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Source: Bruins, Wheeler making ‘no progress’ 07.19.10 at 12:38 pm ET
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The Bruins wanted to avoid arbitration in the cases of Gregory Campbell and Blake Wheeler, and though they did so with Campbell last week with a two-year, $2.2 million deal, locking up Wheeler before his July 27 hearing may not be as easy.

According to a league source, the Bruins and Wheeler’s camp have made “no progress” thus far on a new contract, though talks are expected to pick up soon. If Wheeler makes it to a hearing and the Bruins choose against paying him what he is awarded, the 23-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent and would be free to sign with any team.

The Bruins would officially be over the $59.4 million salary cap by signing Wheeler, who earned $2.8 million last season, but general manager Peter Chiarelli indicated last week that it is the team’s intention to come to deals with both Wheeler and rookie forward Tyler Seguin.

Defenseman David Tanabe is the only the case in which Chiarelli and a player saw the arbitration process through, with Tanabe being awarded $1.275 in 2006 and the Bruins letting him walk. Tanabe then signed with the Hurricanes and played parts of two seasons with the team before a concussion ended his career.

Wheeler is just two years into his NHL career and last season scored 18 goals and chipped in 20 assists for 38 points, a step down from the 21-24-45 totals he posted as a rookie in the 2008-2009 campaign. He has missed just one game in his career.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Boston Bruins,
Chiarelli: ‘We’ve got to sever cap space’ 07.15.10 at 5:42 pm ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli spoke with members of the media in a conference call on Thursday and shed light on some of the issues regarding the Bruins and their financial situation heading into the 2010-2011 season. With the signing of Gregory Campbell to a two-year deal, the Bruins would now be estimated to have around half a million dollars remaining to sign Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin.

Wheeler made $2.8 million and is headed for an arbitration hearing on July 27. That, in addition to the $900,000 salary Seguin will almost certainly get, would suggest the Bruins need to make some sort of move, something Chiarelli didn’t deny.

“We’re tight at the cap and we’ll be able to put Blake in the mix and then we’ve got to sever cap space and we’ll see where we’ll go from there as it applies to the start of the year,” Chiarelli said.

Chiarelli added that the team has spoken to Seguin’s agent, Ian Pulver, and that the sides will “get going on that next week.” The impression was that the team will ideally get a deal done for Wheeler first before moving their attention to Seguin. As for what the team might do to get under the cap, Chiarelli noted that even if the Bruins do use Marco Sturm‘s long-term injury status for cap relief (Chiarelli said the team doesn’t expect Sturm back until mid-November), they would still have to make a move anyway to shed money before the winger returns.

With Tim Thomas trade rumors having died down a bit in recent weeks, Chiarelli said that there is “no update” on the situation and reiterated that Thomas wants to remain a Bruin and that the Bruins still want the goaltender.

As for the “secondary market” players — guys the Bruins would not put on the forefront in free agency but could potentially look to sign later in the offseason — that Chiarelli spoke about in the beginning of the offseason, which consisted of Steve Begin and Miroslav Satan, Chirarelli said that he has not “moved on from them yet.”

“I really haven’t dismissed anything,” Chiarelli said. “I think there’s still a lot left in the summer and we’ll see where things go, but after we get [Wheeler] [and Seguin, he later corrected himself to include] done, we’re going to be relatively quiet for the time being.”

This has been a big offseason for the Bruins, and a busy one at that. Rather than sitting back and letting the selection of Seguin be the team’s only major improvement, Chiarelli said early on in the offseason that the team would be active in the trade market more so than in free agency. The team then made a major trade with the Panthers, securing Nathan Horton and Campbell in exchange for Dennis Wideman and a pair of draft picks, including the 15th overall choice last month.

Still, the transaction sheet wouldn’t paint the Bruins as giants in the trade market since, unless anyone thinks the Vladimir Sobotka-David Warsofsky swap was a game-changer. Despite which moves were actually completed, Chiarelli insisted he remained in the thick of trade talks.

“I was active in the market even so after [getting Horton], but nothing really happened. It’s just quiet right now,” Chiarelli said. “Everything’s slow and I’ve talked to a few guys and everything is kind of grinded to a halt. I’m just kind of riding the market a bit and that’s why I say we’re going to be quiet for a while.”

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Boston Bruins, Tyler Seguin,
Report: Bruins, Campbell close 07.14.10 at 7:27 pm ET
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The Boston Globe is reporting that the Bruins are close to avoiding arbitration in at least one case. Center Gregory Campbell, whom the Bruins added last month in the Nathan Horton trade with the Panthers, is inching close to signing a two-year deal, according to the report.

Kevin Paul Dupont writes that the deal is expected to bring Campbell an expected salary of between $1.1 million and $1.3 million, a raise from the $800,000 he earned last season. Should the Bruins give him such a deal, they’ll have nowhere near enough to sign Blake Wheeler, whose arbitration hearing is set for July 27, and second overall pick Tyler Seguin.

Campbell scored two goals and had 15 assists last season with the Panthers. He had 32 points the season before is considered a solid penalty killer. In parts of six seasons, all with Florida (though he played in just two games in 2003-2004), Campbell has totaled 85 points in 363 games.

Comcast Sportsnet first reported that the center and Bruins were close on a deal. Campbell is the son of NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell, who received a great deal of attention last season for taking no action against Matt Cooke for his March 7 blindside hit to the head of Marc Savard.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin,
Wheeler’s date set; ‘Not much talk’ 07.13.10 at 4:21 pm ET
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Bruins winger Blake Wheeler‘s arbitration hearing has been set for July 27, agent Matt Keator told WEEI.com on Tuesday. Though the team has generally avoided such hearings at all costs, their current salary cap situation may prevent them from being able to give Wheeler a new deal prior to arbitration.

Asked by WEEI.com if any negotiations to re-up the 23-year-old have been complicated by the team’s lack of cap space [the team has only $1,687,229 available according to CapGeek.com] Keator said there has been “not much talk yet” between the two parties, so Wheeler’s camp is “not sure” of whether the Bruins are planning on making a roster move to accommodate a deal as he prepares to enter his third season. If the hearing takes place and the Bruins choose not to pay him what he is awarded in arbitration, Wheeler will become an unrestricted free agent.

The fifth overall pick in the 2004 NHL draft by the Phoenix Coyotes, Wheeler never signed on with Phoenix after playing his college hockey at the University of Minnesota and signed with the Bruins in the 2008 offseason. In two NHL seasons, both with the Bruins, Wheeler has totaled 39 goals and 44 assists for 83 points in 163 games. He earned $2.8 million last season.

Defenseman Mark Stuart was, like Wheeler, eligible for arbitration but chose against electing the process and last week signed a new deal for one year and $1.675 million. Center Gregory Campbell, who also filed for arbitration, has a hearing set for July 22, according to Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Gregory Campbell, Mark Stuart,
Bruins, Stuart reach deal 07.08.10 at 11:12 pm ET
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A source confirmed to WEEI.com Thursday night that an agreement between the Bruins and restricted free agent defenseman Mark Stuart is a “done deal.” The contract is a one-year, $1.675 million pact, a raise from the $1.3 million he made the past two seasons. The Boston Globe was the first to report the story.

Stuart chose against filing for arbitration because negotiations with the Bruins had been encouraging. Earlier in the day, the sides were “very close,” as was told to WEEI.com. Stuart played in 56 games last season, battling a broken sternum in December and a finger injury sustained in late January. He totaled two goals, five assists and 80 penalty minutes in the campaign. A season earlier, he set a career high in points with 17.

The Bruins now have just over $1 million in cap space, according to CapGeek.com. The team still has yet to reach agreements with first-round pick Tyler Seguin and restricted free agent forwards Blake Wheeler and Gregory Campbell, the latter two of whom filed for arbitration.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Mark Stuart, Tyler Seguin,
Wheeler, Campbell file for arbitration 07.05.10 at 5:18 pm ET
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Agent Matt Keator has confirmed to WEEI.com that Bruins left wing Blake Wheeler filed for arbitration before Monday’s 5 p.m. deadline. The Boston Globe was the first to report the story. Center Gregory Campbell also filed, as he was on the list of players to elect the process by the NHLPA Monday night.

Though Wheeler and Campbell both filed, a possibility still exists that the team could reach agreements with the forwards before their respective arbitration hearings, as the team did last summer with Matt Hunwick.

Defenseman Mark Stuart, the other Bruin eligible for arbitration, did not file, as Keator, who represents both Stuart and Wheeler, indicated that the two sides felt they were close enough to reaching a one-year deal that filing wouldn’t be necessary.

Wheeler had 38 points this past season for the Bruins, scoring 18 goals while playing in all 82 games.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Gregory Campbell, Mark Stuart,
Will Bruins stick to status quo in net? 07.02.10 at 12:54 am ET
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Though Tim Thomas rumors have been more or less overflowing from the internet this offseason — some feasible, some outrageous — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli is certainly speaking like a guy who wouldn’t feel it was the end of the world if he goes into next season with his No. 2 goalie making $5 million.

“I’m comfortable with our goaltending duo,” Chiarelli said. “There will be an intense competition, that’s the way we had planned it and I’m comfortable with it. I’m not saying it’s going to end up that way, but I’m certainly comfortable if it is.”

With the looks of free agency so far, it’s a good thing he’d be comfortable with it. With Marty Turco and Evgeni Nabokov still on the open market, it’s hard to believe teams would rather trade for a guy who’s two years older and seemingly better-suited for a tandem.

Some may view it as a waste to keep the 36 year-old Thomas around at such a high price tag, but he undoubtedly adds security to a goaltending position that may be a bit overestimated due to solid play down the stretch from Tuukka Rask. Thomas has the track-record of being able to play at a high level despite age and Rask hasn’t been the man for a full season yet.

The Bruins are in a tight spot regarding cap space, and though Thursday’s two-way deal given to old friend Jeremy Reich won’t be a back-breaker (he’ll get $500,000 if he’s on the NHL club), the team has just $4,465,357 in cap space, with Tyler Seguin set to seemingly get the entry-level maximum of $900,000 in salary (he’ll get more in bonuses) and deals still to be done for Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart.

Making all three deals happen may be tough given their current cap number and a contract may have to be moved around to make the signings a possibility, but don’t count on it being Thomas.

Read More: Blake Wheeler, Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask,
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