BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 28:  Loui Eriksson #21 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning  at TD Garden on February 28, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Report: Eriksson, Bruins aren’t close to deal, will try once more

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The Boston Bruins and Loui Eriksson aren’t close to a new deal, so the forward is expected to hit the free agent market, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.

Lavoie reports that the Bruins and Eriksson can’t see eye-to-eye on the length of the contract.

A few days ago, Eriksson’s agent admitted that he was still waiting on a new offer from the Bruins. It looks like the two sides are far apart, whether an updated proposal came or not.

The 30-year-old forward would likely draw considerable interest as an unrestricted free agent, with teams like the Vancouver Canucks reportedly interested.

Concussion issues were a key component in Eriksson’s early struggles with Boston, limiting him to 61 games played in 2013-14. He really came into his own with the Bruins in 2015-16, generating 30 goals and 63 points.

That production and Boston’s hopeful drive toward a playoff spot forced Bruins management to be picky about a potential trade, and nothing worked out.

Whether fans feel like it was a mistake in keeping him through the trade deadline or not, it sounds like Eriksson’s time with the Bruins will soon come to an end.

The B’s, for their part, seem more concerned about bolstering their defense.

GM Don Sweeney will speak with the media shortly, so PHT will note if anything changes (or if he confirms that Eriksson will become a UFA).

Update: The Bruins will give it another try, for what it’s worth:

In other free agent news:

Report: Oilers, Bruins have spoken to Blues about Shattenkirk

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 13: Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the St Louis Blues skates against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 13, 2015 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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It’s no secret that the Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins are two teams that have the same need. Both organizations are looking to add a a quality puck-moving defenseman. According to ESPN hockey insider Pierre LeBrun, both have inquired about Kevin Shattenkirk‘s availability.

“The Blues are in a pretty good position of strength to probably move Shattenkirk…in an off-season in which there are a lot of teams looking for D,” said LeBrun on TSN 1040 radio. “Think of the Boston Bruins, think of the Edmonton Oilers. Those are among the teams that have already spoken to St. Louis here of late regarding Kevin Shattenkirk.”

Shattenkirk is under contract for one more season before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The 27-year-old was a key piece of the team that made it to the Western Conference final this past postseason. He had 14 goals and 44 points in 72 games during the regular season and he added two goals and 11 points in 20 games during the playoffs.

Signing Shattenkirk to an extension isn’t necessarily out of the question for St. Louis. But with Alex Pietrangelo locked up for four more years and Jay Bouwmeester signed for three more seasons, extending him will be tough. Also, forwards like Vladimir Tarasenko, Paul Stastny and Jori Lehtera are all locked up for multiple seasons at high dollar amounts.

The Blues also need to come to terms with RFA Jaden Schwartz this off-season.

Related:

–Blues and pending UFA Backes ‘haven’t been able to find that common ground’

Blues check Jaskin off big list of summer signings 

It sounds like Vladimir Sobotka rejoin the Blues next season

(h/t: The Score)

Eriksson’s camp still hasn’t received a new offer from the Bruins

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 12:  Loui Eriksson #21 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden on November 12, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Boston Bruins have less than two weeks to come to terms on a new contract with Loui Eriksson before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.

The Bruins and Eriksson’s camp have been in conversation quite regularly, but it doesn’t seem like a deal is close, according to the player’s agent.

“Don (Sweeney) and I have been in regular communication,” Eriksson’s agent J.P. Barry told ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. “We were expecting a new offer from the club at some point but we haven’t received one yet. I’m sure we will speak again prior to the draft about their intentions.”

Boston already made several sweeping changes at last year’s draft when they shipped Milan Lucic to Los Angeles and Dougie Hamilton to Calgary. But another year out of the postseason will likely see the team tweak the roster some more. The question is will Eriksson be one of those players on his way out of town?

The Bruins won’t look very good if they make him leave for nothing. While the B’s were battling for they playoff lives in February, not only did GM Don Sweeney keep all his potential free agents, but he also traded draft picks for rental players like Lee Stempniak.

At the same time, Boston’s priority will almost certainly be to add a mobile defenseman (or two) to their back end. Can they acquire the defenseman they’re looking for and pay Loui Eriksson? That remains to be seen.

Boston has roughly $20 million in cap space, according to General Fanager. That’s a pretty good chunk of change, but they only have nine forwards, four defensemen and one goalie under contract for next season (excluding prospects).

Bruins reportedly want Panthers’ Kulikov, might be out of luck

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 10: Dmitry Kulikov #7 of the Florida Panthers prepares for a face-off against the Ottawa Senators at the BB&T Center on March 10, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Senators 6-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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Simply put, there’s plenty of demand for quality defensemen, but teams aren’t especially anxious to supply them.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty reports that the Boston Bruins are hoping to trade for Florida Panthers blueliner Dmitri Kulikov. They’re being proactive yet could also be described as merely “kicking the tires.”

There are two pretty big bumps in the road, however.

First, the price would probably be pretty difficult to stomach:

The sticking point with Kulikov is that he’s essentially a rental with one year to go until unrestricted free agency, and the cost would something in the neighborhood of Boston’s 29th pick in the first round and a Frank Vatrano-level prospect. That’s a stiff cost, and it should give everybody the kind of premium price tags associated with defensemen on the trade market for the next few months.

Yikes.

The other consideration is that Kulikov might not even be on the rental shelves, according to the Miami Herald’s George Richards:

As this video illustrates, the Bruins might just be stuck.

The Bruins say they’re being aggressive to improve in this area, but it could really be a sellers’ trade market this summer, especially with the list of targets shrinking with each day.

Bruins want to begin extension talks with Marchand this summer

COLUMBUS, OH - FEBRUARY 16:  Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins lines up for a face-off during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on February 16, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Boston defeated Columbus 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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The Boston Bruins have plenty of work to do this summer. They’ll need to work out new contracts with potential UFA Loui Eriksson and RFA Torey Krug. There’s also another important contract they’ll need try to tackle in the coming weeks.

Brad Marchand, who led the Bruins in goals with 37, has one year remaining on his contract at $4.5 million. After scoring a career-high 61 points in 77 games in 2015-16, Marchand will certainly be in line for a significant raise.

The Bruins don’t want to waste any time when it comes to working out an extension with a player of Marchand’s importance.

“We’re going to look at Brad right away…early on here in the process once we get past that first wave in July,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney, per CSN New England. “We’ll have some good discussions. We’d prefer that we’re tracking on the earlier side of things. He’s a big part of our hockey club.”

Here’s an excerpt from Joe Haggerty’s story:

A 6-7 year contract north of $6 million per season would seem the starting point for a guy that’s been better than an “OK player” while serving productively as Patrice Bergeron’s partner-in-crime for the last six seasons.

One thing there’s no doubt about: Marchand had a career-changing year while scoring a career-high 37 goals, taking a step up in the leadership department and bringing the effort, focus and intensity every single game. Marchand also showed a developing maturity to his game when he apologized publicly for a hit that got him suspended for the Winter Classic against the Canadiens, and was always accountable in the postgame dressing room whether it was win, lose or shootout.

It’ll be interesting to see if the two sides can work out a deal prior to the start of training camp.