|Savard’s deal under investigation||08.10.10 at 1:45 pm ET|
Bruins fans have wondered all offseason whether center Marc Savard would be back in Boston next season, but this probably isn’t what they had in mind. Savard, who signed a seven-year contract extension last season, could have his deal voided by the league as it is currently under investigation.
In rejecting Ilya Kovalchuk’s greivance with the league for deeming his 17-year, $102 million deal with the Devils bogus, arbiter Richard Bloch listed in the ruling’s footnotes that similar contracts that have already been registered with the league will be under investigation.
These so-called “retirement contracts” that have thrown the league for a loop are made when teams, in an effort to lower a player’s cap hit, tack on extra years at minimal dollars. A player’s cap number in the NHL is determined by dividing total dollars by the number of years, so even in guaranteeing more money in the early years (such as Savard’s $7 million in the first two seasons of the deal, which starts in the upcoming campaign) by adding years at low money, the hit is brought down dramatically (Savard’s cap hit will be $4.007).
Here is an excerpt from the ruling, which was leaked by Team 1200 radio in Ottowa:
It is true, as the Association observes, that the NHL has registered contracts with structures similar to the Kovalchuk SPC PA Exh. 8 reflects a list of 11 multi-year agreements, all of which involve players in their mid to late 30's and early 40's. Most of them reflect reasonably substantial 'diveback' (salary reductions that extend over the 'tails' of the Agreement). Of these, four such agreements, with players Chris Pronger, Marc Savard, Roberto Luongo, and Marian Hossa reflect provisions that are relatively more dramatic than the others. Each of these players will be 40 or over at the end of the contract term and each contract includes dramatic divebacks.
[...] The apparent purpose of this evidence is to suggest that the League's concern is late blooming and/or inconsistent. Several responses are in order: First, while the contracts have, in fact, been registered, their structure has not escaped League notice: those SPCs are being investigated currently with at least the possibility of a subsequent withdrawal of the registration.
The Bruins are in a tight spot cap-wise, but in voiding the contract the NHL would let Savard become an unrestricted free agent, which would mean the Bruins would receive nothing for him. His cap hit is very team friendly given his production, and with the 2010-11 season Nathan Horton’s first in Boston, one would think the Bruins would like to at least catch a glimpse of what the two could do playing together.
Additionally, it could be interesting to see what would come of Savard being a free agent. He’s heard his name in trade rumors all summer and could be willing to test the market if he doesn’t feel he’ll be a top forward with the Bruins in future years.
|Krejci on the wrist, the wing, and the rumors||07.23.10 at 7:17 pm ET|
In this offseason, just about anybody on the Bruins could speak to media members and have their hands full. After all, with big names added, bigger expectations for the upcoming season, and enormous questions about the roster, a Q and A could go on for hours if both sides have the time. Make that player a young star recovering from a playoff-ending injury and it’s no different.
Center David Krejci took some time to speak with reporters after signing autographs for youngsters at the first Bruins summer camp on Friday. He first fielded questions from kids who took part in the camp. After handling such toughies as, “What position do you play?” and, “Who broke your wrist?” Krejci put aside the youngster’s mispronunciation of Prague (“Praig” was a good one) and touched on his offseason, the state of the Bruins, and his excitement to be 100 percent again.
Krejci will have his final procedure for what is hopefully a long time next Friday when he has the screws removed from his right wrist, which was broken by Mike Richards in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Flyers. Though the first surgery on the wrist happened under unfortunate and unusual circumstances, Krejci is far less concerned with this one.
“They're not even going to put me to sleep, they're just going to make little holes in each side and just take the screws out and that's how it is,” Krejci said.
The 24-year-old actually spoke rather highly of getting the screws removed, as their absence will leave just his large scar as the only evidence of the injury that shook the Bruins’ postseason.
“I can't wait for [the surgery], because after it, a week or two after it, I'll go on the ice and I'll be able to start lifting heavy weights and I'm really excited for it,” Krejci said. “It's been a long time and I can't wait to go out there and get back on the ice and just back in the games and everything.”
While Krejci’s wrist has been a popular topic in the offseason, perhaps nothing in the last week or so has grabbed more attention more than the status of right wing and Krejci’s good friend Blake Wheeler. The two-year veteran filed earlier this month for arbitration, and by the looks of things, that’s where the process is headed.
Agent Matt Keator, who represents Wheeler and defensemen Mark Stuart and Zdeno Chara, told WEEI.com Friday that the only update on the situation is that the “tickets for Toronto [the site of his Tuesday arbitration hearing] are booked.” The two sides have not made progress in trying to avoid arbitration. Wheeler is currently on his honeymoon and therefore might not be hung up on his contractual status, but a question regarding whether Krejci and Wheeler have kept in touch yielded an interesting answer.
“We're pretty good friends, and yeah, we talk once in a while. I just went to visit [him] a couple weeks ago. I went to his place in Minnesota, but I'm not going to say anything,” Krejci said. “We're friends and whatever we talk [about], it's just between me and him.”
While something is bound to happen with Wheeler, whether he be re-signed prior to Tuesday, granted or declined what the arbiter awards him. The same can’t be said for center Marc Savard, who has been the centerpiece of the rumor mill around Boston. With Tyler Seguin in tow, the Bruins have a surplus of high-level center icemen but not enough money to sign all 22 men for their roster (Seguin and Wheeler remain without contracts. What does Krejci make of the talk that’s out there?
“I have actually no idea. I have no idea, that's all I can tell you,” Krejci said of Savard. “I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know that he's getting traded or whatever [rumors] say. I have no idea. He's with us right now and that's how it is.
“You want to see the best players, the good players, the good guys in the dressing room,” he added. “We want them to be back, and he belongs to one of these categories and you want him back.”
The one thing Krejci does seem to have the utmost confidence in is his return to the ice. Though he has yet to skate this offseason, he noted that he doesn’t skate during the offseason anyway. After his surgery he will head home to the Czech Republic for about a month and hit the ice as he gears up for training camp on September 17.
“I'll go on the ice mid-August and my wrist might be a little weaker at the beginning of the camp, but we still have like two and a half months before the season starts, so I'll be definitely 100 percent for the first game,” Krejci said.
This offseason has seen a lot go right for the Bruins, be it the offensive additions or the buildup to Prague. With Marco Sturm‘s knee expected to keep him out for a good portion of the season, health remains a factor that shouldn’t be overlooked. With Krejci back and ready to go, the team maintains offensive stability that came and went last season. Krejci just hopes the Bruins make it back to the big stage that is the NHL playoffs and have a better result this time.
“We had not many people [believing] in us [last season], but we kind of [snuck] in to the playoffs and I think we were playing great hockey. Whatever happened happened and, you know, these things happen,” Krejci said. “We've just got to learn from these mistakes and hopefully it's going to get us stronger and next time we'll be in that position where we'll know what to do.”
|Slow free agency to blame for slowed trade market||07.19.10 at 3:41 am ET|
The Bruins had plans to be active in the trade market throughout the offseason, and as anyone who’s seen their current cap situation could infer, they would have been in far better shape had they been able to move contracts out as they brought new ones in. Yet in all their moves thus far, they’ve crept closer and closer to that $59.4 million cap ceiling with moves still left to be made.
Dennis Wideman and Nathan Horton‘s annual cap hits were essentially a wash, with Horton ($4 million) making slightly more, but the $1.1 million Gregory Campbell will earn in each of the next two seasons, in addition to multiple re-signings made by the Bruins, has left the team looking at just over $500,000 to sign both Blake Wheeler and Tyler Seguin, neither of which could be had for such cheap money.
Though the Bruins clearly are in a predicament, it’s tough to blame them. In fact, it could be argued that they have actually done the best with the situation the offseason has put them in, with free agency in particular preventing them from potentially making a deal they may be interested in.
Though Ilya Kovalchuk has gotten plenty of attention for still not having signed a deal, the fact of the matter is that the high-scoring winger is not alone is prolonged free agent status. Alexander Frolov, Lee Stempniak, Marty Turco, Paul Kariya and Maxim Afinogenov are just a few of the big names that remain on the market 20 days into free agency.
As a result, general manager Peter Chiarelli said last week to expect the Bruins to be “relatively quiet” as they wrap up Wheeler and Seguin. This means that anyone who has been strung along by each murmur of a rumored deal including Marc Savard or Tim Thomas may be disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »
|Thornton-Cooke the top fight of ’09-’10?||07.13.10 at 7:16 pm ET|
…Yikes. It appears that’s what NHL.com thinks. The league’s website put together a few videos of what it deemed the top fights of last season that it had on Tuesday, and it led off with the scuffle between Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton and Matt Cooke of the Penguins in the ultra-disappointing March 18 3-0 loss at the Garden.
The game was one that Bruins fans had on their calander as the day the Bruins would exact revenge on Cooke and the Penguins for taking center Marc Savard out of the equation with this dirty hit to the head, one that was deemed legal by head NHL disciplinarian and now father of a Bruin Colin Campbell (Gregory Campbell is his son). Read the rest of this entry »
|VOTE: What to do with Savard?||07.01.10 at 1:56 pm ET|
The offseason has been full of trade rumors for the Bruins, with center Marc Savard and his $4 million cap hit getting plenty of attention. Though the team has made offensive improvements by acquiring Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin, would moving Savard be in the team’s best interest? Vote here.
|Savard rumor du jour: Hello Robyn Regehr?||at 12:43 pm ET|
Like many of the Savard rumors to come up in recent days, the deal wouldn’t seem to accomplish the perceived Bruins’ goal to cut costs while also improving the team. Regehr makes slightly more than Savard per year (both make just over $4 million per year). Additionally, both players have provisions in their contracts that would allow them to squash the deal.
It’s worth noting that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli did say the team could be in the market for another defenseman, but keep in mind a deal for Mark Stuart has yet to be wrapped up.
|Don’t expect much in free agency||06.30.10 at 3:33 pm ET|
The Bruins have been incredibly busy this offseason, hogging the transactions log with their re-signings (Shawn Thornton, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Mark Recchi), a major trade for Nathan Horton, and making the second overall pick in last week’s NHL draft.
In the process, they’ve tacked on more money to an already tight salary cap situation. The inflator clause to raise the cap to $59.4 million helped some, but when considering the raises to Seidenberg ($1 million) and Boychuk ($1.375 million), potential arbitration cases for Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart, and a deal to be done for Tyler Seguin, it’s no wonder general manager Peter Chiarelli has been speaking like someone who doesn’t seem set on being a player when free agency opens on Thursday.
“We’re going to work the trade market,” Chiarelli said Tuesday. “We’re not going out and signing anyone unless 1. We have someone we really want and/or we have the cap space. Right now we don’t really have the cap space to go out and sign a big deal, but that could happen.
“We could make a trade and there could be cap space, but that doesn’t mean we have someone in mind. We’ve got a list. The list is small and in the event we do enter it, unlikely.”
Everyone has heard the rumors involving Marc Savard and Tim Thomas, but as is the team has just $5.40 million in cap space, with the aforementioned players (Wheeler, Stuart, Seguin), Daniel Paille, and Gregory Campbell still to be accounted for. It would appear that they would be pressed for cash even when trying to hold onto their own guys, let alone bring in outside help. They already moved Vladimir Sobotka rather than paying the restricted free agent, but could Wheeler be next?
Many speculated that Wheeler could have been moved to the Oilers in a deal that could have secured the Bruins Taylor Hall, but those rumors were debunked when the fact that the Oilers’ plan was to get both Hall and Seguin came to light last Friday.
If the Bruins try to shed one of their current players’ deals, they might not be able to do so without getting very little talent in return, which could be counterproductive to their chase for a Cup. With the exception of perhaps Savard, none of their bigger contracts are completely desirable for other teams to take on. If they move Thomas’ $5 million, they run a big risk with whichever player they try to sign with the freed money, as history suggests Tuukka Rask hasn’t been a No. 1 goalie long enough for the team to feel completely comfortable without another big-time netminder.
As for moving Savard, you’d have to think the Bruins have seen enough of a shakeup in their offense without potentially offsetting whatever upgrade it got with the addition of Horton. The “he’s not a Neely type of player” talk might quiet down once the two play together.
Chiarelli said Wednesday that the team could look for another defenseman and a third goaltender, both of which would likely be low-cost options (especially the latter). He hinted on Thursday when appearing on Dennis & Callahan that “you might see a couple trades,” but once again downplayed them doing much else.
The Bruins are by no means done when it comes to building the ’10-’11 team. They may even steal a some more headlines in the next few days. Just don’t expect them to be with free agent signings.
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