Bruins’ Subban faces important developmental season

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One could make an argument that just about any developmental year is a big one for a young prospect. Even so, that assessment seems appropriate for Boston Bruins prospect Malcolm Subban’s 2014-15 season.

In 2013-14, the 2012 first-rounder battled for AHL starts with Niklas Svedberg. Svedberg now looks primed to replace Chad Johnson as Tuukka Rask’s backup, so Subban will likely be the go-to goalie for the Providence Bruins.

Subban, 20, described the mental adjustment he made as a backup/1B guy to NHL.com:

“It was challenging, to be honest,” Subban said. “When it’s something you’re not used to, like I’m used to playing a lot of games and being the go-to guy, so it was kind of tough being the secondary guy. But I just had to stay focused mentally. I think that was the hardest thing for me mentally, just to stay focused and to earn my way. And you know you don’t play as much, so you know when you get a chance to play you’ve got to play well, and that’s what I tried to do.”

A potentially challenging road ahead?

Let’s face it: Subban might want to get used to that feeling, even if it might not surface for a while.

As volatile as the goaltending position can be, Tuukka Rask just won his first Vezina Trophy and is only 27. His $7 million cap hit won’t expire until after the 2020-21 season.

The Bruins have to look at Subban as a backup for the medium-term future, at least in their ideal scenarios.

If Subban justifies that first-round selection, he would give the Bruins valuable flexibility. If he takes longer than they’d prefer, his future could be even more fluid.

It makes for an interesting situation overall and may take quite some time to resolve. Still, the talented netminder would do well to make a strong impression next season.

Report: Bruins unlikely to upgrade right wing with free-agent signing

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The Anaheim Ducks have decided to take a chance on Dany Heatley, but the Boston Bruins might pass on the opportunity to do some bargain bin shopping of their own.

The Bruins could still use a right winger after losing Jarome Iginla this summer, but they’ll need most of their remaining cap space for restricted free agents Matt Bartkowski, Jordan Caron, Reilly Smith, and Torey Krug. Even if that wasn’t the case though, it sounds like they don’t have much interest in Lee Stempniak, Daniel Alfredsson, or the other right wingers left on the market, according to CSN New England’s source.

“If we do anything at all it would be a trade rather than a free agent signing at this stage,” said the source. “We’ll see what happens.”

The Bruins could conceivably trade a defenseman given that they currently have an excess and depending on who they move, that might simultaneously free up the cap space necessary to get a get a solid forward in return.

The Detroit Red Wings in particular could use a right-handed defenseman like Johnny Boychuk, but the Bruins might balk at the idea of giving up a top-four defenseman to a division rival.

The Bruins have too many d-men — who will they trade?

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Good news, Red Wings fans. We came up with a right-shooting defenseman that Detroit general manager Ken Holland could target in a trade.

Johnny Boychuk of the Boston Bruins!

Boychuk, 30, has one year remaining on his contract (cap hit $3.37 million) and, according to CSN New England, could be a trade chip for Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to play in order to 1) clear cap space and 2) pare down Boston’s glut of blue-liners.

“I think we have a good group right now, and I include [David] Warsofsky because I believe he’s as close to an NHL player as you’re going to get from Providence. There are nine defensemen we have — NHL defensemen — so we can’t go into the year with nine NHL defensemen,” said Chiarelli. “But [Dennis] Seidenberg will be back healthy. [Adam] McQuaid will be back healthy. At some point, I have to do something there, but I’m in no hurry. It may be that we see how the preseason goes, with who’s mixing, who’s matching with whom.”

What Boychuk wouldn’t give the Red Wings is a right-shooting d-man who’s scored a ton of power-play goals in the NHL. In fact, he’s scored just one in 321 games. But Holland wanted to get “a right-shot defenseman or two” yesterday in free agency, and he was shut out completely. At this point, he’s a beggar who can’t really be a chooser.

Of Boston’s young defensemen, Warsofsky and Matt Bartkowski are probably the two that Chiarelli would be most likely to move, with Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton the least likely.

Related: Babcock has been ‘all over’ Holland to get more right-shooting d-men

Report: Leafs, Bruins, Penguins, ‘Hawks among Brodeur suitors

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Even considering his advanced age, it sounds like there are plenty of suitors for future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur.

Rumors swirled about the iconic goalie and the Toronto Maple Leafs, and apparently with good reason. Brendan Shanahan acknowledged interest in the 42-year-old, as the Bergen Record reports.

“We’ve expressed an interest,” Shanahan said. “But I think when you get to a point in Marty’s career it’s really about fit. I was never the best goalie in the history of the game, but I’ve been a veteran player sort of making these decisions. You do things differently when you’re at Marty’s point in his career.”

“It’s always going to be about fit.”

It sounds like quite a few Stanley Cup contenders think they can find the right fit for the NHL record holder in wins. The Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins have been mentioned as potential interested parties:

There’s a big question about how well the famous goalie would handle being a backup, which would be his gig in just about every contending situation (and most situations, at this stage of his career). He filled Sportsnet in on what kind of role he’s willing to accept earlier last week.

“If I get a job as a No. 1, I think I’m able to handle the workload of 50 to 60 games,” Brodeur said. “If I don’t, and I get a backup job on a team I feel has a chance to win the Stanley Cup, anything between 20 to 30 games I’d be comfortable with in the right situation.”

There are a lot of possibilities buzzing around, yet one very important factor would be money. Brodeur didn’t give any indication about his desired salary, which certainly matters to teams in tight financial situations as championship contenders often are.

Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t sound like Brodeur will lack options when the free agent period begins. Like many other veterans, it’s plausible that he might not make a decision on July 1 (or maybe even in the month of July).

Then again, you never know what will happen once the frenzy begins.

Bruins GM talks backup plans if Iginla leaves

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The Boston Bruins aren’t ruling out the possibility of Jarome Iginla coming back for a second season, but they’re also putting together a gameplan in case he finds the kind of deal he’s looking for.

For one thing, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli believes that Loui Eriksson could slide into Iginla’s spot on the top line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci, CSNNE.com reports.

“I have to hedge in case we don’t sign Jarome,” Chiarelli said. “I have no problem if we have to put Loui on that top line. He’s played on top lines before and he’s played with the Sedins in the Olympics, and he was terrific. He’s better suited for an upper line. If that’s what we have to do then we’ll do it. I’m trying to be patient with this because I really feel at one point there’s going to be a player that will fit, and want to come here.”

How would Eriksson fit in?

Eriksson would be an interesting choice. The 28-year-old indeed ran shotgun with Jamie Benn for years in Dallas, often earning recognition as one of the NHL’s most underrated wingers during his time with the Stars. His two-way play could make him a hit in Boston – particularly with head coach Claude Julien – if he can avoid the kind of injury troubles that plagued his debut season with the B’s.

It would be a chance of pace, though. Lucic and Krejci have been rolling with big-bodied wingers who possessed big right-handed shots in Iginla and Nathan Horton before him. Eriksson’s not tiny by any stretch, yet he’s a left-handed winger whose style is more finesse-based.

Waiting game

There’s always the possibility that the Bruins add a forward in free agency, although Chiarelli made it clear that he’s “not going to go out hard to find a replacement for two reasons: the annual cost and the term.”

Term is the main sticking point with Iginla, as the Bruins would prefer to replicate the one-year, incentive-laden deal they gave the 36-year-old last time around.

If he finds that term somewhere else, it doesn’t sound like Boston will be scrambling for answers.