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David Krejci doesn’t really care about Jimmy Vesey, but he misses Loui Eriksson 08.29.16 at 1:28 pm ET
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David Krejci

David Krejci

BRIGHTON — Don Sweeney’s sales pitch to Jimmy Vesey was built around being David Krejci’s left wing. Vesey passed, but it doesn’t seem Krejci’s losing sleep over it.

“I’m not really disappointed with that guy,” Krejci said Monday of the Rangers rookie. “Obviously I heard he’s a good player, but he has to prove himself on the NHL level. I was more disappointed we weren’t able to keep Loui.”

Loui is, of course, Loui Eriksson, and Krejci had thoughts on that, too. The Bruins declined to give the 31-year-old Eriksson the $6 million cap hit over six years he got from the Canucks, but they signed 32-year-old David Backes to a five-year deal worth the same annually.

Though the Bruins prefer Backes’ character and toughness, Eriksson is the better player at this point and figures to age better. Furthermore, saying goodbye to Eriksson meant once again taking away one of Krejci’s trusted wings in what’s become an annual occurrence; Krejci has also seen the departures of linemates Nathan Horton (2013), Jerome Iginla (2014) and Milan Lucic (2015) in recent seasons.

“I felt like we had some good chemistry going, so that was kind of a tough time to see [Eriksson] go, but I’ve gotten kind of used to seeing my favorite guys going away — Milan, Nathan, Iggy,” Krejci said. “I’m going to have to just play my game and try to find chemistry with whoever’s going to be on my line.”

Regardless of how Krejci’s dealing with Vesey’s decision, the truth is that the former Harvard captain would have been a good get for both the Bruins and Krejci, something Krejci himself admitted. With Brad Marchand a good bet to stay in Boston long-term, Vesey could have held down Boston’s second-line left wing job for years alongside Krejci if the two were to click. With David Pastrnak still emerging, the Bruins would have had the makings of a very strong line going forward.

Asked for clarification on his words about Vesey, Krejci said that he understood the hullabaloo that surrounded the player, especially considering the timing of his sweepstakes.

“Mostly in the summer there isn’t much that people talk about; this was kind of on top of the list for people to talk about,” Krejci said. “Obviously there was a little pressure on him, but he brought it on himself, I guess.”

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Source: Bruins final offer to Loui Eriksson was 5 years, low $5 million range 07.01.16 at 5:11 pm ET
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Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

As of Thursday, the Bruins seemed all but out of the running for Loui Eriksson, with their final offer not suiting what the 30-year-old wing was confident he would get on the open market.

As it turned out, Eriksson was right.

During negotiations, Eriksson’s camp made it clear that they felt worthy of a six-year, $36-million deal. According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the Bruins’ final offer to Eriksson was for five years with a cap hit in the low $5-million range. Eriksson ended up getting six and $6 million annually from the Canucks, with the Bruins finalizing a five-year deal with the same average annual value for 32-year-old David Backes shortly after. Eriksson got nearly $30 million of his deal in signing bonus money.

Eriksson’s deal with the Canucks carries a full no-move clause in its first two years, a full no-trade clause in the next two years and a limited no-trade in the final two years. Negotiations with the Bruins never reached the point of no-trade rights because of the gap in term and dollars.

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Loui Eriksson vs. David Backes: Looking at where the Bruins did (and didn’t) spend their money at 1:24 pm ET
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The Bruins opted against signing a soon-to-be 31-year-old Loui Eriksson to the six-year, $36 million contract he got with Vancouver and instead gave the same average annual value to 32-year-old David Backes.

So essentially, the Bruins decided they would rather $6 million a year to Backes at age 37 than Eriksson at 37. At face value given their styles of play, Eriksson would seem the better bet to be more productive at that age, though the Bruins shouldn’t be besmirched for opting against Eriksson’s deal. With the caveat that they’re likely not done making moves, the initial reaction here is that, if anything, they perhaps shouldn’t have done either contract.

There is no question that Eriksson is a better possession player and more of a scorer than Backes, but the Bruins, to a fault, value grit. Here’s a comparison of Backes and Eriksson, per Own the Puck:

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 1.16.39 PM

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Loui Eriksson could be done with Bruins; Canadiens among 8 teams interested 06.30.16 at 1:25 pm ET
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Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

Dennis Seidenberg is done as a Bruin. It appears the same may soon be said for Loui Eriksson.

Though Eriksson’s camp won’t officially rule out the Bruins, the the team has not budged in negotiations regarding the versatile winger’s next contract this week. As such, Eriksson’s camp feels that a deal will not be struck unless things change drastically between Thursday afternoon and the open of free agency Friday. Furthermore, they do not feel that the Bruins’ buyout of Dennis Seidenberg had anything to do with a deal for Eriksson.

In the meantime, eight teams (including the Canadiens) have expressed interest in the player.

“I spoke with Don [Sweeney] today and they are holding firm on their previous offers,” agent J.P. Barry told WEEI.com Thursday. “We will continue to speak with the teams that have show interest.”

Eriksson, who will turn 31 in July, is coming off a 30-goal, 36-assist season in his third campaign in Boston. Assuming Milan Lucic signs in Edmonton, Eriksson will be the most in-demand left-shot wing on the open market.

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Loui Eriksson in talks with six teams, Bruins willing to go past 4 years 06.26.16 at 10:28 pm ET
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Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

As expected, teams have used the NHL’s free agency interview window to approach winger Loui Eriksson, who spent the last three seasons with the Bruins. As of Sunday evening, six teams had contacted Eriksson’s agent about the player.

The Bruins are interested in retaining Eriksson, but have been reluctant to sign Eriksson for anything longer than four years. That said, a source indicated to WEEI.com Sunday night that the Bruins are indeed willing to go beyond four years on a contract carrying a lesser average annual value. Eriksson’s camp believes the soon-to-be 31-year-old will receive at least five years on the open market.

Though the Bruins could still sign Eriksson prior to free agency, he’ll be free to sign wherever when he reaches unrestricted status on Friday.

“I’m sure they’ll be exploring [the interview period],” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said over the weekend. “We’re in a position where we’re going to sign a couple of players and we’ve [been interested] all along. We just don’t know whether or not we’ve found common ground. We clearly didn’t because we didn’t sign, but the discussions were good. They were positive, but it’s a balancing act and we’ll be now in discussions with other players as well.”

A left-shot wing who plays both sides, Eriksson scored 30 goals and added 33 assists for 63 points last season for the Bruins.

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Free agent interview period open; Bruins set to explore options beyond Loui Eriksson 06.25.16 at 9:46 am ET
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BUFFALO — With Loui Eriksson likely headed to free agency and the period for teams to interview free agents having opened at midnight, the Bruins are set to lay the groundwork for whatever their July 1 plans may be.

Those plans still may include retaining Eriksson, but he figures to get plenty of attention from other clubs willing to go longer than the four-year term from which the Bruins have not budged.

“I had a good conversation with Loui’s group, J.P., [Friday],” general manager Don Sweeney said late Friday night. “We’ll continue to see. Obviously the period to talk to other teams is opening and I’m sure they’ll be exploring that. We’re in a position where we’re going to sign a couple of players and we’ve [been interested] all along. We just don’t know whether or not we’ve found common ground. We clearly didn’t because we didn’t sign, but the discussions were good. They were positive, but it’s a balancing act and we’ll be now in discussions with other players as well.”

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Free agency looks likely for Loui Eriksson; Bruins to take ‘one more stab at it’ 06.23.16 at 7:52 pm ET
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Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

BUFFALO — Don Sweeney has long been hopeful that he and super agent J.P. Barry would be able to bridge the gap and get a new contract done for veteran right wing Loui Eriksson.

With two days left until Eriksson will be free to interview with other teams and over a week until he’ll become an unrestricted free agent, Sweeney didn’t appear to be in a very hopeful state.

“It may not happen,” Sweeney said of an extension.

“I’m going to have a conversation again with J.P. and see if things have changed and take one more stab at it to see if he thinks the internal landscape is as green as we think it is as opposed to what the outside may look like,” Sweeney said. “Obviously he’s on the cusp of maybe exploring things.”

Term has long been a stumbling block between the two sides. The Bruins have been unwilling to go beyond four years on a contract for Eriksson, who will turn 31 next month.

In other free agency news, the Bruins will not bring back Jonas Gustavsson. Zach Trotman will go to market, while the team has had contact with Lee Stempniak and John-Michael Liles.

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