|Free agency looks likely for Loui Eriksson; Bruins to take ‘one more stab at it’||06.23.16 at 7:52 pm ET|
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.
|Bruins not yet discussing Loui Eriksson’s rights with teams||06.22.16 at 6:58 pm ET|
The Bruins and agent J.P. Barry still plan to negotiate further as they try to bridge the gap on Loui Eriksson’s next contract. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Sweeney and Barry will meet Wednesday night.
With the sides still not close on a deal, however, the clock is ticking on the team to decide whether they’re going to keep the player unsigned through the draft or flip his rights to another team for draft pick compensation. Given that such trades involve mid-round picks (as has been the case for free-agents-to-be Alex Goligoski, Keith Yandle and Jimmy Vesey), the Bruins would realistically have until Saturday (the second day of the draft) to make such a move if they were to seek 2016 compensation. According to a league source, the Bruins are not currently discussing Eriksson’s rights with other teams.
Considering that the team shopped Eriksson leading up to the trade deadline, it figures that the team has some sort of indication as to which teams might be interested should it come to that. Last summer, the Bruins traded the rights of UFA Carl Soderberg to the Avalanche the night before the draft in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft.
|Loui Eriksson still waiting for latest Bruins contract offer||06.20.16 at 3:22 pm ET|
The Bruins and Loui Eriksson haven’t made much progress in recent days.
Eriksson’s camp had expected a new offer from the Bruins at some point last week, but as of Monday morning agent J.P. Barry still had yet to receive one. The expectation is that Barry and Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will discuss Eriksson’s future this week in Buffalo (where the draft will be held) if not sooner.
The sides have been negotiating the versatile winger’s next deal since early in the 2015-16 season. When an agreement hadn’t been reached by the season’s trade deadline, the B’s held onto the player in hopes that the team would make the playoffs and still be able to re-sign him.
Eriksson is coming off a 30-goal, 33-assist season for the Bruins. He will turn 31 on July 17.
|Don Sweeney lists center as an area Bruins might look to upgrade||05.25.16 at 12:06 pm ET|
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.
|Ryan Spooner, John-Michael Liles won’t play vs. Devils; Loui Eriksson prepares to play center||03.28.16 at 11:13 am ET|
WILMINGTON — Ryan Spooner, John-Michael Liles and Brad Marchand all were absent from Monday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena as the Bruins prepared for Tuesday’s game against the Devils. Neither Spooner nor Liles will travel with the team to New Jersey.
Spooner did not play the third period of Saturday’s game in Toronto due to a lower-body injury that has nagged him for much of the second half of the season. Spooner, who has missed just one game this season, had 40 points in his first 56 games but has seven points in his last 19 games and one point in his last six games.
Liles missed the game altogether as a result of a lower-body injury suffered in last Thursday’s loss to the Panthers. Claude Julien said after Monday’s practice that Liles had skated earlier in the day. Marchand is ill, according to Julien, but will travel to New Jersey.
To this point, the Bruins have not made any recalls. The forward lines in practice looked as such:
While Marchand could be expected to return to his usual spot next to Patrice Bergeron, the most notable change in Boston’s lines Monday was Loui Eriksson playing center, something both Julien and Eriksson intimated was a realistic possibility for Tuesday’s game.
“[A call-up] is not the plan as we speak,” Julien said. “You saw Loui at center. Loui’s very capable of doing that and we’ll see where we go from there.”
Eriksson played center for one shift Saturday and said that he played a little center back when he played for the Stars. Eriksson is best known as a versatile left-shot wing who plays both sides and is strong in his own zone. On the season, Eriksson has won eight of the 15 faceoffs he’s taken.
“Obviously faceoffs, you have to be the guy that comes home and plays in the defensive zone,” Eriksson said. “It’s a little bit different. It’s probably going to take a few shifts to get used to, but I’ve played it before and hopefully I can do something good with it.”
|Loui Eriksson practices; Zac Rinaldo has hearing for hit, assigned to Providence||02.29.16 at 11:06 am ET|
WILMINGTON — With hours to go until the 3 p.m. trade deadline, Bruins forward Loui Eriksson participated in Monday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena.
The Bruins are still determining whether to trade Eriksson, make a last-ditch effort to sign him to a contract extension or potentially keep him past the deadline without a new contract inked. Both sides have indicated that the possibility of the B’s keeping Eriksson unsigned is real, though the guess here is that it’s a situation Boston would like to avoid.
After sending him to Providence for a two-game conditioning loan, the B’s brought Tyler Randell back up for Monday’s practice. Zac Rinaldo, who remains on waivers until noon, did not practice and was the only absence. Should he go unclaimed, the Bruins can either keep him on their roster or send him to Providence. (Update: Rinaldo has been sent to Providence, according to the AHL transactions page.)
The NHL Department of Player Safety announced Monday that Rinaldo would have a hearing for his illegal check to the head of Cedric Paquette in Sunday’s loss to the Lightning. Rinaldo has not been suspended as a member of the Bruins, though he came to Boston this summer having been suspended a total of 14 games over the course of his Flyers career.
Max Talbot, who cleared waivers Saturday, remains on the NHL roster and was on for the start of Monday’s skate, though he left the ice just a few minutes into the practice.
|Don Sweeney: Bruins have had ‘several discussions with teams’ about Loui Eriksson trade||02.28.16 at 5:25 pm ET|
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.”