By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comBOSTON Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and Sabres tied at a 2-2 score after the first 40 minutes of their final regular season meeting of the year.1)Five power plays for the Buffalo Sabres thus far in a whistle-filled game, and they finally busted through with the game-tying Thomas Vanek goal in the second period.2)Looks like the Bruins havent lost any of their nerve or determination despite the scary situation in Montreal. Fights by Adam McQuaid, Gregory Campbell and Milan Lucic with Lucic putting a beat down Cody McCormick that included picking him off the ice and continuing after a couple of hard shots to start off with. Lucic backed off once the jersey was over McCormicks head.3)Five shots on net for Mark Recchi and a goal. Old Man Time is doing nothing to slow him down.4)Love the gritty way that the Sabres are playing down the stretch this season. They certainly look like a playoff team to me.5)Really bad boarding call on Zdeno Chara when he made contact with Steve Montador, and then Montador lost his footing near the faceoff circle and slid head-first into the boards. Looks like the refs are a little whistle-happy tonight.
One of the Bruins' defenseman trade targets is off the market.
Dmitry Kulikov was traded from Florida Panthers to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. He was on Boston's list of usual suspects for D-men.
Buffalo traded defenseman Mark Pysyk and the 38th and 89th pick to Florida for the 25-year old Kulikov and pick No. 33.
The Bruins had discussed a Kulikov deal with the Panthers last week.
BUFFALO – The Bruins might not quite be finished with the Chris Kelly era in Boston.
After the gritty, seasoned and defensive-minded forward played only 11 games last season due to a left femur fracture suffered in November, there was some question about his future with his contract up on July 1. The B’s have maintained a consistent interest in potentially bringing back the team leader if Kelly proved he was healthy enough to contribute and of course if the price was right for the 35-year-old.
Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that Kelly now has a full bill of health seven months after the injury and that Sweeney planned to speak with the fourth-liner’s agent in the near future.
“I’m actually going to speak with Chris Kelly’s representative,” said Sweeney. “We had great news that he was physically and medically cleared, so we’re going to have a discussion with them in short order.”
While Kelly’s days of scoring 20 goals or playing big minutes as a third-line center might be behind him, he’s still a respected leader and gritty, tough penalty killer that sets a great example for the young players in the B’s dressing room. If Kelly is willing to sign for short term and something in the neighborhood of $1 million, he could be an acceptable fit as a fourth liner/13th forward on a Bruins team gearing more toward speed and youth with each passing month.
If not, then Kelly is more than likely one of those veteran players who might have to win an NHL job in training camp, given that he’s coming off a pretty major leg injury, and that the league is skewing more toward entry level contract players as fourth line/extra forwards.
BUFFALO – A year ago Don Sweeney traded away one of his talented young players for pennies on the dollar when he shipped Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for three draft picks, and it would appear he’s learned from that experience. While the Bruins general manager admitted he was desperately in search of some defensemen help this weekend, Sweeney said the prices were too high to get a deal done on Friday night at the First Niagara Center.
A source indicated to CSNNE.com earlier on Friday that All-Star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk would end up with “the Bruins, Flyers or Rangers” this season, but it sure sounded like the St. Louis Blues were pricing themselves out of making any deals. According to Sweeney, other team’s managers were asking him to include both of his 2016 first round picks and more to swing a deal for a defenseman, and that young right wing David Pastrnak’s name kept coming up in these discussions.
That was far too steep an asking price in the rightful minds of Sweeney and Bruins management, so there were no defensemen that ended up getting moved on Friday night. Unfortunately, other NHL teams will keep asking about the emerging Pastrnak knowing full well that the Bruins are in a desperate position to repair their personnel on the back end.
“In all honesty it would have taken both first rounders and then some…the acquisition cost was high. We want to continue to improve our hockey club with whatever we have to do, but it’s not unlike last year when it would have taken all three first rounders [to get a deal done]. There’s a balancing act there,” said Sweeney. “There was not a lot that moved around today. People have been laying foundation [for trades] for quite some time, but there are players that we’re just not comfortable putting into deals. I’m going to defend that. I’ll be honest with you that I just am.
“We’ve taken a position where we’re going to build this the right way. We want to be competitive and improve our team, and we’ll be active in the free agent market to fill holes while allowing our young players to push through. But I wasn’t trading David Pastrnak. We’ve been criticized, and rightfully so at times, for being impatient with our younger, skilled players. This represents a good opportunity that we don’t want to do that.”
Instead the Bruins selected Charlie McAvoy and Trent Frederic with the 14th and 29th overall picks in the first round, and they’ll start at the drawing board on Saturday while hoping to build toward a deal for a top-4 “transitional defenseman.” They’ll also do it knowing they made the right call in protecting the 14th pick where they selected a future transitional defenseman that will perhaps be a younger, cheaper version of Shattenkirk three years down the road.
Joe Haggerty can be followed on Twitter: @HacksWithHaggs