Many fans in Boston took it hard when resident tough guy Shawn Thornton signed a two-year deal with the Florida Panthers in July.
After being the face of what became the modern version of the “Big Bad Bruins” he had a strong following with the crowd. He was also a big hit amongst his teammates as well.
As Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com shared, Thornton’s now former teammates are lamenting the loss of the guy who would drop the gloves in their defense.
“Those are the guys you never want to give up, though,” goalie Tuukka Rask said. “I don’t think people necessarily talk about it too much, but you need that kind of leadership inside the locker room. You can’t just be quiet in there. You have to have young guys step up when you lose that, and its part of the challenge. Every team has to go through it.”
Plenty of teams have different things that help get them going. The Bruins seemed to feed off emotion in their games and that’s where they believe they’ll miss Thornton. Think back on all those heated games where a big hit or a fight seemed to snap them out of a fog and they’d roll from there. It’s that brand of motivation the Bruins felt Thornton brought to them.
While he’s not the best player on the ice, he was important to the Bruins’ mindset via his leadership. Now they’ll have to get by with replacing him with someone with a different skill set. The Panthers, meanwhile, will hope that guidance can be put to good use in their seemingly very young locker room.
Bruins restricted free agent defenseman Torey Krug is still without an NHL contract, but word out of Boston is he may have a new offer to ponder.
According to a report from CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty, Krug has received an offer from a KHL team.
Haggerty points out Krug could’ve been in line for a similar three-year, $10 million deal, which Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat signed. However, with the Bruins already over the salary cap per CapGeek, Krug would have to leave money on the table to sign in Boston.
With an opportunity to build on his rookie season, which saw him appear on the Bruins’ power play, and establish himself as an NHL-regular, it’s hard to understand why Krug would seriously consider crossing the Atlantic. Following the 2014-15 season, Bruins defensemen Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid and Matt Bartkowski are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.
Krug’s best bet would be to sign a one-year deal and seek a raise next summer where currently the Bruins have upwards of $20 million to play with.
The 23-year-old Livonia, Mich. native has 14 goals and 42 points in 82 career NHL games all with Boston. The un-drafted blue liner saw his three-year entry-level contract expire in July.
Krug burst on to the scene during the 2013 playoffs, after being recalled from Providence on an emergency basis. He appeared in 15 games for the Bruins scoring four goals and two assists after playing just three career regular season games.
If Krug decided to sign in the KHL, he wouldn’t be the only RFA to bolt overseas this summer, Blues forward Vladimir Sobotka left in favor of the Russian league signing a deal with Avangard Omsk.
Related: The Bruins have too many d-men – who will they trade?
When Jarome Iginla signed a three-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche in July, it left a sizable hole on the Boston Bruins’ top line.
The guy who wants to fill that spot and make it his own is Loui Eriksson. As Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com shared, he’s eager to prove to coach Claude Julien he can provide the same kind of offensive punch playing on what’s already a talented first line.
“It’s definitely two great players to play with. I played two games with [David Krejci and Milan Lucic] last season, and it was nice,” said Eriksson. “We’ll see when the preseason starts, and if maybe we practice together a little bit. Then we’ll see how things work out. Krejci is a great player, and he can see the ice really well.”
Eriksson said he wasn’t happy with his first season with the Bruins after arriving in Boston in the deal that sent Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars. He had 10 goals and 37 points in 65 games. He missed 17 games after two separate concussions, something that kept him from being the total two-way player he was in Texas.
If he’s healthy, putting him with Krejci and Lucic could be just the elixir to get the former 30-goal scorer back into offensive form. Krejci’s ability to distribute the puck and Lucic driving the net and wreaking havoc could free space for Eriksson to shoot.
It appears Marc Savard has found his next job.
The Boston Bruins forward, who remains on long-term injured reserved with the NHL club, is set to join the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s as a scout.
The report comes from XM Radio’s Chris Stevenson:
Savard has not played since suffering a concussion on a hit from Matt Hunwick of the Colorado Avalanche in January 2011.
It was his second concussion after he received a blindsided head shot from, then Penguins forward, Matt Cooke in March 2010.
The 37-year-old has missed the past three seasons with post-concussion syndrome.
According to CapGeek, Savard is scheduled to make $2.65 million in final three seasons of his seven-year, $28 million contract, which kicked in during the 2010-11 season.
The former fourth-round pick of the New York Rangers has 207 goals and 706 points in 807 games with the Rangers, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and Bruins.
Related: Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli says Marc Savard won’t play this year and might not ever play again
Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell has been known for his faceoff prowess on the fourth line, but he could be moving to the wing next season and he’s OK with that.
As D.J. Bean of WEEI in Boston shared, Campbell discussed his possible move off the pivot and he said he’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep going.
“I’ve been a center for the last four years, but I’m not going to [demand anything]. I want to be in a spot where I can complement other guys,” Campbell said. “If they throw me with whoever it is and I have to play wing and we’re a successful line, then so be it. That’s where I want to be. I have played center for a long time, so it may take me a few games, but I’m sure I can do it.”
The Bruins haven’t done anything drastic this offseason aside from losing Jarome Iginla to the Colorado Avalanche and Shawn Thornton to the Florida Panthers. They have young guys that will likely have to jump into the lineup and fill out ranks and that includes centers Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev.
If they force their way into the Bruins lineup, having Campbell slide over to the wing will help them adapt.