David Backes was a Selke finalist when Patrice Bergeron won it in 2011-12.</p>
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The Bruins named Kevin Dean head coach of the Providence Bruins Monday, a move that had seemed a strong possibility since the promotion of Bruce Cassidy to Boston.

The Bruins named Kevin Dean head coach of the Providence Bruins Monday, a move that had seemed a strong possibility since the promotion of Bruce Cassidy to Boston.

A former defenseman who played 347 games in the NHL after four years at the University of New Hampshire, Dean served as an assistant coach on Cassidy’s staff for the last five seasons. This is the first AHL head coaching job for the 47-year-old, who spent one season as head coach of the Trenton Devils of the ECHL and four seasons as an assistant coach for the Lowell Devils of the AHL.

Cassidy and Jay Pandolfo were both promoted to Boston in May as assistant coaches on Claude Julien’s staff. Pandolfo had spent last season as the team’s director of player development.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Brandon Carlo is set to make the jump to the AHL from the WHL. (Mark L.</p>
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WILMINGTON — Following the Bruins’ July 1 signings, general manager Don Sweeney said he would take a bit for the organization to catch its breath before proceeding on another key front: signing Brad Marchand to a contract extension.

Brad Marchand scored a career-high 37 goals last season. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Brad Marchand scored a career-high 37 goals last season. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

WILMINGTON — Following the Bruins’ July 1 signings, general manager Don Sweeney said he would take a bit for the organization to catch its breath before proceeding on another key front: signing Brad Marchand to a contract extension.

Speaking at the end of the team’s annual development camp at Ristuccia Arena, Sweeney confirmed that he has indeed began negotiations with Marchand’s agent. Marchand, who is entering the final year of a contract that pays him an average of $4.5 million annually, will be 29 when his next contract starts in the 2017-18.

He won’t come cheap, as the 2006 third-round pick has established himself as an elite two-way player. Last season, Marchand finished sixth in the NHL with a career-high 37 goals. For an estimation of what Marchand might command, click here.

While former general manager Peter Chiarelli believed in signing players before they entered their walk years (with Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and David Krejci serving as examples), Sweeney’s first year as GM saw him negotiate with free-agent-to-be Loui Eriksson throughout the season before the team ultimately opted to let him walk in free agency.

Asked whether he was inclined to get something done quickly with Marchand (which would mean signing him at the highest point of his career) or waiting, Sweeney was noncommittal but stressed his intentions to keep the player, who would be an unrestricted free agent next July without a new deal.

“I think I’ve been pretty up front that I’d like to be aggressive in trying to identify from what we have, I’ve identified March as a core guy and we want to continue down that path,” Sweeney said. “It always takes two sides to make a deal, and I would envision that he’d like to be part of this organization for what could be arguably his whole career, but Brad has a say in this as well.”

Marchand said in November that his hope would be to stay with the team that drafted him for his whole career.

“When someone has played in one place as long as I have — and I know there’s guys that have been here longer than I have — it would be a dream come true to play here my whole career,” he said. “I understand the game and the business of things, but I think as long as I continue to work hard and hold up my end of the bargain, hopefully I can be here for a while. It is something that crosses my mind. I know that I have a year and a half left on my deal, but it is something I think about and I would obviously love to be here for a long time.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins have signed defensemen Colin Miller and Joe Morrow to new contracts, the team announced Thursday. General Fanager was the first to report the signings.

Colin Miller

Colin Miller

The Bruins have signed defensemen Colin Miller and Joe Morrow to new contracts, the team announced Thursday. General Fanager was the first to report the signings.

Miller’s contract is a two-year, one-way deal with an average annual value of $1 million. The former Kings prospect, whom the Bruins acquired in the Milan Lucic trade last June, is coming off his first NHL season. Miller skated in 42 games for Boston and 20 for Providence, posting 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in the NHL and 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in the AHL.

Morrow’s deal is a one-year, one-way contract worth $800,000. The 23-year-old played in a career-high 33 NHL games last season, scoring one goal and adding six assists for seven points.

Both players will be restricted free agents upon the expiration of their contracts.

With Miller and Morrow signed, the Bruins now have seven defensemen on one-way contracts: Zdeno Chara ($6.91 million cap hit in 2016-17; $4 million cap hit in 2017-18), Torey Krug ($5.25 million cap hit through 2019-20), Adam McQuaid ($2.75 million through 2018-19), Kevan Miller ($2.5 million through 2019-20), John-Michael Liles ($2 million cap hit for next season), Colin Miller and Morrow.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

Jake DeBrusk suffered a scary injury in junior after being drafted by the Bruins. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)WILMINGTON -- After a hot start, it seemed that Jake DeBrusk wasn’t having a very good season.



Danton Heinen

Danton Heinen

Assuming the team doesn’t trade Ryan Spooner, the Bruins replaced Loui Eriksson with David Backes. Whether or not that was a wise move at the end of the day can be debated (it probably wasn’t), but a simple way of viewing this offseason is that one right wing came in and one right wing went out.

That would also be incorrect. The Bruins also parted with Lee Stempniak (Hurricanes), Brett Connolly (Capitals) and Landon Ferraro (Blues) while bringing in center/wing Riley Nash. In the Bruins’ recent heyday, right wing would have been a position of panic for Bruins fans, but these days, the Bruins’ defensive woes make right wing a perhaps underestimated problem.

Realistically, David Pastrnak should continue to progress and be a set-it-and-forget-it right wing next to David Krejci. Assuming that’s the case, the B’s still have a question mark on the right side of their third line.

Jimmy Hayes bouncing back would solve it. So would signing Jimmy Vesey, as they would move guys around until someone (probably a lefty; perhaps Frank Vatrano) ended up over there. Otherwise, it’s a hole on the roster.

Danton Heinen says he’s doing “everything he can” to take that job in training camp.

The Bruins got Heinen to go pro after his sophomore year at the University of Denver. The 6-foot-1, 190-ish-pound left shot forward was a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft [worth noting: considering that draft also included Pastrnak and that the bar wasn’t exactly set high, it’s entirely possible that Peter Chiarelli’s final draft with the Bruins was his best outside of 2010], but since his selection has used strong play at the NCAA level to cement himself as a high-end scoring prospect.

Like the departed Eriksson, Heinen is a left-shot wing with experience playing both sides. Last season, Heinen skated on the right as he helped lead the Pioneers to the Frozen Four. He racked up 48 points in 41 games as a sophomore, including 20 goals. After signing with the B’s, he skated in four games for Providence, posting two assists.

“He’s the type of player that he can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ and he’s got really good skill,” Jay Pandolfo said. “I think anywhere you put him, he’s smart enough to figure it out.” 

Though a potential Vesey signing would change things drastically, Heinen’s primary competition for a spot would appear to be Seth Griffith, who this offseason signed a one-year, two-way deal worth $625,000 at the NHL level. Griffith has played in 34 NHL games over his three-year pro career, though he’s yet to cement himself as a regular during his callups. A 45-goal-scorer in the OHL, Griffith is still 23 and has been lights-out in the AHL, but he’s now at the point where he’s being challenged by younger players for an NHL job.

The Bruins wouldn’t have encouraged Heinen to go pro had they not felt he was coming along as a prospect. After putting up 45 points as a freshman, Heinen said he felt enough growth in his sophomore campaign to feel that he was ready to take the next step.

“I think I just made a lot of improvements this year in my 200-foot game,” he said. “I think I’m better in my own end now from learning at Denver under Jim Montgomery. I feel like my all-around game’s gotten a little better and I’m more confident out there, for sure.”

As for playing his off-wing, Heinen says it’s helped him improve at catching breakout passes on his backhand, something that former Bruin Reilly Smith does well as a left-shot right wing. He noted that he’s got enough experience on the right side that he “doesn’t mind” it.

Though he ultimately may require some AHL seasoning, Heinen clicking at the NHL level would be a big plus for the Bruins as they go about trying to both replace Eriksson’s offensive production and upgrade from the likes of Connolly. The Bruins see him as a candidate to make some noise, whenever it may be.

“I think you’ll notice him during training camp,” Pandolfo said. “It will be up to him, but I think definitely he’ll push some guys.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean