|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.
|Quick hits from Chiarelli||06.29.10 at 1:29 pm ET|
– Though the Bruins didn’t tender restricted free agent Daniel Paille a qualifying offer, the two sides are still “moving towards a deal.” Since the team didn’t tender the winger, they cannot sign him until free agency begins on July 1.
“Every year there’s some players that aren’t qualified,” Chiarelli said. “We didn’t qualify Dan Paille but we’re moving towards a deal. Part of it is once you qulify him, they have the right to arbitration, so that number could be hazardous. I’m not saying that’s the case with Daniel, but that’s sometimes what happens. … That’s just part of negotiating and positioning and whatnot.”
– Marc Savard has not asked to be traded and Chiarelli was brief in his answers regarding potentially moving the center to free up cap space. He added that the new media has been overwhelming with some of the rumors they’ve come up with but that the Bruins continue to think very highly of Savard.
“I still think he’s an elite offensive player,” Chiarelli said. “Nothing’s changed in that regard.”
– The deadline for filing for salary arbitration is July 5. Both Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart are eligible, but after meeting with agent Matt Keator, who represents both players, while in Los Angeles, Chiarelli doesn’t know whether either will file.
“I’m not sure,” Chiarelli said. “I hope not.”
– It seems anyone expecting a notable free agent signing will be disappointed. The team will continue to look for upgrades via trade.
“We’re going to work the trade market,” Chiarelli said. “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.”
Chiarelli did note that the team will look for a third goaltender and also peruse the defenseman market in free agency.
– Steve Begin and Miroslav Satan are both players in what Chiarelli calls the “secondary market.” The team will pursue other options before potentially negotiating with them.
– The Bruins, who Chiarelli said had been targeting Horton for two and a half years, wanted to get a Horton deal done before the draft. As it turned out, it was the draft pick they parted with (No. 15 overall) that got the deal done.
“I know that was a turning point from Florida’s perspective,” Chiarelli said. “There was another team — there were a few other teams in there — but there was another team that had a pick that was close to 15, but ours was higher.
“It was good to get that deal out of the way, and to add a potential impact player like Tyler is good,” Chiarelli added. “We’ve added one definite top-three forward, and who’s to know what Tyler will become in the short term? We know what he’ll become in the long term.”
– Chiarelli had a good quip when asked whether Seguin wearing Joe Thornton‘s old No. 19 was significant, saying, “I guess. You guys can make it significant.”
“I don’t think there’s any overt attempt to outdo Joe,” he added on a more serious note.
|UPDATE: Burke says Leafs not in on Savard||06.28.10 at 4:17 pm ET|
“The rumor – what I read anyway – is that Boston is looking to move this player,” Burke told Fan 590 radio in Toronto. “We have some options presented to us over the weekend, trade wise, that do not involve this player (Savard) that we are looking at.”
Savard has been rumored to be on the block as of late. His contract includes a no-trade clause, but rumors have continued to swirl, including a report that he had waived the no-trade clause for a potential move to Toronto.
“Suffice it to say, the media are focused on one name,” Burke said. “And we are looking at multiple names – not including Marc Savard.”
UPDATE: 5:54 — ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun has tweeted that a source in the Leafs organization has told him the team has not “ever” spoken to the Bruins about Savard.
|Recchi trusts B’s braintrust, excited to be back||at 2:14 pm ET|
Mark Recchi, whose new deal with the Bruins was officially announced Monday, said that he maintained good dialogue with general manager Peter Chiarelli throughout the offseason before ultimately inking a one-year, $1 million pact with the club on Friday. The 21-year veteran said that given the mutual interest in both parties to get a deal done, there “wasn’t any” temptation to hit the free agent market and start over with another team.
“They wanted me back and I wanted to come back,” Recchi said. “‘¦It really wasn’t that hard, to be honest.”
Recchi, a leader in the locker room given his NHL experience and relentless drive to win, added that it wouldn’t make much sense for him to try to gain the confidence and trust of a new coach and group of teammates by signing elsewhere.
“If I went to another team, the coach doesn’t know me,” Recchi said. “Really, I’m very comfortable in the role I’ve been given here and I think I’ve been good for them. It’s just the right fit and really, I didn’t see myself going anywhere else.”
Recchi said the decision on whether to play another season had nothing to do with his body and that he made the decision based on family. He plans to continue going year-to-year, but hasn’t ruled out the possibility of the ’10-’11 season being his final one.
“It’s definitely winding down,” Recchi said. “Whether this is it or not, I’m not sure.”
The veteran forward is excited about the addition of Plymouth Whalers center and second overall pick Tyler Seguin, calling him and Oiler’s left wing Taylor Hall “franchise players.” Unlike with Hall, who will be expected to re-ignite the spark for the league’s worst team, Recchi sees the opportunity for a young superstar to work his way in on a playoff team as beneficial for Seguin.
“We’re very fortunate,” Recchi said of being able to add Seguin. “Up the middle we’ve got three dynamic guys, all different type of players. You throw this kid in the mix, he could possibly play wing, I understand, and he’s going to be an important part, but at the same time, he can come in and just be a player, which is I think the most important for a young player.
“There’s not pressure for this kid to come in, internally anyway. He doesn’t have to come in and be a world beater. There’s a lot of pressure on Taylor Hall to go there and be an impact player right away. Seguin can come in and he can learn and grow and be part of a good hockey team. I think that’s very important for the development of a young kid.”
Recchi often stressed his approval of the direction the team is headed in. He spoke very highly of the newly acquired Nathan Horton, noting that his potential had been “untapped” while playing for a cellar-dwelling team in Florida for his entire career.
As for one of the afformentioned “dynamic guys” possibly being moved elsewhere, Recchi, who has heard the chatter that center Marc Savard could be on the block, exuded a confidence in Chiarelli to make the right move.
“Obviously I really like [Savard] and you never know what’s going to happen, but general managers explore everything,” Recchi said. “If there’s viable option to move Mark Savard, then obviously you’ve got to look at it.”
Recchi pointed to the logjam at center as a reason why Chiarelli could consider moving the team’s seventh-leading point-getter. He hinted at the possibility of bringing in one piece for Savard and adding another via free agency with the money saved. Wherever he ends up, Recchi feels he’ll remain an impact player.
“He’s obviously a dynamic passer and he’s been great for the Boston Bruins,” Recchi said. “I’m sure they’re not taking this lightly. If it makes sense, they’ll do it, but if it doesn’t I think he’ll be here and he’ll be a good player again for us.”
|Proposed blindside hit ban goes through||06.25.10 at 2:46 pm ET|
Anyone upset with the way the whole Marc Savard/Matt Cooke/Colin Campbell situation was handled last season can rest easy, as the NHL Board of Governors approved a ban on blindside blows to the head. Players who commit lateral blindside hits, such as Cooke’s March 7 hit on Savard, now can be given a five-minute major and a game misconduct. If a player racks up two game misconducts for blindside hits to the head, he will automatically be suspended for the next game.
The proposed rule change had been drawn up last week by the NHL’s competition committee. Campbell, the senior vice president and director of hockey operations, fell under heavy criticism in March when he decreed that Cooke had technically not done anything on the hit of Savard to warrant a suspension. Later that month, the general managers called for a revised rule, which now has been passed.
The actual language of the rule outlaws “lateral or blindside hits to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact.”
Though stricter punishment is now in place, Bruins president Cam Neely is still hesitant to treat the problem as being solved.
‘The one concern that I have is that it’s still going to be a tough rule to call,’ Neely told WEEI.com’s Graig Woodburn on Thursday. ‘I don’t know if you’re going to get everyone happy. That’s the problem.’
Neely, whose playing career was cut short due to injury, can appreciate that though players may still be at risk, the initiative taken to cut down on risk is a step in the right direction.
‘I think it’s going to be tough for the referee in that split second to really judge the call. Like all new rules, there’s going to be some questions,’ he said. ‘At least there is an attempt to get [hits to the head] out of the game.”
|Neely: ‘We’re waiting like everyone else’||06.24.10 at 10:08 pm ET|
While the Board of Governors approved a rule change providing a five-minute penalty for a blindside hit to the head ‘ such as that which sidelined Bruins center Marc Savard this season ‘ Neely emerged from Thursday’s meeting focused on Friday’s draft in which the Bruins have the second overall pick.
The Edmonton Oilers have the first pick in the draft, and with it the possibility of trading down if the player they would select is different than the player the Bruins want. Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin are considered locks to be selected with the top two picks, but so far, the Oilers have not indicated which player they prefer.
There has been much speculation the Oilers plan to take Hall and the Bruins would then choose Seguin, but nothing is definite at this point.
‘Edmonton still hasn’t really said anything, so nothing is etched [in stone]. We’re still waiting like everyone else,’ said Neely, who was named as the Bruins President on June 16.
Neely had attended Board of Governors meetings before, but was doing so his new capacity for the firs time on Thursday.
‘A lot of the stuff I’ve been doing has not really changed that much,’ said Neely. ‘Obviously, a little more responsibility now, which is OK. I’m looking forward to the challenge.’
Among his first duties at the Board of Governors meeting was assessing the blindside hit rule approved Thursday.
‘The one concern that I have is that it’s still going to be a tough rule to call,’ Neely said. ‘I don’t know if you’re going to get everyone happy. That’s the problem.’
In response to a question regarding the Matt Cooke hit on Savard, which caused Savard to incur a significant concussion, Neely said that the hit would be illegal under the new rule, which he generally favors.
‘I think it’s going to be tough for the referee in that split second to really judge the call. Like all new rules, there’s going to be some questions,’ he said. ‘At least there is an attempt to get [hits to the head] out of the game. ‘
|Inside the Bruins locker room||05.11.10 at 1:44 am ET|