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Dennis Seidenberg agrees to 1-year deal with Islanders 09.28.16 at 2:36 pm ET
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Dennis Seidenberg

Dennis Seidenberg

When the Bruins signed Dennis Seidenberg to a contract extension at the start of the 2013-14 season, they essentially chose an older player rather than a better and younger player in Johnny Boychuk, whom they would trade a year later. Why? Perhaps because Boychuk would be more expensive and they wanted the future cap space to sign Dougie Hamilton. Now, all three players are gone. Two of them are with the Islanders.

As first reported by TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Islanders and Seidenberg have agreed to a one-year contract worth $1 million. According to a source, the Islanders were not the only team to offer Seidenberg a contract since the start of the World Cup of Hockey, in which he is currently competing for Team Europe. The 35-year-old blueliner was also offered professional tryouts by a number of teams, and it was expected that he would have had more contract offers after the conclusion of the World Cup of Hockey.

Seidenberg, was bought out by the Bruins with two years remaining on his four year, $16 million deal. The Bruins will take on cap charges of $1,166,666, $2,166,666, $1,166,666 and $1,166,666 in each of the next four seasons as a result of the buyout.

The Islanders will become the sixth NHL team for Seidenberg, who has also played for the Flyers, Coyotes, Hurricanes, Panthers and B’s. Acquired by the Bruins via trade during the 2009-10 season, Seidenberg spent parts of seven seasons with the B’s, many of which were spent anchoring Boston’s second pair.

The Germany native’s biggest contributions to the B’s came in the 2011 postseason, when he was teamed with Zdeno Chara and served as an instrumental force in Boston’s Stanley Cup championship.

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Bruins didn’t have a trade for Dennis Seidenberg; Don Sweeney saw buyout as last resort 06.30.16 at 6:10 pm ET
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Dennis Seidenberg

Dennis Seidenberg

The Bruins aren’t happy about buying out Dennis Seidenberg. If they had their druthers, they’d have traded him, even if for nothing.

Yet other options existed other than buying out the player and harming their cap for the next four seasons. They could have eaten half his contract in a trade (assuming a team would even take him at $2 million for the next two seasons rather than a $4 million average annual value) or they could have pulled a Chicago-Carolina and literally paid a team in the form of other capital (a prospect, a draft pick) to take Seidenberg’s deal off their hands.

“I would have considered all options from that standpoint,” Don Sweeney said on a conference call Thursday. “I mean, they’re all at our disposal. If it had come to any of those situations, we probably would have been able to approach Dennis with his contract situation and no-trade and explored those things. This was the opportunity. We pushed it right down to the last minute and this was the decision we made, albeit a very difficult one.”

Seidenberg had a full no-trade clause until December, so he would have had to approve any sort of trade the Bruins opted to make. A source familiar with the situation confirmed Sweeney’s intimation that the Bruins never came to Seidenberg about signing off on a trade this summer. That suggests the list of takers for Seidenberg was either non-existent or that the Bruins were either unwilling or unable to do what Chicago did with Bryan Bickell’s contract. To that end, the Bruins would have been silly to give away a major asset solely for the sake of freeing themselves of Seidenberg’s deal, so while they in theory could have dumped the deal off at any price, they didn’t deem that to be the play.

Still, when asked if the buyout was a last resort, Sweeney agreed it was.

“Yeah,” he said. “If we could have done it in a different fashion, we probably — we would have done it.”

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Bruins buying out Dennis Seidenberg should have been last resort at 12:18 pm ET
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Dennis Seidenberg

Dennis Seidenberg

The Bruins placed Dennis Seidenberg on waivers for the purposes of buying out the defenseman on Thursday. Seidenberg, 34, had two years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4 million.

While the move should be met with relief from fans that the team has moved on from a player whose contributions have greatly diminished, the manner in which the Bruins did it was highly suboptimal. In buying out Seidenberg, the Bruins will face cap charges of $1.166 million next season, $2.166 million in 2017-18 and $1.166 million the following two seasons.

The better way to have jettisoned Seidenberg would have been to do so via trade, with the Bruins retaining half his salary. That way, the Bruins would face cap charges of $2 million the next two seasons, but the bleeding would stop there. Instead, the Bruins will have over $1 million of dead money on the books in seasons in which they’ll hope to be more of contenders than they are presently.

Furthermore, the most dead money the Bruins will face with this buyout ($2.166 in 2017-18) will come in the season in which the likes of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner will be up for new contracts. Fortunately, they will also see Zdeno Chara’s cap hit drop by over $2.9 million that season.

At the moment, it is unknown whether the Bruins tried a move like the one the Blackhawks did earlier this month, where they shipped out an asset (prospect Teuvo Teravainen) to Carolina in order for the Hurricanes to take a Bryan Bickell’s contract off their hands.

It’s also worth noting that when considering the “savings” of buying out Seidenberg, his roster spot will not be filled for free. Should the Bruins replace Seidenberg with a cheap bottom-six lefty in the $1-2 million range, they might see an upgrade in performance, but it won’t be for much cheaper and they’ll still have to pay those extra millions of buyout dollars down the road. To that end, another option — though probably as unappetizing as the one they chose — would have been to keep Seidenberg on the roster next season and buy him out at a lesser charge next offseason.

Buyouts should always be a last resort, especially with players over 26 who have multiple years remaining on their contract. Whether or not it was, the Bruins felt this was their best option.

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Bruins still not ruling out buyouts 06.15.16 at 3:06 pm ET
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Jimmy Hayes

Jimmy Hayes

The idea of using buyouts is not a wise one, but the Bruins still aren’t ruling it out as of early Wednesday afternoon. The first buyout window opens up Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Asked about the possibility of exercising buyouts, a team source said Wednesday that the team is still exploring all avenues. That’s consistent with what general manager Don Sweeney said at his season-end press conference back in April.

The two most obvious candidates for buyouts on the Bruins are Jimmy Hayes and Dennis Seidenberg. As illustrated here, buying Hayes out would be unwise, while buying Seidenberg out would be borderline foolish. As of Wednesday, Seidenberg had not heard anything about potentially being bought out.

Following are the cap charges if the team were to buy out either player:

Hayes (two years remaining, $2.3 million cap hit):

2016-17: $716,666
2017-18: $616,666
2018-19: $816,666
2019-20: $816,666

Seidenberg (two years remaining, $4 million cap hit)

2016-17: $1.166 million
2017-18: $2.166 million
2018-19: $1.166 million
2019-20: $1.166 million

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Whom should the Bruins buy out? 06.14.16 at 3:28 pm ET
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For an explanation as to why, read this breakdown from earlier this offseason. The first buyout window of the summer opens Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST.

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Bruins not thinking about repercussions of missing playoffs 04.04.16 at 1:55 pm ET
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Claude Julien

Claude Julien

The Bruins might not even need to win all three of their games this week. The Red Wings are mediocre enough that it would be a surprise if they came into Boston Thursday having not lost to the Flyers the night earlier.

Yet whether it means winning two games or winning three, the Bruins need to do whatever is required of them to make the playoffs this week. If not, an organization that already needed changes might make more drastic ones. Even if he isn’t a primary reason for the Bruins’ situation, Claude Julien could be an obvious fall guy.

“We’re not even there,” Julien said of the idea of missing the postseason. “We don’t even talk about that.”

Julien is in his ninth season with the Bruins. Players like Zdeno Chara (10 years) and Dennis Seidenberg (seven years) have been around to see much better days in their time with the B’s. The Bruins’ recent era of dominance essentially ended when Johnny Boychuk was traded ahead of last season, but the longer-tenured Bruins who have won before feel they can win again in Boston.

“We look at the next game tomorrow, that we’ve got to win that. All the other [expletive], there’s no reason to look any further than that,” Seidenberg said. “I’m confident we’re going to win all these three games and make it to the playoffs.”

The Bruins will play their final three games of their regular-season schedule at TD Garden, starting with Tuesday’s contest against the Hurricanes.

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Bruins believe in Capitals hype, but know well that ‘anything can happen’ 03.05.16 at 11:48 am ET
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The Capitals are considered the Eastern Conference's lone Cup contender (Getty Images)

The Capitals are considered the Eastern Conference’s lone Cup contender (Getty Images)

The Eastern Conference picture has been clear pretty much all season: There’s the Capitals and there’s everyone else.

In ranking first in the NHL in goals per game and third in goals against per game, the Capitals are the clear favorite to represent the East in the Stanley Cup Final this season, but at the very least, they will run away with the Presidents’ Trophy. Their 98 points through 64 games puts them on pace for 126 points; since the return from the 2004-05 lockout, only twice has a team had a 120-point season (Detroit with 124 in 2005-06 and Washington with 121 in 2009-10). The Capitals have beaten the B’s in both of the teams’ meetings entering Saturday’s contest at TD Garden.

The Bruins are among the teams trying to establish themselves as a potential “other Eastern Conference powerhouse.” As the last Eastern Conference to win the Cup and a common favorite in seasons leading up to this one, the Bruins know well that being considered the favorite in the East doesn’t always pan out. Boston dominated the 2011-12 regular season before being knocked off by the No. 7 ranked Capitals in seven games.

“Let me put it this way: Every playoffs, there’s been surprises,” Claude Julien said Saturday morning. “I don’t put a ton of stock into who’s in and who’s out. We all know Washington’s one of the favorites in our conference; rightfully so. They have a great team and their record shows it, but in this game anything can happen.

“We go about our business and go day-by-day. To overthink that situation to me is not healthy. To just go out there and do your job and look forward to what you have to do is probably the best way to look at that situation.”

Dennis Seidenberg said that if the Bruins are no longer considered in the class they once were, it alleviates the pressure that their stronger clubs of seasons past had.

“We like being in the underdog role,” Seidenberg said. “It means we can perform without pressure, but that team is really good over there. They’re very, very deep, very balanced scoring, very deep on defense. They’re the favorite for a reason, but with that comes a lot of pressure, a lot of certainty. Once we get into the playoffs, anything can happen. That’s what happened to us when we lost against them in seven games. If there’s a team that plays well at the right time and has a goalie that plays very well, anything can happen. We’ll see.”

The Bruins will try to pull off their second consecutive upset against a Cup favorite Saturday when they host the Capitals. Much like the Blackhawks team that Boston defeated on Thursday, the Capitals will be playing the second night of a back-to-back and will have their backup goaltender in net.

Still, defeating the Blackhawks and Capitals in succession would not only be a feather in this post-deadline Bruins team’s cap, but it would secure much-needed points that many figured would be unattainable this week. The Bruins enter Saturday’s game in third place in the Atlantic Division, though current wild card Detroit sits three points behind them with one game in hand. Including Saturday, the B’s have 17 games remaining in their regular-season schedule.

“Before you know it, the season will be over,” Julien said. “There’s not that many games left, so we need to assert ourselves every game. It’s not so much what it means more than what we need to do here. We need to bring our A game and understand that we have to play a lot like we did the other night, be strong in all areas in order to beat good teams like Washington.”

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