Brad Marchand

Bruins GM Chiarelli: ‘I have no plans’ to trade Marchand

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Trade rumours have been circulating around Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand, however the team’s general manager Peter Chiarelli shot those down on Friday.

According to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com, these latest rumours involved Marchand and San Jose Sharks veteran forward Patrick Marleau.

“I have had no discussions for Marchand and I have no plans to trade him,” Chiarelli told CSNNE.com. “I don’t make it a practice to respond to reports in the social media, but occasionally it is necessary.”

Interesting, because this isn’t the first time Chiarelli has had to speak on Marchand trade speculation.

The 26-year-old winger has certainly created his share of controversy across the league – remember him in Vancouver this past December, taunting the Canucks and their fans in Boston’s first visit back to Rogers Arena since winning the Stanley Cup there in 2011? – and that has led to talk that perhaps the Bruins, fed up with his act, would look to move him.

Chiarelli addressed Marchand’s issue of sometimes crossing the line between effective agitator and aggressive forward to costing himself and the team in May, after the Bruins were knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the second round by rival Montreal.

“Every year I seem to have this comment about him finding a balance between irritant/agitator and real good player. I think sometimes his antics gets in the way,” said Chiarelli.

“This has been a discussion I’ve had, [coach Claude Julien’s] had over the course of three, four, five years, and it’s a challenge for Brad to play that aggressive way and not to cross the line.”

Marchand is just about to enter the second year of a four-year deal with the Bruins. It comes with an annual cap hit of $4.5 million.

He’s also coming off a frustrating post-season, in which he was held without a goal in 12 games, and took two different trips to the penalty box in a Game 7 loss to Montreal.

Report: Iginla, Bruins enter into contract talks

Jarome Iginla
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It’s still far from certain that the Boston Bruins will be able to re-sign Jarome Iginla, but they’re at least talking, per CSN New England, TVA Sports, and ESPN’s Joe McDonald.

The big question is if they can afford him and that will be dependent on what Iginla is looking for.

The Bruins got him under the cap in 2013-14 by signing him to a contract that included a low base salary, but plenty of bonuses. Per the current CBA, it’s permitted for a team to exceed the cap ceiling due to bonuses, but then the difference gets charged to your following ceiling. In other words, part of Iginla’s contract from 2013-14 will eat into the team’s 2014-15 budget.

Boston could do the same thing again, but only if Iginla is willing to assume the risk of another bonus-laden, one-year deal. That might be a tough sell as he could certainly do better on the open market after scoring 30 goals and 61 points in 78 games.

That being said, the Bruins will reportedly be “very active” in the trade market and might be able to free up the cap space necessary to give Iginla a better deal.

Report: Bruins will be ‘very active’ in trade market

Dennis Seidenberg
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Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and president Cam Neely has suggested that the team doesn’t require a significant overhaul, but it looks like they might still be “very active” on the trade market, according to CSN New England’s sources.

Although the Bruins have been very successful over the last four years, it might not be practical for them to proceed without making a significant trade or two. They’re in a somewhat difficult cap situation in part because Jarome Iginla’s bonuses will eat into their 2014-15 budget as punishment for them exceeding the 2013-14 ceiling.

After factoring in that cap penalty and the savings they get from Marc Savard being on the long-term injured reserve list, Boston figures to have around $9 million in cap space with about a quarter of their roster still to fill.

With that in mind they might end up dealing forward Brad Marchand or defenseman Johnny Boychuk to get rid of their $4.5 million and roughly $3.7 million annual cap hits respectively. Doing so would make fitting potential free agent Iginla in under the cap a lot easier.

Regardless of what happens, the Bruins won’t look exactly the same in 2014-15 — no team ever does — but Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg just hopes that the changes are kept to a minimal.

“When you look at the whole regular season, which was a long time and a lot of games, you saw evidence of the guys being able to play well and dominate hockey games,” said Seidenberg. “In the playoffs, we just didn’t play our best hockey. That’s what you have to do in order to win rounds.

“I don’t think there’s a reason for big tweaks to the lineup, but that’s up to management. They have to do what they think is best. We’ll see, I guess.”

Related:

Columnist believes Iginla won’t return to Boston

Rangers can take lesson from last year’s Bruins

RangersKings
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LOS ANGELES — If the Rangers want to successfully rebound from blowing a 2-0 lead in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, they should look at a familiar Eastern Conference foe — the Boston Bruins.

It was the Bruins, after all, that opened the 2013 Cup Final in remarkably similar fashion to the Rangers, jumping out to a two-goal advantage. on the road, before losing to Chicago in overtime.

Like the Rangers, the Bruins blew a chance to steal home ice advantage right off the top. And like the Rangers, the Bruins had regrets.

“We had the game,” Tuukka Rask said, per ESPN. “We were up 3-1 in the third, and then a terrible turnover leads to a second goal, a tough bounce leads to the tying goal, and we just gave it away. We’ve got to be better than that.”

Sound familiar?

Aside from the terrible turnover thing (here’s looking at you, Dan Girardi), consider what Marc Staal had to say:

“Yeah, we had a shot to win the game. It’s frustrating that we didn’t come out and do it.”

Boston rebounded nicely in Game 2 last year, scoring a 2-1 OT win to even the series at one. The Bruins did it by flipping the script, so to speak — after falling behind early, they got stronger as the game progressed and out-shot the ‘Hawks 24-15 over the final two periods and OT.

“We got rewarded because I thought from the second period on, we were a good team, a better team,” head coach Claude Julien explained. “By the end, I thought we had more chances.”

Getting better as the game goes on is what the Rangers need to do in Saturday’s Game 2. The Blueshirts wilted as tonight’s contest progressed and the ice appeared tilted in the third period, confirmed by the shots on goal total:

Kings 20, Rangers 3.

That, obviously, can’t happen again if the Rangers have any hope of getting a split in Los Angeles — but there are fixes New York can make, according to Martin St. Louis.

“We did a lot of east-west stuff. They didn’t have to come back all the way in and play defense,” St. Louis explained. “They went back the other way and they got their forecheck going. We ended up spending a little too much time in our end zone and then it’s tough to get on offense when you’re trying to get off the ice. So a little bit of some of the stuff we did in the third.

“I don’t want to not give credit to them, but some of the stuff we did in the third we’ve gotta correct.”

Bruins think Eriksson ‘can be a better player’

Loui Eriksson
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Nearly one year after the Tyler Seguin trade, Cam Neely thinks the centerpiece Boston got in return has room for improvement.

“Loui [Eriksson] came in and it was a difficult transition for him, and then he got hurt,” Neely said on Tuesday at the B’s annual year-end presser. “We think he can be a better player.”

Eriksson, 28, missed 21 games with a pair of concussions and a heel injury this season, which limited his production — just 10 goals and 37 points in 61 games, a .61 points-per-game average.

The worry, of course, is that ’13-14 marked the second straight season Eriksson’s production took a hit. He was at a .60 ppg average during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign in Dallas, a noticeable dropoff for a guy that recorded three-straight 70-plus point campaigns from 2009-11 (his point-per-game averages in those three years? .87, .92 and .87)

Not helping Eriksson’s cause was the fact Seguin enjoyed good success in his first year in Dallas, finishing fourth in the NHL in points (84) while pacing the Stars to their first playoff appearance in five years.

Eriksson, meanwhile, spent the majority of the year on Boston’s third line — albeit a very good third line — and didn’t do much in the playoffs, scoring just two goals and five points in 12 games. Eriksson was also a collective minus-4 in the final two losses to Montreal, going pointless with just three total shots on goal.

As such, Neely made no bones about the B’s needing more from the Swedish winger, who has two seasons left on his six-year, $25.5 million deal with a $4.25 million average annual cap hit.

“He’s proven to be a better player,” Neely said. “That’s our expectation, that he can be a better player.”