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Bruins seem comfortable with idea of Loui Eriksson on top line 07.25.14 at 2:56 pm ET
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Loui Eriksson had an up-and-down first season with the Bruins. (AP)

Loui Eriksson had an up-and-down first season with the Bruins. (AP)

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.

Read More: David Krejci, Jarome Iginla, Loui Eriksson,
Jarome Iginla: Cap situation meant return to Bruins ‘wasn’t really an option’ 07.01.14 at 3:47 pm ET
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Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla

Doing a phone interview on Sportsnet after signing with the Avalanche, veteran right wing Jarome Iginla explained that returning to the Bruins ‘€œwasn’€™t really an option.’€

“It was tough to be leaving Boston and such a great organization and city and a great group of guys,”€ Iginla said when discussing his decision to sign with Colorado.

Iginla took a three-year, $16 million deal with the Avalanche. He had said he wanted to return to the Bruins, but the Bruins have only $5.69 million in cap space for next season with multiple players on their roster (restricted free agents Torey Krug, Reilly Smith) needing new contracts.

Asked whether his departure from Boston came down to Boston’€™s lack of cap space, Iginla replied, “€œI believe so for my side. I don’€™t know for sure from theirs. They were always very positive and great to me.”

He did note that though the sides may have been able to find a way to work out a one-year deal, he didn’€™t think the Bruins would be able to sign him in future seasons.

“€œEven to work a one-year deal this year was very hard for them,”€ Iginla said. “I don’€™t know if that would have fully been an option. Even if it was, we want to keep playing. I feel great, I love hockey.

“€œI want to play for more than just this year, and even if we were to fit in this year, it would be even harder next year with the guys that are up and the guys that will be up for contracts. … They have a whole group of great young guys that they do need to keep, so I understood that I just, it wasn’€™t really an option.”

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

Read More: Jarome Iginla,
Report: Canucks to make ‘big push’ for Jarome Iginla at 10:19 am ET
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Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla

According to TSN’s Farhan Lalji, the Canucks will make a “big push” for Jarome Iginla at the start of free of free agency.

The obvious connection between the two sides is Jim Benning, who was hired this offseason to be Vancouver’s general manager after years of being an assistant GM in Boston.

Despite the interest the Canucks may have, they don’t seem like a logical fit for Iginla. The 37-year-old wants to win the Stanley Cup, and going to a rebuilding team that recently traded Ryan Kesler wouldn’t make much sense. After all, the reason he left Calgary in the first place was because he wanted to play for a contender.

Other teams reportedly interested in the future Hall of Famer include Minnesota, Colorado and Detroit. Iginla’s preference is to return to Boston, but the Bruins will need to shed cap space in order to sign him.

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

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Report: Jarome Iginla to test free agency 06.30.14 at 7:56 pm ET
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Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla

In some not-too-surprising news, Jarome Iginla will not sign with the Bruins before the start of free agency and will become an unrestricted free agent as of Tuesday at noon, according to a report from Chris Johnson of Sportsnet.

The Bruins and general manager Peter Chiarelli have stayed in contact with Iginla and agent Don Meehan, as they hope to sign the player but currently don’t have the cap space to do so. As such, Iginla has spoken to other teams in the pre-free-agency period in which contact between teams and soon-to-be free agents is permitted.

As of Monday evening, the Bruins have $67,582,500 committed to their cap figure for next season, with the league’s upper-limit set at $69 million. Including the $4.027 million by which they can exceed the limit given Marc Savard’s long-term injury status, the Bruins have $5,697,500 to spend, though they must also sign restricted free agents Torey Krug and Reilly Smith, among others. A source familiar with the situation told WEEI.com Monday that Chiarelli is “reviewing all of his options” regarding the cap crunch the Bruins currently face.

Iginla will turn 37 on Tuesday, though he’s still plenty productive. The future Hall-of-Famer’s 30 goals were tied for the team lead for the Bruins in the regular season. He also led the B’s with five postseason goals.

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

Read More: Jarome Iginla,
Jarome Iginla talking to other teams as Bruins face cap crunch at 10:38 am ET
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Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla

Peter Chiarelli told reporters in Philadelphia over the weekend that Jarome Iginla and agent Don Meehan would talk to other teams, a process that has seemingly begun given that the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported the Wild contacted the soon-to-be free agent.

Free agency begins Tuesday, though teams have been able to talk to free-agents-to-be since last Wednesday. Iginla, who turns 37 Tuesday, figures to have plenty of potential suitors.

Chiarelli had also said that Iginla’€™s camp would stay in contact with the Bruins throughout the process, as the player wants to return to Boston but the Bruins have a little less than $6 million in salary cap space to sign a group of players that also includes Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.

If the Bruins are unable to bring Iginla back, there are plenty of contenders with ample cap space. The Lightning cleared cap space via trades Sunday night to give them somewhere around $13 million to spend, while the Wild have long to be believed to be spenders this offseason, either by signing Thomas Vanek or somebody else. Anaheim, Montreal and the Rangers are also among the contending teams with money to spend.

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

Read More: Jarome Iginla,
NHL salary cap set at $69 million for 2014-15 season 06.27.14 at 5:05 pm ET
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The NHL and NHL Players Association announced the payroll range for the 2014-15 season Friday, and the upper limit being lower than anticipated should make the Bruins’ offseason even more difficult than initially anticipated.

The lower limit is set at $51 million, with the upper limit set at $69 million. The upper limit was expected to be somewhere around $70 million, with recent speculation suggesting it could be higher. The Bruins, who have $67.58 million in cap space  committed to next season, but can go as far as $4.027 million over the upper limit if Marc Savard is placed on long-term injured reserve, will now be hard-pressed to retain their unsigned players — Jarome Iginla chief among them — without shedding a current contract or two.

Reilly Smith and Torey Krug are both restricted free agents, as are Matt Bartkowski and Jordan Caron.

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

Read More: Jarome Iginla,
Peter Chiarelli: Bruins won’t go big in free agency 06.23.14 at 1:18 pm ET
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Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli held a conference with the media Monday to discuss the upcoming draft and free agency periods. Here are some of the takeaways:

- Chiarelli declined comment on negotiations with Jarome Iginla, saying only that the team wants the free agent forward to stay in Boston. The B’€™s are facing $4.75 million in penalties from cap overages from last season, most of which were from the easily reached incentives in Iginla’€™s one-year contract.

Chiarelli said the team was willing to face such a situation when they signed Iginla last offseason, but hinted the team might be less inclined to do a similar deal given that they have to account for raises to other players (Chiarelli mentioned David Krejci, but Carl Soderberg can also be included) in the 2015-16 season. So, connecting the dots, perhaps the Bruins are more willing to do a multi-year deal with Iginla rather than another one-year, incentive laden deal.

If that were to happen, Iginla’€™s cap hit would be higher than it was last season ($1.8 million), but the team won’€™t have to deal with cap penalties in future seasons.

- Such a scenario might make things tight for the Bruins. The salary cap has yet to be announced for the coming season, but when factoring in Marc Savard‘€™s long-term injury reserve space, the Bruins are probably looking at about $8 million to $10 million to sign a group of players that includes Iginla, Reilly Smith and Torey Krug, among others. Asked whether he felt he needed to move a contract in order to get his players signed, Chiarelli said he has multiple potential game plans for this offseason, some of which include trading a player off the current roster.

- Chiarelli said the Bruins are not planning on using a compliance buyout at this time.

- The Bruins will look at ‘€œlesser deals’€ in free agency, according to Chiarelli. For both cap’€™s sake and chemistry’€™s sake, the team is not looking at bringing in a big-name free agent.

- Providence coach Bruce Cassidy is a potential candidate to take Geoff Ward‘€™s old job as one of Claude Julien‘€™s assistants, but Chiarelli noted the team might want to keep Cassidy in Providence because of how dependable he has been with developing younger players, especially on the back end.

- The number of new general managers has led to increased chatter among teams, Chiarelli said. He noted that the first-time managers seem eager to execute their plans, which has resulted in more teams talking.

Read More: Jarome Iginla, Peter Chiarelli,
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