|Source: Bruins’ most recent offer to Loui Eriksson is 4 years, sides will talk Saturday||02.26.16 at 7:47 pm ET|
Though the Bruins recently increased the term of their offer to Loui Eriksson, a source familiar with the negotiations told WEEI.com Friday afternoon that the sides are still not close on either the term or the average annual value of Eriksson’s next contract.
The source confirmed that the Bruins’ recent offer is for four years after the team initially offered him a three-year contract in December. Eriksson, who will be 31 at the start of the season, wants a longer deal. He is seeking between the high-$5 million range and the high $6-million range on his next deal, depending on the length of the contract.
Barring a surprise trade, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and agent J.P. Barry are expected to continue discussions Saturday. Eriksson is in the final year of a contract that carries a $4.25 million cap hit.
The NHL trade deadline is Monday and the Bruins are willing to trade Eriksson if the sides haven’t made enough progress on a new contract. A trade is not a certainty in that scenario, however, as the source said that the Bruins have not indicated that they would definitely move the player if he didn’t sign by Monday.
|Brad Marchand on Loui Eriksson uncertainty: ‘We all want to contend’||02.22.16 at 1:25 pm ET|
Like a lot of current Bruins, Brad Marchand has never seen his team trade a key player at the trade deadline. It’s no secret that such could be the case this season as the Bruins weigh their options with Loui Eriksson leading up to next Monday’s trade deadline.
If the Bruins are to trade Eriksson, their best winger not named Marchand but one whose contract expires at the end of the season, they will be selling a key piece despite being in playoff position. As David Krejci said earlier this month, Bruins players don’t want to spend the stretch run — which features 23 games, 15 of which are against opponents currently in playoff position — playing meaningless games as a team that moved players and fell out of it.
Speaking Monday, Marchand avoided the subject of the Eriksson situation as much as possible, but said that he was encouraged enough by the team’s recently concluded 4-2-0 road trip that the team shouldn’t feel forced to sell.
“Right now, with the way the standings are, everybody’s very close. If we continue to play good hockey and come together and play well, then we have the opportunity to stay in a playoff spot. We all want to contend,” Marchand said. “We all believe in our team in here, but obviously whatever the management does, that’s their job. We’re not going to worry about that. We’re just going to come prepared to play every night.”
Eriksson is third on the Bruins with 21 goals this season. This is his sixth 20-goal season and second consecutive season reaching that mark with the Bruins. He is one of Claude Julien‘s most trusted players and the Bruins would go from having a chance at making noise against non-Washington teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs to a potential fringe-playoff team if they traded him for futures.
Of course, Eriksson is also in the final year of a contract that carries a cap hit of $4.25 million. He’s due a big raise from that number, with it still unknown whether the Bruins will be the team to give it to him. If Eriksson agrees soon, the team obviously won’t lose one of its best players down the stretch, which would help this season’s odds.
“That’s not up to us,” Marchand said. “Obviously Loui’s a big part of the team and he’s been playing very well lately. Every night he helps our team and that’s what we need him to do.”
It’s been tough to determine whether the Bruins should trade Loui Eriksson if they can’t sign him. While one would naturally think the inclination should be to get something for the asset, concern about potential lowered prices for rental players left some debate as to whether it would be worth it to punt on a playoff run for minimal return.
The trade market will take shape leading up to next Monday’s trade deadline, which should help to answer those questions. After Sunday’s trade of Shawn Matthias to the Avalanche for a fourth-round pick and Colin Smith, a slightly bigger domino fell on Monday, when the Sharks traded two second-round picks and Raffi Torres to the Leafs for defenseman Roman Polak and center Nick Spaling.
Now, the second-rounders aren’t in this year’s draft (they’re in 2017 and 2018), but Polak is best-served as a third-pairing defenseman and Spaling is a fourth-liner. Two second-rounders for those two is a pretty good haul, meaning the Bruins should be able to get a lot more than that if they were to move Eriksson. Not that they should ever be compared — and Polak is the prize of the deal — but just look at how much worse Spaling is than Eriksson, per OwnThePuck.com.
If Toronto got two seconds for Polak and Spaling, the Bruins should be able to get at least a first and a future second for Eriksson. Of course, the possibility still exists that the Bruins could use their own picks (they have San Jose’s first in addition to their own) to move Eriksson for a good NHL player.
It all depends on what a trade of Eriksson would fetch, but the best-case scenario with the player might still be to sign him. At the very least, Monday’s trade between the Leafs and Sharks — the latter of whom probably won’t see the pick they gave to Boston get too much worse as a result of this trade — should quell concerns that the B’s wouldn’t get much if they were to move the versatile wing.
|Road trip could determine whether Bruins buy or sell||02.10.16 at 2:55 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins will spend the next 11 days on the road as the clock continues to tick toward the Feb. 29 trade deadline. How the Bruins fare on this trip could very well influence the path Don Sweeney and Cam Neely ultimately choose for this team.
Right now, the Bruins are tied for the second-most points in the Atlantic Division, making them a No. 2 seed at best and a wild card at worst. Non-playoff teams such as Montreal, Ottawa and New Jersey are picking up steam as they try to find their way into the top eight.
We already know this team isn’t going to win the Stanley Cup. Last season, they chose not to sell on Carl Sodeberg because the general manager was trying to save his job. That concern isn’t there this season. Sweeney is prepared to move Eriksson if he feels he has to.
The Bruins shouldn’t be buyers (not of any sort of glossy rental, anyway), but if things go badly enough — a disastrous road trip, an injury or two, etc. — the tough decision of what to do with this team might become a little easier. The players don’t want to see that happen.
“You always want to prove that you’re a playoff team and that you’re capable of winning hockey games,” Torey Krug said. “If you don’t do that, then the GM has to do what he has to do. It’s his job to make sure that the team’s getting better. For us, we’re trying to prove that we can win hockey games and we can take a step and go for a run.”
The Bruins are 16-5-3 on the road this season, so there isn’t too much reason to believe that they will fall apart here. If they did, they wouldn’t be faced with the issues they faced last season (Peter Chiarelli trying to keep his job) that prevented them from moving Soderberg. In addition to Eriksson, the Bruins have Kevan Miller, Max Talbot and Jonas Gustavsson as unrestricted free-agents to be. Krug, Brett Connolly, Tyler Randell, Landon Ferraro, Joe Morrow, Zach Trotman and Colin Miller will all be restricted.
If the Bruins were to sell, they’d be wise to do so with the intention of getting young, cheap players. They should prefer players to picks after stockpiling first-and-second-rounders in 2015 and 2016 drafts. The idea of the team moving Eriksson for a young top-four defenseman is a pipe dream given that teams now place a gigantic emphasis on having good, young controllable players.
The market has yet to be truly set for this trade deadline, but consider this: Twenty three of the 30 teams in the league are either in a playoff spot (16 teams have to be, duh) or within four points of one. The Bruins are among a large list of teams that’s vying for the postseason. If they are to ever change their minds, they might find themselves in quite the seller’s market.
Should they hope for that? As has been written plenty in this space, the Bruins shouldn’t be afraid of an honest rebuild if it comes to that. The issue there is that they want to make the playoffs, yet if they trade Eriksson, they’re going to be taking enough of a step back anyway given that they already have major depth issues on the right side.
As for the possibility of adding, last season’s Connolly trade hasn’t turned into goals (not for Connolly at least, though it has for Brad Marchand), but a hockey trade like that — flipping some of the picks they have for a young player should one be available — is a decent template. If a trade for a young player that could help more next season than this season is there, it would be an avenue worth pursuing.
Nobody likes lost seasons, but if you come away with something to show for it — more developed players, added pieces — it can be worth it.
|Update: Bruins haven’t made offer to Loui Eriksson since Christmas||02.01.16 at 4:03 pm ET|
It’s plausible that some truth serum would get Claude Julien to reveal that Loui Eriksson is one of his favorite players. Eriksson drives possession, scores goals and plays both the power play and penalty kill exceptionally. He’s not a shiny player, but he’s a coach like Julien’s kind of player.
So, with Eriksson unsigned and a possibility to be traded if the sides aren’t close on a contract by late February, how would Julien feel about such a player being traded while the Bruins are trying to make the playoffs?
“That depends,” Julien said. “Do you get something in return? Is that something in return something that would help our team? We don’t know that, so I can’t answer that and I don’t think that question is a good thing for me to answer because who knows if he’s going [and] who knows what we’d get back? I can’t answer it until something happens. Hopefully nothing.”
Eriksson, 30, is second on the Bruins in points this season and is on pace for 25 goals. According to a source, the Bruins and Eriksson’s camp discussed the player’s market a while back but the Bruins have yet to make a contract proposal to Eriksson.
UPDATE: Though recent talks have yielded no contract proposals, it has come to light that the Bruins did indeed make Eriksson an initial offer before Christmas. Eriksson’s camp found both the average annual value and the term of the contract to be too low to negotiate off of, however. According to the source, the offer was made “more to simply get things initiated.”
While the sides did not negotiate off that proposal, the Bruins and agent J.P. Barry later began having general conversations about the player’s market and his comps. It is in these conversations that the Bruins have yet to make an offer. As it currently stands, Eriksson’s camp is waiting for the Bruins to engage in more serious negotiations.
The player has a partial no-trade clause that allows him to submit a list of 14 teams to which he would accept a trade. Eriksson did so prior to the season.
“I’d like to keep Loui, period, just like the guys that have left us, I would have loved to have kept,” Julien said. “As a coach, would I like to have Looch? Would I like to have those other guys? Hamilton? Sure, [but] we couldn’t keep them for different reasons. You get some good players that end up leaving for reasons that we can’t control, so you’ve got to have the confidence in your upper management that they’re going to make the right decision. I can’t do anything about it. I can only coach what I have right now. I enjoy having him. I think he’s a great player and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
|Eriksson-Bergeron-Pastrnak an intriguing option for Bruins||01.07.16 at 11:29 pm ET|
It looks like the Bruins are going to use David Pastrnak the right way.
After recalling the 19-year-old scorer from Providence, the Bruins skated Pastrnak on the right wing of Patrice Bergeron‘s line in Thursday’s practice. Loui Eriksson was at left wing, as Brad Marchand will serve the final game of his three-game suspension Friday night.
The line is extremely intriguing. Playing Pastrnak on Bergeron’s line has always seemed to make sense (see: Tyler Seguin‘s 29-goal 2011-12 season), but “the Bergeron line” usually means “the Bergeron and Marchand line.” Bergeron and Marchand have pretty much been a package deal since midway through the 2010-11 season, and for good reason. They’re among the best duos in the NHL.
Yet having Eriksson at left wing could have an interesting impact on Pastrnak. Both Eriksson and Marchand are scorers — they have 15 and 14 goals, respectively — but Marchand is more of an electric player with the puck on his stick than Eriksson. Bergeron, a very good scorer in his own right with 15 goals, can pretty much just dish to Marchand, count to three and be part of a scoring chance.
Eriksson does a lot of things, but he isn’t the skater or offensively ambitious player that Marchand is. With the exception of the 2011-12 season, when Seguin scored 29 goals, Marchand has always scored more goals than his line’s right wing.
Having Eriksson on the line could open up the door for the Bergeron line’s right wing to be more of a scorer.
“Brad creates a lot by having the puck and by me trying to send him with his speed,” Bergeron said. “I think Loui’s more territorial and possession and kind of slowing the play down a little bit more. They’re different in their own rights.
“Me being a righty, my tendency is to go to my left side a little bit more, so maybe my righties are not as happy with me, but we’re trying to use both sides. Brad’s got the puck a little bit more than Loui would. Loui likes to kind of send it and chip it and dump it a little bit more.”
Speaking after Thursday’s practice, Pastrnak seemed thrilled by the idea of playing with Bergeron. After not playing since Oct. 31 due to a foot injury and a lengthy rehab tour that took him to Finland for the World Junior Championships, he was probably just relieved to be back with the B’s.
Skating with both Eriksson and Bergeron will be a new experience for the young forward, but based on what Bergeron would want in a right wing on a line with Eriksson, Pastrnak sounds like a good fit.
“I think the righty needs to go a little bit more and use his speed more and try to [have] us find him,” Bergeron said.
Brett Connolly, who has spent a lot of time on the right wing of Bergeron’s line this season, has had both Marchand and Eriksson as his left wing.
“Obviously Marchy’s more gritty, in your face,” Connolly said. “Loui’s more [about] using his hockey sense to make some plays. He seems to always be in the right areas. Two good players. Two smart players.”
If Eriksson’s presence allows for more facilitating, Pastrnak could be beneficiary for at least a game. One would think Marchand and Bergeron would be reunited once Marchand’s suspension is up, but for now Claude Julien has an interesting line at his disposal.
|5 things we learned: Very good player Loui Eriksson’s hat trick leads Bruins past Wild||11.19.15 at 9:40 pm ET|
In a season that’s featured plenty of bad, no Bruins player has been as good as Loui Eriksson. The 30-year-old provided another reminder on Thursday night.
Eriksson picked up his first hat trick as a Bruin as he scored Boston’s second, third and fourth goals in a 4-2 win over the Wild. It took Eriksson only 16:37 to score his three goals.
While it was Eriksson’s first three-goal showing with the B’s, it was also his third multi-goal performance in 18 games this season. Eriksson now leads the Bruins with nine goals on the season, one ahead of linemate David Krejci‘s eight.
With Thursday’s performance, it’s probably worth noting again that Eriksson is in the final year of a contract that carries a $4.25 million cap hit. Teams don’t get better by losing their best players, so the Bruins would be wise to do their best to try and retain the player.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday night:
HIT ENDS VATRANO’S NIGHT
Rookie callup Frank Vatrano went hard into the endboards on his first shift of the second period and did not return to the game. Vatrano went turned at the last second as he was set to absorb a hit from Nate Prosser, resulting in him appearing to hit the boards with his right shoulder taking the brunt of the impact. Claude Julien told reporters following the game that Vatrano had an upper-body injury.
Vatrano had taken warmups with David Krejci and Loui Eriksson, but he also saw time with Ryan Spooner and Brett Connolly in the first period, taking only four shifts in the first 20 minutes.
If Vatrano is to miss any time, the Bruins would likely have to recall Max Talbot from Providence, as they currently have only 12 forwards on their roster and Providence forwards Alexander Khokhlachev, Seth Griffith and Brian Ferlin are injured.
PK STEPS UP
The Bruins did a very un-Bruins thing Thursday by killing penalties successfully.
After entering the night with the worst penalty kill in the league, the B’s managed to kill off all three of Minnesota’s power plays, including a Brad Marchand hooking penalty at 15:53 of the third period that saw the Wild pull Devan Dubnyk and go 6-on-4.
By going 3-for-3 on the PK, the Bruins killed off all their penalties in a game for just the third time this season, not counting the season-opener in which the Jets never went on the power play.
BELESKEY DROPS THE GLOVES
Matt Beleskey hasn’t been a standout player to this point with the B’s, but it’s certainly not for lack of effort. Beleskey works hard and he plays as physical a game he can, as is evidenced by the fact that he leads the team in hits (which, to remind everyone, is the worst and dumbest stat in sports because it’s an anti-possession stat, but I digress).
On Thursday, Beleskey’s toughness was tested in his first fight with the Bruins. The former Duck passed with flying colors, pounding Brett Bulmer to the ice in short order 5:34 into the game. Beleskey had drawn a tripping penalty on Bulmer earlier in the period.
BRUINS SWITCH MILLERS
Kevan Miller sat out with an upper-body injury Thursday, allowing Colin Miller to re-enter the lineup after a two game stint in the press box.
Miller had an up-and-down night, as he started the rush that resulted in Eriksson’s third goal but also played a part in a goal against. He didn’t catch a pass from Zdeno Chara at the Bruins’ blue line in the second period, resulting in a turnover. That led to Nino Niederreiter feeding Mikko Koivu, whose shot yielded a rebound that Jason Zucker buried past Jonas Gustavsson just over five minutes into the second period for Minnesota’s first goal.