Ryan Dadoun

Don Sweeney

B’s GM Sweeney a lightning rod for criticism

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If you can say one thing about new general manager Don Sweeney it’s that he’s not afraid to make a trade. Plenty of analysts have chosen to say more though and much of it isn’t nice.

Boston acquired enforcer Zac Rinaldo from the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon in exchange for a third round pick. That’s an awfully high pick to give for a player that averaged 8:55 minutes per game in 58 contests and has had discipline problems leading to suspensions and bad penalties.

It also might be seen as the straw that broke the camel’s back after his recent controversial trades involving Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic. So naturally the reaction wasn’t kind…

And the one that perhaps best summarizes the general consensus:

Joe Haggerty expanded on that sentiment for CSN New England:

One begins to wonder exactly what the master plan is from the Bruins front office over on Causeway Street after witnessing their scattershot method to constructing the Bruins roster over the last few days.

It also makes one wonder where the 31-year-old Max Talbot fits into the picture after he was brought in to be the fourth line center for the Black and Gold following his deal from the Colorado Avalanche at last spring’s trade deadline.

You could make the argument that this is also the first trade Sweeney that had very little to do with former GM Peter Chiarelli. With Hamilton and Lucic, even if you disagreed with the return or the need to move them, an argument could at least be made that Sweeney was responding to the difficult cap situation he inherited from Chiarelli. That’s not applicable to the Rinaldo deal.

All that being said, general managers are critiqued on the individual moves they make, but typically their employment is dependent on the record of their team. Sweeney might be drawing plenty of criticism right now and a lot of it might be justified, but if his version of the Bruins are successful next season, then that will be that.

Related: Sweeney vows to return ‘aggressiveness’ to Bruins

VandeVelde signs two-year extension with Flyers

Chris VandeVelde
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The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have inked Chris VandeVelde to a multi-year extension.

The terms of the contract weren’t released by the team, but it’s a two-year deal worth about $1.4 million, per the Philadelphia Daily News’ Frank Seravalli. He was coming off of a one-year, two-way contract that was worth $575K at the NHL level.

Going into the 2014-15 campaign, VandeVelde spent parts of the previous four seasons in the NHL, but he had never logged more than 18 games in a single season. He was able to firmly establish himself with Philadelphia though, scoring nine goals and 15 points in 72 contests. He logged 11:43 minutes per game, including an average of 1:41 minutes in shorthanded situations.

Philadelphia doesn’t have a lot of vacancies left on its roster and its cap position is fairly healthy. That being said, the Flyers still need to re-sign restricted free agent Michael Del Zotto and find an understudy for starting goaltender Steve Mason.

Sharks agree to five-year deal with Brenden Dillon

Brenden Dillon
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Agent Jarrett Bousquet has revealed that the San Jose Sharks have inked a five-year deal with his client, Brenden Dillon.

The financial terms of the deal weren’t immediately known, but he’s coming off of a one-year, $1.25 million deal.

Update: Dillon’s contract is worth roughly $15.9 million per CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz.

The 24-year-old defenseman had 10 points and 77 penalty minutes in 80 games with the Stars and Sharks in 2014-15. He also averaged 19:34 minutes per contest. He started the season with Dallas but was moved in November in exchange for Jason Demers and a 2016 third-round pick.

Although he was never drafted, Dillon signed an entry-level contract with Dallas in 2011 and became a regular with the team during the lockout shortened 2013 campaign, so he’s already a veteran of 209 contests.

Dillon is projected to join Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun, and Mirco Mueller on the blueline next season, leaving the door open for the Sharks to acquire another defenseman via the trade or free agent market to round out their top-six.

Related: Report: San Jose interested in acquiring Bieksa

Canucks hand Markstrom two-year, $3.1 mil deal

Jacob Markstrom
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The Vancouver Canucks announced that they have agreed to a two-year deal with goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

His contract will come with a $1.55 million annual cap hit, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

The 25-year-old is set to enter the 2015-16 campaign as Ryan Miller’s understudy after Vancouver dealt Eddie Lack to Carolina on Saturday in exchange for the 66th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft (Guillaume Brisebois) and a seventh rounder in 2016.

That trade was controversial, in part because Lack was a fan favorite coming off of a season where he posted a .921 save percentage in 41 contests and due to Markstrom’s struggles at the NHL level. In 50 career games, Markstrom has a 3.19 GAA and .896 save percentage.

At the same time, Markstrom posted 1.88 GAA and .934 save percentage in 32 games with AHL Utica in 2014-15 before leading the team to the Calder Cup Final with a 2.11 GAA and .925 save percentage in 23 playoff contests.

That was enough to convince team president Trevor Linden that he’s ready for the next level.

“I think if you look at the history of, whether it be Corey Crawford or Ben Bishop, or these types of players and how they perform at the American Hockey League level, and look at stats and numbers, you can put Jacob in that category,” said Linden. “He’s had an excellent year. He needs to continue to develop at the National Hockey League level, and we’re going to give him that opportunity.”

Vancouver also signed Linden Vey to a one-year, $1 million contract tonight.

Related: Linden defends Lack trade, thinks Canucks will have ‘real good goaltending next year’

Riley Nash, Yannick Weber among those without qualifying offers

Yannick Weber
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With the start of the free agent period less than 48 hours away, teams had to either present qualifying offers to their restricted free agents or allow them to enter the UFA market. While most RFAs will receive them, every year there are some noteworthy players that teams choose to concede the rights to.

This year Carolina Hurricanes forward Riley Nash and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Yannick Weber are among those that top that list.

Nash was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. Rather than sign him though, Edmonton traded his rights to Carolina in 2010. Since then the 26-year-old forward has registered 22 goals and 37 assists in 178 contests, including 25 points in 68 games in 2014-15.

Hurricanes GM Ron Francis hasn’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing Nash despite the fact that he’s allowing Nash to enter the open market, per the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander.

Weber, 26, is the veteran of 229 NHL contests. He had 11 goals and 21 points while averaging 17:11 minutes in 65 contests in 2014-15. Vancouver’s decision to give up its exclusive rights to Weber is eyebrow raising.

Similarly to the case with Nash though, Vancouver might still end up signing him. It sounds like the Canucks’ primary concern was what he might have gotten via arbitration, per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy. Still, Weber has been given control over his situation so Vancouver will have to see what he does with it.

Some other noteworthy players that will be allowed to test the open market include Colorado’s Jordan Caron, Columbus’ Dana Tyrell, Edmonton’s Keith Aulie, and Winnipeg’s Keaton Ellerby.