Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
A two-year deal in the $4.5-5 million per season range would give the young D-man a nice bump to recognize the offensive breakthroughs Hamilton made while notching 10 goals and 42 points in 72 games last season. But it would also acknowledge what everybody knows about Hamilton: that the youngster still has some strides to make with work in the D-zone and decision-making with the puck.
The most obvious candidate to attempt luring Hamilton away with an offer sheet would be Peter Chiarelli and the Edmonton Oilers, but the Columbus Blue Jackets have also shown keen interest in the potential restricted free agent.
The real lack of young, potential future No. 1 defenseman and the fairly reasonable compensation of just a first round pick, a second pick and a third round pick for any contract under $7.3 million per season could turn those teams into proactive buyers. There’s also a number of new GM’s in new spots over the last couple of seasons, and that could change the surprising lack of activity in the RFA market over the years.
There are many around the league watching this Hamilton/Bruins situation play out with great interest.
“Every team is looking for that big, mobile, puck-moving defenseman that’s capable of getting 35-50 points, you know?” said one NHL front office member outside of Boston. “If I’m another team and I have a chance to get him, obviously with the CBA there are different things you can do to make that happen like offer sheets. I think he’s in a good spot for himself. As far as the [Bruins] organization goes, I wouldn’t want to be the guy that lost him.
“When you look at the [offer sheet] compensation, it’s not bad compensation for a guy [in Hamilton] who’s going to play 25 minutes a night and can move the puck like that.”
from Travis Yost of TSN,
One quick look at the Boston Bruins salary cap situation and you start to realize that new general manager Don Sweeney has his work cut out for him this summer.
The Bruins, like a handful of other teams around the league, are already pushed near the salary cap ceiling. Most estimates have the team with $4-million to $5-million in available cap space, though those numbers can change slightly depending on what the players do with the escalator clause built into the new collective bargaining agreement.
Even in a best case scenario, with a salary cap around $71-million for the 2015-2016 season, the Bruins are in a bit of distress.
Dougie Hamilton alone is going to command a rather hefty salary – even if the team plays hardball with the restricted free agent, and you can bet they will, there’s a very good chance he’ll eat into much or all of the remaining cap space left for the team this year. It doesn’t leave them any wiggle room to build around their core pieces – in fact, it barely lets them replace the holes being created by departing unrestricted free agents.
I do think the Bruins have one course of action to get out of trouble, though, and that is to part ways with Milan Lucic. There are two reasons for this, and they both tie back into life in the salary cap era. Lucic, on the final year of a $6-million average annual value contract, is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season. As with any unrestricted free agent (and doubly so for cap distressed teams), you never want to run into the position where you lose an asset for nothing.
from Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald,
Bruins coach Claude Julien spoke to the media today for the first time since being endorsed by new general manager Don Sweeney, saying that, while there were no guarantees, he felt comfortable he would continue to coach the team.
"You have to understand the business and you have to give the GM time to assess and make decisions," said Julien this morning at Ristuccia Arena. "He's got to feel comfortable, too. As much as it wasn't a lot of fun or easy, it wasn't frustration, it was more about understanding the situation.
"My feeling was pretty positive that we could certainly work together. Even in our conversations it certainly felt that way. Maybe if it hadn't been that way it would have been different."...
Julien attempted to dispel the notion this morning that his job was in any jeopardy.
"I know a lot of speculations have been made on whether this is temporary or whatever it is," Julien said. "But we're really committed and determined to take this team and move forward in the right directions. Don and I have had talks and have a very, very similar outlook on what's needed and what we want to do. There was never an issue there at all. That's why it's worked out. We seemed to be seeing the same things.
"Personality-wise, we've known each other for a long time. It wasn't as tough a process as far as evaluating as people might think, but it was more about the time that was needed for him to feel comfortable with everything."
from Steve Conroy of the Boston Globe,
Not only will there be young men to draft, but the trading season kicks into high gear once the Stanley Cup finals end. Sweeney has made it no secret that he’s open to just about anything to get his team on track, whether it’s through a player-for-player swap — aka “a hockey trade” — or dumping some salary so he can dip his toe in the free agent waters, even though the UFA pool is pretty shallow.
He also has to figure out a way to pay defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who appears to be getting more expensive by the day. That means Carl Soderberg most likely won’t be back, which was reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Saturday and was becoming more and more obvious, especially after the B’s signed 27-year-old Finnish forward Joonas Kemppainen at the cut-rate salary of $700,000.
The B’s may still want to sign rugged defenseman Adam McQuaid, a UFA, but they may need to offload some salary to do so.
There are a handful of veterans who could be in play. Milan Lucic will be heading into the last year of a deal with a $6 million cap hit. Loui Eriksson is going into the last year of a $4.25 million hit. Chris Kelly has one year left at $3 million. And Dennis Seidenberg has three years left at $4 million. After a disappointing season, Reilly Smith just signed a two-year extension worth $3.425 annually.
Don Sweeney said the decision to retain Claude Julien was made some time ago.
Watch Sweeney from the NHL Combine talk about the coaching staff and more on the Bruins.
STAMFORD, Conn. – June 5, 2015 – A 90-second preview clip is now available at NBCSports.com of NBC Sports Films’ first project, Center of Attention: The Unreal Life of Derek Sanderson, a one-hour documentary that chronicles the remarkable life of former NHL star and two-time Stanley Cup Champion Derek Sanderson. Center of Attention will premiere Monday night on NBCSN, following Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks.
from Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald,
One of the knocks on former Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was that he overpaid for too many of his players.
But what’s the first order of personnel business for successor Don Sweeney? Well, it just might be to overpay someone.
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton is a restricted free agent with no arbitration rights. He can field offer sheets, however. Those, of course, are a rarity in the NHL. But in an informal survey of a handful of hockey insiders last week — ones with no direct connection to the situation — opinions were mixed as to whether Hamilton would receive an offer sheet. Noting how few and far between offer sheets have been, two of the people we polled believed that history would hold and no GM would stick his neck out and make a blood enemy of a rival team. But others believed that, considering the very thin UFA market for defensemen (see: Mike Green and Cody Franson), the 21-year-old Hamilton could very well garner an offer. Brent Seabrook, should the cash-strapped Blackhawks decide to move him, would be the best get of the summer. But after him, it would be Hamilton.
Whether or not an offer sheet materializes, the threat is very real. That could be enough to make the Bruins pay more than they’d like and more than the player deserves despite being up against the cap.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
... the fact that the GM was an in-house promotion -- and I think Don Sweeney is going to be a very good GM -- what's the wait now? What does Sweeney not know about Julien now that he didn’t know for the past eight years Julien has been behind the Bruins bench?
I mean, it’s getting to the point where it’s almost unfair. Make a decision, fire him or keep him, but decide already. It’s not just Julien, he’s got two assistant coaches’ whose fates also hang in the balance.
Let’s go Boston, get on with it.
Stamford, Conn. – May 27, 2015 – NBC Sports Group announced today the launch of NBC Sports Films, a new initiative that will leverage NBC Olympics’ Emmy Award-winning storytelling heritage and personnel to produce sports documentaries that will air across NBC Sports Group’s multiple platforms. NBC Sports Films will annually produce multiple long-form projects to be presented across NBC, NBCSN, NBC Sports Regional Networks and NBC Sports Digital.
NBC Sports Films’ first project, Center of Attention: The Unreal Life of Derek Sanderson, a one-hour documentary that chronicles the remarkable life of former NHL star and two-time Stanley Cup Champion Derek Sanderson, will premiere on NBCSN on Monday, June 8, following Game 3 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
“Storytelling has always been a prominent component of NBC Sports’ coverage of signature events. We are excited to expand those efforts and further serve our audience by providing additional long-form content across all NBC Sports Group platforms,” said Mark Levy, Senior Vice President, Original Productions and Creative, NBC Sports Group. “Our debut film, Center of Attention, is a compelling portrait of the extraordinary life of Derek Sanderson, who has lived the highest of highs and the most challenging lows a life in the spotlight can produce.”
from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE,
The Bruins have roughly $60.5 million in contracts committed to 15 players for next season, and there’s still a good chance the cap will fall somewhere under $71 based on the NHLPA’s vote on higher escrow and the cap escalator. Last season the players voted against the escalator that chopped $1 million off the salary cap’s upper ceiling, and that same thing could very well happen again this season.
So Sweeney will make phone calls, trade text messages furiously with other GMs and start working toward moving some players around the NHL Draft and opening of free agency on July 1.
A decision on Milan Lucic is at the top of the list for a number of reasons: he can bring the most dynamic assets in return, he carries a $6 million cap hit for this upcoming season before UFA status and much of their offseason strategy would be tailored on whether or not they’ll have No. 17’s intermittently dominant physical presence on the roster.
But other players like Loui Eriksson, Chris Kelly, Dennis Seidenberg and Reilly Smith could, and should, very well be in play for trade talks, and the Bruins would be wise to at least see what’s out there for a 38-year-old Chara. He’s one year removed from being a Norris Trophy finalist and is still a top-pairing defensive stopper, and those players hold value around the NHL as potential game-changing forces . . . even if it’s only for a couple more seasons.
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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