|Bruins sign Dominic Moore, Alex Grant, Chris Casto, Brian Ferlin||08.30.16 at 7:36 pm ET|
The Bruins announced four signings Tuesday, inking 36-year-old forward Dominic Moore and depth defenseman Alex Grant to one-year contracts. The B’s also re-upped Chris Casto and Brian Ferlin, both of whom have spent their entire pro careers in the Boston organization, to one-year deals.
The Bruins will become Moore’s 10 team, tying him with Lee Stempniak as the most travelled active player in the league. A graduate of Harvard, Moore lived in Cambridge with his wife Katie, who died in 2013 of liver cancer. He was awarded the Masterton Trophy after returning to the NHL a season later with the Rangers.
Last season, Moore scored six goals and added nine assists for 15 points in 80 games for the Rangers. His best season came in 2010-11 with the Lightning, when he scored 18 goals and had 14 assists for 32 points in 77 games.
Moore’s contract, which carries a $900,000 cap hit, is the only one-way deal of the four, with Grant, Casto and Ferlin all receiving two-way deals. Ferlin’s deals worth $725,000 at the NHL level, Casto’s is worth $650,000 in the NHL and Grant’s is worth $600,000 in the NHL.
Grant, 27, played in five games for the Coyotes last season but spent most of the season with the Springfield Falcons of the AHL. The 6-foot-3, 209-pound defender had 42 points for the Falcons in 69 games.
An undrafted signing of the Bruins after two years at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Casto has played three seasons for P-Bruins. Last season, he skated in 68 games, scoring seven goals and adding 16 assists for 23 points.
Limited last season by a concussion, the 24-year-old Ferlin played in just 23 games for Providence last season, scoring six goals with eight assists for 14 points. He played in seven NHL games in 2014-15, registering one assist.
Ferlin was drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. The Cornell product is entering his third professional season.
|Charlie Jacobs says David Backes is Bruins’ third-line center||08.30.16 at 1:16 pm ET|
The Bruins’ signing of David Backes was met with multiple questions, with “Why?” being the most popular. After all, signing Backes meant giving the money they could have given to Loui Eriksson to an older player who isn’t expected to age as well.
The second question was, “What position is he going to play?” A longtime center in St. Louis, the 32-year-old Backes played right wing for the Blues in the postseason and would be a reliable presence on Boston’s top line with center Patrice Bergeron and left wing Brad Marchand. Both the Bruins and Backes have preached flexibility, leaving it unknown what Boston’s plans are for their $30 million man.
On Tuesday, the CEO may have spilled the beans. Participating in the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund radio telethon, Charlie Jacobs used the Bruins’ depth at center — naming Backes and not incumbent third-line pivot Ryan Spooner — as a primary reason as to why he feels the Bruins will be improved this season.
“We’ve got Bergeron, [David] Krejci and Backes as our first three centers. Think about that,” Jacobs said. “I don’t know if there’s a team in the Eastern Conference that is [as] three-deep at center.”
Furthermore, Jacobs said that Backes’ presence will allow the Bruins, who finished fifth in goals scored last season thanks in part to Eriksson’s 30, to boast one of the best offenses in the league.
“This may be a stretch, but think about what Pittsburgh had down the middle, and they supplemented it with just about a rookie on just about every line with the exception of the HBK line and went on to win the Cup last year,” Jacobs said.
A source told WEEI.com Tuesday that the Bruins have not told Spooner that he’ll be playing wing in the coming season. Spooner is entering the final season of a two-year deal with a $950,000 cap hit and will be a restricted free agent after the season.
If Backes and Spooner are to play on the same line, it’s possible that the Bruins could resurrect the split of center responsibilities they did in recent seasons with Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg (and, briefly, Kelly and Spooner). In such a scenario, the more defensively savvy player (in this case Backes) would support down low in the defensive zone, while the more offensive player (Spooner) would run things in the offensive zone.
|David Krejci might miss World Cup of Hockey, Torey Krug aims to be ready for season||08.29.16 at 7:04 pm ET|
Both David Krejci and Torey Krug intend to be ready for the start of the regular season after offseason surgery. That’s better news for the Bruins than it is for, say, the Czech national team.
Krejci, who had surgery for a right hip impingement in April, has not officially bailed on the World Cup of Hockey, but his participation does not seem likely. After skating with five teammates at Warrior Ice Arena Monday, the veteran center said that he has been in touch with the national team weekly and that they’re not banking on him being there.
“If you asked me a long time ago, then yes, but right now I just want to get to 100 percent,” Krejci said of whether he’ll play in the tournament. “If I’m ready, then that will be awesome, but if not, you have to do what you have to do to be 100 percent.”
Added Krejci: “I’m in contact with the national team coach and we talk pretty much every week. They’re asking about my update, and we kind of know what’s going on. I’m sure they have some backup plan if it’s not going to work out, but we’ll see what happens.”
The sides plan to talk again later in the week, with Krejci saying the team hasn’t given him a date by which he must decide.
Krejci got back on the ice Aug. 17 and has worked his way up from doing light circles to more intensive skating. He wasn’t on the ice particularly long Monday (no longer than 20 minutes), but he noted that this week will consist of ramping up the volume of time spent on the ice.
As for Krug, the 25-year-old says that he is medically on track after having right shoulder surgery. After skating with teammates Monday, he noted that he is not yet taking one-timers.
“I’m trying to avoid doing too many crazy things out there,” Krug said. “[I’ll] take it slow and day-by-day. We still have plenty of time until camp, so as it ramps up here I’ll probably do that individually as well.”
Krug said that he “knew for a while” during the season that he was going to need the surgery he eventually received, even though he played in 81 of Boston’s 82 games. The defenseman said that the torn labrum bugged him at various points of the season.
Despite being hampered by the injury, Krug put up a career-best 44 points last season.
|Jimmy Hayes says rumor about knocking Bruins to Jimmy Vesey ‘completely false’||08.29.16 at 2:19 pm ET|
Jimmy Hayes feels he deserved the criticism he got last season. In his words, he was once a Boston sports fan who was hard on struggling players.
So Hayes took the opportunity on Ordway, Merloni and Fauria Monday to stress that he has no problem playing in Boston. More specifically, he denied a rumor — which wasn’t actually reported by reputable outlets — that he told Jimmy Vesey not to sign with the hometown Bruins before Vesey chose Hayes’ brother’s Rangers.
“I don’t know how that got out there, because it’s completely false. Obviously we’ve always wanted Jimmy Vesey here and we thought it was a great fit for Jimmy Vesey to come here and play in Boston,” Hayes said. “He’s going to have an opportunity to play with some high-end players, but throughout the process I talked to him a bunch about coming and playing and trying to fit in with Boston and our system. I know a bunch of guys on our team did, as well.
“Sometimes people say that I think the media’s too hard on me. I never said that. You get what you get. I want to be more [of a contributor] this season and that’s what it is.”
Hayes had a wretched second half in his first season with the Bruins, scoring just one goal over his last 23 games of a campaign that saw him total only 13 goals.
Though the Bruins declined to buy Hayes out of his contract, general manager Don Sweeney said he had a “pretty frank discussion” with the player in which he challenged Hayes to be more competitive. Hayes seemed aware Monday that he’ll have to re-establish good will from Bruins fans in his second season in Boston.
“It’s a big hockey market and everybody here is passionate about their sports, from the Patriots to the Bruins, and they expect everyone to win,” he said. “If you’re not winning — and I wasn’t contributing at certain times; I’ve got to make sure that I’m doing that on a more consistent basis this year and be ready to play.”
To hear the complete interview, click here.
|David Krejci doesn’t really care about Jimmy Vesey, but he misses Loui Eriksson||08.29.16 at 1:28 pm ET|
BRIGHTON — Don Sweeney’s sales pitch to Jimmy Vesey was built around being David Krejci’s left wing. Vesey passed, but it doesn’t seem Krejci’s losing sleep over it.
“I’m not really disappointed with that guy,” Krejci said Monday of the Rangers rookie. “Obviously I heard he’s a good player, but he has to prove himself on the NHL level. I was more disappointed we weren’t able to keep Loui.”
Loui is, of course, Loui Eriksson, and Krejci had thoughts on that, too. The Bruins declined to give the 31-year-old Eriksson the $6 million cap hit over six years he got from the Canucks, but they signed 32-year-old David Backes to a five-year deal worth the same annually.
Though the Bruins prefer Backes’ character and toughness, Eriksson is the better player at this point and figures to age better. Furthermore, saying goodbye to Eriksson meant once again taking away one of Krejci’s trusted wings in what’s become an annual occurrence; Krejci has also seen the departures of linemates Nathan Horton (2013), Jerome Iginla (2014) and Milan Lucic (2015) in recent seasons.
“I felt like we had some good chemistry going, so that was kind of a tough time to see [Eriksson] go, but I’ve gotten kind of used to seeing my favorite guys going away — Milan, Nathan, Iggy,” Krejci said. “I’m going to have to just play my game and try to find chemistry with whoever’s going to be on my line.”
Regardless of how Krejci’s dealing with Vesey’s decision, the truth is that the former Harvard captain would have been a good get for both the Bruins and Krejci, something Krejci himself admitted. With Brad Marchand a good bet to stay in Boston long-term, Vesey could have held down Boston’s second-line left wing job for years alongside Krejci if the two were to click. With David Pastrnak still emerging, the Bruins would have had the makings of a very strong line going forward.
Asked for clarification on his words about Vesey, Krejci said that he understood the hullabaloo that surrounded the player, especially considering the timing of his sweepstakes.
“Mostly in the summer there isn’t much that people talk about; this was kind of on top of the list for people to talk about,” Krejci said. “Obviously there was a little pressure on him, but he brought it on himself, I guess.”
|Matt Beleskey tweets Jimmy Vesey made ‘bad decision’ by choosing Rangers over Bruins||08.20.16 at 12:58 am ET|
A signing of Jimmy Vesey very well could have bumped Matt Beleskey down Boston’s depth chart, but the veteran left wing made it clear late Friday night that he wanted the Bruins to sign the former Harvard captain.
Beleskey tweeted his displeasure with Vesey’s agreement with the Rangers, tweeting to the Vesey that he’d made a “bad decision.”
Naturally, Beleskey’s seemingly tongue-in-cheek tweet was met with some super-hilarious and inappropriate responses from Rangers fans. This response was retweeted by Beleskey:
Rangers Twitter VS. Matt Beleskey rn pic.twitter.com/ZavUn1HY1W
— Chris (@MciIrath) August 20, 2016
|Bruins told Jimmy Vesey he would likely play with David Krejci||08.19.16 at 9:53 pm ET|
Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said on a conference call Friday night that the team did not make any promise of a top-six role before agreeing to terms with free agent left wing Jimmy Vesey.
“I never got the feeling that he was looking for any kind of promise,” Gorton said. “I think that he’s a pretty proud guy and I think he’s very confident in his abilities.”
Well, Vesey did have a promise of such a role from the Predators before he elected free agency and he had at least one more when he met with teams this week.
According to a source present at Wednesday’s meeting at Warrior Ice Arena, the Bruins told Vesey that he would be used as a top-six forward, most likely lining up to the left of David Krejci on Boston’s second line. Krejci was among the Bruins players present for Wednesday’s meeting, which lasted two and a half hours.
Vesey turned down the Bruins and six other teams — the Sabres, Blackhawks, Islanders, Penguins, Leafs and Devils — by electing to sign a two-year deal with the Rangers on Friday.