Kaberle hopes to have a future in Boston

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Kaberle hopes to have a future in Boston

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- The NHL free-agency period doesnt begin until July 1, so the Boston Bruins have a short window of time to discuss things with a couple of their potential unrestricted free agents.

Tomas Kaberle and Michael Ryder are the two big names who will hit UFA status at the start of July, and its unknown whether either or both players will be back in Black and Gold after helping the Bs win a Cup. Ryder didnt speak at Sundays breakup day for the team as the players packed up their belongings and said farewell for the summer, but Kaberle said he truly enjoyed his taste of Bruins hockey after arriving via trade in late February.

The 33-year-old defenseman had 11 assists and a plus-8 in 25 playoff games while averaging 16:02 of ice time per contest, and played well in the seven Stanley Cup Final games against the Vancouver Canucks.

Kaberle actually finished in a tie with Dennis Seidenberg (1 goal, 10 assists) for the leading scorer among defensemen on the Bruins in the postseason.

Kaberle said hell speak with his agent and GM Peter Chiarelli over the next couple of days, but is hoping he can return to the Black and Gold.

Were going to talk in the next few days. Everything was hectic in the last couple of days, said Kaberle, who mentioned hell be taking the Cup back to his home village of Rakovnik, Czech Republic, this summer. Hopefully we can sit down or we can talk to my agent . . . it would be nice to be back here."

It will be an interesting decision on Kaberle, as he really didnt appear to be a very good fit for the Bruins with his soft defensive play and propensity for mental breakdowns at the worst times. But he does fill a role as a needed puck-moving defenseman, and the Bruins did give up a motherload to Toronto (Joe Colborne, a first-round pick in 2011, and a 2012 second-round pick, which was guaranteed once the Bs qualified for the Cup Finals) in exchange for Kaberle.

With his performance against Vancouver and strong final few games against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Chiarelli sounded like he might be in favor of re-signing Kaberle if the price and terms were right. Steve Kampfer is waiting in the wings as a young puck-moving defenseman and there will be alternatives on the free-agent market, but the door is still ajar for Kaberles return despite some tough moments.

I know Tomas had been criticized. The expectations were very high on him when he came in, said Chiarelli. I go to him because he seems to be -- of the group that we brought in -- the most vulnerable. You saw what he brings more against Vancouver. He brings the ability to both slow down the play and speed it up with his passing and skating.

He freezes guys. He freezes guys on the opposing forecheck and he freezes them in the neutral zone. He makes great passes, he skates into the trap and I think he was our top defensive scorer. He skates right into the trap. He was a real important component here and I know he was criticized for a time. But Ill continue to defend him because hes a good person. He brought a lot to the back end.

Since Kaberle has voiced his desire to come back and should command less than the 4 million per year he was making with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chiarellis actions toward the impending free agent will speak to just how much the defenseman actually brought to the back end.

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

Sounds like Blues won’t be trading Shattenkirk

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Sounds like Blues won’t be trading Shattenkirk

So, it looks like the Bruins will have to find a puck-moving, “transitional” defenseman elsewhere as Blues D-man Kevin Shattenkirk may be off the market for a while.

Blues President of Hockey Operations and GM Doug Armstrong jumped on with the NHL Tonight crew on NHL Network Friday afternoon and was asked point blank about the trade rumors surrounding the former BU defenseman in the wake of both Troy Brouwer and David Backes bolting in free agency.

It would appear things have changed for the St. Louis bottom line and now the Blues will start the season with Shattenkirk while monitoring how the roster fares during the season.

Considering that the Blues are coming off a good, deep playoff run, it may be that Shattenkirk doesn’t get dealt at all.

“I think the Kevin Shattenkirk thing grew on a life of its own at the draft. What I’ve said internally here is that we’re excited to have Kevin Shattenkirk as a part of our team. In the NHL now you see all the players hitting free agency and moving to [different] teams,” said Armstrong to the NHL Tonight crew. 

“Our goal is to try and get Kevin signed if we can, or start the year and him a good. We started last year with Troy Brouwer and David Backes in the same situation, we had 107 or 108 points and made it to the semifinals. I think if you’re always trying to trade players as they enter the last year of their contracts, I don’t know that you’re ever going to have a really good team if you’re running away from free agency. Free agency is part of our game, and you make those free agent decisions. 

“If you get to a part of the year and you have guys that are unrestricted and your team is no good, then you make those decisions. But if you have a good team and you have guys that are unrestricted, you just play it out.”

So, where do the Bruins turn after it was clear the Blues weren’t that interested in trading Shattenkirk by asking for both first-round picks and David Pastrnak at last weekend’s NHL draft? 

With Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and David Backes all signed to big contracts, perhaps the Bruins explore dealing Krejci for another one of the available transition D-man on the market. Anaheim’s Cam Fowler comes to mind immediately, and Colorado’s Tyson Barrie is another player that could certainly help the Black and Gold if they’re looking to trade up for a high-caliber, top-four puck-moving type.

Still, it sure doesn’t sound like it will be Shattenkirk, 27, who will be looking for an deal in the neighborhood of seven years, $49 million from whatever team signs him to his next contract. 

Lucic heads to Edmonton with seven-year, $42M deal

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Lucic heads to Edmonton with seven-year, $42M deal

The Bruins had made a little noise about a Milan Lucic reunion last weekend at the draft.

Instead, Lucic, 28, will be reunited with former Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, who now runs the Edmonton Oilers. The ex-Bruins forward agreed to a seven-year, $42 million contract with Edmonton on the opening day of NHL free agency, Lucic's agent, Gerry Johansson confirmed to the Associated Press.

Lucic, traded to the Los Angeles Kings in a draft night deal last year by the B’s, had  20 goals and 35 assists in his lone season in L.A.