BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 15:  Tim Schaller #59 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the Boston Bruins at First Niagara Center on January 15, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jen Fuller/NHLI via Getty Images)
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Providence College product Schaller saw opportunity to play with Bruins, but challenges lie ahead

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After spending the last three seasons in the Buffalo Sabres organization, Tim Schaller wasn’t going to resist the opportunity to sign with the Boston Bruins.

A product of Providence College, the now 25-year-old Schaller, a center who provides size up the middle at six-foot-two-inches and 219 pounds, signed a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level with the Bruins as a free agent at the beginning of July.

“We had probably about 10-12 teams calling on one day,” Schaller told the Boston Globe.

“About halfway through the phone calls, Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins called. At that moment, I almost told my agent, ‘Why take another phone call? Why not just say yes to the Bruins right away?’ It’s a good opportunity to have to play in Boston. All the numbers worked out perfectly to where it was impossible to say no to them.”

The move helped to provide depth up the middle for the Bruins.

Schaller has put up decent numbers in the minors, with 43 points in 65 games with the Rochester Americans in the 2014-15 season. In 35 NHL games with Buffalo, he had two goals and five points.

However, earning a spot on the Bruins roster could be difficult.

They have centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, who had off-season surgery, Ryan Spooner and the additions of Riley Nash and David Backes as free agents.

Backes can play wing in addition to center.

“Boston was a good fit,” said Schaller. “We think I’m better than the prospects, so we thought it was a good fit. Hopefully I can beat out a bunch of guys for a job.”

Bruins name Kevin Dean head coach of AHL Providence

SUNRISE, FL - JUNE 27:  Brandon Carlo poses after being selected 37th overall by the Boston Bruins during the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center on June 27, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Boston Bruins are expected to name Kevin Dean the head coach of their AHL affiliate in Providence. That’s according to CSN New England, which expects the announcement to be made shortly.

Update: The announcement has been made.

Dean has been an assistant coach in Providence the past five seasons. The head coach during that time was Bruce Cassidy, who was recently named to Claude Julien’s staff in Boston.

From CSN New England:

The writing appeared to be on the wall for Dean’s promotion when he spoke with the Bruins media following one of the development camp sessions last week, and gave some very well-articulated, smart and candidly honest answers about the B’s prospects. While it’s clear Dean was the most appropriate choice given his knowledge of Bruins personnel, he also carries a strong reputation as a natural teacher that greatly helped the B’s organization develop young defensemen like Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller and Adam McQuaid over the last six plus seasons.

The B’s have added a number of defensive prospects to their system in the last couple of years, including Jakub Zboril, Brandon Carlo, Jeremy Lauzon, and Charles McAvoy. They need those youngsters to be developed properly, so having an AHL coach that knows how to work with d-men makes sense.

Related: Carlo impresses Dean

Extension talks between Bruins, Marchand have begun

OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 10: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins prepares for a faceoff against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on March 10, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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The Boston Bruins wanted to begin contract extension talks with Brad Marchand and now it sounds like the two sides have started talking, according to Bruins GM Don Sweeney.

“We have identified [Marchand] as a core guy and we want to continue down that path,” said Sweeney, per NHL.com. “Obviously it takes two sides to make a deal. I would envision that he’d like to be a part of this organization for what could arguably be his whole career. Brad has a say in this as well. But that’s as far as talking about contract-wise, that’s probably as far as I’d go in that regard.”

Marchand is in the final year of a four-year, $18 million contract ($4.5 million AAV). Like his 2015-16 totals, the numbers on his contract should be rising. Marchand scored a career-high 37 goals and 61 points in 77 games. The 28-year-old has scored 20 goals or more five times in his career and that doesn’t include the 18 goals he scored during the lockout-shortened year.

The re-signing of Marchand may cause some salary cap problems for the Bruins, as they already have a good chunk of money committed to their top forwards. David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes and Matt Beleskey combine to make $23.925 million on the cap.

Marchand’s been one of the best value players (goals versus salary) in the NHL over the last few years.

The Bruins are on Vesey’s short list, but who else might he be willing to talk to?


Jimmy Vesey isn’t a free agent yet, but in just over a month he will be. Several teams will make a hard push to sign him  including the Buffalo Sabres, who currently own his negotiating rights. Unfortunately for Buffalo, Vesey has his sights set on Aug. 15 (the day he’ll become a free agent).

The 23-year-old isn’t interested in meeting with every NHL team, but he and his camp are in the process of coming up with a short list of teams he’s willing to visit. One thing is for sure, his favorite team growing up, the Boston Bruins, will be on the list.

“I was a huge Joe Thornton fan growing up,” Vesey told CSN New England. “He wore No. 19. I wear No. 19. He was my favorite player. I got to know Torey Krug a little bit through playing with him at the world championships last year.  So it would be really cool to play with Torey and put on the Bruins jersey. It’s the team that I’ve watched for my whole life.”

Vesey is conscious of the pressures of playing at home. There’s no doubt that suiting up for the Bruins will come with a little more pressure, but Vesey isn’t concerned about that because playing in Boston means he’d be surrounded by family and friends.

A homecoming seems to make a lot sense, but Boston isn’t the only team chasing him. Although Vesey hasn’t announced what his final list of teams looks like, CSN’s Joe Haggerty believes the Bruins, Sabres, Maple Leafs, Devils and Penguins could all be possibilities for the former Harvard forward.

“I think it would be a little crazy to meet with all 29 teams. We have a little bit of a short list going that I’ve worked on with my agents and my family. We’re going to narrow it down as best as we can, and get through it as quickly as we can on Aug. 15.”

The Bruins, Sabres, Maple Leafs and Devils all missed the playoffs last season, so you have to believe that Vesey will have a good chance at cracking each team’s top two lines.

Boston lost Loui Eriksson to Vancouver in free agency, so there’s definitely an opening there. Toronto will likely have Auston Matthews on their roster this fall. Adding another winger wouldn’t hurt. The Sabres may have added Kyle Okposo, but there’s no doubt that they could use another scorer. The same could be said for New Jersey. They acquired Taylor Hall from Edmonton and they could use another offensive-minded option. As for Pittsburgh, playing with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin might be intriguing to say the least.

Now, we wait for Aug. 15.

PHT Morning Skate: The Bruins are going to China

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08:  Matt Beleskey #39 of the Boston Bruins, right, meets with teammates to congratulate David Pastrnak #88 after he scored against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period at TD Garden on October 8, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Jets defeat the Bruins 6-2.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

From the B’s: The Boston Bruins, in partnership with O.R.G. Packaging, will make the team’s first-ever official visit to China when they tour Beijing and Shanghai during “Bruins Global: China 2016” from July 11-23. Current Bruins players Matt Beleskey and David Pastrnak along with Bruins Alumni Andrew Raycroft, Bob Sweeney and members of the Boston Bruins Youth Hockey Development Team will host several youth hockey clinics in Beijing and Shanghai.

— Montreal Canadiens goalie coach Stephane Waite has been added to Team Canada’s staff for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. (Hockey Canada)

— There are rumblings out of Switzerland that Kris Versteeg is close to signing with National League A side Biel. (Swiss Hockey News)

— Exciting times at Philly’s development camp, where prized prospects Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov are gunning to make the Flyers. (Philly.com)

— After missing extensive time last year with a concussion, Blues prospect Tommy Vanelli is back in the mix at Blues development camp. (STL Today)

— Former Oilers coach Dallas Eakins says that Edmonton “deserves some winning hockey. (Sportsnet)