|Lehtonen bolts for Sweden||08.17.10 at 3:35 pm ET|
The Bruins suffered a minor loss Tuesday, but a loss nonetheless when forward Mikko Lehtonen left the states to take a one-year deal in the Swedish Elite League. Though his Bruins career technically isn’t over (the Bruins still have his rights), the 23-year-old will play next season with Skelleftea.
In two games with the Bruins over the last two seasons, Lehtonen did not record a point, but he led Providence in goals in each of the campaigns, scoring 28 and 23 goals in 2008-09 and 2009-10, respectively.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli indicated to Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe Tuesday that Lehtonen “felt there was not an opportunity for him in our organization.”
|Savard ‘hurt’ by trade rumors||08.15.10 at 1:21 pm ET|
Bruins center Marc Savard has been popular this offseason. First there was the owners’ vote to penalize blindside hits to the head after his scary injury incurred from a Matt Cooke hit in March. Then came the recent news that the veteran’s seven-year, $28 million extension inked in December is under investigation by the NHL.
Despite the numerous reasons for the buzz surrounding Savard as he prepares for his fifth season in Boston, nothing compares to the months of speculation as to whether the Bruins would trade the center before he plays the first game of his new contract.
Savard has been quiet throughout everything. In fact, he hadn’t spoken at all in the midst of the rumors until recently, when he told the Ottawa Sun that he did indeed hear his name in numerous reports.
Now 33, Savard signed with the Bruins following a 2005-06 season in which the team finished 13th in the Eastern Conference with 74 points. With the Bruins having made it to the second round in each of the last two postseasons, it would seem like the worst time for any player with Stanley Cup aspirations to be shipped out.
“[The rumors] hurt me a little bit just because I went to Boston and I helped to build that team back up,” Savard told the paper. “I’ve really tried to work hard with the young guys and being a core player. I was really focused on staying there for the rest of my career. To hear all this stuff this summer bothered me inside more than anything else.”
Though there haven’t been concrete reports of specific trade talks regarding Savard, the logic that would lead one to such speculation consists of multiple factors, including the Bruins’ salary cap situation and the selection of wunderkind center Tyler Seguin with the second overall pick in June’s NHL draft.
In 782 career games, Savard has scored 205 goals and registered 491 assists for 696 points since coming into the league in 1999 with the Flames. Should his contract, which tacks on extra years at lower salaries to decrease his cap hit in an otherwise lucrative deal, be voided, Savard would be free to sign with any team. Speaking with the Sun, however, Savard indicated he’s simply staying in the present.
“Right now I’m a Bruin and that’s the way it is,” Savard said. “[But] it’s been tough.”
|Rookie games moved to Boston||08.13.10 at 1:59 pm ET|
The two preseason rookie games between the Bruins and Islanders scheduled for the two days leading up to training camp have been moved from Shelton, CT to the TD Garden, the team announced Friday. The games will be played on September 15 and 16 before camp opens the following day. Tickets go on sale Thursday, August 19 at 10 a.m. and will cost $5. All proceeds will go the Bruins Foundation.
|Quick thoughts on the Savard situation||08.10.10 at 5:06 pm ET|
It’s been a long day for the Bruins, as news hit today that the NHL is indeed investigating center Marc Savard‘s seven-year, $28.05 million extension. The deal is perceived to be a “retirement contract,” as it pays the 33-year-old veteran half its money in the first two years of the deal and the other half over the following five years, which makes for a much more affordable $4.007 million cap hit.
Hours after the news broke, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli came out with a statement in which he said that the investigation has been ongoing and that he had met with NHL lawyers as recently as last week. With the Bruins’ cap situation up in the air and the team risking the loss of Savard, it might be a little too much to keep track of. Here’s what we’ve learned today, and what it might mean for the Bruins.
- This investigation has been going on for a while, and by a while, we mean since Savard’s contract was registered with the league in the first place way back in December. This means two things. First of all, this isn’t some new development for the Bruins. Maybe it was the magical cap relief they were expecting all along when they made signings that in total would put them more than $3 million over the salary cap (Savard’s cap hit is $4.007 million).
Secondly, it really dents the validity of rumors that the team was working on trades to move Savard out of town this offseason. In addition to there being zero concrete or validated reports of the Bruins and another team discussing a deal for the center, would it really make sense for the Bruins to shop a player knowing full well that the NHL was intent on voiding his deal? That would make the Bruins look awfully bad as a prospective trade partner for any team in the future.
- Savard is not the only one. The only reason the news came about was because Savard’s investigation was listed in the footnotes of arbiter Richard Bloch‘s rejection of Ilya Kovalchuk‘s appeal. In noting why the NHL was correct in rejecting the winger’s 17-year, $102 million contract with the Devils, Bloch also listed Marian Hossa, Chris Pronger and Roberto Luongo as players also being investigated.
- Yes, the Bruins have been looking to save money off the cap (they’re right up against it even when factoring in the $3.5 million they will get in relief to begin the season thanks to Marco Sturm‘s long-term injury status), but there’s no way Savard’s contract could be viewed as the one that’s weighing them down. In fact, the only reason this deal is being investigated is because it is so team-friendly that the NHL is trying to prevent deals like this from being made going forward.
Both Savard and Tim Thomas ($5 million cap hit in each of the next three seasons) have starred in offseason trade rumors, but their values to the team should not be overlooked. If the team does end up losing Savard for nothing, it would seemingly be a huge loss for the Bruins.
|Chiarelli: Bruins ‘cooperating fully’ with league regarding Savard||08.10.10 at 3:53 pm ET|
The Bruins have released a statement from general manager Peter Chiarelli regarding the league’s investigation of the seven-year, $28.05 million contract extension center Marc Savard signed with the team in December. Here’s what Chiarelli had to say.
“We are cooperating fully with the League in its investigation of the Marc Savard contract extension. The League informed us upon their registration of the contract on December 1, 2009 that they would be investigating the circumstances surrounding this contract. From that point on, they commenced their investigation and it has been ongoing since then. On August 4th, I met with two League appointed lawyers as part of the investigation. We will continue to cooperate with the League in any future investigative proceedings if necessary and we will have no further comment on the matter at this time.”
Savard will make nearly half of his contract’s money in the next two seasons, with the other half being spread out over the following five seasons. As a result, despite making $7 million per year in 2010-11 and 2011-12, he will have a cap hit of just $4.007 as a result of cap numbers in the NHL being determined by total money divided by years. If the deal is ruled as not being in compliance with the CBA, it will be voided and Savard will become an unrestricted free agent.
|Savard’s deal under investigation||08.10.10 at 1:45 pm ET|
Bruins fans have wondered all offseason whether center Marc Savard would be back in Boston next season, but this probably isn’t what they had in mind. Savard, who signed a seven-year contract extension last season, could have his deal voided by the league as it is currently under investigation.
In rejecting Ilya Kovalchuk’s greivance with the league for deeming his 17-year, $102 million deal with the Devils bogus, arbiter Richard Bloch listed in the ruling’s footnotes that similar contracts that have already been registered with the league will be under investigation.
These so-called “retirement contracts” that have thrown the league for a loop are made when teams, in an effort to lower a player’s cap hit, tack on extra years at minimal dollars. A player’s cap number in the NHL is determined by dividing total dollars by the number of years, so even in guaranteeing more money in the early years (such as Savard’s $7 million in the first two seasons of the deal, which starts in the upcoming campaign) by adding years at low money, the hit is brought down dramatically (Savard’s cap hit will be $4.007).
Here is an excerpt from the ruling, which was leaked by Team 1200 radio in Ottowa:
It is true, as the Association observes, that the NHL has registered contracts with structures similar to the Kovalchuk SPC PA Exh. 8 reflects a list of 11 multi-year agreements, all of which involve players in their mid to late 30’s and early 40’s. Most of them reflect reasonably substantial “diveback” (salary reductions that extend over the “tails” of the Agreement). Of these, four such agreements, with players Chris Pronger, Marc Savard, Roberto Luongo, and Marian Hossa reflect provisions that are relatively more dramatic than the others. Each of these players will be 40 or over at the end of the contract term and each contract includes dramatic divebacks.
[...] The apparent purpose of this evidence is to suggest that the League’s concern is late blooming and/or inconsistent. Several responses are in order: First, while the contracts have, in fact, been registered, their structure has not escaped League notice: those SPCs are being investigated currently with at least the possibility of a subsequent withdrawal of the registration.
The Bruins are in a tight spot cap-wise, but in voiding the contract the NHL would let Savard become an unrestricted free agent, which would mean the Bruins would receive nothing for him. His cap hit is very team friendly given his production, and with the 2010-11 season Nathan Horton’s first in Boston, one would think the Bruins would like to at least catch a glimpse of what the two could do playing together.
Additionally, it could be interesting to see what would come of Savard being a free agent. He’s heard his name in trade rumors all summer and could be willing to test the market if he doesn’t feel he’ll be a top forward with the Bruins in future years.
|Slideshow: Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s||08.09.10 at 10:51 pm ET|
WEEI.com was on hand for Shawn Thornton’s first annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson’s golf tournament, which means photographer John Vu was snapping plenty of pictures at Ferncroft Country Club in Middleton. Here is the slideshow of the event, which also featured Bruins forward Milan Lucic and goaltender Tuukka Rask (click the picture to begin). For the full low-down on the event and what it meant to Thornton, whose grandmother passed away from Parkinson’s, click here.
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