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.

Bruins’ Tuukka Rask wins Vezina Trophy

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Tuukka Rask has taken the 2014 Vezina Trophy as the National Hockey League’s top goaltender.

The award comes on a special day – the eight-year anniversary to the day when the Boston Bruins acquired Rask from the Toronto Maple Leafs, as per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet. Rask finished the season with a league-leading seven shutouts and a .930 save percentage, which was second among goalies. He also recorded 36 wins in the regular season.

Here are the voting results for the award:

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)

1. Tuukka Rask, BOS 103 (16-6-5)
2. Semyon Varlamov, COL 90 (9-13-6)
3. Ben Bishop, TB 32 (1-6-9)
4. Carey Price, MTL 26 (2-3-7)
5. Jonathan Quick, LA 9 (1-1-1)
6. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 5 (1-0-0)
7. Steve Mason, PHI 3 (0-1-0)
8. Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ 1 (0-0-1)
Kari Lehtonen, DAL 1 (0-0-1)

In the end, 16 of 30 league general managers took Rask as their top choice for the Vezina. It is Rask’s first Vezina Trophy of his career.

Here’s a list of the Vezina winners and second-place finishers since 1990:

Year Winner Runner-up
2014 Tuukka Rask, Bos. Semyon Varlamov, Col.
2013 Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
2012 Henrik Lundqvist, NYR Jonathan Quick, L.A.
2011 Tim Thomas, Bos. Pekka Rinne, Nsh.
2010 Ryan Miller, Buf. Ilya Bryzgalov, Phx.
2009 Tim Thomas, Bos. Steve Mason, CBJ
2008 Martin Brodeur, N.J. Evgeni Nabokov, S.J.
2007 Martin Brodeur, N.J. Roberto Luongo, Van.
2006 Miikka Kiprusoff, Cgy. Martin Brodeur, N.J
2004 Martin Brodeur, N.J. Miikka Kiprusoff, Cgy.
2003 Martin Brodeur, N.J. Marty Turco, Dal.
2002 Jose Theodore, Mtl. Patrick Roy, Col.
2001 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Roman Cechmanek, Phi.
2000 Olaf Kolzig, Wsh. Roman Turek, St. L.
1999 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Curtis Joseph, Tor.
1998 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Martin Brodeur, N.J
1997 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Martin Brodeur, N.J
1996 Jim Carey, Wsh. Chris Osgood, Det.
1995 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Ed Belfour, Chi.
1994 Dominik Hasek, Buf. John Vanbiesbrouck, Fla.
1993 Ed Belfour, Chi. Tom Barrasso, Pit.
1992 Patrick Roy, Mtl. Kirk McLean, Van.
1991 Ed Belfour, Chi. Patrick Roy, Mtl.
1990 Patrick Roy, Mtl. Daren Puppa, Buf.

Bruins sign ‘good competitor’ goalie Svedberg

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The Boston Bruins are going a different direction when it comes to a back-up goalie. The club announced it signed Niklas Svedberg to a one-year, one-way contract worth a cap hit of $600,000.

Svedberg, 24, made one appearance this past season for the Bruins, winning his only game, allowing two goals on 35 shots against the Nashville Predators.

“He’s a good competitor,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said back on Jan. 2. “I think he’s improved over the course of the year with his experience. Earlier on, when I first saw him, when he first came, he had to make some adjustments to his game because of how they played in Europe versus here.”

“From there on in, I think he just kept getting better and better.”

This also appears to be the end of Chad Johnson’s time with the Bruins. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent, after making $600,000 – the same as his cap hit – this past season.

“It’s unfortunate for me because I loved everything about Boston and the Bruins,” Johnson told Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe.

“With how tight the cap is in Boston … as well as what the goalie market for a guy like myself is nothing really could work out,” he added.

Last season, the 28-year-old Johnson posted a record of 17-4-3, with a .925 save percentage and 2.10 goals-against average.

The Bruins also have 2012 first-round draft pick and goalie Malcolm Subban in their system. According to Capgeek.com, the first year of his entry-level contract kicks in this season.

Bruins assistant Geoff Ward resigns, takes job in German league

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Claude Julien is in the market for a new assistant coach.

Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli announced Geoff Ward has resigned from his position with the team and has taken the head coaching job with the Mannheim Eagles of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga in Germany.

Ward has been an assistant coach with the Bruins since 2007 and was part of the Stanley Cup-winning team in 2011. He was responsible for working the power play in Boston and that’s been a bit of a problem there in the postseason.

Seeing him leave to take a job in Germany isn’t shocking as he’s been a head coach there before including with Iserlohn in 2006-07 before he took the Bruins job. He’s also coached in the OHL with Kitchener and Guelph and the AHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs.

There isn’t a shortage of capable people to help out behind the bench and Julien and Chiarelli will have plenty of time to find a replacement.

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.