The Oilers won the NHL draft lottery Saturday night, doing so with the third-best odds to finish with the first overall pick. The Oilers, who will almost certainly select Erie (OHL) center Connor McDavid, have the first overall pick for the fourth time in the last six years.

The Oilers won the NHL draft lottery Saturday night, doing so with the third-best odds to finish with the first overall pick. The Oilers, who will almost certainly select Erie (OHL) center Connor McDavid, have the first overall pick for the fourth time in the last six years.

The Bruins, who had a one-percent chance of the first pick, will select 14th overall. Should they stay at No. 14, it will mark the highest they have selected in the first round since drafting Dougie Hamilton ninth overall in 2011.

Buffalo will pick second overall after missing out on the top pick. The Sabres finished with the lowest points in the NHL and had a 20 percent chance at the first pick. Barring a trade, they will select Chelmsford native Jack Eichel, who recently concluded his freshman (and likely only) season at Boston University. Eichel became the first freshman to win the Hobey Baker since Paul Kariya.

The draft will take place June 26 and 27 in Sunrise, Fla.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Bruins prospect Matt Grzelcyk announced that he will return to Boston University for his senior season at the team’s awards banquet Friday night. He had been mulling the possibility of signing with the Bruins and forgoing his senior year.

Grzelcyk, a 5-foot-10 defenseman from Charlestown, served as team captain this past season and will reprise the role next year. He finished fourth nationally among defensemen with 38 points (10 goals, 28 asssists) in 41 games and was named a First Team All-American.

As the leader of a defense corps that featured four freshmen, Grzelcyk helped guide BU to a Hockey East regular-season title, a Hockey East tournament title and a Frozen Four appearance. The Terriers’ season ended with a 4-3 loss to Providence in last Saturday’s national championship game.

Another interesting development at BU’s awards banquet was that Hobey Baker Award winner and future No. 2 overall pick Jack Eichel was named an alternate captain for next season.

Eichel is probably still more likely to sign with the team that drafts him than return to BU for his sophomore year, but him getting an ‘A’ is still notable. Eichel has said that he hasn’t decided anything as far as going pro vs. returning to BU, and people close to BU have suggested that there is more of a chance of him returning than people might assume.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

On Friday, the Stars announced a seven-year extension with an annual cap hit of $4.25 million for John Klingberg, a promising defenseman coming off his entry level deal. This offseason, the Bruins would ideally use Klingberg’€™s contract as a template for Dougie Hamilton’€™s next deal. Hamilton’€™s camp will likely have other comps in mind.

One of those comps wears No. 76 for the Canadiens. You may have heard of him.

When it comes to Hamilton’€™s worth at the end of his entry-level deal, P.K. Subban is a very realistic comparable. Just look at their numbers through each of their first contracts:

SubbanHamilton2

In terms of points per game, Hamilton is also in some pricey company:

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 1.05.23 PM

Hamilton will become a restricted free agent on July 1. The Bruins probably want to give him a long-term deal, but if he takes a shorter deal and gets to sign his third contract soon, he could potentially make a lot more money.

That’€™s what happened with Subban. The Canadiens were actually unwilling to give him the long-term deal he wanted after his entry-level deal expired, so he took a two-year deal worth just $2.875 million per. Subban shoved that in Marc Bergevin’€™s face by winning the Norris in the first year of that deal and later cashing in with an eight-year deal with an annual cap hit of $9 million.

The Bruins should avoid that scenario at all costs. Hamilton is already the Bruins’€™ second-best defenseman and is easily worth $5 million a year, and probably more.

The Bruins should give Hamilton a number that high for as long as he’€™ll take. Seven years at $5 million-plus per would buy out three years of unrestricted free agency, delaying perhaps Hamilton’€™s biggest pay day until he is 29.

Because of that, Hamilton’€™s camp will demand more per year the longer the deal goes. A shorter deal will mean a smaller cap hit, as Hamilton will easily make up that money in free agency sooner if he gets there. 

These days, teams aren’€™t afraid to go long with their young blueliners. The longest contract a player can sign for if re-signing with his own team is eight years.

Drew Doughty got eight years after his entry-level contract expired. Klingberg, Roman Josi and Travis Hamonic all got seven, while Jonas Brodin and Justin Faulk both got six. Going off this season alone (and remember, some of these players are already multiple years into their second deals) Hamilton plays harder minutes than most of them.

longterm D usage

(Usage chart courtesy of war-on-ice.com)

Teams can sign restricted free agents away from other clubs, but the possibility of Hamilton defecting for draft picks is highly unrealistic. Why? Because a team would need to plan its offseason around getting Hamilton only to miss out on him anyway.

Offer sheets do not typically come for a while after players reach restricted free agency; think later July, early August. Teams trying to sign players away strategically wait for rosters to begin filling out in an effort to decrease the rights-holding team’€™s chances of being able to match the contract. Even if Hamilton isn’€™t signed a couple weeks into July, the Bruins will leave themselves with money to match. That’€™s why most teams might not even try on Hamilton, as they usually don’t with restricted free agents.

There is not incentive to sign players to offer sheets that could realistically be matched. If a team does so and the original team matches, the interested team has only created inflation, something that will hurt their own cap situation down the road when they go to sign other players.

The Flyers, for example, thought there was no way the Predators would be able to match their $110 million contract for Shea Weber. They made a major play for what would have been the most impactful free agent signing since Zdeno Chara, but it didn’€™t work. The Weber deal increased the going rate for defensemen, which the Flyers can now use an excuse as to why they overpay their blueliners.

Hamilton will be a Bruin for a long time. Just don’€™t be surprised when you see what he’€™s worth.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs has reached a critical point in the team's history.</p>
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There was some speculation in the immediate aftermath of Peter Chiarelli’s firing Wednesday that Cam Neely might assume the role and add the general manager’s title onto his existing role of team president.

While team CEO Charlie Jacobs admitted that hockey operations will, for now, report directly to Neely, the team president said he wants no part of the gig long term.

“I’€™m not a micromanager and I don’€™t want to be a general manager,” Neely announced. “I want to have a vision, I want to understand what the vision of a general manager is going to be for the hockey club, obviously, as we move forward. I felt that I was able to have conversations and express my opinions. I felt that I was able to do that the last four or five years’€”six years. But as far as’€”I’€™m not a micromanager and I don’€™t intend to be.”

Neely did offer a critique of where he thinks the team might have gone astray over the last four seasons since winning the Cup in 2011, especially as it relates to drafting new talent.

“We have to look at the organization as a whole obviously and today’€™s day and age with the game and the cap and a team that is fortunate enough to spend to the cap,” Neely said. “As you have success and those players get better and you have to pay them more, you need those entry-level players to come in and be able to have an impact. It’€™s expensive to always get ready made players.

“It’€™s a nice luxury to be able to have but when you don’€™t have the cap space to be able to do that, you’€™ve got to find entry-level players. I think there was a period of time there where’€”I don’€™t think I’€™m saying anything that hasn’€™t been chronicled’€”we missed on three or four years on some drafts that I think right now we’€™re kind of paying the price for. That’€™s not the sole reason but that’€™s an area where I think we can improve.”

Neely was asked if he had input or final authorization on moves that might have led the Bruins away from a tougher on-ice image that he has preferred ever since his playing days.

“Like I said I’€™m not going to micromanage a GM. I want him to do his job,” Neely said. “I certainly want to have conversations about why and what the thought process is to make particular deals and trades and how that is going to look for the franchise, not just when it happens but also moving forward. The other thing to your second question, I think where we’€™ve had success is our four lines play hard. That’€™s doesn’€™t mean you can’€™t have skill and play hard. It’€™s something where ‘€˜is it easy to find?’€™ No, but I think I’€™d like to see us get back to playing hard and where the team plays for each other. I think we lost that a little bit.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs took the occasion Wednesday, at the press conference to confirm the firing of general manager Peter Chiarelli, that simply making the playoffs wasn’t necessarily enough to save the GM’s job.

In January, Jacobs told reporters, after meeting with the team, that he would consider the season a failure if they didn’t reach the playoffs and that the team was badly underachieving.

This led to the presumption that if the Bruins made the playoffs and got hot at the right time, Chiarelli and coach Claude Julien would be safe. Jacobs hinted Wednesday that wasn’t necessarily the case.

“I feel they were accurate, and that in January, my frustration of where the team was — I think we were in ninth or 10th place in the conference at the moment, on that day in January –€” and I said that for us not to make the playoffs would have been a failure. So here we are, out. And I want to clarify, by the way, my comment about the playoffs: The expectation is for us not only to get into the playoffs, but to play and compete for the Stanley Cup, not just to get in. I feel that may be lost a little bit in the messaging.”

It was appropriate that on tax day Jacobs said the team was doing an internal audit of on-ice performance and off-ice planning and preparation in the front office, and that this audit had been going on all season.

“But I didn’€™t necessarily think, at the end of the season, OK, let’€™s sort of wash our hands of X, Y or Z associate. That wasn’€™t it. It was, again, going back and sort of doing an audit of what had transpired throughout the year, where we were in terms of an organization and in terms of our depth, whether it be from our scouting department, our minor league system, where we are with our senior club, of course, and then sort of determining where, perhaps, we need to improve. So again, this was not an easy decision.”

As it turned out, Jacobs and team president Cam Neely not only fired Chiarelli but also relieved three scouts of their jobs, including amateur scouts Mike Chiarelli (brother of Peter) and Denis Leblanc, and European Head Scout Jukka Holtari.

“I have a great deal of respect for Peter and what he accomplished here, especially bringing back [the Stanley Cup] I can’€™t thank him enough for 2011 and the ride that that was,” Jacobs said. “But we felt it was time to move on, and this was the move.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Peter Chiarelli was relieved of his GM duties by the Bruins on Wednesday. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)The last few days in Boston sports have been very confusing ones to navigate.



Peter Chiarelli didn't deserve to lose his job the way he did. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)The Bruins tied Peter Chiarelli’s hands behind his back. Then they fired him. 



While Peter Chiarelli’s fate is known, Claude Julien’s isn’t.