The Boston Bruins have announced that goaltender Zane McIntyre has inked a two-year, entry-level contract.
The 22-year-old was originally selected by Boston in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but he had the option of becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer. He would have had plenty of suitors too given that his value has skyrocketed since that draft. He had a 2.05 GAA and .929 save percentage in 42 games with the University of North Dakota, which earned him the 2015 Mike Richter award.
The award honors the nation’s top college goaltender. He was also a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, but ultimately lost it to Jack Eichel.
“The Bruins are very excited to have Zane as a part of our organization,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney. “He had a tremendous career at North Dakota and while it was a difficult decision for him to leave, we all feel he is ready to start his pro development and that he will be an NHL goalie.”
It might not take him long before he is an NHL netminder as the Bruins have a vacancy behind Tuukka Rask now that Niklas Svedberg has signed to play in the KHL.
Don Sweeney is approaching his first NHL Draft as the Bruins new general manager, with a chance to make his first big mark for the future of that organization in his position.
After missing the playoffs, the Bruins have the 14th overall pick in next Friday’s first round, but Boston has been in discussions about trying to move either up or down in the order, according to NHL.com.
“I’m going to look at every option. I’m not really going to turn down anything,” said Sweeney, according to NHL.com. “I think this situation I’m in now, I have to have my ears wide open.”
One thing Sweeney is faced with is a cap crunch, and that appears to be one of the reasons why Carl Soderberg very likely won’t be re-signing in Boston for next season.
But could Sweeney be in a dealing mood in his first draft as Boston’s GM?
“It has been busy. [There have been] a lot of conversations with all the teams, everybody sort of trying to get a real good solid view of the landscape ahead of each and every one of us heading into the draft,” said Sweeney, as per CSNNE.com.
The Boston Bruins are apparently exploring ways to keep defenseman Adam McQuaid, a pending unrestricted free agent.
GM Don Sweeney hinted at it this morning, saying on a conference call that he’s had talks with teams that may allow the Bruins to re-sign one of their UFAs.
Now, according to Joe Haggerty, “multiple league sources have indicated to CSNNE.com that Adam McQuaid is the player Boston would like to re-sign.”
McQuaid would very much like to be back. The physical 28-year-old is coming off a challenging season, one in which the departure of Johnny Boychuk forced him into a bigger role with the B’s. But he’s also the kind of player that would seem to match Sweeney’s plans for the franchise to get back to its aggressive ways.
What’s uncertain is how Sweeney plans to make room for McQuaid. Loui Eriksson and Milan Lucic have both had their names floated in trade rumors. Chris Kelly’s $3 million cap hit stands out, but he’d be tough to move.
Related: ‘Highly unlikely’ Soderberg back in Boston
Claude Julien is on the same page with his general manager.
Julien spoke to reporters today for the first time since new GM Don Sweeney confirmed the Bruins’ coach would be back next season. And like Sweeney, Julien believes there are things the B’s can do to get the puck moving a bit quicker out of their end.
“Teams’ forechecking has changed a lot, so there are things we feel we can do with our transition game that we feel we can do a lot better with creating some speed,” said Julien, per the Boston Herald. “We had already kind of addressed that and we’re going to introduce that into camp like we do every year. To me, those aren’t changes. Those are adjustments like we do every year.”
The Bruins finished 2014-15 with the 22nd-ranked offense, their lack of goal-scoring a big reason they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Of course, it should be noted that, in 2013-14, the B’s had the third-ranked offense. So some of the drop-off in scoring has to be attributed to personnel. Boston lost both Jarome Iginla (to free agency) and Johnny Boychuk (via trade), while David Krejci missed almost half the season due to injury.
Julien also said today that he understands why Sweeney’s decision to retain his services took a bit longer than some felt was necessary.
“He’s got to feel comfortable, too,” said Julien.
Related: Sweeney vows to return ‘aggressiveness’ to Bruins
Noel Acciari was a significant part of the Providence College team that won the 2015 NCAA title. The Boston Bruins hope that he can help them win some big games, too.
The team made it official that they signed the 23-year-old forward to an entry-level contract on Monday. Specifics regarding terms and money were not shared, although ESPN’s John Buccigross indicated that it’s for two years a few days ago.
CSNNE.com passed along the views of a scout that certainly point to a player who could be well-liked in Boston.
Here’s what one NHL scout from a Western Conference team had to say about Acciari after multiple viewings of the player: “High energy, hard-working 2-way center. The kids motor never stops. Average size but gets his nose dirty and plays really hard. Will need some time in AHL, but he has 4th line/checking upside, and is smart. Think Antoine Roussel minus the fighting and agitating, or a Derek McKenzie type. Just loves to play.”
Roussel without the fighting and agitating? That’s kind of tough to imagine.
Acciari may be able to mix some decent scoring touch in with his energy game, too, it seems. Acciari scored 15 goals and 32 points for Providence College in 2014-15. He gained accolades such as Hockey East Defensive PLayer of the Year this pas season.
Sounds like a decent depth pickup for the Bruins all around.