|Bruins can hear the hype||08.09.10 at 7:22 pm ET|
MIDDLETON — Eighty-something days after the Flyers eliminated the Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Bruins Shawn Thornton, Milan Lucic, and Tuukka Rask took to the golf course for Parkinson’s disease, re-energized on the tail end of the offseason. Frustration and shock that stained the end of the season seems to have washed away, and for good reason.
The Bruins infamously let the Flyers erase a 3-0 series lead and allowed Philadelphia to advance to the conference finals, where they would defeat the Canadiens.
“[It was] really hard. Obviously when something like that happens, it stays in for a long time, but you’ve just got to realize what happened and learn from that,” Rask said Monday. “I think if we’re ever in the same kind of situation again, we’re much stronger as a team and as individuals for [learning] from that situation.”
Since things ended for the Bruins, though, the team started on a course to fill whatever perceived holes they had while also retaining its core group of guys.
Though the team finished sixth in the conference with 91 points last season and were viewed as somewhat of a regular season disappointment, in coming within a game of playing for a shot to represent the East, the Bruins confirmed to Boston their legitimacy as a team with significant playoff potential. As a result, fans have overlooked the loss to the Flyers and instead have zeroed in on how close the Bruins appear to be. Whether it be adding Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton or bringing back Mark Recchi, Blake Wheeler, Thornton, and key guys on defense, something has sent a jolt of life into Boston’s fanbase and the Bruins are noticing. Read the rest of this entry »
|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.”
|Bruins reportedly have deal with Seguin||at 12:17 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, the Bruins have agreed to an entry-level contract with Tyler Seguin, the No. 2 overall pick in April’s NHL draft. The deal is believed to be similar to the contract top pick Taylor Hall signed with the Oilers last month — a base salary of $900,000 with bonuses that could make it worth $3.75 million annually. An official announcement is expected this week.
|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.
|Season tickets sold out||07.26.10 at 12:18 pm ET|
The Bruins announced via press release Monday that full season ticket packages for the 2010-2011 season are now sold out, an encouraging sign late in an offseason that has been very busy for the Bruins.
Though full packages throughout the loge and balcony are no longer available, some packages remain an option for interested fans. Half-season (21 games), 10-game, and five-game plans in addition to Premium Club memberships remain available.
Tyler Seguin and Nathan Horton have likely been selling points for fans, as they look to improve what was the worst offense in the NHL. The defensive core has largely been kept in tact, with Dennis Wideman shipped to Florida in exchange for Horton. Both Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask remain on the roster, rounding out a team that on paper has seen only upgrades over the summer.
|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.
|Kovalchuk the best thing that never happened for Bruins||07.19.10 at 5:52 pm ET|
Seventeen years is a long time, but not too long for the Devils and all-galaxy winger Ilya Kovalchuk, apparently. According to reports, Kovalchuk will get in excess of $100 million dollars in a deal that will run longer than both World Wars and the American Civil War combined. The front office in New Jersey must have had a whale of a time trying to project how things will be in 15, 16, and 17 years. Today’s babies will be driving. Today’s children will be parents. Today’s parents will perhaps be grandparents.
And Kovalchuk’s contract will still be on the books.
So, as Devils fans celebrate the retaining of their top offensive threat and take to partying like it’s 2027, it’s quite amusing to think back to a time when fans wanted the Bruins to make a deal last season to acquire the then-Thrasher at any cost. The asking price for Kovalchuk during the season included the first-round pick the Bruins had acquired from the Maple Leafs in the Phil Kessel deal. Blake Wheeler‘s name also popped up in rumors regarding the two teams, though it’s difficult to project which players would have made their way to Atlanta in a deal. During the season it was quite apparent the pick would be at least a top-five-to-top-three pick, and thus the Bruins pulled out of the running due to an unwillingness to move the pick.
Five months and an outrageously lengthy deal later, it appears the Bruins made the right move by making no move at all with the Thrashers. They kept the pick, which ended up being the second overall selection, and got what many believe is a star in center Tyler Seguin. Once signed, Seguin will receive a salary of $900,000 in addition to performance bonuses, which means his cap hit during the life of his entry level deal could max out at around $3.75 million.
Seguin’s contract, should he become the player many expect him to be, will be good money for a potentially elite player. However, given the current cap disaster the Bruins are dealing with, many are wondering how they will even be able to stay under $59.4 million while paying the rookie (who, at age 18, has been alive just one more year than Kovalchuk’s deal will run) the bargain rate of $900,000.
The team has between $500,000 and $600,000 in cap space and, in addition to having to sign Seguin, are just over a week from winger Wheeler’s arbitration date. That situation could be rather costly, as Wheeler earned $2.8 million last season and a source told WEEI.com Monday that the two sides have made “no progress” on a deal to avoid arbitration.
Had the Bruins made a deal involving the Toronto pick for Kovalchuk during the season, not only would they be without the long-term benefits of Seguin, but they would have almost surely lost the winger on the open market. Trying to work out a deal to keep him in the fold would be a stray from what the current front office is used to, as history has shown that general manager Peter Chiarelli’s idea of a lengthy contract is the seven-year, $28.05 million extension the team gave to center Marc Savard in November.
Keeping in mind the team has long-term plans outside of Seguin and Wheeler, getting and keeping Kovalchuk — even if he did receive as long a deal as he got from the Devils and carried a $6 million cap hit — would have made a lot of the Bruins’ other plans a lot tougher. Who knows if they would have been able to give defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Johnny Boychuk raises before free agency hit or whether they would have waited it out in hopes of making sure they could retain Kovalchuk. Forget about devoting any time to potential extensions for Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron. Maybe Tim Thomas would have been forced to be expendable in a soft deal, thus making the goaltending situation far less stable. There are dozens of other combinations of undesirable cost-cutting maneuvers the Bruins would have been forced into just to make sure they had a chance at keeping the winger.
The Bruins should be applauded for having one of the better offenses for any team in the league. They gave themselves a chance to do big things by getting the pick from Toronto, and in keeping it, they may have avoided financial strife and roster catastrophe.
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