|Bruins’ right wing shuffle bittersweet for Milan Lucic||09.04.13 at 9:39 pm ET|
Lucic, one of the bigger NHL fans among NHL players, has long respected Iginla, and he has every reason to. As one of the premier power forwards in recent history with 530 NHL goals, Iginla is not only a logical linemate for Lucic, but the type of player a young star like Lucic can look up to.
That isn’t to say there wasn’t some surprise on Lucic’s end when he heard that the B’s had signed the 36-year-old.
“At first I kind of laughed,” Lucic said Wednesday. “It’s great. He’s a great player. He hasn’t scored 500 plus goals by accident, and I think a lot of people kind of doubted him and the way he played at the end of the year, but I think he’s a guy with a lot of pride and a guy that competes hard. ‘¦ It seems like he’s real excited to be a part of the Boston Bruins, and that’s what you want to see from a future Hall of Famer.”
Of course, the only reason the Bruins got Iginla was to replace Lucic’s good friend in Nathan Horton, who decided after the season that he was not interested in returning to the Bruins. Horton took a seven-year deal in Columbus, leaving Lucic without his linemate of the last three seasons.
“It’s tough. For me personally, it’s more than just losing a teammate,” Lucic said of Horton departing. “It’s someone that you spent a lot of time with in his time here, but at the end of the day that’s where you’ve got to realize that it is a business. It’s unfortunate to see him go — he was a big part of our team the last three years — but you’ve got to move on, turn the page and wish him all the best.”
While Lucic wouldn’t definitely say whether he saw Horton’s decision coming, he defended the decision.
“I talked to him a little bit about it, and being a UFA he’s free to make the decision that he wants,” Lucic said. “He got a pretty good deal out of it, so there’s no grudges, there’s nothing like that.”
Lucic and Horton found success skating on a line with David Krejci that paired one of the league’s better playmakers and two-way forwards with a pair of power forwards. The line could score and wear teams down, all while being more responsible than your average top line.
With Horton gone, the B’s can go for the same dynamic by inserting Iginla into Horton’s old spot. If they do, Loui Eriksson can play the right wing on Patrice Bergeron’s line and give the B’s perhaps the best top-six they’ve had in years.
“Just looking at [it], Horty was a right-handed shot and so is Iggy,” he said. “If you were going to make a pretty good guess, you’d say he fit in pretty well with us. Horty was a great shooter, and [Iginla] is one of the best goal-scorers of the last 15 years. You hope that it fits and you hope the chemistry is there from day one. If he is with us, we’re going to have to work at it a little bit to make sure it’s where we want it to be.”
|Peter Chiarelli on Salk & Holley: Bruins got better in offseason||07.17.13 at 5:34 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli joined Salk & Holley on Wednesday, discussing a busy shakeup of his roster this offseason that most notably saw him trade former second overall pick Tyler Seguin to the Stars in a deal that brought Loui Eriksson to Boston.
Chiarelli said that though he had publicly questioned Seguin’s professionalism, he felt that he was a “good teammate.” Much was made of Seguin’s partying — a concern the team brought to his attention during the first round of the playoffs before hiring a guard to stand outside his hotel room to make sure he didn’t leave — but Chiarelli said Seguin’s off-ice issues weren’t major.
“He liked to be out,” Chiarelli said. “That doesn’t mean he was out drinking or out late. I know he was at times, but he liked to live life. I respect that.”
The issue, Chiarelli said, was that the Bruins ultimately couldn’t wait for Seguin to reach his potential with their best player’s prime years going by. Chiarelli admitted that with captain Zdeno Chara (36 years old) not getting any younger, the team is in more of a win-now mode, which made swapping Seguin for the established Eriksson (27) more appealing.
“Not that we’re in a window — because hopefully this window will be added to and we’ll keep going and replenishing our players — but [Seguin’s] a natural center and a guy that we got out of a trade that brought good returns in Tyler and Dougie [Hamilton] and Jared Knight, but he was an elite player that was pushed down our lineup because of where we were as a team,” Chiarelli said. “If you can recall his first year, year and a half, he was. It was almost like he was too soon for his time on our team. That was part of it.”
Chiarelli said that he believes Seguin will be successful in Dallas, but he isn’t afraid that the B’s will regret the trade because of what they’re getting back in Eriksson.
“I have a good idea of what Tyler will become and I don’t worry about it. You’ve got to know what you’re getting and how that will help you win now. There’s a real good chance that Tyler becomes a star. When we traded Phil [Kessel] I said publicly that this guy’s at least a 35-goal-scorer, a 40-goal-scorer. We knew what we were trading, but it’s about what you’re getting back and how you can win with it.”
As for Nathan Horton’s decision not to re-sign with the Bruins, Chiarelli shared that the team’s intention was to bring Horton back. In years past, the GM had shared that he’d told players to test the market (Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle) prior to their departure, but Chiarelli long being on record of wanting Horton return seems to indicate that Horton’s decision to not even negotiate with the B’s was a personal one.
The offseason has seen the Bruins trade Seguin and Rich Peverley for Eriksson and three prospects, lose Horton, Andrew Ference and Anton Khudobin to free agency, not re-sign Jaromir Jagr and bring in Jarome Iginla and goaltender Chad Johnson via free agency. The team has also signed Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask to eight-year contracts. Asked if he felt the Bruins are better now than they were last season, Chiarelli said he did.
“I think we are,” he said. “We lose a little on the character and speed from the outset, but I thought we gained it back with Iginla and got more natural wingers. I think we’re a better team. If it’s a wash as far as the additions and subtractions, I think our team gets better because our core is getting older and stronger and better.”
|Michael Ryder chooses Devils over Bruins||07.05.13 at 6:53 pm ET|
With Ryder off the market, 36-year-old Jarome Iginla remains the best available option on the right wing market. The Bruins are in search of a first-line right wing after losing Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley, Tyler Seguin and likely Jaromir Jagr thus far this offseason.
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Nathan Horton signs seven-year deal with Blue Jackets||at 12:59 pm ET|
Free agent forward Nathan Horton signed a seven-year, $37.1 million deal with the Blue Jackets on the first day of free agency. The contract carries an annual cap hit of $5.3 million.
Horton had informed the Bruins after three seasons with them that he was not interested in returning to the team, as he was seeking a different environment for his family. Though the right wing struggled with consistency and saw two of his three seasons with the B’s ended early by concussions, he played a major role in their two trips to the Stanley Cup finals, scoring 15 goals and adding 21 assists in 43 career playoff games, all with the Bruins.
Asked at his introductory why he chose to leave the Bruins, Horton said that he didn’t enjoy city life and wanted a quieter place for his family.
“I’m thankful for my opportunity in Boston,” Horton, a father of two, said. “I’m very thankful. I met a lot of great people. I had great teammates and had a great time there.
“I just think being in the city, it’a great opportunity to be in a house with a little more quiet. It’s what I was looking for, and an opportunity like that is here.”
The contract sees a bump in both term and cap hit from his previous deal, which was a six-year deal with $4 million a year.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins trade doesn’t change Nathan Horton’s mind about leaving||07.04.13 at 4:55 pm ET|
Following the trade of Tyler Seguin to the Stars, the agent for Nathan Horton indicated that the Bruins’ recently freed-up cap space does not change Horton’s mind about his decision to not re-sign with the Bruins.
Horton’s agent, Paul Krepelka, told WEEI.com that the trade of Seguin and Rich Peverley — which leaves the B’s with over $13 million in cap space if they put Marc Savard on long-term injury reserve — “doesn’t change anything,” and that Horton’s choice to leave Boston “was a personal decision based on what he feels is best for his family.”
With Seguin, Horton, Jaromir Jagr and and Peverley gone, Shawn Thornton is the only right wing from last year’s team still on the roster.
Horton met with the Blue Jackets on Wednesday and should draw interest from multiple teams on the free agent market.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Agent: Nathan Horton won’t be back with Bruins||06.29.13 at 2:45 pm ET|
Agent Paul Krepelka confirmed to WEEI.com Saturday that Nathan Horton has informed the Bruins he will not return to the team next season. TSN was the first to report the story.
Horton will hit unrestricted free agency when it opens next week and will has his pick of teams as one of the top free agents on the open market. The Bruins acquired Horton prior to their Stanley Cup-winning season in 2010-11, with Horton playing a large role in delivering Boston the Cup. Yet the sides never exchanged offers about a new contract before Horton informed the B’s of his decision. Given that Tuukka Rask still has to be signed, it was unlikely the Bruins would have had salary cap space to give Horton a fair contract without trading another player. Multiple outlets reported Saturday that the team is shopping right wing Tyler Seguin.
In three seasons with the Bruins, Horton had 56 goals and 51 assists for 107 points in 169 regular season games. It was the postseason where he stepped up his game the most, as he had 15 goals and 21 assists for 36 points in 43 playoff games for the B’s.
For more on the Bruins, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins won’t sign Jaromir Jagr or Andrew Ference, hope to keep Nathan Horton||06.26.13 at 1:19 pm ET|
Breakup day often means the last day with a team for certain players, and the Bruins have a few.
Bruins general manager notified free agents Jaromir Jagr, Andrew Ference and Jay Pandolfo that they will not be re-signed by the team during Wednesday’s exit meetings. Ference and Jagr both told the media earlier that they didn’t expect to be back.
“I don’t think I will,” Jagr said. “Maybe if I would score 20 goals in the playoffs, it would be a different story. I was 20 short.”
Chiarelli told Nathan Horton that the team hopes to sign him and said that he will not be using amnesty buyouts. The Bruins’ cap situation will be very tight, even with Tuukka Rask and Horton the team’s priority free agents. Assuming they put Marc Savard on long-term injury reserve, the Bruins will have $9,180,833 to sign Rask and fill two forward spots, one of which they hope is Horton, as well as figure out backup goaltending plans. He did not rule out trading one of the team’s more substantial contracts as a means of opening up some cap space.
“We’ll find the right mix,” Chiarelli said, “but we do have some hard decisions to make, including deciding on re-signing players and deciding on retaining players.”
On other free agents, the team will take a wait-and-see approach with defenseman Wade Redden, while they have told backup goalie Anton Khudobin that they will address his situation once Rask is under contract.