|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
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.
|Don’t expect much in free agency||06.30.10 at 3:33 pm ET|
The Bruins have been incredibly busy this offseason, hogging the transactions log with their re-signings (Shawn Thornton, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Mark Recchi), a major trade for Nathan Horton, and making the second overall pick in last week’s NHL draft.
In the process, they’ve tacked on more money to an already tight salary cap situation. The inflator clause to raise the cap to $59.4 million helped some, but when considering the raises to Seidenberg ($1 million) and Boychuk ($1.375 million), potential arbitration cases for Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart, and a deal to be done for Tyler Seguin, it’s no wonder general manager Peter Chiarelli has been speaking like someone who doesn’t seem set on being a player when free agency opens on Thursday.
“We’re going to work the trade market,” Chiarelli said Tuesday. “We’re not going out and signing anyone unless 1. We have someone we really want and/or we have the cap space. Right now we don’t really have the cap space to go out and sign a big deal, but that could happen.
“We could make a trade and there could be cap space, but that doesn’t mean we have someone in mind. We’ve got a list. The list is small and in the event we do enter it, unlikely.”
Everyone has heard the rumors involving Marc Savard and Tim Thomas, but as is the team has just $5.40 million in cap space, with the aforementioned players (Wheeler, Stuart, Seguin), Daniel Paille, and Gregory Campbell still to be accounted for. It would appear that they would be pressed for cash even when trying to hold onto their own guys, let alone bring in outside help. They already moved Vladimir Sobotka rather than paying the restricted free agent, but could Wheeler be next?
Many speculated that Wheeler could have been moved to the Oilers in a deal that could have secured the Bruins Taylor Hall, but those rumors were debunked when the fact that the Oilers’ plan was to get both Hall and Seguin came to light last Friday.
If the Bruins try to shed one of their current players’ deals, they might not be able to do so without getting very little talent in return, which could be counterproductive to their chase for a Cup. With the exception of perhaps Savard, none of their bigger contracts are completely desirable for other teams to take on. If they move Thomas’ $5 million, they run a big risk with whichever player they try to sign with the freed money, as history suggests Tuukka Rask hasn’t been a No. 1 goalie long enough for the team to feel completely comfortable without another big-time netminder.
As for moving Savard, you’d have to think the Bruins have seen enough of a shakeup in their offense without potentially offsetting whatever upgrade it got with the addition of Horton. The “he’s not a Neely type of player” talk might quiet down once the two play together.
Chiarelli said Wednesday that the team could look for another defenseman and a third goaltender, both of which would likely be low-cost options (especially the latter). He hinted on Thursday when appearing on Dennis & Callahan that “you might see a couple trades,” but once again downplayed them doing much else.
The Bruins are by no means done when it comes to building the ’10-’11 team. They may even steal a some more headlines in the next few days. Just don’t expect them to be with free agent signings.
|Chiarelli on D&C: team has ‘flexibility’ with Seguin||at 12:03 pm ET|
Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to discuss free agent moves, the future for Tim Thomas and Marc Savard, as well as his expectations for draft pick Tyler Seguin.
Said Chiarelli: “I don’t want to put too much pressure on Tyler, but he’s a terrific talent, and he should be ready to play and contribute at some point next year.”
Following is a transcript. To listen to the entire interview visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
What are we looking for in terms of free agent moves?
I don’t know if you’ll see us go after any premier, in fact I do know that we won’t go after any premier guys. We feel that we have added two premier players in Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin in the last week or so. What you might see from us though is another trade or two. ‘¦ These trades are around the free agency period, they happen because teams are deciding how to spend their money. I have had a couple of conversations with teams, you might see a couple trades on our part.
What’s the biggest impetus on your end when making a trade?
It goes back to the end of the year when we said we wanted to change part of the composition of the team; I’m all ears. I’ve got a lot of discussions going on a number of different fronts. I don’t want to change things too much, I’ve already changed them a little bit. I don’t quite think I’m done yet, so that may mean a defensemen, that may mean a forward. I know getting Tyler Seguin we have more centers now; he can play the wing, his first year in juniors he played wing the whole year. We’ve got a lot of options. ‘¦ There’s a couple of things we’re looking at, and if they come true I think they’ll be good for the team.
What are the odds of you trading Tim Thomas?
First, let me say that Tim Thomas does not want to be traded. Second, I know that he wants to be the number one goalie on the Bruins. Having said that. ‘¦ If we keep all things as is, we’ll be tight but we’ll be fine. The [salary] cap went up to [$59.6 million], with the union electing the escalator. There’s a performance cushion that the union elected also, so we’re fine that way. Again, looking at all these options, I said last week about Tim, if something comes up I’ll discuss with Tim and his family. We’re not overtly looking; there are teams looking for goalies so we’ll see how that unfolds. Read the rest of this entry »
|Quick hits from Chiarelli||06.29.10 at 1:29 pm ET|
- Though the Bruins didn’t tender restricted free agent Daniel Paille a qualifying offer, the two sides are still “moving towards a deal.” Since the team didn’t tender the winger, they cannot sign him until free agency begins on July 1.
“Every year there’s some players that aren’t qualified,” Chiarelli said. “We didn’t qualify Dan Paille but we’re moving towards a deal. Part of it is once you qulify him, they have the right to arbitration, so that number could be hazardous. I’m not saying that’s the case with Daniel, but that’s sometimes what happens. … That’s just part of negotiating and positioning and whatnot.”
- Marc Savard has not asked to be traded and Chiarelli was brief in his answers regarding potentially moving the center to free up cap space. He added that the new media has been overwhelming with some of the rumors they’ve come up with but that the Bruins continue to think very highly of Savard.
“I still think he’s an elite offensive player,” Chiarelli said. “Nothing’s changed in that regard.”
- The deadline for filing for salary arbitration is July 5. Both Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart are eligible, but after meeting with agent Matt Keator, who represents both players, while in Los Angeles, Chiarelli doesn’t know whether either will file.
“I’m not sure,” Chiarelli said. “I hope not.”
- It seems anyone expecting a notable free agent signing will be disappointed. The team will continue to look for upgrades via trade.
“We’re going to work the trade market,” Chiarelli said. “We’re not going out and signing anyone unless 1. We have someone we really want and/or we have the cap space. Right now we don’t really have the cap space to go out and sign a big deal but that could happen. We could make a trade and there could be cap space, but that doesn’t mean we have someone in mind. We’ve got a list. The list is small and in the event we do enter it, unlikely.”
Chiarelli did note that the team will look for a third goaltender and also peruse the defenseman market in free agency.
- Steve Begin and Miroslav Satan are both players in what Chiarelli calls the “secondary market.” The team will pursue other options before potentially negotiating with them.
- The Bruins, who Chiarelli said had been targeting Horton for two and a half years, wanted to get a Horton deal done before the draft. As it turned out, it was the draft pick they parted with (No. 15 overall) that got the deal done.
“I know that was a turning point from Florida’s perspective,” Chiarelli said. “There was another team — there were a few other teams in there — but there was another team that had a pick that was close to 15, but ours was higher.
“It was good to get that deal out of the way, and to add a potential impact player like Tyler is good,” Chiarelli added. “We’ve added one definite top-three forward, and who’s to know what Tyler will become in the short term? We know what he’ll become in the long term.”
- Chiarelli had a good quip when asked whether Seguin wearing Joe Thornton‘s old No. 19 was significant, saying, “I guess. You guys can make it significant.”
“I don’t think there’s any overt attempt to outdo Joe,” he added on a more serious note.
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