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After losing Dougie Hamilton, Claude Julien says young players ask for too much too soon 06.26.15 at 11:48 pm ET
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SUNRISE, Fla. — Claude Julien lamented the fact that Dougie Hamilton wanted top dollar hours after the Bruins traded the 22-year-old star defenseman in a stunning deal with the Flames.

With statistics and big-name comps on Hamilton’s side, the defenseman’s camp sought a deal commensurate with those of other top young defensemen such as Drew Doughty and Alex Pietrangelo. The Bruins were unwilling to pay that, with a source telling Friday that none of Boston’s offers exceeded $6 million a year.

Julien said he understood why Hamilton wants to be paid like his peers, but he doesn’t like how soon players cash in these days.

“The players and the organization, I guess everybody’s in their right with the way CBA is,” Julien said after the first round of the draft on Friday. “As a coach, to be honest with you, I find it very unfortunate that players that have played maybe three years in the league, all of a sudden they’re looking to be up there with the top-paid players.

“I prefer it the other way, where they work their way up: years of service and everything else.

“That’s not to say he wasn’t in his right. He’s in his right. He’s entitled to do what he did. I’m not standing here blaming him at all. Would we like to have kept him? I think we would have liked to have kept Dougie Hamilton. He’s a good promising young player, but you move on.”

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Source: Bruins didn’t offer Hamilton more than $6 million a year at 7:04 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

SUNRISE, Fla. — Bruins general manager Don Sweeney met with the media at BB&T Center on Friday following his trades of Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic. Much of the session focused on Hamilton, who was sent to the Flames on Friday afternoon for the 15th, 45th and 52nd picks of this weekend’s draft.

Sweeney said that Hamilton turned down significant money from Boston as the team tried to sign the restricted free agent-to-be, but that the player rejected it. A source told shortly after that none of the offers extended by the Bruins exceeded $6 million in average annual value.

As such, it isn’t a big surprise that the sides weren’t able to come to terms. Hamilton’s experience and numbers gave him some pricey comparable players, and as such he figured to command anywhere from $6 million to $7 million on a long-term deal.

The general manager noted that the fear of losing Hamilton to an offer sheet factored into the decision to trade him, but that the issues signing him were the ultimate reason he was moved.

“We were in a position to be able to react accordingly if we felt that was necessary,” Sweeney said of offer sheets.

“I think the more important part was that I didn’t believe that Dougie would have been comfortable in Boston going forward.”

Sweeney said he talked to numerous teams and fielded multiple offers before executing the trade with the Flames. The lack of return led to immediate criticism of the trade on the Bruins’ end, as the B’s could have received more picks had they simply let Hamilton sign a rich offer sheet with another team.

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Sides meet, but Bruins and Dougie Hamilton still not close on contract extension 06.25.15 at 2:22 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. –€” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and agent J.P. Barry met Wednesday night in Florida as the sides continue to discuss Dougie Hamilton’€™s next contract.

The sides are not close to a deal, as the meeting focused on where Hamilton stands at this point in his career and the term of a potential contract. Sweeney declined to reveal his preference for term when asked at Thursday’€™s pre-draft availability.

Sweeney described the status of negotiations as “further discussions” and said the sides are keeping “€œreal, real good communication”€ in an effort to strike a deal.

Asked whether signing Hamilton before July 1 (the start of restricted free agency for Hamilton) is his priority, Sweeney replied, “In a perfect world, it would be.”

“You’€™ve got to have two sides to make a deal,”€ Sweeney added. “€œWe’€™re just going to continue to explore that and communicate as best we can to continue to find the right deal.”

Sweeney said that if a team is to present Hamilton with an offer sheet in July, the B’€™s would “have to be aware and prepared for it.”€ It is expected that the Bruins would match any deal, though they would like to sign Hamilton on their own terms.

“We’re going to do whatever we have to do in order to protect the player,” Sweeney said when asked about potential financial maneuvers to ensure that the Bruins don’t lose Hamilton.

Given the salary cap in the NHL, the ideal scenario for the Bruins would be to sign Hamilton, a rising star, to a lengthy contract to buy out years of unrestricted free agency. That way, the Bruins would get more of Hamilton’s prime years for less money. Hamilton is four seasons away from having the service time accrued to be an unrestricted free agent. The max length for a team signing their own player to a contract is eight years.

Where that gets tough for the Bruins is that they don’€™t have the cap space to sign a player for a high average annual value, which is what such a contract would require. A shorter contract would command less per year, but the Bruins would either have to pay more at the end of it or risk losing their player on the open market down the road.

Both Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly are also days away from restricted free agency. The Bruins have already begun talks with the representatives for both players. Sweeney reiterated that he hopes to re-sign Adam McQuaid.

Sweeney and Barry are expected to meet again before the end of draft weekend.

Read More: Don Sweeney, Dougie Hamilton,
Dougie Hamilton contract talks could pick up this week 06.22.15 at 4:04 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

Talks between the Bruins and restricted free agent Dougie Hamilton could soon pick up steam.

J.P. Barry, the agent for Hamilton, will be in Sunrise, Fla. later this week for the NHL draft. It’€™s expected that he and the B’€™s will talk shop as the sides look to find common ground on Hamilton’€™s next contract.

Hamilton, 22, is coming off his entry-level contract. Given his experience and his comparables, a long-term deal would likely command a steep cap hit, perhaps similar to that of Drew Doughty’€™s eight-year, $56 million deal signed back in 2011.

The Bruins could sign Hamilton to a shorter-term deal with a lower cap hit, but that would get Hamilton closer to unrestricted free agency, at which point he could command much more money.

If the Bruins and Hamilton do not strike a deal by July 1, Hamilton will be able to seek offer sheets from other teams. Should he sign with one of those teams, the Bruins would have seven days to either match that contract or take draft pick compensation instead.

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Don Sweeney says ‘highly unlikely’ Bruins bring back Carl Soderberg, offers ‘no comment’ on Dougie Hamilton 06.19.15 at 11:34 am ET
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Carl Soderberg (34) appears to be the latest salary cap casualty for the Bruins. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Carl Soderberg appears to be the latest salary cap casualty for the Bruins. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Carl Soderberg appears to be the latest casualty of the Bruins’ salary cap crunch.

The 29-year-old center had 13 goals and 31 assists this year while playing in all 82 games, playing out the final year of a three-year, $3 million contract. Soderberg will be looking for a big pay day as an unrestricted free agent.

The Bruins have just 16 players signed on their current roster and project to have $6.531 million in cap space remaining. Don Sweeney, preparing for his first NHL draft as general manager, knows he’s up against it.

“We’re trying to plan for every circumstance that may exist,” Sweeney said on a conference call Friday with reporters. “Carl was a very important part of our team this year. In a perfect world, we would be able to retain Carl. It’s highly unlikely at this point in time that that will be happening relative to our overall situation.”

With that eventuality in mind, the Bruins signed forward Joonas Kemppainen on May 21 to a one-year, two-way contract which would be worth a cap figure of $700,000 at the NHL level.

The 27-year-old played 59 games for Oulun Karpat in the Finnish Elite League during the 2014-15 season and recorded 11 goals, 21 assists and a plus-15 rating. In 19 playoff games for Karpat this year, the forward potted 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points with a plus-14 rating. Kemppainen also competed in this year’€™s IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship where he ranked third on the Finnish team in goals (three), second in assists (six) and second in points (nine) in eight games played.

“I think Joonas represents a player of similar nature, similar skill set. He’s a big strong player,” Sweeney said. “He’s responsible. He’s 27 years old so he’s been through the pro ranks and he’s ready for it. He’s got some heaviness to his game. Look at his offensive production, it was pretty darned good this year in particular but really the last couple of year, he’s been very, very consistent and he rolled that right over to world championship, where again he was both very reliable, accountable as a two-player but also produced offensively, which is huge, huge for us.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Carl Soderberg, Don Sweeney, Dougie Hamilton
A cheat sheet for those confused about the Dougie Hamilton situation (with visuals!) 06.15.15 at 12:17 pm ET
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Dougie Hamilton is going to get paid a lot of money and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Any conversation about how he shouldn’t — and there have been several over the last few days — generally exposes a lack of understanding on the part of its participants.

We’ve written about Hamilton’s next deal multiple times now, outlining his comps and and what they made. Here’s an attempt at summarizing things for folks who may still be confused.


For the third time, look at this table:

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 12.04.13 PM

Those are not advanced stats. It’s points per game. Division is not an advanced concept for most elementary school graduates.


The Kings took a leap of faith with Doughty by giving him that contract, and it has paid off. Doughty has led the Kings to two Stanley Cups since, and one could only imagine what he’€™d command if he had taken a short deal and had his contract come up again a couple years late.

The reason teams should go long at a higher cap hit is to buy out years of free agency. The goal is to have a player’s prime years cheap. A bridge contract means the team would have to later pay way more for those prime years.

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How Victor Hedman plays into Dougie Hamilton conversation 06.09.15 at 1:06 pm ET
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Victor Hedman has become elite. (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Will Dougie Hamilton continue to follow Victor Hedman’s career path?           (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Victor Hedman has most definitely arrived. His sixth season in the NHL, despite an injury detour early in the season, has cemented his status as one of the top defensemen in the league. The Bruins could use someone like that, and they can only hope Dougie Hamilton becomes such an impact player.

They can do more than hope, actually. They can look at the players’ career paths and project accordingly.

Like Hamilton, Hedman is a big, skilled, offensively creative defenseman whose detractors note a lack of physicality. He was also a top prospect in his draft (second overall in 2009).

Hedman’s bigger than Hamilton; he’s 6-foot-6 and, after coming into the league at 220 pounds, is now listed at 230 pounds. Hamilton is 6-foot-5 and 212 pounds. He could stand to continue to bulk up.

Yet where Hamilton has Hedman — and pretty much everyone — is how his career has begun. If Hamilton has reached his ceiling, he’ll be a solid player who has a solid career. There’s little reason to think that, however, as he has outperformed plenty of great defensemen who ascended to stardom after their first three seasons.

Back in April, we compared Hamilton to P.K. Subban, Drew Doughty, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Alex Pietrangelo, looking at the how they performed in their entry-level contracts and noting the contracts those players got. Given that Hedman has become one of the top young blueliners in the game, it’s worth revisiting with his numbers as well.

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Read More: Dougie Hamilton, Drew Doughty, P.K. Subban, Victor Hedman
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