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Don Sweeney says ‘highly unlikely’ Bruins bring back Carl Soderberg, offers ‘no comment’ on Dougie Hamilton 06.19.15 at 11:34 am ET
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Carl Soderberg (34) appears to be the latest salary cap casualty for the Bruins. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Carl Soderberg appears to be the latest salary cap casualty for the Bruins. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Carl Soderberg appears to be the latest casualty of the Bruins’ salary cap crunch.

The 29-year-old center had 13 goals and 31 assists this year while playing in all 82 games, playing out the final year of a three-year, $3 million contract. Soderberg will be looking for a big pay day as an unrestricted free agent.

The Bruins have just 16 players signed on their current roster and project to have $6.531 million in cap space remaining. Don Sweeney, preparing for his first NHL draft as general manager, knows he’s up against it.

“We’re trying to plan for every circumstance that may exist,” Sweeney said on a conference call Friday with reporters. “Carl was a very important part of our team this year. In a perfect world, we would be able to retain Carl. It’s highly unlikely at this point in time that that will be happening relative to our overall situation.”

With that eventuality in mind, the Bruins signed forward Joonas Kemppainen on May 21 to a one-year, two-way contract which would be worth a cap figure of $700,000 at the NHL level.

The 27-year-old played 59 games for Oulun Karpat in the Finnish Elite League during the 2014-15 season and recorded 11 goals, 21 assists and a plus-15 rating. In 19 playoff games for Karpat this year, the forward potted 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points with a plus-14 rating. Kemppainen also competed in this year’€™s IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship where he ranked third on the Finnish team in goals (three), second in assists (six) and second in points (nine) in eight games played.

“I think Joonas represents a player of similar nature, similar skill set. He’s a big strong player,” Sweeney said. “He’s responsible. He’s 27 years old so he’s been through the pro ranks and he’s ready for it. He’s got some heaviness to his game. Look at his offensive production, it was pretty darned good this year in particular but really the last couple of year, he’s been very, very consistent and he rolled that right over to world championship, where again he was both very reliable, accountable as a two-player but also produced offensively, which is huge, huge for us.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Carl Soderberg, Don Sweeney, Dougie Hamilton
Cam Neely mum on final say, seeks better president-GM communication with Don Sweeney 05.20.15 at 3:36 pm ET
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While Cam Neely defended his relationship with Claude Julien Wednesday, he revealed a bit more about how he got along with the recently fired Peter Chiarelli.

After the Bruins introduced Don Sweeney as the team’€™s next general manager, Neely stressed the importance of communication in the front office, prompting a question as to whether he felt he and Chiarelli communicated as well as they would have liked.

“The communication could have been better,” Neely answered.

Chiarelli was the GM before Neely was president, but Chiarelli’€™s success prevented Neely from picking his own guy until the Bruins missed the playoffs this season.

Given that Sweeney is both a former teammate of Neely’€™s and the general manager of Neely’€™s choosing, the working relationship between he and Neely figures to be better. He claimed that his friendship with Sweeney did not take priority over the qualifications of other candidates.

“I’ve been president of the Bruins since 2010,” Neely said. “I have not hired a friend.”

Neely repeatedly deflected questions about who gets final say on player personnel, but noted he doesn’€™t want to do his general manager’€™s job.

“I’€™ve made it very clear: I’€™m not a GM. I don’€™t want to be a GM,” Neely said. “I want the GM to do the job, but I want to know what’€™s going on. I don’€™t know how much more clear I can be with that. If the GM wants to push and fight and say ‘€˜This is the right thing,’€™ then I’€™ll sit down and listen. I want to have conversations. My door is always open.”

Neely was then asked who’s responsible for the moves the team makes, whether good or bad. He said that the president should take responsibility, but still avoided whether he makes the final decision. Asked who makes the call when the hockey operations department is split on a decision, he responded “tie goes to the runner.”

“Then who’s the runner?” multiple media members asked.

“Ultimately, if Don feels strongly about something, I’ve got to allow him to do his job,” Neely said, “but if I feel strongly about something then I’ll let him know. But this total autonomy thing, since I became president in 2010, it’s been [considered] a big deal, and I don’t get it. I really don’t.”

The Bruins fired Chiarelli on April 15. He has since taken over the Oilers as team president and GM. Because he had term on his contract that the Bruins would pay had he not found work elsewhere, the Bruins can seek draft pick compensation from the Oilers. Neely confirmed the Bruins are seeking a pick from the Oilers, which would be a second-round pick in one of the next three drafts. The Oilers get to pick which year they give up the pick, making it unlikely that they’€™ll part with the third pick of the second round in this June’€™s draft.

Read More: Cam Neely, Don Sweeney, Peter Chiarelli,
Don Sweeney has been Bruins’ acting GM this offseason 05.09.15 at 1:52 pm ET
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Don Sweeney

Don Sweeney

The Bruins don’€™t have a general manager yet, but the signs continue to point toward Don Sweeney eventually getting the gig.

In fact, indications are that Sweeney is doing the heavy lifting in the Bruins’€™ front office as they begin the offseason. Sweeney has been the team’s acting GM recently, a source familiar with the situation told WEEI.com Saturday.

That’s not an official title, nor is it a certainty that it will become one, but it does indicate who is making the calls for the B’s as they look to improve their team from this season’s disappointing finish.

The Bruins have been without an official GM since firing Peter Chiarelli on April 15. Sweeney has picked up Chiarelli’s responsibilities for now, though everything funnels through team president Cam Neely.

This comes following a Boston Herald report that Sweeney had a lengthy meeting with Claude Julien on Friday. The Herald’€™s Stephen Harris deduced from that development that Sweeney could plan on keeping Julien around as head coach if and when Sweeney gets the GM job.

It is unknown where the Bruins are in the interview process as they seek Chiarelli’s replacement. ESPN’s Joe McDonald reported on May 3 that the team was entering its second round of interviews and that Sweeney remained in the mix. Jeff Gorton, a potential candidate, has not yet been allowed to interview with the Bruins, as Rangers GM Glen Sather won’t let teams talk to his assistant GM until New York is eliminated from the playoffs. The Capitals hold a 3-2 series lead over the Rangers in the second round, but Sather hinted to the New York Post earlier in the week that he still might not let teams talk to Gorton this offseason at all.

Sweeney has been in the Bruins’€™ hockey operations department since 2006 and was named one of Chiarelli’€™s assistant general managers prior to their Stanley Cup-winning 2010-11 season. Prior to his time in Boston’€™s front office, Sweeney enjoyed a lengthy NHL career in which he played 1,052 regular-season games and 103 playoff games for the Bruins before playing his final season with the Stars.

The fact that he’s acting as the team’s GM for now shouldn’t come as a major surprise. Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe wrote the day that Chiarelli was fired that Sweeney would get the job. Furthermore, Sweeney is one of two Bruins assistant GMs and is longer-tenured in that role than Scott Bradley, who was named one of Chiarelli’s assistants last offseason.

Read More: Claude Julien, Don Sweeney, Peter Chiarelli,
Peter Chiarelli joins Oilers as president of hockey operations and general manager 04.24.15 at 5:00 pm ET
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Peter Chiarelli

Peter ChiarelliPeter

Former Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was named president of hockey operations and general manager of the Oilers Friday.

Chiarelli enters a team with a number of highly skilled young forwards in Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle and Leon Draisaitl. Generational talent Connor McDavid will be added to that group with the first overall pick in June’€™s draft.

As such, Chiarelli was asked early in the press conference about the Bruins’€™ 2013 trade of Tyler Seguin to Dallas. Since the trade, Seguin has blossomed into one of the league’€™s best scorers.

“That was a trade that had underlying reasons hat I won’€™t get into, but he’€™s a terrific player, he was our leading scorer and that’€™s what I’€™ll say about that one’€ Chiarelli responded.

“In this business, you can’€™t be afraid to make trades. The way that the parity is developing, the way that the cap is closing in, the margins are really small. Those are ways to improve your team. I’€™m not afraid of doing it, but it has to be the right moment.

“There are some very good young players on this team. Doesn’€™t mean I’€™m going to trade any of them, but those are deals that you have to be willing to make. They have to be well-measured. You have to be well-informed.

“That deal, obviously he’€™s a very good player and there were reasons for doing it.”

Chiarelli said earlier in the press conference that he feels he can get more out of Edmonton’€™s young players.

“They play fast,” Chiarelli said. “I’€™d like to see them play a little harder.”

Read More: Peter Chiarelli,
Reports: Oilers to announce hiring of Peter Chiarelli Friday 04.23.15 at 10:52 pm ET
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According to multiple reports out of Canada, the Oilers will announce the hiring of former Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli in a press conference Friday.

It is unknown what exactly Chiarelli’€™s title with the team will be, but Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada reported Thursday night that it will be something along the lines of president of hockey operations. Sportsnet’€™s Mark Spector reported Thursday that the Oilers will have a meeting Friday morning to notify staff of Chiarelli’€™s new position.

The Bruins have the right to draft pick compensation if another team hires Chiarelli. They could waive that right to ensure that Chiarelli takes another job, thereby getting the money owed to him over the rest of his Bruins contract off Boston’€™s books.

Read More: Peter Chiarelli,
Patrice Bergeron gives Claude Julien endorsement at 1:58 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron was made available to the media Thursday to discuss his Selke candidacy, but he was well aware that the Bruins have bigger things to worry about than awards this summer.

Bergeron gave Claude Julien a vote of confidence, saying that he enjoys playing for the longtime Bruins coach. Julien is currently in limbo, as the B’€™s recently fired general manager Peter Chiarelli and said that the next GM will decide whether Julien stays or goes. Julien has been Boston’€™s coach for the last eight years.

“By all means, I like Claude; I like playing for Claude,” Bergeron said. “We’€™ll see what happens with that.”

Bergeron said he sent Chiarelli a text last week expressing his gratitude for all Chiarelli had done for him. Chiarelli is reportedly in talks with the Oilers about joining their front office.

It is unknown who will replace Chiarelli, though the Bruins have some internal candidates in Don Sweeney and John Furguson. Bergeron said he’€™s confidently Neely will make the right decision.

“I’€™m not concerned. I’€™m a player. It’€™s definitely out of my control, but I have full confidence and support in what upper-management, the decision they’€™ll make,” Bergeron said. “[Nine] years ago now, they hired Peter and no one knew what was going to happen and we won a Stanley Cup. I’€™m definitely going to leave it in their hands again and I’€™m sure they’€™re going to make the right decision one more time.”

Read More: Claude Julien, Patrice Bergeron, Peter Chiarelli,
Charlie Jacobs makes it clear: Bruins’ goal is ‘to play and compete for the Stanley Cup’ 04.16.15 at 7:35 am ET
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Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs took the occasion Wednesday, at the press conference to confirm the firing of general manager Peter Chiarelli, that simply making the playoffs wasn’t necessarily enough to save the GM’s job.

In January, Jacobs told reporters, after meeting with the team, that he would consider the season a failure if they didn’t reach the playoffs and that the team was badly underachieving.

This led to the presumption that if the Bruins made the playoffs and got hot at the right time, Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien would be safe. Jacobs hinted Wednesday that wasn’t necessarily the case.

“I feel they were accurate, and that in January, my frustration of where the team was — I think we were in ninth or 10th place in the conference at the moment, on that day in January –€” and I said that for us not to make the playoffs would have been a failure. So here we are, out. And I want to clarify, by the way, my comment about the playoffs: The expectation is for us not only to get into the playoffs, but to play and compete for the Stanley Cup, not just to get in. I feel that may be lost a little bit in the messaging.”

It was appropriate that on tax day Jacobs said the team was doing an internal audit of on-ice performance and off-ice planning and preparation in the front office, and that this audit had been going on all season.

“But I didn’€™t necessarily think, at the end of the season, OK, let’€™s sort of wash our hands of X, Y or Z associate. That wasn’€™t it. It was, again, going back and sort of doing an audit of what had transpired throughout the year, where we were in terms of an organization and in terms of our depth, whether it be from our scouting department, our minor league system, where we are with our senior club, of course, and then sort of determining where, perhaps, we need to improve. So again, this was not an easy decision.”

As it turned out, Jacobs and team president Cam Neely not only fired Chiarelli but also relieved three scouts of their jobs, including amateur scouts Mike Chiarelli (brother of Peter) and Denis Leblanc, and European Head Scout Jukka Holtari.

“I have a great deal of respect for Peter and what he accomplished here, especially bringing back [the Stanley Cup] I can’€™t thank him enough for 2011 and the ride that that was,” Jacobs said. “But we felt it was time to move on, and this was the move.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Charlie Jacobs, Peter Chiarelli,
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