|Lehtonen bolts for Sweden||08.17.10 at 3:35 pm ET|
The Bruins suffered a minor loss Tuesday, but a loss nonetheless when forward Mikko Lehtonen left the states to take a one-year deal in the Swedish Elite League. Though his Bruins career technically isn’t over (the Bruins still have his rights), the 23-year-old will play next season with Skelleftea.
In two games with the Bruins over the last two seasons, Lehtonen did not record a point, but he led Providence in goals in each of the campaigns, scoring 28 and 23 goals in 2008-09 and 2009-10, respectively.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli indicated to Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe Tuesday that Lehtonen “felt there was not an opportunity for him in our organization.”
|Chiarelli: Bruins ‘cooperating fully’ with league regarding Savard||08.10.10 at 3:53 pm ET|
The Bruins have released a statement from general manager Peter Chiarelli regarding the league’s investigation of the seven-year, $28.05 million contract extension center Marc Savard signed with the team in December. Here’s what Chiarelli had to say.
“We are cooperating fully with the League in its investigation of the Marc Savard contract extension. The League informed us upon their registration of the contract on December 1, 2009 that they would be investigating the circumstances surrounding this contract. From that point on, they commenced their investigation and it has been ongoing since then. On August 4th, I met with two League appointed lawyers as part of the investigation. We will continue to cooperate with the League in any future investigative proceedings if necessary and we will have no further comment on the matter at this time.”
Savard will make nearly half of his contract’s money in the next two seasons, with the other half being spread out over the following five seasons. As a result, despite making $7 million per year in 2010-11 and 2011-12, he will have a cap hit of just $4.007 as a result of cap numbers in the NHL being determined by total money divided by years. If the deal is ruled as not being in compliance with the CBA, it will be voided and Savard will become an unrestricted free agent.
|B’s officially ink Seguin to three-year deal||08.03.10 at 5:42 pm ET|
The Bruins officially announced the signing of rookie forward Tyler Seguin, the second overall pick in this year’s NHL draft, to a three-year, entry-level contract Tuesday. The terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed in accordance with team policy, but it is believed that the deal is similar to the one first-overall pick Taylor Hall received from Edmonton, which calls for a base salary of around $900,000 with performance escalators that could make the deal worth as much as $3.75 million yearly.
“He’s obviously a high pick, and he performed well in our development camp,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a conference call. “We thought it was time to sign him to give him piece of mind and make him feel part of the organization.”
The Bruins hope that Seguin’s debut season can help erase the memory of last year’s dismal finish and create some excitement again on Causeway Street. The 18-year-old’s line of 48 goals and 58 assists in the Ontario Hockey League along with his YouTube-worthy highlights already have many B’s fans buzzing about his arrival. His performance in his first time in black and gold at Bruins prospect development camp in July only added to the excitement.
“If I’m a fan and I see a young player like this that is an exciting, young player and people saw him at development camp, I’d be excited about seeing him play,” Chiarelli said.
Seguin did most of his damage in the OHL as a center, but Chiarelli did not commit to saying that he will hold a similar position should he make the squad out of training camp. With veterans Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Marc Savard and the newly acquired Greg Campbell already on the roster, there doesn’t appear to be any room for the young forward at that position this season. He will most likely make his debut at one of the eight winger spots, but Chiarelli was willing to keep the options open.
“You never know. I’ve had discussions with Claude [Julien] about mixing and matching and shifting some positions around so I can’t tell you with complete certainty where he’ll play,” Chiarelli said.
With Seguin’s signing now official, that gives the B’s a total of 14 forwards on the roster including Marco Sturm, who will open the season on the long-term disabled list after suffering a major knee injury in the playoffs. That’s two more than they’ll need come opening day, but their options are still open according to Chiarelli.
“It’s a roster that I’m very happy with now,” Chiarelli said. “There are some spots for young players to earn spots. You’re never done with your roster. I can’t say we’re definitively done with it. There are always things that crop up. We just saw a Stanley Cup-winning goalie become available on the free market so things happen. Things crop up so it’s never done until the opening-day roster’s filed.”
|Wheeler’s agent expecting word Thursday||07.28.10 at 6:48 pm ET|
It appears there will be no news regarding Blake Wheeler‘s arbitration case with the Bruins on Wednesday. Agent Matt Keator indicated to multiple outlets, including WEEI.com, that he is not expecting the arbiter to reveal the right wing’s awarded 2010-2011 salary until Thursday. A decision must come within 48 hours of the hearing, and given that the two sides met Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon, word should emerge Thursday morning.
Upon the arbiter delivering the award, the Bruins can either pay and thus retain Wheeler, keep him buy out a veteran, or walk away and let the 6-foot-3 forward become a free agent.
Wheeler is just the second player with whom general manager Peter Chiarelli has gone to arbitration. He walked away from defenseman David Tanabe in 2006. Tanabe later had his career ended by a concussion.
Chiarelli and Wheeler’s camp tried to avoid a hearing and held a meeting late Monday night that also included assistant general manager Don Sweeney. All attempts at coming to a deal were obviously unsuccessful, but it seems highly unlikely, even given the team’s tight cap situation (just over $12,000 in space), that they would walk away from the 23-year-old.
Wheeler, who spent last week on his honeymoon, scored 18 goals and had 20 assists for 38 points in ’09-’10, his second NHL season. He earned $2.8 million. Though the team will get $3.5 million of temporary cap relief from Marco Sturm‘s knee injury to open the season, the Bruins will almost certainly need to make a more permanent move to accomodate to Wheeler’s forthcoming salary, expected to be in the low-to-mid $2 million range, and sign rookie center Tyler Seguin.
|A look at where the Bruins’ cap woes rank||07.21.10 at 2:00 am ET|
With all apologies to Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton, and Cam Neely, the salary cap just may be the single topic that has dominated Bruins offseason discussion more so than anything else. This, of course, in an offseason that featured a team that came within a game of the Eastern Conference finals adding a wunderkind center, a high-scoring winger, and naming one of the franchise’s most popular players president.
But back to the cap. After all, fans will panic over the roster as long as the team doesn’t have sufficient room to sign forwards Seguin and Blake Wheeler. According to CapGeek.com (once again, if you don’t have it bookmarked you are not using a computer correctly), the Bruins (should defenseman Adam McQuaid play in Boston next year) have $12,229 in cap space with deals for Wheeler (whose arbitration date is set for July 27 and hasn’t made headway with the Bruins on a new deal) and Seguin (who will get a base salary of $900,000) still without contracts.
In most cases, when a rumor arises regarding Tim Thomas ($5 million cap hit in each of the next three seasons) or Marc Savard ($4.007 million in each of the next seven), the first thing that comes to mind is the Bruins finally having some breathing room as they float higher and higher towards the feared $59.4 million mark.
As we’ve written in this space before, don’t count on the B’s to take Marco Sturm‘s long-term injury status as an excuse to head into the season over the cap. Though they will get relief, general manager Peter Chiarelli has already noted that the team would still have to sort out their cap situation prior to activating the winger anyway. Such a move would be a temporary solution, and though they could potentially showcase their high-priced players in an effort to raise their trade value, it’s just not a safe hand to play.
The Bruins aren’t the only team with such concerns, however. Though their cap situation has gotten considerable attention this offseason, other teams are in just as tight a spot (or worse). Here’s where the Bruins rank among those teams (all cap numbers as of Wednesday morning, courtesy of CapGeek.com).
TEAM CAP SPACE PLAYERS ON ROSTER
Calgary Flames $650,000 22
BRUINS $12,299 20
Vancouver Canucks -$358,333 23
Chicago Blackhawks -$1,011,590 17
New Jersey Devils* -$1,801,667 20
*Including 17-year contract to Ilya Kovalchuk, which has been rejected by the NHL but could still be agreed to if revised.
Given the fact that the Bruins have 20 players potentially getting NHL salaries (McQauid is on a two-way deal for the first year of his contract), they are close enough to a 22-man roster that their woes could be settled by only unloading one contract and signing Wheeler and Seguin with the money saved. Obviously, training camp will also have a lot to do with it, but numbers-wise, this works.
Whether or not it’s as simple as that remains to be seen. Chiarelli has long come with the reputation of being cap-savvy, so one would think the general manager has something up his sleeve. Either way, the Bruins may be a move away from solving their problems. The same can’t be said for the Blackhawks, who appear to be in the worst shape.
Not only have the defending Stanley Cup champions made multiple deals — sending Dustin Byfuglien, Kris Versteeg, and restricted free agent Andrew Ladd packing – in the name of cost-cutting, but they are still more than $1 million over the cap and have only 17 players on their roster. All of this while goaltender Antti Niemmi still doesn’t have a contract.
The Bruins have it bad when it comes to the salary cap, and nobody will forget it until a resolution is reached. They are not alone, however, and they certainly aren’t the worst off.
|Bruins host first annual summer camp||07.16.10 at 6:36 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Friday that they will be hosting their first ever summer hockey camp for young skaters, which they have appropriately named “Boston Bruins Summer Camp.” The organization has teamed with Pro Ambitions Hockey to form the camp, which will run from July 19-23 at the Jim Roche Community Ice Arena in West Roxbury.
Each day of the camp, which is designed for youth hockey players ages seven to 14, will feature a different guest. Monday will feature general manager Peter Chiarelli, with Bruins alumni Gord Kluzak and Bob Sweeney on Tuesday, Andy Brickley and assistant coach Geoff Ward on Wednesday, and Ted Donato on Thursday. The camp rounds out on the 23rd with Bruins center David Krejci.
For more on the event, go to the Bruins’ official site.
|Chiarelli explains why he’s ‘standing pat’||07.09.10 at 6:57 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli emphasized in the days after his team’s shocking playoff loss to the Philadelphia Flyers that he and management would not be doing anything rash when it comes to re-shaping the roster for 2010-11 season.
He reiterated that in the wake of re-signing defenseman Mark Stuart – one of his team’s core leaders – to a one-year contract on Friday.
“Right now, we’re standing pat,” the GM said. “You look out here, there might be a few guys that challenge, too. I like our prospect depth. Right now, I’m going to be standing pat. That may change but right now, I’m standing pat.”
Chiarelli believes that with the core four of Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Stuart and Andrew Ference coming back, the Bruins have the foundation of a solid blue line. He believes he can mix and match with Johnny Boychuk, Matt Hunwick and Adam McQuaid and top-level organizational prospects to have a solid D for next season.
Chiarelli pointed to one area of improvement he’d like to see in Stuart’s game – and the team’s for that matter – puck movement in the defensive and neutral zones.
“I go back to the five or six games where he had more minutes prior to the LA game and he was getting more confidence, moving the puck a little better,” Chiarelli said on Friday. “With Stewie sometimes, he freezes when he pushed the puck up after retrieving it. He’s getting better at it, he’s getting better at passing. So, a lot of that is a function of confidence and I think you’re going to see that with more minutes.”
Now, a priority for Chiarelli is signing his two players that have signed for arbitration, Blake Wheeler and Gregory Campbell, the left winger acquired on June 22 with Nathan Horton from Florida for defenseman Dennis Wideman. Chiarelli also indicated that McQuaid, based on his contributions in the playoffs, has earned a shot at the big club next season.
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