By Joe Haggerty
OTTAWA The Bruins have made some resounding moves, and the second shoe dropped when TSNs Bob McKenzie tweeted that Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler were shipped to the Atlanta Thrashers in a surprise deal for center Rich Peverley and defenseman Boris Valabik.
Valabik will report to Providence on Saturday and Peverley will join the Bruins on Sunday.Valabik is a 6-foot-7 defenseman who's bounced up and down from the AHL level to the Thrashers over the last three years, and has spoken several times about how much he idolized Zdeno Chara while growing up in Slovakia. Valabik actually got into a fight with Chara in a game several years back when the big Slovakian blueliner nailed Phil Kessel with a hard hit, and the Bruins captain threw down on a stunned Valabik.The Slovakian will head to the Providence Bruins, and should serve as insurance and depth for the Bruins as they head into this seasons playoff journey.Peverley was put on waivers by the Nashville Predators in 2008-09, and hes really blossomed with the Thrashers as a playmaking pivot capable of setting his wingers up for golden scoring chances. The 28-year-old Peverley had 22 goals and 33 assists in 82 games for the Thrashers last season in his best year as an NHL player, and is signed for one more year after this season at 1.325 million.Wheeler was originally thought to be going to Toronto as part of the Tomas Kaberle deal, but when the Maple Leafs asked for Joe Colborne instead, the Bruins needed to find a taker for Wheeler because of salary-cap concerns.
Stuart, sources said, was originally going to be traded to Chicago in a salary-cap move, but the Thrashers asked he be included in the Wheeler trade so both players could get reunited with former Bruins associate head coach Craig Ramsay in Atlanta."This deal improves our hockey club in both the short and long-term," general manager Rick Dudley said. "With Blake Wheeler, we are getting a versatile two-way forward, and Mark Stuart will help anchor our already strong group of defensemen as we make a push toward the playoffs."It appears when the PeverleyValabikKaberle trades are finalized, the Bruins will have saved roughly 1 million in cap space for anything the team may need over the final 24 games.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while wishing that Gordon Hayward and Paul George were already in Boston, like, yesterday.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Freidman gives his 30 thoughts for the week, including the trade value of a first-round pick right now.
*It could that non-unrestricted free agents steal all of the thunder on July 1 with massive contract extensions a la Connor McDavid.
*PHT writer James O’Brien has the Detroit Red Wings taking potential fliers on a number of veteran D-men that are out on the free market.
*With free agency right around the corner, the legendary Stan Fischler details the sad end to Bobby Orr’s career in Boston, where he was lied to about the offer extended to him and ended up playing things out with the Chicago Blackhawks in a way that it shouldn’t have gone. The sight of Orr in a Blackhawks sweater is one of the real all-time NHL oddities out there.
*The NCAA is eying college hockey expansion in NHL markets, including the University of Illinois and Pitt, and, from what I’ve been told, perhaps UNLV and maybe even Vanderbilt. This is a great thing for amateur hockey players and anybody that can’t get enough of the game.
*Ex-Senators defenseman Marc Methot holds no ill will toward the Sens after being dealt from Vegas to the Dallas Stars following his selection in the expansion draft.
*Josh Ho-Sang shares his wisdom to Islanders prospects as a 21-year-old somebody that’s gone through the ups and downs of being in their shoes.
*As we referenced above, Connor McDavid is closing in on a massive contract extension with the Edmonton Oilers that will probably make him the highest paid player in the NHL.
*For something completely different: My heart goes out to this Roslindale family fighting through a situation with a child who has a life-threatening disorder. They have a Go-Fund-Me page, so please give if you can.
The Bruins have locked up a potential fourth-line piece for next season at a bargain basement price.
The B's signed Rhode Island native and Providence College alum Noel Acciari, a restricted free agent, to a two-year deal worth $1.45 million, a contract that breaks down to a very affordable $725,000 cap hit for each of the next two seasons. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound bowling ball of a forward finished with two goals and five points in 29 games for the Bruins last season, and has appeared in 48 games at the NHL level over the last two seasons in Boston. It was also encouraging that Acciari seemed to be tapping a bit more into his offense toward the end of the season, and was building some confidence for whatever modest offense he’ll end up bringing to the NHL table once he’s reached his potential ceiling as a player.
Clearly the two-year, one-way deal portends that Acciari, 25, will be counted on as a high energy, hard-hitting fourth-line player who does a good job of aggravating opponents while playing at full tilt. The real question is whether his body can hold up with his maximum effort style of playing, and whether he can avoid serious injuries with some of the car-crash level of violence he puts in his hitting.
Acciari has battled several different injuries over the last couple of seasons, but managed to be healthy enough to log time in the playoffs for both Boston and the P-Bruins.
Either way it’s a low-risk, affordable contract for the Bruins for a young player who, if healthy, will be a large piece on their fourth line as a diligent worker and excellent teammate. So that’s a good proactive signing for Don Sweeney as he continues to work on a more complicated contract for a higher profile player like David Pastrnak.