The reigning Eastern Conference champs could have a decidedly different look up front next season.
Shortly after news broke that Boston was shopping Tyler Seguin, reports surfaced that UFA forward Nathan Horton informed the Bruins he wouldn’t be re-signing.
That no offers were exchanged gives a good idea of how far apart the two sides were.
Yesterday, reports surfaced that Horton was looking for a long-term deal that would pay $6 million annually; the Bruins, meanwhile, are trying to get their financials in order to afford Tuukka Rask’s new deal (which could cost as much as $7 million per) and prepare for Patrice Bergeron’s contract extension, rumored to be an eight-year deal with a cap hit around $6.5 million.
To that end, the B’s are exploring the option of trading Seguin, who has his six-year, $34.5 million deal ($5.75 million annually) kick in next season.
A lot of players (and also head coach Claude Julien) received immense credit for the Boston Bruins’ second run to the Stanley Cup Final in three years, but GM Peter Chiarelli is the person who constructed the roster. CSNNE.com reports that the franchise has discussed a contract extension with the executive multiple times during the last few months.
Chiarelli’s contract is set to expire after the 2013-14 season, prompting team president Cam Neely to admit that he deserves a contract extension.
“I think the job that both Pete [Chiarelli] and Claude [Julien] have done since they’ve been here is something that we certainly hope would happen where we get the team back to relevance, and give us an opportunity to compete for championships. Ultimately, we did win one,” Neely said. “We got to the Finals, and it’s very disappointing to lose in the Finals, obviously. But to acquire the types of players, and draft and develop the types of players that are going to help us win championships is what Peter and Donny [Don Sweeney] and Jim Benning have done.”
Perhaps the organization wants to see him make things work once more.
Chiarelli faces some serious challenges this summer, as Nathan Horton is among the most prominent unrestricted free agents while breakout star goalie Tuukka Rask is a restricted free agent.
It won’t be easy to make everything work with an estimated $5.8 million in cap space, but Chiarelli has shown that he can deftly manage the cap and other concerns in the past.
As the Chicago Blackhawks celebrate their second Stanley Cup victory in four years, they took a moment to write a full-page ad that appeared in the Boston Globe, praising the city and their opponents, the Bruins.
The ad says the following (per CSN New England):
“Hockey is a tough game. As impressed as we were by the strength, talent and competitive spirit of the Boston Bruins on the ice, we were deeply touched by what happened off the ice. Rarely have we experienced the hospitality you afforded us throughout the playoff series between two incredibly gifted teams.
“On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks organization and the entire Wirtz Corporation, we want to personally express our heartfelt appreciation to your city, the Bruins organization, and especially the citizens of Boston for the remarkable welcome you showed our team and the many Chicagoans who visited.
“From Boston’s political leadership to every member of the Bruins organization, from the players to the people on the streets, you demonstrated respect, good sportsmanship, and a genuine love of the great game of hockey.
“Like the rest of the world, Chicagoans have been reminded in recent days of Boston’s strength. Please know we tip our hat to your city’s big heart and gracious spirit. You lead by example and have set the bar very high for others to follow.”
It was signed by Blackhawks CEO John McDonough and chairman Rocky Wirtz.
A pending unrestricted free agent, Jaromir Jagr will not be back with the Boston Bruins next season.
“I don’t think they want me back,” said the future Hall of Famer today, per Dan Cagen of MetroWest Daily News.
Jagr carried a $4.5 million cap hit last season, so it might not be entirely accurate to say the Bruins don’t “want” him back. With star goalie Tuukka Rask needing a new contract and the cap falling to $64.3 million, they may not have a choice. (Also see: Andrew Ference.)
“We do have some hard decisions to make, including on re-signing players and retaining players,” said general manager Peter Chiarelli.
Jagr is also 41. Among NHLers last season, only Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne was older.
Concerns about Jagr’s durability will only be heightened by the back injury he sustained in the Stanley Cup Final; however, he did say he wants to keep playing in the NHL.
Meanwhile, winger Nathan Horton’s future in Boston is less clear. It’s likely he’ll need surgery to repair his troublesome shoulder.
Horton, 28, is a pending UFA that finished the playoffs with 19 points in 22 games. Troublesome shoulder or not, he’ll have plenty of suitors should he hit the open market on July 5.
“I can’t predict what’s going to happen,” said Horton.
Update: CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty has more, including one source that says Horton may take less to stay with the B’s.
Andrew Ference will be moving on from the Boston Bruins, CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty is reporting.
Ference, 34, is a pending unrestricted free agent coming off a three-year, $6.75 million contract. With the salary cap falling to $64.3 million and young d-men Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski expected to be regulars in the Boston lineup next season, there isn’t room to sign the veteran who won a Stanley Cup with the B’s in 2011.
“With the current cap, [Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli] is not going to be able to keep me,” said Ference. “He’s got to re-sign [goalie Tuukka Rask] and obviously do his side of the business.”
The Bruins also have veteran blue-liners Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, and Adam McQuaid under contract through at least next season.