Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald,
The day before Round 1 of the NHL draft, Bruins president Cam Neely sounded quite confident the team’s fans were going to like what was about to happen. Neely said Don Sweeney, the new general manager, had big things in the works.
“There’s a lot of things that Don has been working on to not only put us in a position to improve on last year, but also for the future,” Neely said Thursday at Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Well, we’re not sure in what alternate universe subtracting Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic is going to improve the B’s for next season.
The Sweeney-Neely regime isn’t off to a great start. The trade of Hamilton to Calgary for a first-round pick and two second-rounders was the shocker — still the talk of the draft yesterday.
Critics in Boston aren’t going to want to hear it, but Sweeney and Co. tried hard to engineer a better outcome — either to keep Hamilton (with an annual offer believed to be in the vicinity of $5 million), or by trading him for more value in draft picks or players. They were close on several deals, but in the end they didn’t happen.
“We didn’t want to lose him,” said one Bruins front office source. “We tried everything we could think of.”
“I think you’ve got to give Donnie [Sweeney] a lot of credit. He just stepped into this role with a lot on his plate. There was a lot going on, and some tough decisions to be made. Personally I’m pretty impressed with how he handled it.
“That’s not to say I’m happy that Doug Hamilton and Milan Lucic are gone. We just lost two pretty good players, but those were moves that probably had to be made with the situation we were in, and the cap and everything else. They decided to make some decisions regarding the future of the Bruins, and they had to make those decisions. I’m a coach that likes to have the support of upper management, so I’m going to support upper management on that.”
-Claude Julien, head coach of the Boston Bruins. More from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.
from Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe,
... even with Sweeney shipping out two of the Bruins’ top players, the newbie GM insisted he is not rebuilding a team that is just one season removed from a President’s Trophy and two removed from going to the Stanley Cup Final.
“Our expectations are to make the playoffs, absolutely,” Sweeney said Friday night. “With our goaltending, with the core group of our guys, our strength up the middle of the ice — we had players that didn’t score to the level they were supposed to last year. Are we going to continue to look to improve our club? Absolutely.”
The Bruins, though, were not improved on Friday, at least not in the near future. They traded two major talents under the looming threat of free agency and salary-cap constraints. With the re-signing of defenseman Adam McQuaid, the Bruins have $59,341,667 committed to 15 players for the 2015-16 season.
Although the Lucic trade was not a stunner, the Hamilton trade was a surprise. Sweeney met with Hamilton’s agent, J.P. Barry, Wednesday night in Florida, and had made what the general manager termed a “very significant contract offer” to Hamilton, one he believed was in line with comparable players. The Hamilton camp countered with a number that was not in the same region.
“It didn’t lead us to where we thought we’d be able to [sign him] with him being comfortable being part of our group long term, so that sort of changed the course a little bit,” Sweeney said.
added 5:41pm, Kings release is below...
added 3:31pm, Boston press release is below...
added 3:38pm, Calgary release below too...
from Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald,
Sweeney very well could trade an important player — Loui Eriksson or Milan Lucic, perhaps — to free up cap space.
However, arguably his biggest issue is finding a way to get restricted free agent-to-be Dougie Hamilton under contract. Sweeney spoke with Hamilton’s agent J.P. Barry on Wednesday night and, though the lines of communication are open, it doesn’t sound like a deal is imminent.
While Sweeney would not discuss the content of the meeting, it’s believed some discussion centered around the length of the deal, which would greatly affect the value of the contract. A shorter bridge deal would be cheaper but could cost the Bruins in the long run when Hamilton, who projects to be a consistent point producer, gains arbitration rights.
A shorter deal would buy the cash-strapped Bruins time to move money after some prospects hopefully develop. Perhaps they would feel more comfortable in trading goalie Tuukka Rask in two years time, if Malcolm Subban or Zane McIntyre develops into a No. 1.
A long-term deal could be between $6 and $7 million, pretty steep for a very good offensive-minded defenseman but not quite the complete package yet.
Asked if a long-term or short-term deal was preferable, Sweeney said, “There are two sides to make a good deal. We presented opportunities on both ends of it. We’ll find the right deal.”
Asked if a deal would get done before July 1, and before offer sheets could start coming Hamilton’s way, Sweeney said, “In a perfect world it would be, yeah, but it takes two sides to make a deal and we’re going to continue to explore that and communicate in order to find the right deal.”
BOSTON, MA – Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced today, June 25, that the team has acquired a sixth round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for the rights to Carl Soderberg. The 2016 sixth round pick is Boston's natural selection, as it originally belonged to the Bruins and was part of the March 2, 2015 trade between Colorado and Boston that brought Max Talbot and Paul Carey to the B's in exchange for Jordan Caron.
Soderberg has played in 161 regular season NHL games - all with Boston - and has registered 29 goals and 65 assists for 94 points. The 29-year-old also skated in 14 playoff games with 1-5=6 totals.
Soderberg was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the second round (49th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired by the Bruins from St. Louis on July 23, 2007 in exchange for Hannu Toivonen.
Soderberg will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2015.
added 5:08pm, Avs release is below...
from Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province,
Milan Lucic could use a new hockey home. The Vancouver Canucks need an influx of presence and chutzpah.
There’s a certain symmetry there, isn’t there?
But for the Canucks to add Lucic, the East Vancouver kid who starred in junior with Vancouver Giants, via a trade with the Boston Bruins would take major dominoes falling. It would take multiple deals of substance from general manager Jim Benning.
The Canucks are butted up against the salary cap currently, with $5.03 million to spend on five players, according to the website generalfanager.com. The Bruins, with $7.28 million to spend on seven players, according to the same site, aren’t in a position to take on extra salary in a swap, either.
Lucic, 27, has a cap hit of $6 million for the coming campaign, is one season away from unrestricted free agency, and, by his standards, had a so-so 2014-15, featuring 18 goals in the regular season. That all ties into the talk that Boston will move the 6-foot-3, 235-pound left-winger.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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