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Don Sweeney lists center as an area Bruins might look to upgrade 05.25.16 at 12:06 pm ET
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This is just a picture of Steven Stamkos. Relax. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

This is just a picture of Steven Stamkos. Relax. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Here’s an interesting tidbit from Wednesday’s conference call with Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and coach Claude Julien: When asked what he wanted to fix, Sweeney listed center as a position he’d like to address via free agency or trade.

At least at the NHL level, center is the one position where the Bruins seem completely set. The team has Patrice Bergeron signed through 2021-22, David Krejci signed through 2020-21, Ryan Spooner signed for another year and Noel Acciari still on his entry level contract.

“We’ve got areas that we want to address in the depth of our organization, more likely in the forward position, either on the right wing or the center and again on the back end,” Sweeney said. “But we’re exploring a bunch of different things trade-wise. It’s difficult in this league, but I think that we’re in a position with two first-round picks to either be selecting really good players or to be in the marketplace.”

In terms of organizational depth, the B’s probably could use bodies in the middle, as Providence first-liner Alexander Khokhlachev is expected to leave North America to play in the KHL. Or, if Bruins fans want, they can take Sweeney’s answer as a “saying there’s a chance” quote to attach to pipe dreams of Steven Stamkos coming to Boston. Whichever.

Some other quick takeaways from the conference call:

– Sweeney said the Bruins still hope to sign Loui Eriksson.

– New assistant coaches Bruce Cassidy and Jay Pandolfo will have specific roles. Cassidy will be on the bench, running the defense. Pandolfo, who will officially be a coach for the first time after spending the last two seasons in player development, will be the team’s “eye in the sky,” meaning he’ll work from the press level.

– The Bruins have had discussions with restricted free agent Torey Krug and intend to sign him. That shouldn’t come as breaking news, but then again the Dougie Hamilton fiasco told us that good RFA defensemen and this team are no sure thing.

– On the impact of Kevan Miller’s new contract, Sweeney answered a question about possibly trading Adam McQuaid or Dennis Seidenberg by saying that he will explore anything and everything. A non-committal answer, yes, but he certainly doesn’t sound married to the idea of keeping the defensemen he has under contract.

– Providence assistant Kevin Dean will be among the candidates Sweeney will interview for the AHL head coaching gig.

– Sweeney has not told any of the Bruins’ free agents — restricted or unrestricted — that they won’t be back yet. The GM said he might have those discussions this week.

Read More: Don Sweeney, Loui Eriksson, Steven Stamkos,
Don Sweeney: ‘I don’t believe we need a major overhaul’ 04.14.16 at 2:01 pm ET
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Don Sweeney

Don Sweeney

Speaking at Thursday’s press conference, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said he did not intend to make drastic changes to the Bruins’ roster.

Sweeney, who will enter his second offseason as Bruins general manager, said his priority is to add to what the Bruins have rather than rapidly shipping players out. The Bruins currently have 11 NHL players under contract for next season.

“I don’t believe we need a major overhaul,” Sweeney said. “I believe we need to continue to forge depth in the organization. When you go through these times where you have injuries and you have players that have to be able to step in, you have to have a plan that allows players to develop at the right time that they’re supposed rather than force a player. At times, when you don’t have the depth overall, you can expose a younger player. We’d like to have the patience in that regard.

“People talk about young player integration. David Pastrnak’s a great example of a player that we’re going to have a tremendous amount of patience with and Claude has patience with. [He’s] a very exciting player, a big part of our organization going forward and we need to make sure that we’re developing him in the right manner.”

Sweeney did not say whether he intended to part with any of the Bruins’ free agents. The GM said he discussed each of their futures in the team’s recent exit meetings, but declined to reveal whether he’d told them anything definitive. He did reiterate his preference to sign Loui Eriksson and said he did not regret keeping the player at the trade deadline.

On the subject of buyouts, Sweeney said he would be willing to use them. Jimmy Hayes, for whom the Bruins traded Reilly Smith last offseason, could be a candidate to be bought out of his contract.

“From a buyout perspective, I think everything in the CBA up and down will be at our disposal,” Sweeney said. “The ownership has been very supportive of what we need to do [and] continue to do going forward, and if that’s part of it, that’s part of it. We just need to continue to get better.”

Read More: Don Sweeney,
Here’s the letter Bruins sent season ticket-holders regarding Claude Julien at 10:56 am ET
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Don Sweeney

Don Sweeney

Here is the letter sent to Bruins season ticket-holders Thursday announcing the return of Claude Julien for a 10th season:

Dear Valued Ticket Holders,

Like all of you, I am extremely disappointed with the outcome of this season. We set high expectations for ourselves, and we certainly realize that you as fans share the same set of high expectations. It is our responsibility to ice a Team that you are proud to support and one that contends for the Stanley Cup year in and year out. I fully understand that we did not meet these expectations this year and let you all down in the process.

There are a number of important matters to address this offseason, and I wanted to communicate our strategy surrounding a few of these matters directly to you. All of the respective decisions will be made with a singular objective in mind: to improve our club in both the short term and the long term.

The first involves our head coach. Claude Julien is our head coach and will be our head coach when we return to action in the fall. Claude’s record as the winningest coach in Bruins’ history speaks for itself, and he is fully committed to leading the Team back to being a Stanley Cup contender. We recognize there are areas of our game and our roster that need to be improved, and we firmly believe that Claude gives us the best chance at on-ice success in both the near and long term. We are confident in Claude’s ability to continue to make the necessary game adjustments while we work to develop players and re-shape our roster.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Claude Julien, Don Sweeney,
Claude Julien ‘absolutely’ will be back next season, changes to coaching staff coming at 10:14 am ET
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Claude Julien will be back as Bruins coach next season. (USA Today Sports)

Claude Julien will be back as Bruins coach next season. (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

Claude Julien will be back as coach of the Bruins next season.

General manager Don Sweeney announced at the start of Thursday’s end of season press conference that Claude Julien “absolutely” will return.

The Bruins did not make the postseason each of the last two seasons.

Sweeney also announced assistant coach Doug Houda won’t return and other assistants’ deals are up with the exception of goalie coach Bob Essensa. He’s been the goalie coach since 2003.

Houda’s time with the Bruins predates that of Julien, as Houda served as an assistant coach under former B’s head coach Dave Lewis and was kept on after Lewis’ firing. As a player, Houda served as a teammate of Zdeno Chara when the two played for the Islanders.

Other coaches who won’t return are Doug Jarvis and Joe Sacco.

Jarvis was hired prior to the 2010-11 season as a replacement for Craig Ramsay. As a player, Jarvis holds the record for most consecutive games played with 964. Sacco, who formerly served as head coach of the Avalanche and was also an assistant coach for the Sabres, replaced former B’s assistant coach Geoff Ward in the summer of 2014 when Ward left the team to take a head-coaching job in Germany. Ward is currently an assistant coach for the Devils.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Read More: Claude Julien, Don Sweeney,
Don Sweeney: Bruins have had ‘several discussions with teams’ about Loui Eriksson trade 02.28.16 at 5:25 pm ET
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Don Sweeney

Don Sweeney

Holding his pre-trade deadline media availability, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said that Loui Eriksson will “absolutely” play Sunday night against the Lightning as he continues to assess whether he will trade the unrestricted free agent to be.

As of Sunday afternoon, Sweeney and agent J.P. Barry had not resumed contract talks, with the issues of both term and money remaining holding up a potential extension for the 30-year-old. The Bruins’ most recent offer is believed to be for four years, with Eriksson preferring a longer deal.

With no deal in place, Sweeney admitted that he has had trade discussions about the player, who is currently tied for second on the Bruins with 23 goals this season.

“Loui’s a good player. He’s having a great season. He’s been very important for our success up to date and we treat it as such,” Sweeney said. “If another team — and I’ve had several discussions with teams — felt that it was equal on that side of it and the deal was the right fit, then that’s something we’d explore, but my preference has been all along to try to sign him and go from there.”

Former Jets captain Andrew Ladd, a fair comparable for Eriksson, fetched Winnipeg a first-round pick, a prospect and a conditional third-round pick from Chicago in recent days. Asked whether he had been offered a first-rounder by any teams for Eriksson, Sweeney declined comment.

The trade deadline is Monday at 3 p.m. Though it is believed the Bruins will be motivated to trade Eriksson if enough common ground is not found on a new contract by the deadline, Sweeney said that the team is still considering keeping the versatile wing for the rest of the season even if the team doesn’t sign him.

“Absolutely,” Sweeney said of potentially keeping Eriksson without a contract. “Loui’s a valuable player.”

Read More: Don Sweeney, Loui Eriksson,
Don Sweeney explains David Pastrnak situation 01.05.16 at 11:30 am ET
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David Pastrnak

David Pastrnak

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney confirmed Tuesday that the Bruins’ demotion of David Pastrnak to Providence came as a result of a roster crunch and the fact that the player would not be in Tuesday’s lineup anyway.

Pastrnak, who was in Finland for the World Junior Championships, got to Boston on Monday afternoon. He did not practice on Monday, making it very unlikely that he would play Tuesday vs. the Capitals. With the Bruins only having 11 forwards at their disposal (12 on their roster due to the suspended Brad Marchand taking up a spot) and 22 total roster players, the B’s needed to activate Joonas Kemppainen from injured reserve in order to have a full group of forwards against the Capitals. Adding Pastrnak would have left the B’s over the 23-man roster limit.

“Really the only [thing] was he didn’t arrive until yesterday afternoon,” Sweeney said. “We had him checked out, and he’ll skate today and we’ll re-evaluate. Really, it’s a matter of we play tonight, Joonas in all likelihood will come off IR, so our roster is what it is at this point in time. We’ll make a decision going forward, and David will be a part of that process.”

Sweeney added that the Bruins are not concerned with a finger injury through which Pastrnak played WJC games. Sweeney was noncommittal when asked whether Pastrnak would play any games in Providence before returning to the NHL roster.

In 10 games this season, Pastrnak has two goals and two assists for four points.

Read More: David Pastrnak, Don Sweeney,
Don Sweeney will continue to monitor trade market following Dennis Seidenberg injury 09.23.15 at 12:17 pm ET
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Don Sweeney

Don Sweeney

Shortly after Don Sweeney chose against signing a relatively low-cost veteran defenseman late in the offseason, he said that while he had faith in his young defensemen, he would continue to monitor options to improve the team. That’€™s GM speak for “maybe I’€™ll do something, maybe I won’€™t.”

While Seidenberg’€™s absence leaves the Bruins without a veteran defenseman (28-year-old Adam McQuaid is now the team’€™s oldest healthy defenseman not named Zdeno Chara), it does not necessarily make them worse. The Bruins hoped Seidenberg would be better than he was last season, but they didn’€™t know that.

As such, Sweeney now can potentially let all of Boston’€™s healthy NHL-caliber defensemen (of which there are eight — Chara, McQuaid, Torey Krug, Zach Trotman, Matt Irwin, Joe Morrow, Kevan Miller and Colin Miller) make the team and let the cream rise to the top. He can also go out and trade for cream (this has gotten confusing), which could potentially leave the Bruins with an even bigger logjam of good-not-great defensemen once Seidenberg returns in two months.

“It’€™s a void that internally we’€™re trying to assess,” Sweeney said Wednesday, “and as I’€™ve always said, I’€™ll continue to talk to the other teams and people that may or may not be available to see if we need to fill that void.”

Sweeney said that he would potentially swing a deal for a defender. ‘€œonly under the right circumstances.’€

“It’€™s got to be the right fit for us relative to the guys that we have and have been assessing overall,” he said. “We felt that we had very good depth, albeit some of it inexperienced, but now they’€™re getting an opportunity. Hopefully now they can take advantage of it.”

Read More: Dennis Seidenberg, Don Sweeney,

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