PHT Morning Skate: Bruins prospect Pastrnak impresses Bergeron

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Patrice Bergeron is impressed with what he’s seen so far from 2014 first-round pick David Pastrnak. (CSN New England)

Is having Zac Rinaldo, who signed a two-year extension yesterday, on the Flyers’ fourth line a negative for the team compared to some of their other options? Broad Street Hockey)

Here’s an in-depth look at how the San Jose Sharks did in the neutral zone last season and which players stood out in that regard. (Fear The Fin)

Boston Bruins fans got a glimpse of Shawn Thornton in a Panthers’ jersey as he practiced with his former teammates. (Boston.com)

Scott Hannan isn’t likely to play a big role with the Sharks in 2014-15, but he does provide the team with some insurance. (CSN Bay Area)

Mark Giordano will participate in the Calgary Italian Open to support the charities Team Giordano Points to the Future and the Calgary Italian Canadian Foundation. (Flames.nhl.com)

Report: Former Bruins’ first round pick Hamill signs in Finland

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Former Boston Bruins first round pick Zach Hamill has signed with HPK in Finland.

The report comes from hockey agent Darryl Wolski, the president of the 2112 Hockey Agency:

Hamill, the eighth overall selection at the 2007 NHL Draft, appeared in 20 games over three seasons registering four assists with Boston.

The 25-year-old also spent parts of five seasons with the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence.

Last season the 5-foot-11, 180-pound center split time between the Utica Comets of the AHL and Barys Astana of the KHL.

Video: Bruins participate in commercials to promote NHL 15

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Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is the EA Sports NHL 15 cover boy and this week the video game company released a couple hilarious commercials to promote the game.

Bergeron and teammate Brad Marchand participated in the commercials, which were released over the last two days.

In his commercial, Bergeron reads poetry professing his love for the game of hockey while Marchand sings a ballad describing his addiction for the game.

Have a look:

Bergeron beat out Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban for the honor.

The video game is due out next month.

Bruins’ quiet summer could have an eventful finish

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The Boston Bruins watched Jarome Iginla walk away as a free agent this summer, but as far as adding players go, they’ve done almost nothing. Christopher Breen and Jeremy Smith are the only two unrestricted free agents they’ve brought on board from other organizations and it wouldn’t be surprising if neither of them are on the opening game roster.

Boston’s quiet summer might end with a bang though.

The Bruins are roughly $800,000 over the ceiling, according to Cap Geek. They will get to shave Marc Savard’s cap hit of roughly $4 million off the books, but at the same time, they still have to re-sign restricted free agents Reilly Smith and Torey Krug. Once you factor in Smith and Krug, who are coming off strong seasons and likely want to get paid accordingly, the Bruins’ situation looks murky.

With that in mind, the Bruins might resort to making a trade to give themselves some breathing room. It’s been an option that’s been discussed all summer, but with time running out until training camp, Boston might finally pull the trigger.

Among the players that have been mentioned before as potential trade candidates are forward Brad Marchand and defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Marchand would provide the Bruins with some long-term relief given that he comes with a cap hit of $4.5 million for another three seasons, but moving Boychuk or another blueliner might make more sense.

The Bruins have a defensive logjam as it is with six blueliners signed to one-way contracts, not including Dougie Hamilton or Krug and there are certainly teams out there that would be very interested if the Bruins made a top-four defenseman available. Trading Boychuk would create about $3.4 million in cap space.

Perhaps GM Peter Chiarelli has an alternate solution in mind. We won’t have to wait much longer to find out.

It’s Boston Bruins day on PHT

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Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Boston Bruins.

After falling to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final in 2013, the Boston Bruins entered the season with high expectations. They faced some adversity as one of their key offseason additions, Loui Eriksson, suffered multiple concussions and one of their top defenseman, Dennis Seidenberg, suffered a knee injury that ended his season in December.

Despite that, the Bruins’ regular season couldn’t have gone much better.

Tuukka Rask excelled in the first campaign of his eight-year, $56 million contract, posting a 2.04 GAA and .930 save percentage in 58 games en route to winning the Vezina Trophy. Jarome Iginla, who signed a one-year contract with them for the 2013-14 campaign, also proved to be a great fit with 30 goals and 61 points in 78 contests.

Propelled by superb goaltending and a deep offense, Boston claimed the Presidents’ Trophy with a 54-19-9 record. The Bruins cruised past Detroit in the first round, but ultimately lost a bitter seven-game series against Montreal.

Because of their difficult cap situation, the Bruins watched Iginla sign with Colorado and they also decided to cut ties with Shawn Thornton, who instead signed with Florida. Boston made no move to replace them through the free agent market and was equally quiet on the trade front. Instead, the Bruins are hoping that a healthy season out of Eriksson will help them replace the offense lost by Iginla.

With training camp mere weeks away, they also still need to sign restricted free agents Reilly Smith and Torey Krug.

Although their summer hasn’t been exciting so far, the Bruins remain a well-rounded team that figures to be very competitive in 2014-15.