|Bruins to keep David Pastrnak, burn off first year of entry level contract||01.15.15 at 7:57 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced Thursday night that the team intends to keep rookie forward David Pastrnak on the NHL roster and play him for a 10th NHL game, at which point this season will officially become the first of the 18-year-old’s three-year entry level contract.
The Bruins can still send Pastrnak down and up between Providence and Boston going forward this season, as burning the first year one’s entry level does not require a team to keep the player on its NHL roster. The incentive for the Bruins to have not kept Pastrnak in the NHL for 10 games was that his three-year window would have slid ahead to begin next year, meaning he would be up for a new contract as a restricted free agent after the 2017-18 season rather than after the 2016-17 season, the latter of which will now be the case.
Chiarelli credited Pastrnak’s work with Providence both at the beginning of the season and following his November/December callup — which Chiarelli said was dominant — as a major reason as to why the Bruins felt he was ready for the NHL.
“He went down there and he did what we told him to do, which was play without the puck, play heavier, play on the wall, the defensive wall, offensive battles,” Chiarelli said. “Then he came up here and played in the West Coast trip and I think he got his feet wet a little bit, went back down and dominated down there again. I think in making this decision, we really scrutinized his play in Providence and we felt that he was able to play and excel at that level with the proper physicality for him and against the proper physicality.
“He’s going to be up here and we’re happy to make that decision and we’re going to continue to look at it as a development piece, which means that, as we’ve done before with some of the younger players, it doesn’t mean you’re in the lineup all the time. There may be points in time when his play dips a little bit and we may sit him down for a game or two here or there, but I think the important thing to take away from this is that he’s going to be up with the big team, practice with the team, and hopefully play on a regular basis.”
Thursday night’s game against the Rangers, in which Pastrnak remained on the Bruins’ first line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic and was a plus-1 in Boston’s victory, marked Pastrnak’s ninth NHL game.
In his brief NHL career, Pastrnak has four goals and one assist, with his goals coming in back-to-back two-goal performances Saturday and Tuesday. Pastrnak was first recalled on Nov. 23 and made his NHL debut the next night against Pittsburgh. The right wing stayed up with Boston for a six-game stretch in which he played five games and was a healthy scratch in another.
After the game, Krejci expressed excitement for both Pastrnak and himself, quipping, “I have a Czech buddy.” He won’t have a Czech roommate, however, as the Bruins will make other living arrangements for the 18-year-old. Teenage players often live with veteran players in their first years, as Patrice Bergeron did with Martin Lapointe and Dougie Hamilton did with Adam McQuaid.
Boston chose Pastrnak with the 25th overall pick of the first round last June and kept him in North America with the Providence Bruins rather than sending him back to Sweden, where he’d played the previous two seasons. After sending him down in December, the B’s loaned him to the Czech National Team for the World Junior Championships and sent him to Providence for a one-game pit stop before bringing him up to the NHL club on Jan. 6.
Pastrnak has been the youngest player at both the AHL and NHL levels this season. In 24 AHL games, Pastrnak has 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points.
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: Bruins being referred to as ‘sleeping giants in the league’||12.04.14 at 1:42 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB prior to the Bruins’ game against the Sharks Thursday night, as well as to discuss the recent struggles of the team. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Despite losing four of their last five games, including two straight on the West Coast, McGuire doesn’t feel like it is time to panic for the Bruins, especially with so many of their players out of the lineup with injuries. He was in Minnesota interviewing some Wild players earlier in the day, and they have a different thought of the struggling Bruins than many in Boston.
“It’s amazing how they perceive the Bruins compared to some of the people in Boston,” said McGuire. “They perceive the Bruins as a contender for the Cup. They know they are playing them in about 10 days, on the [17th] of December. That is one of the things they were talking about — one of the sleeping giants in the league right now is Boston. A lot of it is injury driven.”
Goal scoring has been an issue for the Bruins of late — scoring just six goals in their last five games. But, again, this is because of the injuries they are dealing with.
“It’s injury related,” McGuire said. “I did the St. Louis Blues-Chicago Blackhawks game last night. Everyone in the west is talking about those same things, and those are two of the upper-echelon teams in the west. When you have tiny injuries in the west you’re in trouble, when you have massive amounts of injuries you’re in huge trouble. Part of the problem for Boston more than anything else is they are going against real good teams. They are out west and they don’t have 100 percent of their lineup. I wouldn’t panic too much, this is part of the peaks and valleys that happen over the course of the course of an 82-game schedule.”
|Claude Julien, with contract extension in hand, still ‘has fire in the belly’ to win another Stanley Cup||11.03.14 at 2:25 pm ET|
Claude Julien was finally ready to talk about his good news on Monday.
After finalizing the terms of his new contract on Sunday morning, Julien felt comfortable enough to talk about what the extension means to him.
“I feel just as hungry this time around as I was before we won our first one,” Julien said. “I’m excited to have an opportunity to have a team that can compete for that and be part of it.
“I’m happy. We finalized the details [Sunday] morning and there was still some work to be done in our discussions. I’m happy to be here because as far as I’m concerned, this is a great team here. We have an opportunity every year to at least be contenders for the Stanley Cup.”
After bringing Boston its first Stanley Cup in 39 years in 2011, Julien was awarded a contract extension one year later in July 2012. He reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2013 before his team went out to the Canadiens last year in the second round. But all the while, Julien said Monday after his team’s practice, that the fire and hunger still burns inside him.
“I think my focus has to be 100 percent here, and it has been,” Julien said. “I think the thing I feel the most that’s important right now is no matter what we’ve accomplished, I’m really still very hungry to win another Stanley Cup. You want to succeed. And you when you start getting tired of doing that is when I think you become weaker as a coach. I really feel strongly about this organization and the direction it wants to go in. I feel strongly about my intentions of wanting to win. I was just as disappointed as anybody else last year because I really felt we had a team to go all the way. So, you come back and you’re hungry, and you have that and what they call the fire in the belly, I’m extremely happy in this organization, as long as they want me.”
“We have worked at this for a few months, but there was never any doubt in my mind that this would get done,” general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a statement. “Claude is one of the top coaches in the NHL and has consistently shown a passion for winning through his coaching. Coaching is a difficult profession at the best of times and what Claude does in implementing structure in his systems, and having a solid defensive foundation while allowing freedom in offensive play is no easy task. During his time with the Bruins, he has excelled in maintaining this difficult balance, and his longevity here speaks volumes. He has coached the Bruins to a Stanley Cup and a Cup Final appearance and our goal to win with him at the helm remains the same as we move forward.”
Julien said he was in no rush to extend his contract simply because he know Chiarelli had bigger matters on his plate, like dealing the salary cap and the unpopular trade of Johnny Boychuk.
“This has been in the works for longer than that,” Julien said. “It wasn’t even an argument-type thing. To be honest with you, Peter, in my mind, had a lot more important things to do than to worry about signing me. We all know that all of the stuff of signing players and everything else. It was a mutual agreement between us to let him deal with his stuff and mine would come around eventually. It was just that it leaked out Saturday but we weren’t done yet. We just finalized everything and now it’s time to move on and hopefully, after today, turn the page.”
|Peter Chiarelli: Johnny Boychuk trade ‘doesn’t make us better now, obviously’||10.04.14 at 5:14 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Saturday that he traded defenseman Johnny Boychuk due to the team’s salary cap situation and because he found the return ‘ two second-round picks and a conditional third ‘ to be strong value. He did concede one point, however.
“This doesn’t make us better now, obviously,” Chiarelli said, “but it’s something that, when I look at it in a series of steps, I think we made the right move.”
Chiarelli mentioned “steps” throughout the press conference to discuss Saturday’s trade with the Islanders. When asked what his next move was, the B’s general manager said that there may be roster moves in the coming days.
Boychuk is a free agent at season’s end and figures to command big money on the open market. Chiarelli said that he did not attempt to sign Boychuk before trading him.
Moving Boychuk, while making the current roster worse, gives the team one less big name to sign before the start of next season. Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Reilly Smith will all be restricted free agents, while Carl Soderberg will be an unrestricted free agent. Though the salary cap is expected to go up from it’s current $69 million ceiling, the already have $49,897,857 against the salary cap committed to 10 players (not including Marc Savard) for the 2015-16 season.
“We’ve got a lot of people to sign,” Chiarelli said. “There’s a list of priorities and part of my job is to prioritize things. That’s a little bit of how it shakes out. I’d love to keep this team together player-to-player as long as I could if I felt it was prudent on the hockey front and the financial front. I’ve tried to keep the critical mass together and will continue to provide the right moves for the organization.”
|Peter Chiarelli hopes to sign Torey Krug, Reilly Smith to fair extensions soon||09.29.14 at 1:30 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said after signing Torey Krug and Reilly Smith to one-year deals Monday that he hopes to get extensions signed with the players soon.
Krug and Smith were both entry level free agents, meaning they were not eligible for arbitration and could not negotiate with other teams, so they were essentially forced to settle for the $1.4 million deals the cap-space-strapped Bruins gave them.
“Throughout the process I explained to them that we have some challenges here cap-wise and it was important for them to get in and play,” Chiarelli said. “We’ll try to bang out an extension as soon as we can because those are two kids, two young men, that we want to have in the mix. They missed a week and change but they both always are in pretty good shape.”
Both Krug and Smith expressed their preference to stay in Boston beyond this season. They’ll both be restricted free agents at season’s end if they are not signed by then.
“I want to be in Boston for as long as I can,” Krug said. “With this group of guys, you see the attitude in here and what it takes to win, and it’s something that I want to be a part of for as long as I can. Right now I’m just happy to be back and get through this season and make sure I do my job. I’ve never had an issue with having to prove myself again and I’ll try to do it again. We’ll see where it takes me.”
Both Smith and Krug were aware that their contracts for the coming season are less than they might be worth, but they both expressed optimism that they will eventually come to terms on fair value for their next contracts.
Said Chiarelli: “I explained to them throughout the process that these are two players we’d like to keep. Just please be patient with us and we’ll hammer away at it as soon as we can to try and keep these guys. So that means right away, on a one-year deal, right away you work at it and you can try and get something done. So, yeah. In the context of keeping them, yeah, these are two players that are good performers for us and they’re young. Young legs are good in this business.”
The Bruins still need to trade someone — likely a defenseman – to be cap-compliant, but Chiarelli said Monday that he is not going to “force anything.”
|Pastrnak Watch: Rookie mistakes, starting main camp on David Krejci’s line?||09.14.14 at 7:55 pm ET|
ANTIOCH, Tenn. – David Pastrnak was less impressive in Sunday’s overtime loss against the Lightning than he was the day before against the Panthers, but it was still a notable day for him as his general manager’s words added more fuel to the belief that Pastrnak could very well end up making the team as an 18-year-old.
Asked specifically whether the plan was to take the 2014 first-round pick into the season for the first nine games before deciding whether to keep him and begin his entry level contract, Peter Chiarelli said that decision has yet to be made. However, Chiarelli made it clear that the team will give Pastrnak a realistic shot to make the team, perhaps trying him on the first line with David Krejci and, should Reilly Smith remain unsigned, on the second line with Patrice Bergeron.
“Listen, if he’s going to make our team, he’s going to have to play higher up in the lineup,” Chiarelli said. “He’s a skill guy with speed and he needs to play with skill players. Maybe when I say, like he’s not going to start down the lineup in preseason, in camp, it’s just he’ll have to be with skill players because you’re not going to get what you want from him.
“Who knows, he might start with Krejci, I don’t know. It’s about giving him some skill players, measuring the expectation level. Everything’s about him right now. There’s other good players out there too, like Ferlin’s a player. I thought he was outstanding yesterday. He was really good and strong. He’s just not as flashy as David and so there’s other players. But with David, let’s take one step at a time and a smaller body can wear down over time so let’s see how he handles that stuff.”
Pastrnak remained at center between Seth Griffith and Anthony Camara on Sunday. He struggled mightily on faceoffs, but the team is only using him at center for this rookie camp before moving him back to right wing for main camp next week.
The lowlight of the day was the game’s final play, as Pastrnak tried to steal the puck from Jonathan Drouin in the defensive zone rather than taking the man. Drouin went around Pastrnak and set up the game-winning goal. After the game, Pastrnak acknowledged his error, saying that he understood he should have hit Drouin rather than going for the big play.
Despite Pastrnak not being as sensational as he was in the tournament’s opening game, he remained the flashiest player on the ice. His play with the puck on his stick has stood out thus far, while his defensive play has been hit-or-miss.
|Peter Chiarelli: ‘I can’t sign everybody’||at 6:43 pm ET|
ANTIOCH, Tenn. – At the first intermission of the Bruins’ rookie game against the Lightning, general manager Peter Chiarelli discussed the team’s NHL roster and where things stand going forward.
The biggest takeaways were that David Pastrnak could begin training camp on the right wing of David Krejci‘s line, that he will not sign all of his free-agents-to-be and that he will trade a defenseman at some point. Chiarelli offered no update on the status of Torey Krug and Reilly Smith, both of whom remain unsigned with days left until camp.
With Johnny Boychuk and Carl Soderberg the biggest names entering the final years of their contracts and the Bruins having $49,897,857 against the cap committed to 10 players (not counting Marc Savard) for 2015-16, money figures to be tight going forward. The last time the Bruins had multiple players to sign and a potential cap crunch ahead, Chiarelli opted to sign all three players (Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchands, all of whom were a year away from restricted free agency) with the idea that if he had to trade one down the road, he would.
Chiarelli said he won’t go the sign-everyone route this time. The team recently signed David Krejci to a six-year, $43.5 million extension.
“I can’t sign everybody, and I’d love to sign everybody, but we can’t for the numbers that they want,” Chiarelli said. “Before, when I said we’d like to lock up guys. We still would, and we can with our cap. We make a decision on Krej, and that’s a big number. Some things you have to let play out, and we have to be a little versatile ourselves when it comes to team-building and we’re forced to do that this year.
“Am I going to try to sign all these guys? We look at all these guys, we look at different lineups going forward into the year. As the year progresses, we look and I think we’re going to take more time.”
Historically, Chiarelli has signed his key free-agents-to-be before they enter their contract’s final seasons. Boychuk knows that his future is uncertain and recently expressed that he does not want to be traded.
“I’ve always tried to get the team together signed and get them in place and give them a level of security,’ Chiarelli said. ‘I always feel that with that, they will perform. Of course, I’ve got to see the performance to get to that point. They’ve seen that we’ve tried to keep this team together as much as we can; we’ve had a lot of success with this group of guys. Around the fringes, guys have to go, but they’ve seen us try and [keep the team together], so they know our intentions are noble, so now it’s not quite ideal where we can keep the band together, so to speak.
“I think they understand that we always want to ice a Cup-winning team, and with that comes some casualties. This year, I’m looking forward to it, to a certain degree; there’s a lot of competition, there’s a lot of spots, including ‘ you don’t wish one of these D men to be traded, but we just have too many D men. At some point, I’m going to have to do it, and all the teams in the league, most of the teams in the league would like one of these defensemen.
“And I know everyone’s waiting, ‘What move will [he] make? What move will [he] make?’ Well, I have to see what’s going to happen, see who fits well with whom, but the uncertainty is something this year that is a byproduct of the cap and a successful team and locking up those guys, and eventually there’s other guys that are just going to get too expensive. I don’t cast any aspersions on them for being at that level, but that’s what it’s at.”
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