Kukla's Korner Hockey
“Hopefully they’re going to groom this new brand of Boston Bruin players. If you’re a Bruins fan, player or coach that’s your hope. And these guys are worth their weight in gold in terms of leadership and understanding what it takes to play in the league. I say this because I’m such a big fan of certain players on that team — one of them is Patrice Bergeron, one of them is Brad Marchand, another one is Zdeno Chara, another one is Chris Kelly — so you ask yourself the question: How do they feel right now? And I can’t think they feel very good about it.”
-Pierre McGuire via WEEI where can read more from McGuire on the Bruins.
What a weekend it was for the Boston Bruins, who dealt away Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton for a bunch of draft picks.
To an onlooker it looks like the B's are setting up for a rebuild. But Kevin Paul Dupont maintains that they are simply "retooling."
"If you stay on Twitter all day or listen to the fans all day, this is death and destruction," said Dupont. "They still have a handful of very good guys who frankly, some of them are overpaid. I still like Rask, I still like Chara, I still like Bergeron. There's a lot of teams out there that don't have that.
"I don't call it a rebuild because they're still going to end up with five core guys who are here. So it's retooling around those guys."
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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.”
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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