Though names like Zach Parise, Rick Nash and Bobby Ryan have floated around as big ticket possibilities this summer, the Bruins have been diligently silent during the NHL offseason. Bs general manager Peter Chiarelli re-signed his fourth line (Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell) this summer, retained Chris Kelly and made some minors trades and signings for a Bs club stocked with 18 holdovers from the Stanley Cup winning squad of two years ago.
The Bruins traded for Chris Bourque and signed minor league free agents Garnet Exelby and Aaron Johnson along with former Maple Leafs grinder Christian Hanson, but theres a very good chance that none of those players break training camp with the Black and Gold this fall.
Instead its an existing nucleus of Bruins players minus their oft-discussed, erstwhile franchise goaltender, and thats just as well given that the Bruins have currently signed off on more than 70 million in contracts next season.
Chiarelli doesnt know the final salary cap landscape that will be agreed upon once the CBA discussions turn fruitful, but thinks his Bruins wont be very active throughout the summer when it comes to wheeling and dealing.
I think theres a good chance that this will be our roster going into camp. I think theres a good chance. Theres a lot of the summer left and theres a lot of stuff that has to happen on a macro basis too, said Chiarelli. So, I really, if anything right now, theres - in my mind - theres more uncertainty as far as the global landscape and us in the global landscape.
"I guess what Im saying is, I think anything can happen depending on how things unfold, but theres a good chance that this will be our roster going into the training camp.
One thing Chiarelli was quick to say: Just because there havent been any additions to the Bruins this summer doesnt mean Boston will go into the spring without an improvement plan.
If theres a need the Bruins will find it among their young players with the AHLs Providence Bruins or make a blockbuster deadline trade to fill up 9 million in empty cap space the Bruins will hold once the season finally begins.
Little more than a year after he was drafted in the middle of the first round by the Boston Bruins, some are whispering that 19-year-old Jakub Zboril isn’t going to live up to advanced billing. Clearly the Czech defenseman took a step back for the Saint John Sea Dogs after being taken 13th by the Bruins in last year’s draft, and dropped to six goals and 20 points in 50 games in the QMJHL while watching second round pick Jeremy Lauzon pass him by on the prospect hype chart.
Perhaps the more concerning thing have been the whispers about an erratic work ethic and bad habits in Zboril’s game, a couple of criticisms that haven’t exactly gone away since the Bruins signed him to a contract last summer following development camp. Bruins assistant general manager Scott Bradley was asked about those concerns with the young D-man as he heads into an important training camp with Boston this fall, and didn’t seem all that concerned about his first round pick being a “bust.”
“I think his offensive production was down, and that he struggled a little bit coming out of the gate” said Bradley of Zboril, who had 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games during his first season in the Quebec Major Junior League prior to getting drafted by Boston. “But he had a strong playoff. Everybody forgets that he’s a gritty guy, and a strong player that moves the puck. The thing that stands out about him are that his numbers are down from last year.
“But everything is on track with him. He’s going to come to camp and hopefully shines, and has a good year this year…patience.
“I think it’s great if the second rounders are on par with him: the [Brandon] Carlos and the [Jeremy] Lauzons. If you look at the whole of our draft last year you can’t rule out the first eight picks that they might play [in the NHL]. We’re excited. Donnie and I were at the Memorial Cup, and Lauzon raised our eyebrows every night that he played. You’d come away with a good feeling like this kid plays hard, plays the Bruins style, moves the puck and is tough. Obviously [you had to like] what Carlo did when he was brought in [to Providence] at the end. It just bodes well for what we have coming this year. Zboril and Lauzon are probably going back to junior, but Carlo is going to get a long look.”
The young Czech D-man is still at a point where his stock can still shoot higher than it’s ever been with a good showing at training camp, and a strong season for the Sea Dogs entering into his professional hockey career. But he can’t afford to go through another down season, or that talk of him being a first round bust is only going to get louder and stronger.
Joe Haggerty joins Dalen Cuff on SNC via phone to discuss the Bruins chances at landing a top free agent, the NHL Draft, and where the team still needs to improve.
Here are the links from all around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while happy to be back in the city of Boston.
*The Buffalo Sabres don’t sound happy about the accusations against Evander Kane that cropped up during NHL Draft weekend, why would they be?
*NHL teams can now start discussing free agents, exchanging ideas with them and start the chase up to July 1.
*PHT writer James O’Brien has the biggest winners in the 2016 NHL Draft. Here’s a shocker: the Bruins aren’t among them.
*A good piece from Alex Prewitt on the importance of the land line phones on the draft floor during NHL Draft weekend.
*The Edmonton Oilers are another team that didn’t come out of draft weekend with a defenseman, and are still in search of their back end help.
*A nice piece on Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Pascal Laberge, who could have been plucked by the Bruins at No. 29 rather than Trent Frederic.
*Bruce Garrioch has his Sunday NHL notes, and says that Steven Stamkos appears destined to play somewhere other than Tampa Bay.
*For something completely different: Jonah Keri has TV critic Alan Sepinwall on his podcast, and one can only hope it’s to explain how and why he could have disliked last week’s episode of Game of Thrones.