|Jonathan Toews contract puts Patrice Bergeron’s deal in perspective||07.09.14 at 3:45 pm ET|
On Wednesday, the Blackhawks finally delivered the mega-contracts to their mega-stars that the hockey world had seen coming for a mega-long time. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane got, as they say, paid.
The numbers were the same for each: Eight years and $84 million, with the deals carrying annual cap hits of $10.5 million.
That’s a boatload of money, but great players in their prime get paid boatloads of money. Both contracts should be met with initial shock at the dollars followed by an understanding that the cap goes up over the years and that we’re talking about two of the best players in the league.
The Bruins don’t have a player like Kane, and not many teams do. However, Toews and Patrice Bergeron have spent the last few years (and figure to spend many more) battling one another for the Selke Trophy as the league’s top two-way forward.
Last summer, Bergeron got a mega-extension of his own: Eight years worth $52 million with an annual cap hit of $6.5 million.
Now, there are obvious differences between Bergeron and Toews, with the biggest one that Toews is a better player, particularly offensively — that one’s kind of the biggie here.
They’re also different ages. Bergeron will turn 29 years old later this month, while Toews turned 26 in April.
Still, considering the two players are compared to one another each year in the Selke race (Toews edged Bergeron in the 2013 season, Bergeron won for the second time in three years this past season), it’s worth comparing the two contracts. The immediate takeaway from Toews’ deal is that, at $4 million against the cap less each year, Peter Chiarelli got Bergeron, perhaps for the rest of his career, at a pretty sweet rate.
Last season, the players put up similar offensive numbers, with Toews’ 68 points over 76 games edging Bergeron’s 62 points over 80, but Bergeron put up 30 goals while Toews netted 28. Bergeron’s faceoff numbers (third in faceoff percentage; Toews was fifth) and superior advanced stats (he finished third in the league among players with 25 or more games in Corsi Rel; Toews was 22nd) made him the Selke winner in the eyes of the Pro Hockey Writers Association.
It should be expected that Toews will regularly outproduce Bergeron offensively, while Bergeron figures to remain the better defensive player. They aren’t the same player, but they’re closer than their contracts suggest. Neither deal has begun yet (Bergeron’s starts this coming season, Toews’ the year after that), but count Bergeron’s as another savvy signing for Chiarelli.
|Peter Chiarelli: Bruins won’t go big in free agency||06.23.14 at 1:18 pm ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli held a conference with the media Monday to discuss the upcoming draft and free agency periods. Here are some of the takeaways:
– Chiarelli declined comment on negotiations with Jarome Iginla, saying only that the team wants the free agent forward to stay in Boston. The B’s are facing $4.75 million in penalties from cap overages from last season, most of which were from the easily reached incentives in Iginla’s one-year contract.
Chiarelli said the team was willing to face such a situation when they signed Iginla last offseason, but hinted the team might be less inclined to do a similar deal given that they have to account for raises to other players (Chiarelli mentioned David Krejci, but Carl Soderberg can also be included) in the 2015-16 season. So, connecting the dots, perhaps the Bruins are more willing to do a multi-year deal with Iginla rather than another one-year, incentive laden deal.
If that were to happen, Iginla’s cap hit would be higher than it was last season ($1.8 million), but the team won’t have to deal with cap penalties in future seasons.
– Such a scenario might make things tight for the Bruins. The salary cap has yet to be announced for the coming season, but when factoring in Marc Savard‘s long-term injury reserve space, the Bruins are probably looking at about $8 million to $10 million to sign a group of players that includes Iginla, Reilly Smith and Torey Krug, among others. Asked whether he felt he needed to move a contract in order to get his players signed, Chiarelli said he has multiple potential game plans for this offseason, some of which include trading a player off the current roster.
– Chiarelli said the Bruins are not planning on using a compliance buyout at this time.
– The Bruins will look at ‘lesser deals’ in free agency, according to Chiarelli. For both cap’s sake and chemistry’s sake, the team is not looking at bringing in a big-name free agent.
– Providence coach Bruce Cassidy is a potential candidate to take Geoff Ward‘s old job as one of Claude Julien‘s assistants, but Chiarelli noted the team might want to keep Cassidy in Providence because of how dependable he has been with developing younger players, especially on the back end.
– The number of new general managers has led to increased chatter among teams, Chiarelli said. He noted that the first-time managers seem eager to execute their plans, which has resulted in more teams talking.
|Peter Chiarelli: Bruins not planning on trading Brad Marchand for Patrick Marleau or anyone else||06.13.14 at 9:39 am ET|
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told WEEI.com Friday morning that he has no plans to trade forward Brad Marchand. He also refuted a rumor from Thursday that the team was discussing a trade of the pesky forward for Sharks veteran Patrick Marleau.
“I have had no discussions for Marchand and I have no plans to trade him,” Chiarelli said. “I don’t make it a practice to respond to reports in the social media, but occasionally it is necessary.”
A veteran of four seasons, Marchand has three years left on a four-year, $18 million extension that contains a modified no-trade clause. His $4.5 million cap hit is fourth among Bruins forwards and sixth among Bruins players.
Marleau is not a logical fit for the Bruins given that they are looking to shed salary going forward rather than add it. In addition to Marleau being 34 years of age, his deal carries two more years of a $6.66 million cap hit and contains a no-movement clause.
The upside of adding a player like Marleau is that he is still productive at his age, as he had 33 goals for the Sharks last season, but making that expensive of a minor upgrade (Marchand had more goals than Marleau’s 17 in the 2013 season) in one spot on the top-six would make it even harder for the Bruins to re-sign Jarome Iginla, who is a free agent and led the Bruins in goals in both the regular season, when his 30 goals matched Patrice Bergeron‘s, and postseason.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Peter Chiarelli unsure Bruins will retain Shawn Thornton||05.16.14 at 6:45 pm ET|
Shawn Thornton‘s future with the Bruins is murky at best, as he was not told that he wouldn’t be re-signed Friday, but Peter Chiarelli did not tell him the team plans to retain him.
Thornton, a free agent, wants to play another two years. His preference is to play in Boston, so the sense is that if the Bruins will have him back, he’ll return. If they don’t want him, he won’t. Chiarelli told Thornton that he needs to look at some things before he decides whether the team will make him an offer.
“Thorty I thought had a kind of up and down year,” Chiarelli said. “He got, obviously, the incident with Pittsburgh and you know, there’s trends in hockey and the fisticuffs trend — again, this doesn’t characterize Thorty as just a fighter because he contributed on that [fourth] line.
“That line has had a lot of success in the past, but there is definitely, we’re trending away from that style. I had a discussion with Thorty this morning and I said, ‘Look, give me a couple weeks to digest what’s happened and then we’ll go from there.’ That same comment applies to [Jarome Iginla]. I haven’t talked to the other [unrestricted free agents] yet but to Iggy and Thorny so far.”
Iginla is a free agent as well. He played this season on a one-year deal in which the Bruins were able to pay him bonuses that will go against next year’s cap in order to save money on this year’s cap. The team can keep doing that on Iginla, but only on one-year deals.
Iginla, who tied for the team lead with 30 goals in the regular season and led the team with five postseason goals, said he does not wish to negotiate publicly, so he was generally tight-lipped about what he wants. He did say that at age 36, he still feels he can play a while longer.
“I still want to play for a while before I quit. I’ll push myself to be better and there are no issues,” he said. “I loved playing here with the guys and there’s a great chance for next year for the Stanley Cup. They keep getting better with the young guys that they have, Dougie [Hamilton] and [Matt Bartkowski]. The core is still young. There’s lots of reasons. Very fortunate if I can be back here.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins’ Dennis Seidenberg begins taking contact||05.12.14 at 12:41 pm ET|
MONTREAL — Dennis Seidenberg has begun taking contact, marking a sizable step in his road back from ACL/MCL surgery.
Seidenberg, who had surgery in early January after tearing the ligaments in his right knee on Dec. 27 and being ruled out for the season, stayed out after Monday’s morning skate and did one-on-one battle drills in the corner with Jordan Caron and Andrej Meszaros. Seidenberg has been skating since April 8, doing more and more until eventually joining the team in practices late last month. Monday was his first time taking contact.
The 32-year-old had said last week that he felt good enough to play but that he still wasn’t healed. Now that he is taking contact, the chances of him returning this postseason — assuming the Bruins advance past the Habs — become much more realistic, but the timetable is unknown. Daniel Paille, who was working his way back from a concussion, had begun taking contact on April 25 before playing May 1, but Seidenberg has been out much longer, and such timetables vary from player to player and injury to injury. It’s safe to assume that Seidenberg would need at least a week of contact before the team could start considering him as an option to play.
The Bruins initially had said that Seidenberg’s recovery time would be 6-8 months, but he has been well ahead of schedule. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has declined comment on the status of the player since the beginning of the playoffs, saying only that the team is not assuming that the player will return at some point.
“We’re not counting on Dennis to be back,” Chiarelli said on April 14. “We’re going to be very cautious with this injury. He has been skating and that’s pretty much all I can say on it.”
If Seidenberg were to return, he would provide stability on the B’s back end in a spot that has seen some inconsistency. Both Meszaros and Matt Bartkowski have struggled on the left side of the second pairing, and though Seidenberg traditionally has served as Zdeno Chara‘s postseason partner, he might be better served strengthening Johnny Boychuk‘s pairing.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Claude Julien: ‘I don’t think we’ve played our best hockey’||05.09.14 at 12:37 am ET|
MONTREAL — It was a lot easier for Claude Julien to admit the obvious after a 1-0 overtime win in Game 4 than the alternative. His team still does not look like the squad that won 54 games and the Presidents’ Trophy with 117 points.
If it weren’t for the efforts of a player just called up from Providence to bolster the third line, the Bruins could easily be looking at being down 3-1 heading into Game 5 Saturday night back at TD Garden.
But Matt Fraser saved the day and Julien was grateful, not only to the player who got 14 games under his belt this season but to his boss Peter Chiarelli, who called Fraser up in time for Game 4. What did Julien expect?
“The winning goal,” Julien quipped. “He’s been playing well lately in Providence and actually has been scoring some goals. He’s been playing some pretty good hockey and he showed that tonight. I liked his game, not because he scored but his whole game. He seemed to be strong on the puck, making some good decisions, wasn’t turning pucks over, seemed to be skating well. It was nice to see [goal] happen. The GM probably deserves the credit because he was the one who called him up. He’s a good player. We knew that. We had him for quite a while there this year. He can certainly shoot the puck and he has a knack to score some goals. In this series, we need that.”
Then Julien seemed to go back to reality, the reality that his top two lines seem stuck in the mud against Montreal’s system, giving them precious little room to maneuver in the offensive zone. David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Jarome Iginla and Patrice Bergeron have been bottled up in this series. Things were so bad that Julien tried to loosen everyone up by completely breaking up the lines in the Thursday morning skate.
“A win was important obviously to get us back in this series,” Julien said. “I don’t think we’ve played our best hockey. That’s not to downplay this win. We’ve played hard but I know I’ve seen our team play better. But you know it seems to be a process right now and we’re working through it. You hope that this win here helps us to get better anyways, and you go from there.
“There’s no doubt these guys are working hard, they care, they want to. Just because it doesn’t always go as smooth as we like it to be, what I like is we’re showing character and we’re battling through it and trying to find ways to win games.
|Peter Chiarelli mum on Dennis Seidenberg, Bruins defense’s moving parts||05.07.14 at 2:35 pm ET|
BROSSARD, Quebec — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli made himself available to the media Wednesday at Bell Sports Complex, but there was no special announcement or message revealed.
It’s very rare for general managers to speak during a series, and when they do, it’s with a specific message in mind. Chiarelli had none, and he opened the availability by declining comment in response to a question about whether Dennis Seidenberg could be close to a return.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” Chiarelli said. “I haven’t all last series or this series. “He is skating, as you can see and stuff, but that’s all I can say.”
Seidenberg, who had surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL in early January, has been skating for weeks and is now practicing with the team. He has still yet to take contact, which would rule out any shot at him returning this series. The veteran defenseman told the Boston Globe Tuesday that he feels ready to play, but the lack of contact would suggest he isn’t close enough.
As for the players the B’s have used to fill Seidenberg’s spot on the left side of the second pairing, Chiarelli was asked about his confidence in Matt Bartkowski and Andrej Meszaros. Bartkowski missed the first two games of the first round with the flu, but after struggling in Games 4 and 5 against Detroit and taking the penalty that led to P.K. Subban‘s double-overtime goal in Game 1 of the second round, was benched in favor of Meszaros.
Meszaros hasn’t fared much better, as he also took a penalty that led to a power play goal in Game 2 and he had a poor showing in Game 3 even considering that he shot the puck that Jarome Iginla tipped past Carey Price with 2:16 remaining. The low point of the game for Meszaros was when Dale Weise slipped past both he and Johnny Boychuk, leading to a breakaway goal after Daniel Briere sent a pass up to the fourth-liner.
Given both players’ struggles, it’s anyone’s guess as to who the Bruins will go with for Thursday’s Game 4.
‘That’s a lineup decision,” Chiarelli said. “These guys have been good for us. Bart has been good for us. He had to come in when Seidenberg got hurt. And he had to find his game and he had to fit in, and he’s done that. He got sick and he got out of sync a little bit. Mez, we acquired Mez in a trade. I didn’t mind his game last night. I know there’s … I think everyone can make a mistake here or there. He made a good play on the goal. So my confidence level is really irrelevant.’