Notes: Chiarelli not looking to spend on free agents

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Notes: Chiarelli not looking to spend on free agents

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli doesnt plan to make any big splashes in free agency in a financial climate thats looking more and more like ludicrous amounts of money will be spent on available players.

The free agent market had some good defensemen, but most of them have been scooped up prior to the opening of free agency, which leaves James Wisniewski and Tomas Kaberle as the best of the bunch. Chiarelli said multiple times in a Thursday afternoon conference call that hes wary of the free agent market, and doesnt intend to pay a premium for players that arent truly worth the term or the money spent on them.

The Bruins are one team that could have more than 10 million to spend on players with expiring contracts and an elevated salary cap for the 2011-12 hockey season, but the Bs general manager doesnt sound like somebody ready to burn through his available dough.

Im a little wary of the free agent market, first and foremost. The cap is high and the cap is certainly going to come down in some shape or form. So generally speaking Im wary of the market and where I think it might be going, said Chiarelli. We do have guys headed for free agency after next year that we want to resign. Theyre going to command raises.

Im really not in a position to go out and give a guy a big term contract. I think we can find that help elsewhere -- other than those big term contracts -- and still be in a good position to resign our guys as they come up in the next year or two.

Chiarelli attributed the expected lavish spending on the free agent market to be the result of some NHL teams throwing around dollars to get up to the new salary cap floor for next season. Others will simply overpay for a weaker crop of free agents than in the past few seasons.

There are still some marquee players like Brad Richards and James Wisniewski looking for employment as top shelf UFA candidates, but the depth of quality wasnt available in unrestricted free agency this summer.

I look at my free agent board and I see the number of playersthe quality of players," Chiarelli said. "The numbers may be the same as past years, but the quality is, you know . . . theres just not the high end players. Then youve got the floor of the cap and teams have to spend to it.

So youre going to get contracts I think that -- theyre generally higher in the unrestricted market -- theyll be that added premium because teams have to spend. Then all the other comps follow in line. Thats why Im a little cautious going into this market. Theres not the supply that there normally is and I think the demand is greater because of the cap floor and teams having to spend.

So those two forces mean the Bruins will likely be sitting out the first few days of free agent frenzy with nearly their entire team locked in for another go at the Stanley Cup next season.

Chiarelli confirmed that Andrew Bodnarchuk, Brad Marchand and Stefan Chaput were the only three restricted free agents that the Bruins sent out qualifying offers to. That means that former Bruins RFA candidates Matt Dalton, Cody Wild, Zach McKelvie, Boris Valabik and Jiraj Simek were all granted unrestricted free agency and arent likely to be coming back to the Bruins organization next season.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

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Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want. 

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.