The Boston Bruins added major experience to Claude Julien’s staff on Thursday, hiring former NHLer and Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco as an assistant.
Sacco will replace outgoing assistant Geoff Ward who, last week, left the B’s to take the head coaching gig with German League team Adler Mannheim.
Sacco, 45, comes to the Bruins after spending last year as an assistant in Buffalo. Prior to his time with the Sabres he spent four years in charge of the Avalanche, including the 2009-10 campaign in which he led a surprising Avs team to the playoffs and was named a Jack Adams finalist for coach of the year.
The move to Boston will represent a homecoming for Sacco. The Massachusetts native played at Boston University before getting drafted into the NHL, and spent a couple seasons as an assistant coach in Lowell prior to Colorado moving its AHL affiliate to Lake Erie.
The Chicago Blackhawks still have time to sign 2010 first-rounder Kevin Hayes to a deal, but more than a few signs point to him eventually finding a deal elsewhere once his rights expire on August 15.
Reports already pointed to the New York Rangers being interested in the big forward, but CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty believes that the Boston Bruins should keep an eye on him, too.
For Haggerty, the most obvious draw might be the potential value that the 21-year-old Boston College alum could be bring:
The most attractive part about Hayes to the Bruins, beyond being a right-winger, and size/skill: the cost. As an NCAA free agent, Hayes would still need to agree to an entry level deal, and his maximum cap hit would be a team-friendly $900,000, along with any bonus money agreed to in the contract. It would essentially be like putting one of their own homegrown rookies into the lineup with minimal cost. There’s also the chance they could have a legit NHL player, based on his first-round ability and production at Boston College.
Along with the Rangers and possibly the Bruins, Haggerty notes other potential bidders such as the Calgary Flames (exec Brian Burke is fond of NCAA talent) and Florida Panthers (employers of his brother Jimmy Hayes). Those two teams would, on paper, provide less of a challenge for Kevin Hayes to make more of an immediate NHL impact, yet the money likely being more-or-less equal could score points in favor of a potential contender like Boston.
Of course, it would be foolish to count out Chicago altogether, even if they’ve failed to sign him after drafting Hayes 24th overall in 2010. Still, as this post details, he’d likely face a tougher climb to prominent NHL minutes and opportunities in the Windy City.
It all stacks up to be an interesting situation to follow if he doesn’t sign with the Blackhawks by August 15. While we wait, we can enjoy his occasional Instagram offerings, like this adorable video in which he uses his niece … as a prop gun?
(H/T to the Score on that one.)
The Boston Bruins were busy today, signing defenseman Tommy Cross and forwards Craig Cunningham, Tyler Randell and Justin Florek to one-year, two-way contracts.
Florek, 24, is perhaps the most noteworthy of the group after he served in six playoff games in 2014. He took advantage of a lucky bounce on Apr. 20 to score the opening goal in a 4-1 victory over Detroit in Game 2 of their first round series. It was also the first 2014 postseason goal by the Bruins after they were shutout of Game 1. He can earn $600,000 at the NHL level.
Cross had seven points and 54 penalty minutes in 55 AHL games last season. The 24-year-old was taken in the second round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and his new deal comes with a $600,000 annual cap hit if he plays in the NHL.
Cunningham scored 25 goals and registered 22 assists in 75 contests with the Providence Bruins in 2013-14. He also played with Boston on Dec. 17 and Apr. 13 last season. He’ll turn 24 in September and can make $600,000 if he spends the season in Boston.
Randell had 11 points and 93 penalty minutes in 43 AHL games last season. The 23-year-old’s contract is worth $575,000 at the NHL level.
The Boston Bruins have reportedly agreed to terms with one of their promising young defensemen.
Zach Trotman, who made his NHL debut last season following the injury to Dennis Seidenberg, has agreed to a two-year deal worth $1.25 million overall — good for a $625,000 cap hit at the big league level — per CapGeek.
Trotman, 23, was a seventh-round pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft but has steadily worked his way through the B’s organization. A big, rangy blueliner — he stands 6-foot-4, 205 pounds — Trotman showed good offensive ability with AHL Providence last year, scoring eight goals and 24 points in 53 games.
It’ll be interesting to see if Trotman can work his way into the B’s rotation next year. It seems unlikely, given the club has seven blueliners on NHL deals (Seidenberg, Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski, Dougie Hamilton, Kevan Miller) and still needs to work out a new deal with RFA Torey Krug. What’s more, Trotman is on a two-way deal next year.
The 2015-16 season, though, definitely seems like the time Trotman would be vying for a spot — his contract is a one-way that year, as Boychuk, McQuaid and Bartkowski are all UFAs next July.
Forward Jordan Caron has agreed to a one-year, one-way contract worth $600,000 with the Boston Bruins, according to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.
Caron played 35 games for the B’s in 2013-14, scoring once with two assists. The 23-year-old was a restricted free agent on a Boston team with no shortage of those.
RFAs still to sign for Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli — Torey Krug, Reilly Smith, and Justin Florek.
Related: B’s sign Bartkowski — one year, $1.25 million