Interesting tidbit here from CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty:
Perhaps a PTO with the Bruins is still in the cards after Stempniak spent so much time skating with the B’s players over the last few weeks. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a respected, steady pro that proved last season he’s still capable of potting 15 goals, or that he was summer workout partners at Boyle’s Gym with Bruins Director of Player Development Jay Pandolfo while both were still NHL players.
Another positive sign: Stempniak’s Rangers hockey bag was tossed in the back of the Bruins equipment van with other Bruins players destined for the start of training camp at TD Garden after captain’s practice on Tuesday.
These aren’t Stempniak’s lone ties to Boston. John Ferguson, the Bruins’ director of player personnel, was the assistant GM in St. Louis when the Blues took Stempniak at the 2003 draft.
“I think it would be a good fit. It’s a great organization,” Stempniak said earlier this week, per WEEI. “I’ve heard great things. I’ve gotten to know some of the guys. I like them and have a lot of respect for some of their players, just the way they train, the way they play and as people. It’s definitely appealing,
It would make sense for Boston to kick the tires on the 32-year-old. The team could use some offensive punch after finishing 22nd in the NHL in goals per game last year, and Stempniak could possibly be had on the cheap, coming off a one-year, $900,000 deal.
The makeup of the Boston Bruins’ franchise continues to transform this summer, whether it be those wearing skates or suits.
The team announced an array of front office tweaks on Saturday, most notably the promotion of Jay Pandolfo and the hiring of Jamie Langenbrunner.
Pandolfo gets a promotion from hockey operations assistant to director of player development, which boils down to developing players and prospects. The Bruins likely hope that younger players can learn from a scrappy forward who managed to grind 899 NHL games out of his limited set of skills.
Sadly, Langenbrunner won’t be called the minister of excessively long last names. Instead, Langenbrunner will be a development coach.
Beyond adding two seasoned veterans fresh off of lengthy careers, the Bruins continue a sub-trend of former New Jersey Devils taking front office jobs with other teams (see: Martin Brodeur in St. Louis).
You can read the full array of changes in this article from the Bruins.
Many hockey fans grumbled when they learned that the Buffalo Sabres didn’t just sign Cody Franson; they also landed him at a significant discount.
Just about any squad with a deficit on defense had to at least consider Franson, who generates the sort of points that attract the attention of traditional types while also pleasing stat-heads with his possession stats.
The Boston Bruins are making the types of changes that would seemingly play into Franson’s strengths, so their fans might feel a little disappointed.
Ultimately, Bruins GM Don Sweeney explained that he’d rather see the team’s young defensemen battle for spots, as CSNNE.com reports.
“I think this is presenting an opportunity where you go and establish yourself,” Sweeney said. “There’s definitely a little bit of a tug of war going on internally as to whether or not you go out and get a guy that you know can provide what [Franson] can versus a little of the unknown as to what these [younger] players can grow into.”
Interestingly, Sweeney also said that “if they fall short … we have to make an adjustment accordingly.” That implies that Boston would react by either making a trade or late signing.
CSNNE.com points to increased roles for Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid and opportunities for the likes of Zach Trotman to earn a roster spot.
That’s well and good, yet you have to wonder if Boston is making a mistake; Sweeney could be going from a position of strength (Franson’s surprising lack of options this off-season) to playing catch-up (as teams would be well aware of the Bruins’ plight).
It’s not as if Franson is ancient, either, as he’s merely 28.
One way or another, this has been a fascinating first off-season for Sweeney, and time will tell if his polarizing moves will work out. At least he’s providing some insight on his decision-making, right?