Talks between the Bruins and restricted free agent Dougie Hamilton could soon pick up steam.

Dougie Hamilton

Dougie Hamilton

Talks between the Bruins and restricted free agent Dougie Hamilton could soon pick up steam.

J.P. Barry, the agent for Hamilton, will be in Sunrise, Fla. later this week for the NHL draft. It’€™s expected that he and the B’€™s will talk shop as the sides look to find common ground on Hamilton’€™s next contract.

Hamilton, 22, is coming off his entry-level contract. Given his experience and his comparables, a long-term deal would likely command a steep cap hit, perhaps similar to that of Drew Doughty’€™s eight-year, $56 million deal.

The Bruins could sign Hamilton to a shorter-term deal with a lower cap hit, but that would get Hamilton closer to unrestricted free agency, at which point he could command much more money.

If the Bruins and Hamilton to not strike a deal by July 1, Hamilton will be able to seek offer sheets from other teams. Should he sign with one of those teams, the Bruins would have seven days to either match that contract or take draft pick compensation instead.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Claude Julien was on to something when bemoaning some of the Bruins' issues from last season. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)Bruins fans have heard the explanation a million times over from Claude Julien by now.



TIM BENZ

BIO | ARCHIVE


Don Sweeney enters his first NHL draft as Bruins general manager. (Getty Images)Don Sweeney is entering a brave new world. And he knows it.

This is the first draft under his control as general manager of the Original Six hockey club in Boston.



MIKE PETRAGLIA

BIO | ARCHIVE


Carl Soderberg appears to be the latest casualty of the Bruins’ salary cap crunch.

Carl Soderberg (34) appears to be the latest salary cap casualty for the Bruins. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Carl Soderberg appears to be the latest salary cap casualty for the Bruins. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Carl Soderberg appears to be the latest casualty of the Bruins’ salary cap crunch.

The 29-year-old center had 13 goals and 31 assists this year while playing in all 82 games. Soderberg will be looking for a big pay day as an unrestricted free agent.

The Bruins have just 16 players signed on their current roster and project to have $6.531 million in cap space remaining. Don Sweeney, preparing for his first NHL draft as general manager, knows he’s up against it.

“We’re trying to plan for every circumstance that may exist,” Sweeney said. “Carl was a very important part of our team this year. In a perfect world, we would be able to retain Carl. It’s highly unlikely at this point in time that that will be happening relative to our overall situation.”

With that eventuality in mind, the Bruins signed forward Joonas Kemppainen on May 21 to a one-year, two-way contract which would be worth a cap figure of $700,000 at the NHL level.

The 27-year-old played 59 games for Oulun Kärpät in the Finnish Elite League during the 2014-15 season and recorded 11 goals, 21 assists and a plus-15 rating. In 19 playoff games for Kärpät this year, the forward potted 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points with a plus-14 rating. Kemppainen also competed in this year’€™s IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship where he ranked third on the Finnish team in goals (three), second in assists (six) and second in points (nine) in eight games played.

“I think Joonas represents a player of similar nature, similar skill set. He’s a big strong player. He’s responsible. He’s 27 years old so he’s been through the pro ranks and he’s ready for it. He’s got some heaviness to his game. Look at his offensive production, it was pretty darned good this year in particular but really the last couple of year, he’s been very, very consistent and he rolled that right over to world championship, where again he was both very reliable, accountable as a two-player but also produced offensively, which is huge, huge for us.”

As for other UFA such as Matt Bartkowski and defenseman Adam McQuaid, Sweeney announced they may or may not join Greg Campbell and Daniel Paille as cap casualties for 2015-16.

“Peter [Chiarelli] had told Greg Campbell and Danny Paille that they weren’t [returning]. I have not changed that,” Sweeney said. “I have not completely conveyed but have spoken to both Carl and Matt’s representatives and I’ve also spoken to Adam in terms of what our intentions are. Obviously, it’s coming down to the wire in terms of their abilities to interview elsewhere. So, I have been in communication with them, yes.

“I’ve had several talks with teams that may or may not present the opportunity to be able to bring one of those players back. I can guarantee at this point in time that all three [Soderberg, Bartkowski, McQuaid] of them won’t be back.”

All of this doesn’t even include the uncertainty surrounding the future financial impact of signing Dougie Hamilton, who as a restricted free agent, could be getting a huge payday, as our DJ Bean pointed out. Sweeney said negotiations are ongoing with Hamilton’s representatives but those talks are not getting in the way of doing business.

“We’re not in a free agency period at this time so I don’t think it’s holding things up at all,” Sweeney said Friday. “I’m not going to comment on the actual negotiation side of it but I don’t think it’s holding things up in any regard.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

The Bruins will have a distinctive New England feel to their seven-game preseason slate.

Claude Julien will coach a ninth season with the Bruins. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Claude Julien will coach a ninth season with the Bruins. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

The Bruins will have a distinctive New England feel to their seven-game preseason slate.

Four of the seven games the Bruins will play to get ready for the upcoming season will be in either Boston or Providence. The team announced its full preseason schedule Friday. Three of the games will be played at TD Garden.

The preseason will begin on Sunday, Sept. 20 in Providence, against the New Jersey Devils at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The Bruins also announced that they will release more information and dates in regards to the annual rookie camp and training camp, including rosters, later in the summer.

Here is the complete preseason schedule (subject to change):

Sunday, September 20 (Providence, RI)
-New Jersey Devils at Boston Bruins (Dunkin’€™ Donuts Center, Providence, RI, 7:00 p.m. ET)

Tuesday, September 22 (Boston, MA)
-Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins (TD Garden, Boston, MA, 7:00 p.m. ET)

Thursday, September 24 (Boston, MA)
-New York Rangers at Boston Bruins (TD Garden, Boston, MA, 7:00 p.m. ET)

Saturday, September 26 (Detroit, MI)
-Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings (Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI, 7:00 p.m. ET)

Monday, September 28 (Boston, MA)
-Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins (TD Garden, Boston, MA, 7:00 p.m. ET)

Wednesday, September 30 (New York, NY)
-Boston Bruins at New York Rangers (Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, 7:00 p.m. ET)

Friday, October 2 (Washington, DC)
-Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals (Verizon Center, Washington, DC, 7:00 p.m. ET)

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

In case anyone was thinking Zdeno Chara might consider retirement after a disappointing 2014-15 season, the defenseman made it clear that’s not on his mind.

Speaking to Postmedia Network late last week, Chara said he wants to play out his contract, which runs through the 2017-18 season, and help the Bruins return to the postseason.

“My contract goes for another three years and I’d like to play until then,” he said. “I think we still have a competitive team with some good young players.

“Being out of the playoffs just makes you want to get back there even more.”

Chara dealt with some physical issues this past season — most significantly a torn ligament in his left knee that knocked him out of the lineup from Oct. 23 until Dec. 11. He also suffered a fractured ankle in April, keeping off the Slovakian roster for the World Hockey Championship in Prague. He said the one good thing about the Bruins missing the playoffs is it’s given him more time to recover.

“You’d rather be playing at this time of year,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s given me a chance to heal and that’s important.”

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Dougie Hamilton is going to get paid a lot of money and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Any conversation about how he shouldn’t — and there have been several over the last few days — generally exposes a lack of understanding on the part of its participants.

We’ve written about Hamilton’s next deal multiple times now, outlining his comps and and what they made. Here’s an attempt at summarizing things for folks who may still be confused.

HIS COMPS ARE VERY GOOD

For the third time, look at this table:

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 12.04.13 PM

Those are not advanced stats. It’s points per game. Division is not an advanced concept for most elementary school graduates.

NONE OF THESE GUYS WERE IN THEIR PRIME WHEN THEY SIGNED THEIR DEALS

The Kings took a leap of faith with Doughty by giving him that contract, and it has paid off. Doughty has led the Kings to two Stanley Cups since, and one could only imagine what he’€™d command if he had taken a short deal and had his contract come up again a couple years late.

The reason teams should go long at a higher cap hit is to buy out years of free agency. The goal is to have a player’s prime years cheap. A bridge contract means the team would have to later pay way more for those prime years.

The Canadiens gave P.K. Subban a bridge deal, which he used to enter his prime, win a Norris Trophy and establish himself as a $9 million-per-year player. If the Canadiens had played things correctly, Subban would simply be halfway through a much cheaper contract right now.

NOBODY IS SAYING HE’S DREW DOUGHTY

The salary cap in 2011-12, the first year of Doughty’s deal, was $64.3 million. Doughty’s $7 million cap hit took up 9.18 percent of the Los Angeles’ allotted cap space.

Let’s be honest: the fans and media don’t care about how much actual money these players make, but rather how much cap space they take up.

If the Bruins were to give Hamilton a long-term deal with a cap hit in the $6.5 million to $7 million range, they wouldn’t be suggesting they think Hamilton is as good as Doughty. They’d be suggesting that, after three seasons, he’s a little worse than Doughty was after three seasons (even though Hamilton has stats on his side).

The salary cap for next season is not yet official, but Gary Bettman has mentioned $71.5 million as a possibility. If Hamilton were to get rewarded the way Doughty did in such a cap climate, it would mean a $7.78 million cap hit. That isn’t going to happen.

STOP SAYING JULY 1

If a team is to swoop in with an offer sheet, it would not happen until mid-to-late July, as teams don’t offer-sheet players unless they think it won’t be matched. They wait for their targeted team to spend their money elsewhere.

Again, Steven Stamkos went nearly three weeks into restricted free agency and still wasn’t offer-sheeted. Tuukka Rask wasn’t offer-sheeted. Assuming Hamilton will be is counting on the improbable.

THE BRUINS SHOULD NOT LET HAMILTON GO

Draft pick compensation is awarded to teams who lose their players to offer sheets.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 12.04.55 PM

While the picks might look enticing, draft picks in the NHL are a very dicey commodity. As such, it would be risky to take any picks for Hamilton that aren’t in the top 10. Here’s a chart we made for a recent post on draft picks.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.27.16 AM

Compensation aside, the Bruins are in no position to let their best young defenseman (and second-best defenseman on the team) go. The Eastern Conference is still relatively weak, and they aren’t far off from contending. Losing their future No. 1 defenseman would be an obvious step in the wrong direction.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean