|Peter Chiarelli says Dougie Hamilton is ‘at least a year away’||06.24.11 at 11:41 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday night that he does not expect defenseman Dougie Hamilton, whom the team chose with the ninth overall pick in the NHL draft, to play in the NHL next season. If the 18-year-old doesn’t make the Bruins, he will return to Niagara for another season in the OHL.
“I’d say he needs a little more development,” Chiarelli said of the 6-foot-4, 187-pound blueliner. “He’s still fairly skinny. He has to be stronger, but you never know. You never know how he’ll have his summer, but my guess is that he’s at least a year away.”
The Bruins did not bring Hamilton in for a workout, and it was a surprise to the team that he was available with the ninth pick. Hamilton was ranked the No. 4 North American skater by Central Scouting.
“We basically said that we don’t have to bring this fellow in,” Chiarelli said. “If he’s there, it’s a no-brainer so we didn’t have to see anything extra on him. That’s how strongly we feel about him.”
If the Bruins are assuming that Hamilton will be in Niagara, and not in Boston, next season, this pick should not impact how the team approaches Tomas Kaberle this offseason. The team has had talks with Kaberle’s agent, and if the B’s are to retain him on a three-year deal, Hamilton could still come in for the 2012-13 and have a spot open if Johnny Boychuk, who is in the last year of his deal, does not return. Andrew Ference‘s deal is up in two seasons, so the Bruins are set to see a couple of defensemen’s contracts expire over the next couple of years.
While picking Hamilton doesn’t hurt any of those guys directly right now, it could eventually make things tough for the Steven Kampfers and Matt Bartkowskis of the world.
|Peter Chiarelli says Bruins have qualified Brad Marchand||at 7:21 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told reporters in Minnesota Friday that the team has qualified restricted free agent Brad Marchand, meaning the team has retained negotiating rights with the 23-year-old and can match any offer sheet that another club may sign him to.
Should Marchand sign an offer sheet with another team, the Bruins will have seven days to either keep Marchand under those terms or see him walk. The Bruins would receive draft pick compensation if they were to lose Marchand, but given his importance to the club and how much cap space the B’s have, the chances of him not returning are extremely slim.
As a rookie Marchand scored 21 goals and 20 assists for 40 points in the regular season. He scored 11 goals in the playoffs, including two in the Bruins’ Game 7 win over the Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals.
|Peter Chiarelli doesn’t expect ‘magic’ in draft||06.23.11 at 8:39 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Thursday in Minnesota that he does not expect the team to do anything crazy movement-wise with the ninth overall pick in Friday’s draft. The team holds a top-10 pick for the second consecutive year thanks to the Phil Kessel trade. After selecting Tyler Seguin a season ago with the second overall pick, Chiarelli said he doesn’t envision the team picking that high again.
“I don’t think there will be any magic for us tomorrow,” Chiarelli said. “We’re picking nine, I’d say there’s, maybe after three or four, there’s a real good group of another eight, and there’s a good batch of defenseman, there’s a good batch of wingers and there’s a good batch of centermen. So we’re pretty content where we are and we’ll see where it goes. Oftentimes, players that you have ranked below your group go in and really good players drop and go last.”
Chiarelli said he doesn’t expect the player they take with the ninth pick to crack the lineup as a rookie, but noted that there’s always the possibility that an NHL-ready prospect could fall, a la Cam Fowler a season ago.
“You never say never about a player being able to play that’s drafted that low,” he said. “My guess is [the player won’t make the team], to say no, just my knowledge of the players that I think will be available. There may be one that can play that may drop to us but that’s, you know, that would be a huge bonus and it’s just more about getting the right player and starting to develop him.”
The Bruins also have a high second-round pick, as they’ll choose 40th overall with Minnesota’s selection.
“I think it’s a fairly deep draft,” Chiarelli said. “… There’s no definitive number one and that runs deep through the first five or six I think. And you know I’d say it’s a good round and a half as far as guys that you’re excited to get these players, guys that you really feel strong with playing and maybe turning into something. I think it’s a good round and a half.”
The Bruins’ GM has spoken to the agent for Tomas Kaberle, but has not spoken with Michael Ryder’s agent. Kaberle and Ryder are both unrestricted free agents. He did confirm that Tuukka Rask will be getting knee surgery and that Milan Lucic will have his nose reset this offseason.
|Peter Chiarelli happy he didn’t trade Tim Thomas||06.17.11 at 1:19 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was a popular guy last offseason, as he was brought up in trade rumors, some of which were falsely reported. Though the goalie was never going to Philadelphia in exchange for Simon Gagne, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday at TD Garden that he did have talks with other teams about Thomas, who was coming off hip surgery, had lost his starting job to Tuukka Rask and at the time had three years of a $5 million annual cap hit left on his deal.
“At the time there was kind of a mutually agreement between myself and Tim and Bill Zito, Tim’s agent, just to explore it and on the premise that Tim does not want to leave Boston,” Chiarelli said of trading Thomas. “And that’s really where it ended. It’s really where it ended. And there was some calls in that and they kept him in the loop at all times and he kept stressing he didn’t want to leave. I said ‘I know, let’s just look at this very briefly.’ And I know there are a lot of stories that flowed from it, but I can’t stress enough the fact that Tim never wanted to leave.
“I wouldn’t be doing my job if I at least didn’t look at some things, and I did. You go through those things, on a number of fronts on a number of fronts, on a number of players. You just field stuff, you look at them, you talk to other teams. And at the end of the day you make the decision yay or nay. And here it was nay. And it was an easy nay.”
Thomas ended up reclaiming the starting job, turning in a shutout in his first start of the season Oct. 10 in Prague against the Coyotes. He ended up allowing just three goals in six starts in October, and even after leveling out was still dominant throughout a season that will undoubtedly earn him his second Vezina trophy in Vegas next week. His .938 save percentage is the best for a goalie in a single season since the stat has been recorded.
Thomas was also named the Conn Smythe trophy winner after the Stanley Cup finals concluded. The award is given to the player most valuable to his team during the playoffs, and Thomas clearly proved that by allowing just eight goals in the seven-game series vs. the Canucks.
Thomas, 37, has two years with a $5 million cap hit left on his contract.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday at TD Garden that even before being severely concussed on a headshot from Vancouver’s Aaron Rome in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, first-line winger Nathan Horton was playing hurt for the Bruins. Horton, who had three game-winning goals in the postseason, two of which clinched series, had been playing with a separated shoulder, according to the GM.
“Well I know Nathan, before he was hurt with his concussion was actually hurt. He had a serious separated shoulder,” Chiarelli said, adding that Horton was “hurt significantly.”
Horton had eight goals and nine assists for 17 points in the postseason, his first experience in the playoffs.
Chiarelli added that he considered the B’s lucky for their lack of injuries suffered by players.
“I think we’ll only have one, maybe two, surgeries and we’ll get that out there when I get all the information,” Chiarelli said. “But we’ve had our guys dinged up, and all teams do, like Vancouver did and Tampa did and Philly did. Montreal did. I think what I can say about the injury front is we were fortunate from that perspective. And again when you look back at past winners, I remember the one year Tampa won I think they had like twenty man-games lost due to injury the whole year in the playoffs. So you have to have an element of luck. And on that front we certainly did.”
|Peter Chiarelli likes how Bruins match up vs. Canucks in Stanley Cup Finals||05.28.11 at 5:35 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli did a pretty honest job Saturday in breaking down how he feels his team matches up with the semi-heavy-favorite Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals, which are set to begin Wednesday in Vancouver.
Chiarelli liked the way the Bruins stuck to their game plan for 60 minutes against the Lightning in Game 7, using disciplined defensive play and a strong forecheck to chip away at the Lightning in what became a 1-0 win after Nathan Horton beat the Tampa defense to tap in a pass from David Krejci with 7:33 remaining. It’s the type of game that the B’s brought Friday that makes him like his team’s chances with Vancouver.
“I think we match up size-wise, like you saw in the game last night,” Chiarelli said. “As the game went on — and I could feel this too — as the game went on, you got the sense that you were going to wear them down and something good was going to happen if you just kept kind of them same process, the same system, the same approach. Pucks deep, get behind the D. And I think the same can apply to these guys. Without giving away completely our game plan, that’s how I see us matching up.”
There is no shortage of star power on the Canucks, as Vancouver’s roster boasts the likes of Henrik Sedin, who leads all playoff skaters with 21 points and 19 assists, and identical twin brother Daniel Sedin, whose 104 regular season points led the NHL. Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler each had 41 goals in the regular season, whereas the Bruins’ only 30-goal scorer was Milan Lucic.
“Obviously they’ve got the Sedins,” Chiarelli said. “And they’ve played a lot below the goal line, and I think we match up well in that sense because we’re strong defensively. We’ve got some big bodies on defense. And we cover well below the goal line. Now they’re magical sometimes those guys so they’re always dangerous.”
“Their D is strong, I don’t know who they’re getting back. I know [Christian] Ehrhoff has been hurt. And the last pair was, I think it was [Christopher] Tanev and [Keith] Ballard, their five-six pair. But historically throughout the year, their D has been the strength of their team. From the puck-moving perspective, you’ve got the [Alexander] Edlers, the [Kevin] Bieksas, the [Sami] Salos. They can all move the puck and shoot a puck. And of course Ryan Kesler has had a terrific playoffs. He is a similar player to Patrice [Bergeron]. So there’s a lot of similarities. Obviously you’ve got the goalies. There’s a lot of similarities.”
One area in which Chiarelli feels Vancouver has an edge (duh) is special teams. The Bruins have just five power play goals this postseason, while the Canucks were able to knock that out over Games 2 and 3 vs. the Sharks. Vancouver has 16 power play goals this postseason.
“Obviously their special teams are better,” Chiarelli said. “Their power play is better and they throw it around pretty good.
Wednesday’s Game 1 will not be the first meeting between the two teams this season, as the B’s defeated the Canucks, 3-1, on Feb. 26 in Vancouver. For the Bruins, it was the team’s fourth victory in a seven-game win streak, while the Canucks had taken turns winning and losing their eight previous games (4-4-0) entering the contest.
“That game was one of the best games I’ve seen, the game that we played against them, one of the best games that we’ve played throughout the year,” Chiarelli said. “For them, I think they were in a bit of a funk. I had seen them the game before up there and it’s all relative. Their funk is a top twenty-five percent team, top quartile team.”
|Nathan Horton ready to face old ‘rivals’ with stakes raised||05.10.11 at 8:40 pm ET|
Back during the preseason, Nathan Horton, who had come to the Bruins after playing the first six years of his career in Florida, was gearing up for his first game against the Canadiens. Sure, it was an exhibition, but it was a big deal for a player who never felt he played in a major rivalry.
Yet it wasn’t his first rivalry, it was just his first major rivalry. In asking Peter Chiarelli about it for a story, the general manager said “the Florida-Tampa rivalry, when it was going, actually there were some good games.”
It was tough for it to be seen as a major rivalry for Horton given that the stakes weren’t nearly as high. In his last three years in Florida, neither team made the playoffs, or even finished better than third in the Southeast Division. Horton had identified the in-state battle as being the closest thing he had to preparation for Bruins-Habs, saying he had “a little rivalry with Tampa Bay in Florida, but not really.”
What a difference a year makes.
Last season, only three points separated the fourth-place Lightning from the last-place Panthers in the cellar of their division. A year later, Horton is finally up to face the Lightning, though it’s taken relocation for him and major changes to Tampa Bay’s organization and roster to make it possible.
With a new general manager in Steve Yzerman, a new coach in Guy Boucher and a revamped roster, the Lightning are ready to storm into Boston this weekend with the intention of grabbing a lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Horton, still in his first postseason, is looking for a different result, and when it comes to him facing the lightning, the stakes are finally high.
“It’s weird,” Horton said Tuesday. “I mean, I’ve played them so many times in my career from when I played [in Florida]. They’ve been great this year. They’ve changed a lot from when I was there. They’ve gotten a lot better. Different faces, a new coaching staff. They’re a real talented team, but it’s definitely weird to be playing them.”
For Horton, it’s simply a sign of what change can do. For a player who wanted out of Florida, he’s enjoyed every second (his smile would suggest he’s even enjoyed the struggles) of his time in Boston. Change has been good for him, and it’s been good for the Lightning.
“It changes so quickly,” Horton said. “It’s going to be fun to go back there, and hopefully we can win some games.”
In four games against Tampa Bay this year, Horton has three assists.
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