Marc Savard

Roberto Luongo

It’s Florida Panthers day at PHT

7 Comments

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Florida Panthers.

For the third season in a row, the Florida Panthers fell short of the playoffs.

This time around, there were signs of moderate progress, as they finished 10th overall in the East with a 38-28-15 record (91 points). Final wild card team Pittsburgh finished seven points ahead of them, so there’s still work to do.

For especially jaded fans, this may sound like a broken record, yet the team’s extreme mix of potential and experience could make for intriguing results.

At one end, you have veteran star power with Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo. They even have Brian Campbell for one more year, as his oft-cited $7.14 million cap hit will expire after 2015-16.

On the other end, a bountiful crop of young players earned from all these years of underwhelming play.

Aaron Ekblad won the 2015 Calder Trophy, while this year’s first-rounder Lawson Crouse may also make an immediate impact. Nick Bjugstad, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau are all showing varying degrees of promise. Bjugstad’s the oldest of these young players, and he’s just 23.

Expectations should climb in Gerard Gallant’s second season as head coach, at least from those who are paying attention to a team that frequently slips under the radar.

Off-season recap

For the most part, the Panthers stayed idle in free agency, either letting veterans walk (Tomas Kopecky) or shoving them out the door (Brad Boyes). Perhaps re-signing Jagr constitutes their “big splash,” then?

They did make one eyebrow-raising move in adding Marc Savard’s contract in a deal that sent Jimmy Hayes to the Boston Bruins for Reilly Smith.

Florida seems content with letting its young players continue to grow alongside Jagr and Luongo.

Trade: B’s send Smith, Savard’s contract to Florida for Hayes

Reilly Smith, Patrick Wiercioch
12 Comments

Boston GM Don Sweeney remained a busy man on Wednesday, shipping forward Reilly Smith to Florida in exchange for Panthers winger Jimmy Hayes.

Oh, the B’s also sent Marc Savard’s contract to South Florida in the deal as well.

A quick look at the particulars:

• Hayes, 25, is a former Boston College standout that spent the last two years in Florida, scoring 11 and 19 goals in each of the last two seasons. A big man (6-foot-6, 221 pounds) and current RFA, it sounds as though his camp couldn’t agree on a new contract with Panthers GM Dale Tallon, hence the move to the Bruins.

• Smith, 24, was one of the pieces the Bruins acquired in the Tyler Seguin-to-Dallas trade. After a good first year in Boston, scoring 20 goals and 51 points, Smith tailed off a bit this year and saw his totals drop to 13G and 40PTS. Unlike Hayes, Smith is under contract for two more years with a cap hit of $3.425 million.

• The Savard contract was rumored to be in play. At the draft, Philly moved Chris Pronger’s deal to Arizona, setting the stage for Boston to do the same with Savard. Brough touched on this yesterday:

Sweeney confirmed today that he’s spoken to a few teams about a transaction that would clear Savard’s $4 million cap hit (through 2016-17) off Boston’s books, and put it on a team that could perhaps use it.

No longer able to play due to concussion issues, Savard has an actual salary of just $575,000 in the final two years of his contract.

Dealing Savard would help the B’s in that they wouldn’t be as prone to the bonus-related overage issues that have plagued them recently. On that note, Sweeney suggested the Bruins intend to keep spending to the cap, and that they’re dealing with a current overage of approximately $1 million.

The Savard move was done so the B’s could ink former Anaheim forward Matt Beleskey in free agency.

Bruins are talking to teams about Savard, but not Rask

Marc Savard
14 Comments

Don’t be surprised if Marc Savard’s contract is traded, a la Chris Pronger to Arizona.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed today that he’s spoken to a few teams about a transaction that would clear Savard’s $4 million cap hit (through 2016-17) off Boston’s books, and put it on a team that could perhaps use it.

No longer able to play due to concussion issues, Savard has an actual salary of just $575,000 in the final two years of his contract.

Dealing Savard would help the B’s in that they wouldn’t be as prone to the bonus-related overage issues that have plagued them recently. On that note, Sweeney suggested the Bruins intend to keep spending to the cap, and that they’re dealing with a current overage of approximately $1 million.

The challenge for Sweeney in trading Savard is that, after Pronger was dealt to Arizona, there isn’t really a team that’s in serious jeopardy of not reaching the $52.8 million cap floor for next season.

Sweeney also took the opportunity to insist that goalie Tuukka Rask is “absolutely…not on the market,” despite the speculation.

Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings

Milan Lucic
66 Comments

The Boston Bruins continued a shockingly busy run of trades by sending Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings for the 13th pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, prospect Colin Miller and backup goalie Martin Jones.

Lucic confirmed that he’s been traded to PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban.

With that, the Bruins have traded away Lucic, Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg in what appears to be a bold rebuilding project. Strangely, they’re loading up on draft picks in the teens, as they now hold picks 13-15.

Update: The situation might be more promising for the Kings if LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen is correct about Boston retaining $2.75 million of Lucic’s salary in 2015-16:

Lucic has already reacted to the news:

Lucic, 27, has one year remaining on a deal that carries a $6 million cap hit. According to ESPN’s Joe McDonald, Boston retained $2.7 million of that in the transaction. Lucic can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The jokes are piling in, although some aren’t at Boston’s expense this time around:

Like many Bruins fans, Marc Savard just seems sad about today:

And the Bruins may not be done dealing yet:

Report: Bruins have reached out to Jeff Gorton for GM role

2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series Media Availability
27 Comments

According to the Boston Herald, the Bruins have contacted the New York Rangers for permission to speak with Jeff Gorton regarding the club’s vacant GM position.

Gorton was the Bruins’ assistant GM when the club drafted Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand.

He served as the Bruins’ interim GM for three months in 2006 signing free agents Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard. Gorton was also responsible for the Bruins’ acquisition of goaltender Tuukka Rask from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Andrew Raycroft prior to being replaced by Peter Chiarelli.

On Saturday Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Bruins would interview Ray Shero and Paul Fenton over the next week.

Shero was the GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2006-14. Fenton is currently the assistant GM of the Nashville Predators.

Related: (Report) Toronto approached Chiarelli before he took Oilers job