|Pastrnak Watch: Rookie mistakes, starting main camp on David Krejci’s line?||09.14.14 at 7:55 pm ET|
ANTIOCH, Tenn. – David Pastrnak was less impressive in Sunday’s overtime loss against the Lightning than he was the day before against the Panthers, but it was still a notable day for him as his general manager’s words added more fuel to the belief that Pastrnak could very well end up making the team as an 18-year-old.
Asked specifically whether the plan was to take the 2014 first-round pick into the season for the first nine games before deciding whether to keep him and begin his entry level contract, Peter Chiarelli said that decision has yet to be made. However, Chiarelli made it clear that the team will give Pastrnak a realistic shot to make the team, perhaps trying him on the first line with David Krejci and, should Reilly Smith remain unsigned, on the second line with Patrice Bergeron.
“Listen, if he’s going to make our team, he’s going to have to play higher up in the lineup,” Chiarelli said. “He’s a skill guy with speed and he needs to play with skill players. Maybe when I say, like he’s not going to start down the lineup in preseason, in camp, it’s just he’ll have to be with skill players because you’re not going to get what you want from him.
“Who knows, he might start with Krejci, I don’t know. It’s about giving him some skill players, measuring the expectation level. Everything’s about him right now. There’s other good players out there too, like Ferlin’s a player. I thought he was outstanding yesterday. He was really good and strong. He’s just not as flashy as David and so there’s other players. But with David, let’s take one step at a time and a smaller body can wear down over time so let’s see how he handles that stuff.”
Pastrnak remained at center between Seth Griffith and Anthony Camara on Sunday. He struggled mightily on faceoffs, but the team is only using him at center for this rookie camp before moving him back to right wing for main camp next week.
The lowlight of the day was the game’s final play, as Pastrnak tried to steal the puck from Jonathan Drouin in the defensive zone rather than taking the man. Drouin went around Pastrnak and set up the game-winning goal. After the game, Pastrnak acknowledged his error, saying that he understood he should have hit Drouin rather than going for the big play.
Despite Pastrnak not being as sensational as he was in the tournament’s opening game, he remained the flashiest player on the ice. His play with the puck on his stick has stood out thus far, while his defensive play has been hit-or-miss.
|Source: David Krejci agrees to 6-year, $43.5 million extension with Bruins||09.03.14 at 6:20 pm ET|
According to a league source, the Bruins and David Krejci have agreed to a six-year, $43.5 million contract.
Krejci, 28, will carry a $7.25 million cap hit throughout the duration of the deal, which begins in the 2015-16 season. His salary breakdown will be $7.25 million for the first two years of the deal, $7.5 million for the next two and $7 million for the final two.
The contract will make Krejci the highest-paid player on the team cap-figure-wise when the pact begins in the 2015-16 season. Sitting behind him are Tuukka Rask ($7 million cap hit), Zdeno Chara ($6.916 million) and Patrice Bergeron ($6.5 million)
Krejci is entering the final year of a three-year, $15.75 million contract that he signed in December of 2011. His last contract was signed during a contract year before what would have been restricted free agency. In getting this contract wrapped up now, Krejci joins the likes of Chara and Bergeron (twice) as key unrestricted-free-agents-to-be that Chiarelli got signed before their contract years.
Though he struggled in the postseason with just four assists and no goals over 12 games, Krejci is coming off his second-best regular season. The first-line center scored 19 goals and added 50 helpers for a team-leading 69 points. He also led the league with a plus-39 rating.
Krejci has historically been a very productive postseason player, as he led the playoffs in points with 26 in 2013, while his 23 points in the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup championship run were also tops in the league.
As was the case with Bergeron when he signed an eight-year, $52 million extension last summer, the numbers, while certainly high, suggest Krejci left some money on the table. With another productive season and the salary cap continuing to rise, Krejci likely could have sought and received more money than he got from the B’s. In staying in Boston, he is under contract until he is 35 with the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2004 draft.
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|Contract extension talks between David Krejci, Bruins expected to pick up soon||08.27.14 at 10:51 am ET|
Though two key free agents remain unsigned in Torey Krug and Reilly Smith, the team has had talks to avoid a similar situation with one of their top players next summer.
According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the Bruins have had “casual discussions” with David Krejci‘s camp about a contract extension for the first-line center. Krejci, 28, is entering the final year of a three-year, $15.75 million contract and is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the coming season.
The source said there is an expectation that talks will accelerate in the near future. Historically, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has tried to get deals with his franchise players done before they enter their contract years. Chiarelli did it prior to the 2010-11 season, when he locked up free-agents-to-be Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron, and last summer, when he signed Bergeron to an eight-year extension.
Krejci’s current contract was signed during his contract year, as Krejci was months away from restricted free agency when the B’s gave him the three-year pact in December of 2011.
The Czech center is coming off the second-most productive regular season of his career. His 69 points (19 goals, 50 assists) were the most he put up since posting 73 points in the 2008-09 season. Krejci enjoyed the successful regular season while centering Boston’s top line with longtime linemate Milan Lucic and the since-departed Jarome Iginla. With Iginla now in Colorado, Loui Eriksson is expected to serve as the Bruins’ first-line right wing.
Krejci fell short in the postseason, however, scoring no goals and contributing four assists in 12 playoff games. His quiet playoff performance was rather uncharacteristic of him, as he had led two of the previous three postseasons in points.
As for Smith and Krug, both players are entry level free agents, meaning they are at the end of their entry level contracts but have not accrued enough NHL service time to qualify for restricted free agency. As such, neither player can negotiate with other teams. Using figures from Capgeek.com, Bruins currently have 3.218 million in cap space, assuming Marc Savard will be placed on long-term injured reserve.
|Bruins seem comfortable with idea of Loui Eriksson on top line||07.25.14 at 2:56 pm ET|
Bruins fans should prepare for Loui Eriksson on the first line next season.
Speaking to the media for the first time this summer, Claude Julien reiterated on Thursday’s conference call what’s already been said by Peter Chiarelli this summer: The team is confident that Eriksson is a viable replacement for the departed Jarome Iginla to skate alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
“We don’t feel like were in a real tough situation,” Julien said. “We’ve lost Jarome, but as you’ve probably heard, I think Loui Eriksson is a player that can be even better than he was last year. I think we started seeing that at the end of the year, and he could be a replacement for Jarome as a possibility.”
One issue with Eriksson playing on that line that has come up numerous times is the fact that he’s a left shot and that Krejci hasn’t had a left shot on the right wing in recent years, as Iginla, Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin were all righties. Maybe that won’t be a problem for him at all, and maybe there will be some adjustment.
It is worth noting that Eriksson played on that line late in the regular season when the Bruins gave Iginla some time off to get him sharp for the playoffs. Amidst that stretch came Eriksson’s best offensive performance of the season, as he registered four assists (three of which were on goals by Lucic or Krejci) and had a season-high seven shots on goal.
In his time with Dallas, Eriksson was a first-liner, and the expectation when he came to Boston was that he would be the perfect second-line right wing to a team with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Those three never formed chemistry, and the struggles of Marchand and the two concussions for Eriksson meant that trio wouldn’t stick. He returned from his second concussion as a third-liner and teamed wonderfully with Carl Soderberg to provide the Bruins with their strongest third line since the Peverley-Chris Kelly–Michael Ryder days of 2011.
If the roster remains the way it is now, the Bruins should absolutely weaken their third line and put Eriksson on the top line. The roster isn’t going to remain the way it is, however, as the team should trade at least one of what Chiarelli considers to be nine NHL defensemen.
Unless the defenseman traded is Johnny Boychuk, the Bruins probably won’t be getting a sure-fire first-line right wing back. If they trade a lesser commodity like David Warsofsky or Matt Bartkowski, it’s more realistic to expect a third-line candidate in return.
Barring a trade for a first-line right wing, that Krejci line will be different than years past no matter what. Since Krejci became the team’s first-line center in the 2010-11 season, he has had bookend power forwards on his line, with Lucic to his left and Horton or Iginla on his right. Eriksson is far from a power forward, and the Bruins don’t have anyone on their roster who can bring the sandpaper to the right wing the way Horton and Iginla did.
There are pros to having Eriksson there, however. He may not be as tiring to play against as Iginla, but he’s younger, faster and depends well. And it isn’t like he can’t score; last season was the first time in a full season that he hasn’t scored at least 26 goals since 2007-08. He was a 36-goal scorer once upon a time, hitting that mark in the 2008-09 season.
Last offseason, Eriksson’s place in the Bruins’ lineup seemed obvious, but that changed. Perhaps the expectations held now can change as well, but for now it appears that Eriksson is a good bet to be a first-liner.
|Leftover pieces from Peter Chiarelli’s press conference||07.13.14 at 10:27 pm ET|
During Peter Chiarelli‘s press conference to conclude development camp, he discussed the future of some of the team’s prospects and shared that the team has discussed moving Gregory Campbell to the wing to allow one of the team’s center prospects to reach the NHL.
He also discussed a lot of other things. Here are some of the other bits:
– Chiarelli said that the players who dealt with injuries late last season are all on schedule to be ready for training camp. That group includes Chris Kelly (back), Matt Fraser (foot) and Adam McQuaid (multiple injuries).
– It’s been a common occurrence in Chiarelli’s tenure as Bruins GM to not let his star players reach free agency, so it’s likely he’ll try to get new deals for David Krejci and Johnny Boychuk done before next summer if he intends to keep the players.
“I’m not going to go into details as to our negotiations,” Chiarelli said. ‘I can say that we will try and get guys done, I try and be proactive and we’re working on a couple things right now.”
– Chiarelli said he wasn’t surprised by the eight-year deals with annual $10.5 million cap hits that were given to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
– Fraser’s shot alone is enough to make him a darkhorse candidate to replace Jarome Iginla on Boston’s first line next year. Asked about that being a possibility, Chiarelli noted the left-shooting Fraser’s experience on the right side.
“He’s played on the right side; he can really shoot it,” Chiarelli said. “We haven’t got him signed yet but we’ll get him signed shortly. He’s showed that he can play a two-way game and that you can put him up on that lineup because you end up getting all the matchups, right? So you have to have a responsible player up there. But you know, he’s a guy that we’re going to have a look at.”
– Some free agents remain unsigned, a group that includes right wing Lee Stempniak, a player with whom the Bruins have spoken. Cap space is tight, so while it’s no sure thing the Bruins will sign any free agent for their NHL roster, they’re still looking at them.
“There’s a list of guys that I’m looking at and there is also a list of guys internally,” Chiarelli said. “I like the competition, you’ve heard me talk about the competition. I think it really energizes the team and guys bubble up, they thrive in it. So I’m balancing the two things and there are a lot of our players available right now.”
– One of the three forward spots that are open for the Bruins won’t go to a fighter. The B’s have Bobby Robins and Tyler Randell in the AHL if they need them, but Chiarelli said he feels the Bruins already have team toughness.
“I believe it’s already there, I do,” he said. “Also, we have a couple of candidates that played in Providence that surely could fit in if we need them. I really think it’s already there, I do, and you’re going to see Adam back, whoever’s playing D. We’ve got some tough guys there that can hold up their own, so I believe it’s already there.”
– The Bruins have lots of assets that they could trade if they want to add a forward that way. Chiarelli said that for now, trade talks have slowed throughout the league.
“There’s stuff going on; it’s just not fast,” Chiarelli said. “There’s parameters and deals talked about and it’s just kind of pushing it along slowly. There’s not urgency. It may happen that it happens on the eve of training camp or two days before, because the player has to get to that camp from where he is but, it’s slow. It’s slow.”
|David Krejci feels breakthrough coming: ‘My time is about to come and I’m going to be big for my team’||05.12.14 at 1:35 pm ET|
MONTREAL — It’s not often that you hear professional athletes in any sport make a prediction, but David Krejci couldn’t help but make one Monday morning before Game 6 against the Canadiens.
With his team one win away from the Eastern Conference finals, the man who has led the Bruins in playoff scoring since 2011 feels a breakout is coming. Krejci, with only three assists and a minus-3 rating in 10 playoff games so far, says he owes a debt of gratitude to his linemates Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla and his teammates, in general, for picking him up so far in these playoffs.
“That’s what you need in the playoffs. You need different guys to step up,” Krejci said. “I believe my time is about to come and I’m going to be big for my team. I owe to it these guys, so I’m going to do everything I can to start tonight.
“It feels like it’s right there. We have to execute on our chances. We have to start putting the puck in the net more often. My linemates have been doing a pretty good job at it. They’ve been great for me all year. I want to return the favor for them and I’m going to try and be better for them.”
|Bruins, Canadiens running out of time for first lines to produce||05.10.14 at 1:37 pm ET|
The Bruins are still awaiting the arrival of David Krejci‘s production in the second round, but first-line silence hasn’t been a one way street. On the other side, Montreal is still awaiting Max Pacioretty‘s first goal of the series after the Connecticut native put up 39 goals during the regular season.
Both Pacioretty and David Desharnais, who make up two thirds of Montreal’s top line with either Thomas Vanek or Brendan Gallagher, have just one point — each an assist — apiece through four games thus far.
“Playing here in this environment, I’ve got to be relied upon, I’ve got to be relied upon to score important goals and I haven’t done that yet,” Pacioretty said after the Habs’ morning skate Saturday. “I’ve just got to keep playing the way I have been and maybe just calm down a bit.”
It isn’t just that Pacioretty isn’t showing up, but rather the fact that he has to play against the best defenseman in the league. Pacioretty admitted that Zdeno Chara has gotten the better of him so far in the series, as Chara and Dougie Hamilton haven’t allowed anything to that top line in five-on-five play.
“That’s priority No. 1 I think,” Hamilton said Saturday of keeping Pacioretty quiet. “For me, I’m just trying to shut down their top lines and play physical on them and limit them. We’ve just got to keep trying to do that. I think all our D have done a good job of that, just trying to stay aware and limit our mistakes.”
Said Pacioretty: “It’s obvious that they want to pair certain guys against us. It’s not an excuse; it’s a good challenge. We haven’t risen to that challenge yet. Myself personally, I’ve got to do a better job of being able to overcome that adversity.”
Krejci and friends don’t have to worry about going up against a player like Chara, but Montreal has taken away their space. Boston’s first line created a ton of chances in Game 1 of the series but failed to score, and the line has yet to play that well since the series opened. Milan Lucic scored an empty netter that Krejci assisted and Jarome Iginla scored a 6-on-5 goal by tipping an Andrej Meszaros shot in the final minutes of Game 3, but the trio has yet to produce a five-on-five goal this series.
With it now a three-game series, the question becomes which top line will step up first or which team is better suited to win a series without getting anything from its first line. The Canadiens are a deeper opponent offensively than the Red Wings were, and their third line of Lars Eller between Brian Gionta and Rene Bourque has gotten chances throughout the series.
The same goes for Boston’s third line, which produced the only goal of Game 4 when Matt Fraser scored the game-winner in overtime. Especially against Montreal’s third pairing of Douglas Murray and Mike Weaver, that line has gotten chance after chance but hasn’t capitalized enough. Daniel Paille scored the third line’s other goal in Game 2 when he was playing with Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.
Should Michel Therrien keep Weaver and Murray together, Soderberg and friends should be champing at the bit to continue to take advantage of that matchup, but with more production. The first lines are often expected to cancel each other out in the postseason, but when neither teams’ first lines are doing anything, even more responsibility falls on everyone else.
“I think our team is built like that,” Eriksson said. “Everyone can score on every line. I thought the last game we had some really good chances, our line, and we finally got one. That’s something we want to do to try to help the team as much as we can and score those goals.”
Neither the Bruins nor the Canadiens should be satisfied with the performance they’ve gotten out of their best forwards. Within days, one team will undoubtedly view it as a reason as to why their season was ended.
“It’s a three-game series now, and we’re in a very good position,” Pacioretty said. “We had a great first round, four games into this we’re tied up. I like where our team’s standing right now.”