According to his agent via CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, the Bruins and Dougie Hamilton have not done any negotiating towards a long term contract. Hamilton, 21, is a restricted free agent. This means that another NHL team could sign him to an offer sheet and lure him away from Boston. Don Sweeney has a lot of work to do as Boston’s new General Manager, but getting Hamilton back for the long haul is at the top of the list.

Any team that signs Hamilton to an offer sheet would have a steep price to pay. Not only is Hamilton seeking $6-7 million per year according to reports, but the signing team would also have to give the Bruins a first, second, and third round pick.

Hamilton was the ninth overall selection in the first round of the 2011 draft by the Bruins, using a pick from Toronto that was acquired in the Phil Kessel deal. The two prized pieces of that deal were Tyler Seguin and Hamilton. The Bruins have already lost one and will not want to lose another one.

Hamilton has shown promise that he can be the elite defenseman to replace Zdeno Chara at the top of Boston’s depth chart. He played in 72 games in 2014-15, registering 10 goals and 32 assists, all of which were increases over the previous season. He was also adept at power play operation. Hamilton was always on Boston’s top pair of defensemen and when Chara was out injured, Hamilton was elevated to the top of the depth chart.

Although only 21, Hamilton has shown he is the type of player that Boston will want to keep around for the future. Although his price tag will be steep, the Black and Gold are much better of fixing the salary cap by moving another player instead of running the risk of letting Hamilton leave.

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There is no doubt that one of the biggest concerns facing Don Sweeney and the Bruins this offseason is the vacant back-up goaltender position. Last season’s back-up, Niklas Svedberg, has left the country to play in the KHL and using the eye test, one can only assume that young Malcolm Subban is not ready for the big leagues yet. Subban may be ready in a few years, just not now.

So with all that being said, the Bruins are almost forced to check out what is available for back-up goalies on the free agent market this offseason. Tuukka Rask may look like Superman on some nights but even Superman needs a few games off.

Here are the top 3 goalies on the market that Boston should consider. They are ranked by their ability to be a competent back-up and if they would cheap enough to fit into the B’s salary cap situation. Continue reading Assessing The Bruins Back-Up Goalie Situation »

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Claude Julien

After 2 weeks in the general manager position, Don Sweeney has still yet to make an official decision on Claude Julien’s future as head coach of the Boston Bruins. However, Don Sweeney has met with Julien behind closed doors and word is that Sweeney would rather switch up Julien’s assistant coaching staff instead of letting the veteran coach go right away.

Claude Julien’s staff during the 2014-2015 consisted of Joe Sacco, Doug Jarvis, Doug Houda, and Bob Essensa, the latter two have been with the B’s since 2007 when Julien became head coach.

Julien has always been loyal to his personnel and everyone around him since he was hired so this might not settle well with Claude in the beginning if it happens. Continue reading Look’s like Claude Julien will be Don Sweeney’s Head Coach…for now »

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Stanley Cup Final Preview

June 2, 2015 at 7:03pm in Bruins, Featured, NHL
cup final

In a match-up that is sure to be entertaining, the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning will battle for the Stanley Cup. The action kicks off with game one on Wednesday in Tampa Bay. The Blackhawks are playing in their third Final since 2010 and are looking for their third championship in that span. The Lightning return to the Final for the first time since hoisting the cup in 2004.

Both teams boast elite forwards in their captains, for Chicago it is Jonathan Toews and for Tampa Bay it is Steven Stamkos. The Blackhawks have an elite scorer in Patrick Kane with the Lightning’s Tyler Johnson has been excellent at lighting the lamp this postseason. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook lead the way on defense for Chicago while Victor Hedman has taken his game to another level for the Lightning.

The Blackhawks have the edge in experience and coaching, as Joel Quenville has been at the helm for both of Chicago’s championships. They are also the more complete team, boasting not only Toews, Kane, Seabrook, and Keith but also Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Andrew Shaw, along with Johnny Oduya. All of these players have performed in big moments for Chicago and have Championship experience.

Tampa Bay is not as deep as Chicago but boasts some impressive talent. J.T. Brown, Brian Boyle, Valterri Filppula, and Anton Stralman should all make an impact. Ben Bishop has been solid for the Lightning in net and the battle between him and the Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford will be a big element in the series. Both teams were top ten puck possession teams this season (via CORSI advanced stat) and can also score. Chicago is third in goals per game this postseason while Tampa Bay is fourth.

In the end, both teams play exciting and physical hockey. However, the Blackhawks just have too much experience and are too solid top to bottom for the Lightning. Tampa Bay will be contenders for the next several years, but Chicago remains the NHL’s gold standard.

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Joonas Kemppainen

Finnish forward Joonas Kemppainen has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Bruins.

Kemppainen, 27, scored 11 goals and tallied 21 assists for the Oulun Karpat of the Finnish Elite League last season, finishing with a +15 rating in 59 games. He added 10 goals in 19 playoff games.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015. Staff photo by Ted Fitzgerald

On Wednesday, the Bruins officially announced that Don Sweeney will be their new General Manager. This makes him the eighth GM in Bruins history. This past season ended in disaster, just missing the playoffs then firing GM Peter Chiarelli shortly after, and all the rumors about Claude Julien getting fired as well.

So Sweeney has to deal with all of this and deal with all of it soon so he can end the Chiarelli era in Boston and begin an era of his own. There are a few things he has to deal with before anything else.

Keeping Claude?

It is best for the Bruins organization if Sweeney officially makes up his mind on whether he is going to keep Claude Julien as his Head Coach this season or if he will end up with the same fate as Chiarelli. Continue reading A Few Things That Don Sweeney Needs to Address Right Away »

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The Bruins announced Wednesday morning that they promoted Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney to General Manager position.

Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs praised Sweeney: “Don Sweeney stood out amongst an incredibly talented group of candidates that we considered for this hire. He carries a unique and impressive mix of playing experience, front office experience and business acumen.”

“Don has complete understanding of what it means to be a Bruin”, Jacobs continued, “and we have full confidence in him to steward the organization back to being Stanley Cup contenders year in and year out.”

The 2015-16 season will be the tenth for Sweeney in the Bruins front office. The Harvard economics graduate played for the Bruins for 15 seasons as a defenseman.

The promotion of Sweeney increases the chances that coach Claude Julien will stay in place, although no announcement has been made on that front. It also means Jacobs and team President Cam Neely believe in their core and don’t want to completely change the make up of the roster. That doesn’t mean a major trade or two won’t happen, however. Zdeno Chara and Milan Lucic could still be trade bait, but them moving on is a bit less likely than if a team hired an external candidate.


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