Morning Skate: Monday, July 2

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Morning Skate: Monday, July 2

Alex Semins agent has fired back at critics that were critical of the Russian free agent when his name came up on July 1 free agency day.A deep thoughts column about Zach Parise potentially moving to the Penguins as well as other issues taking place in Steel City.
Good piece by Eric Engels detailing how the changes in Montreals management are bringing about a tougher team to play against in the Canadiens.
Mike Russo has the Minnesota Wild making a couple moves while waiting for the bigger signings to sort themselves out.
Larry Brooks says that the Rangers are basically in a holding pattern and unwilling to give up some of their best players in exchange for Rick Nash in Columbus.8bHMAnother Staal signs a long-term deal with the Carolina Hurricanes, a nice place to live and play hockey according to all who settle down there.
Kevin Allen of the USA Today has the details from the opening day of NHL free agency on July 1 with Ray Whitney and Jason Garrison as the biggest names to sign.
The Buffalo Sabres sign man-mountain John Scott and instantly become a tougher team.
According to the Edmonton Sun, defenseman prospect Justin Schultz didnt enjoy the Lebron James The Decision experience.
For something completely different: Grantland.com tries to put together the pieces after TomKat breaks up.

Spooner, Bruins nearly $2 million apart in arbitration figures

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Spooner, Bruins nearly $2 million apart in arbitration figures

The figures and briefs are in for the Bruins and Ryan Spooner for their arbitration hearing Wednesday, but both sides are still hoping that a deal can be reached prior to it. The Bruins have submitted a one-year contract offer for $2 million. Spooner’s camp countered with $3.85 million, creating a sizeable gap of almost $2 million between the two.

Spooner, 25, has averaged 12 goals and 44 points the past two seasons with the B’s, including 35 power-play points while working the half-wall for a Boston PP that’s been ranked seventh overall two seasons in a row.

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Spooner is coming off a two-year contract worth $1.95 million and his is a complicated situation for the Black and Gold. Spooner holds significant value as a trade piece and has been an important part of a very effective power play, but he also finished the playoffs as a healthy scratch after going quietly the past few months of the season.

Spooner was one of the major pieces discussed in trade talks with the Minnesota Wild around the draft prior to the Wild shipping Marco Scandella to the Buffalo Sabres and he's been involved in trade discussions with several teams the past couple of years.

The Bruins have prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson waiting in the wings if/when the B’s decided to spin Spooner to another team, but they also enjoy his speed and playmaking when he’s on his game. There’s clearly a scenario where the Bruins start the season with Spooner installed as their third-line center and perhaps explore more trade discussions while seeing if a full season under Bruce Cassidy can unlock his significant offensive potential.

If that's still in the plan, they’d be wise to come to an agreement and avoid the hearing Wednesday where they’d ostensibly be bad-mouthing a player they’d want back on their team. The Bruins have the right to walk away from Spooner should he be awarded the full $3.85 million by the arbiter. Still, it’s hard to believe they’d do that given that he’s a homegrown asset with trade value.

The feeling at this address is that there’s a deal to be made between the two sides for something around the $3 million mark. That’s something that would be worthwhile for the Bruins if they have any designs on continuing on with Spooner.