Bruins sign Pouliot to a one-year deal

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Bruins sign Pouliot to a one-year deal

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON The Bruins made their big move on the first day of free agency and it was a pretty far cry from the 18 million contract bomb dropped by the Florida Panthers on multiple players in a frenzied day of spending.Instead the Bruins waved goodbye to Michael Ryder as he signed a two-year deal with the Dallas Stars, and the Bs inked former Montreal Canadiens winger Benoit Pouliot to a one-year deal along with resigning goaltender Anton Khudobin and center Trent Whitfield to two-year deals. The Pouliot deal will pay the 6-foot-3, 199-pound winger 1.1 million for his year of service while Khudobin will have a one-way deal with the Bruins in the second year of his contract with Boston.Clearly the Pouliot deal is the biggest impact for the Boston hockey club at the conclusion of the first day of NHL free agency, but it was a relatively small deal in the grand scheme of things during a frenzied day of wild signings and mad spending. Pouliot was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft with a "potential" tag that's traveled around with him from the Minnesota Wild to the Montreal Canadiens before his arrival in Boston. It also caused NESN's Jack Edwards to rip into Pouliot during Game 3 of the playoff season as he famously called the 24-year-old "one of the biggest disappointments in the NHL" after a particularly brutal exchange between Montreal and Boston. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli admitted that Pouliot has underachieved a bit in his first two NHL stops, but also believes that Boston's strong leadership can help push the winger's development in Black and Gold.In many ways the size and offensive skills would seem to scream out a Blake Wheeler-type in the making with the Bruins, but Boston is clearly hoping that he can bring a little more production with him. Scoring a few goals and utilizing his big NHL body will be prime orders of business next season for Pouliot. "Pouliot is maybe someone whos underachieved but has a real good skill package and size package and...you know he has to be pushed. I think we have a strong group that can push him and I told Benoit Pouliot that," said Chiarelli. "So you know theres, hes only, I think hes 25 at the start of the seasonand hes still relatively young. So we hope that he could buy into what were selling. I like his size, I like his skating, I like his shot." Pouliot has averaged 15 goals per season over the last two years, and had a pretty solid half-season as a top-six forward for the Habs after his trade away from the Wild. But Pouliot never truly found a home playing for Jacques Martin last season and found himself a healthy scratch after a cheap head shot on that Johnny Boychuk in the first round of the playoffs. The Boychuk hit combined with the David Krejci brawl during one of the final regular season meetings between Boston and Montreal reveal some bad blood with Pouliot -- but it's nothing that hockey players can't get over quickly when they're suddenly wearing the same laundry. "I think you could maybe name five players, at least, on each team in the Northeast Division that might have been disliked by our players, but Id say most of them would fit into a team when they come to Boston," said Chiarelli, who added that Pouliot can play either wing position with the versatility that Boston really likes in their forwards. "Its a different dynamic when they come over and are in your locker room. So you know, the due diligence we did on Benoit is that hes well-liked, and you know, among other things, thats what I can tell you. And for that reason, I feel hell fit in well with our team."Pouliot referenced his time playing as a top-six forward for the Habs during the 2009-10 season as the high water mark of his NHL career to date, and believes that he can fulfull some of his promise if he's given consistent linemates along with a chance to hone his offense. He'll have to do much better than 15 goals scored if he's hoping to catch on with one of Boston's top forward combos, however. "I can do more. This year was a tough year in Montreal. I'mnot saying that I didnt really get the chance that I should have, but sometimes you want to be on the top two lines. You want to be a power player, especially when youre playing well," said Pouliot. "At times I was playing well and sometimes its the coachs decision. You cant really do anything about it, you just have to keep playing. Its just a thing about being consistent every night, being good, playing good, in practice and in games. Its just a thing about, my game...the game is fine. But its just being able to compete every night and every time you step on the ice."On the defensive side of things, Chiarelli continues to hold conversations with Tomas Kaberle along with several other free agent defenseman -- a group of players that could include names like Anton Babchuk, Cam Barker, Ian White and other second tier blueliners still looking for NHL work. It would appear the Kaberle conversation will be ongoing as they look to spark a little interest as the biggest free agent name still on the defensemen board. Many other veteran blueliners with Kaberle's resume have commanded four or five year deals on the market over the last week, but the Bruins appear hesitant to go there with the 33-year-old blueliner. "Well, one of the risks that were aware of is, when you get in the open market -- as much as you talk about having last crack -- sometimes it doesnt happen. Thats been discussed between myself and Tomas agent," said Chiarelli. "So if it doesnt happen then thats a risk that I was prepared to take but well see where it goes."

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

Hagg Bag: Breaking down storylines from Bruins camp

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Hagg Bag: Breaking down storylines from Bruins camp

The Bruins are now just about halfway through training camp and the World Cup of Hockey participants are finally on their way back to Boston to rejoin their NHL organization. 

Things are beginning to get back to a sense of normalcy for the Black and Gold after moving into a new practice facility and integrating some new faces into the mix at several different levels of the Original Six organization. 

So, with all of this going on and only a couple of weeks until the start of the regular season, it seemed like an appropriate time for a new training camp edition of the Hagg Bag mailbag.

As always these are real questions from real fans via emails to my jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com email account, tweets to my Twitter account with the #HaggBag hash tag and messages to my CSN Facebook page. Now, on to the bag:

 

Hey Joe

Not sure if you’re doing a HaggBag anytime soon, but here goes anyway.

I am all for the rebuild when a team is past its prime, but the World Cup just showed us we have two of the best players in the world. Add Krejci and Backes to that, and the Bruins can and should still compete in the playoffs. That is why it is so frustrating that we are returning the same AWFUL defense we had last year. You haven’t agreed there have been right shot defenseman moved in the last year or two that have been available. And now, a potential top pair defenseman in Trouba is available.

We need to go out, overpay if necessary and secure this guy. It should help us this year and in the future. This guy is a top-4 D right now.

There shouldn’t be ANY prospects off the table, including Charlie McAvoy, despite how excited I am about him. It’s not hurting you long term because Trouba is 22. I am sick of waiting for some team to hand us a player. We need to go out and get one.

--John D

JH: You picked the perfect time to send a missive to the Hagg Bag, John. I agree that Jacob Trouba might be the perfect bridge D-man to make the Bruins competitive now, and get them to a point two to three years from now when the young D-men prospects are ready to carry the team. But scouts are very mixed about how good he’s ever going to get, and some feel that he doesn’t make decisions on the ice quickly enough to really be a No. 1 defenseman, or even a top flight, top pairing guy.

That’s somebody that I’m willing to acquire if the price is right, but not somebody I’m willing to sell the entire Black and Gold farm for. There is no way I’m trading Charlie McAvoy under any circumstances. He could be a Drew Doughty Lite defenseman for the Bruins a couple of years down the road, and could potentially solve their No. 1 D-man problems from within. He is the future, and the Bruins aren’t going to mortgage the future for a player in Trouba that’s not going to make them a Cup contender.

Sorry, but a six-game tournament at the World Cup doesn’t convince me that the Bruins are only one player away from suddenly being capable of going on a long playoff run, regardless of how well Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand played. They’ve got some excellent high end forwards, they’ve got a No. 1 goaltender that should be motivated for a rebound year and they’ve got a blue line group that needs a lot of help. If the Bruins can trade Joe Morrow or Jakub Zboril along with a forward (it would have to be Ryan Spooner at this point) and a first round pick for Trouba they should do it, but the cost in trade assets and in contract terms after that might be too prohibitive at this point.

If I were keeping an eye on trades, I’d keep watching an Anaheim team that needs to shed some salary cap before they sign some of their restricted free agents. That might very well be where the D-man comes from that the B’s are seeking out right now.

Joe,

Jacob Trouba requested a trade out of Winny, perfect chance for Sweeney to redeem himself after one full season and offseason not being able to get ANY help on D. This is his chance, but I'm not holding my breath, give them what they want and get this kid!!!!

--Christopher Foley (Message from Facebook)

JH: There’s another vote for Trouba if Don Sweeney is reading this today.

 
I hope tuukka is ready to try and earn his money with the d men on the bruins

--Matthew Wilson (@mattframingham)

JH: I hope you’re right because I think the goalies for the Bruins are going to have to be really, really, really good based on the defense playing in front of them.

 

Haggs:

I know Zachary Senyshyn will miss most of camp, but is returning to juniors the only option the B's have with him? Could he play in Providence instead?

--Mike Ierardi (Message from Facebook)

JH: As we have seen, Zach Senyshyn was able to come back and be a part of camp and even picked up an assist in Friday night’s overtime preseason win over the Red Wings. But I still think the 19-year-old will end up not making the NHL roster and will end up back in junior hockey with the Soo Greyhounds.

So here’s the breakdown: Senyshyn based on his age cannot play in the AHL for the balance of this upcoming season. That’s the same situation that Jakub Zboril and Jesse Gabrielle are in as well as younger players. All three of them will need to return to junior hockey if they don’t make the NHL. Brandon Carlo and Jake DeBrusk can both play for Providence this season based on their age and experience, so they will be a part of the B’s organization where or not they crack the NHL roster next month.

 

Is the Bruins PTO signing of Ehrhoff a sign they are not in on Trouba?

--John Hersey (@Neely82010)

JH: I think it’s a sign they want to get a free look at a defenseman that was still a top-four guy just a couple of years ago. I’m thinking Claude Julien must have liked the way he was playing during the World Cup of Hockey and it’s a no-brainer for Ehrhoff given the B’s back end situation and the openings that might be there for the right performer. Certainly the Bruins are going to utilize every outlet to try and improve their defense, and this is just another one of those avenues to purse.

Joe,

I see a legitimate shot of three rookies that could and probably should make the team Czarnik, Heinen, and Carlo.

I'm not in any rush for Carlo as more ice time in Providence will probably go a long way for his development. If the Bruins move Spooner to the left wing to play with Krejci and Pastrnak, what do you think of a 3rd and 4th lines looking like this: Beleskey-Moore- Hayes Heinen -Czarnik-Nash with Acciari as the team’s extra forward.

Thanks, Stu (Message from Facebook)

JH: I don’t think a Spooner-Krejci-Pastrnak line would make it very long with Julien simply based on the defensive responsibilities. There’s not enough heaviness and nobody on that line that will be winning any battles along the boards, and that’s just a statement of fact.

I do agree that Heinen and Carlo are probably the lead prospect-type players that could win NHL roster spots, and both are off to very good starts in training camp. Heinen has two goals in two games, and Carlo has played 20 minutes in both of his preseason games with very little damage taking place during his shifts.

Czarnik is interesting because he just keeps making plays, and his versatility could end up helping him crack the final roster. But I don’t think Dominic Moore is somebody I really want as a third line center because there’s just not enough offense on a forward line that needs to be able to provide secondary scoring behind the top two lines. Here’s my final roster based on what we know right now:

Marchand-Bergeron-Heinen

Hayes-Krejci-Pastrnak

Beleskey-Spooner-Backes

Czarnik-Moore/Acciari-Nash

 
Chara-C. Miller

Krug-K. Miller

Liles-McQuaid

Morrow

Rask

Khudobin

 

Hey Joe,

What do you think about the Bruins trading for someone like right-handed D man David Savard? Columbus is looking to shed some salary and with other young defenseman coming up (Werenski, Harrington, Heatherington, etc.) they could be looking to trade a D-man. With this trade, the Bruins could then look to expose K. Miller and/or McQuaid in the expansion draft or deal one for a late pick. Let me know what you think!

Cheers, Adam

JH: I suppose it’s a possibility, Adam, but I think Brandon Carlo could make that kind of a deal a moot point if he keeps playing at his current level in training camp. If that happens then either Kevan Miller or Adam McQuaid could eventually become expendable, but I think it immediately makes Joe Morrow a player who’s roster spot might in jeopardy. That’s not even counting Christian Ehrhoff, who could easily become the seventh defenseman on the roster if he shows more than he did in Los Angeles or Chicago last season.

If it’s a trade for a defenseman, my senses tell me that it’s going to be a bigger name than David Savard that the Bruins are chasing after. But who knows? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nothing will surprise me with the Bruins anymore after some of the stuff that I’ve seen go down over the past couple of years.

 

Backes, Pastrnak make their Bruins preseason debut tonight in Philly

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Backes, Pastrnak make their Bruins preseason debut tonight in Philly

The Bruins have announced their lineup for Saturday night’s preseason road game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center and it will include the exhibition schedule debuts of World Cup players David Backes and David Pastrnak.

Both forwards have been skating with the training camp group since Wednesday and will ramp things up after taking a couple of days to recharge following the tournament in Toronto.

Those two veterans, one of the older and one of the extremely younger variety, will mix in with the B’s group that’s been in camp for the past 10 days working out together and gaining chemistry on forward lines working together for two practice sessions each day at Warrior Ice Arena.

A number of B’s players will be back in the lineup on Saturday night after skating in Friday night’s 2-1 overtime win against the Red Wings including: Colby Cave, Seth Griffith, Danton Heinen, Joe Morrow and Riley Nash. 

Here’s the full Black and Gold lineup against the Broad Street Bullies with Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre getting the call in Philly with one of them most likely to get the entire game between the pipes a la Anton Khudobin in Detroit on Friday night: Backes, Chris Casto, Colby Cave, Tommy Cross, Austin Czarnik, Jake DeBrusk, Jesse Gabrielle, Seth Griffith, Jimmy Hayes, Danton Heinen, Zane McIntyre, Colin Miller, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow, Peter Mueller, Riley Nash, Rob O’Gara, David Pastrnak, Tyler Randell, Malcolm Subban and Jakub Zboril.