First is the struggle to sign the team’s most important young player to a second deal. He asked for a lot of money because the best young defensemen in the league make a lot of money on their second deals. The Bruins’ unwillingness to pay it does not bode well for the future.
Consider this: David Pastrnak has two more years left on his entry-level deal. Guess who represents him? The same guy they just swung and missed with in J.P. Barry. This group can only hope it has better a better feel for re-signing youngsters by then.
The second part of it is the trade itself. Hamilton was one of the very best chips Sweeney had, and one that should have been kept at nearly all costs. Instead, he was flipped for the 15th overall pick and two second-rounders.
At the very, very least, the Bruins should have been able to get at least another first-round pick or a top prospect from a team in exchange for the already established Hamilton. This was the kind of move that can set a franchise back.