The Kings cleaned up at the NHL Awards Wednesday night, with “cleaning up” meaning “won awards they probably shouldn’t have won.”

Moments after Drew Doughty beat out Erik Karlsson for the Norris Trophy (an award with which Karlsson should have run away), Anze Kopitar was awarded the Selke Trophy to deny Patrice Bergeron his third-straight win.

Statistically speaking, Bergeron figured to be a heavy favorite to win the Selke, which is given to the league’s top two-way forward. The Boston center had 32 goals to Kopitar’s 25 and though Kopitar had more assists (49 to 36) and points (74 to 68), defensive and possession metrics heavily fell in Bergeron’s favor. Bergeron’s Corsi Relative of 20.4 was vastly superior to Kopitar’s 2.4 mark.

Bergeron also led the league with 1,130 faceoff wins to Koptar’s 950 despite Kopitar playing one more regular-season game than Bergeron.

Despite Bergeron’s statistical advantages, Kopitar received 31 more first-place votes by Pro Hockey Writers Association members than Bergeron, who finished second. Bergeron has now finished first or second in Selke voting in five straight seasons. Had he won Wednesday, he would have tied Bob Gainey for the most career Selke wins (four) and become the second player in league history (Pavel Datsyuk) to win three straight.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

The Bruins and agent J.P. Barry still plan to negotiate further as they try to bridge the gap on Loui Eriksson’s next contract. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Sweeney and Barry will meet Wednesday night.

With the sides still not close on a deal, however, the clock is ticking on the team to decide whether they’re going to keep the player unsigned through the draft or flip his rights to another team for draft pick compensation. Given that such trades involve mid-round picks (as has been the case for free-agents-to-be Alex Goligoski, Keith Yandle and Jimmy Vesey), the Bruins would realistically have until Saturday (the second day of the draft) to make such a move if they were to seek 2016 compensation. According to a league source, the Bruins are not currently discussing Eriksson’s rights with other teams.

Considering that the team shopped Eriksson leading up to the trade deadline, it figures that the team has some sort of indication as to which teams might be interested should it come to that. Last summer, the Bruins traded the rights of UFA Carl Soderberg to the Avalanche the night before the draft in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Gary Bettman

Gary Bettman

The NHL announced Wednesday that an expansion franchise has been granted to Las Vegas. The team, which has yet to be named, will debut in the 2017-18 season and will play in the Pacific Division.

Following are the parameters of the Las Vegas team’s addition, which includes, among other things, alignment, scheduling and next offseason’s expansion draft:

Alignment

The Las Vegas franchise will begin play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in 2017-18. There will be no other changes to the NHL’s alignment.

2017-18 Schedule Matrix

Each club will continue to play an 82-game schedule, with 41 home games and 41 road games.

The schedule matrix, which ensures that all teams play in all arenas at least once each season, will be adjusted to the following in 2017-18:

Eastern Conference (Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions – 8 Teams)

Within Conference (Division): 28 games
* 7 Teams: 2 Home / 2 Away
* 7 x 4 = 28 games

Within Conference (Non-Division): 24 games
* 4 Teams: 2 Home / 1 Away
* 4 Teams: 1 Home / 2 Away
* 4 x 3 = 12 games
* 4 x 3 = 12 games

Non-Conference: 30 games
* 15 Home / 15 Away
* 2 x 15 = 30

Western Conference (Central Division – 7 Teams)

Within Conference (Division): 26 games
* 4 Teams: 2 Home / 2 Away
* 1 Team: 3 Home / 2 Away
* 1 Team: 2 Home / 3 Away
* 4 x 4 = 16
* 1 x 5 = 5
* 1 x 5 = 5

Within Conference (Non-Division): 24 games
* 4 Teams: 2 Home / 1 Away
* 4 Teams: 1 Home / 2 Away
* 4 x 3 = 12 games
* 4 x 3 = 12 games

Non-Conference: 32 games
* 16 Home / 16 Away
* 2 x 16 = 32 games

Western Conference (Pacific Division – 8 Teams)

Within Conference (Division): 29 games
* 6 Teams: 2 Home / 2 Away
* 1 Team: 3 Home / 2 Away
* 6 x 4 = 24 games
* 1 x 5 = 5 games

Within Conference (Non-Division): 21 games
* 4 Teams: 2 Home / 1 Away
* 3 Teams: 1 Home / 2 Away
* 4 x 3 = 12 games
* 3 x 3 = 9 games

Non-Conference: 32 games
* 16 Home / 16 Away
* 2 x 16 = 32 games

2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs

The NHL’s current playoff format will not change.

Expansion Draft 

The following rules were approved for the 2017 Expansion Draft:

Protected Lists
* Clubs will have two options for players they wish to protect in the Expansion Draft:
a) Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender

b) Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender

* All players who have currently effective and continuing “No Movement” clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft (and who to decline to waive such clauses) must be protected (and will be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

* All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

Player Exposure Requirements
* All Clubs must meet the following minimum requirements regarding players exposed for selection in the Expansion Draft:
i) One defenseman who is a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.

ii) Two forwards who are a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.

iii) One goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18. If the club elects to make a restricted free agent goaltender available in order to meet this requirement, that goaltender must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the club’s protected list.

* Players with potential career-ending injuries who have missed more than the previous 60 consecutive games (or who otherwise have been confirmed to have a career-threatening injury) may not be used to satisfy a club’s player exposure requirements, unless approval is received from the NHL. Such players also may be deemed exempt from selection by the League.

Regulations Relating to Expansion Franchise
* The Las Vegas franchise must select one player from each presently existing club for a total of 30 players (not including additional players who may be acquired as the result of violations of the Expansion Draft rules).

* The Las Vegas franchise must select the following number of players at each position: 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.

* The Las Vegas franchise must select a minimum of 20 players who are under contract for the 2017-18 season.

* The Las Vegas franchise must select players with an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100% of the prior season’s upper limit for the salary cap.

* The Las Vegas franchise may not buy out any of the players selected in the Expansion Draft earlier than the summer following its first season.

The 30 NHL clubs must submit their Protected Lists by 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 17, 2017. The Las Vegas franchise must submit its Expansion Draft selections by 5:00 p.m. ET on June 20. The announcement of their selections will be made on June 21.

2017 NHL Draft Lottery

The Las Vegas franchise will be given the same odds in the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery as the team finishing with the third-fewest points during the 2016-17 regular season.

The Las Vegas franchise’s First Round selection in the 2017 NHL Draft will be determined in accordance with the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery and, as a result, the Las Vegas franchise will be guaranteed no lower than the sixth overall selection.

The Las Vegas franchise then will select third in each subsequent round of the 2017 NHL Draft (subject to trades and other potential player transactions).

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Gary Bettman

Gary Bettman

The NHL announced Wednesday that an expansion franchise has been granted to Las Vegas. The team, which has yet to be named, will debut in the 2017-18 season and will play in the Pacific Division.

Following are the parameters of the Las Vegas team’s addition, which includes, among other things, alignment, scheduling and next offseason’s expansion draft:

Alignment

The Las Vegas franchise will begin play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in 2017-18. There will be no other changes to the NHL’s alignment.

2017-18 Schedule Matrix

Each club will continue to play an 82-game schedule, with 41 home games and 41 road games.

The schedule matrix, which ensures that all teams play in all arenas at least once each season, will be adjusted to the following in 2017-18:

Eastern Conference (Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions – 8 Teams)

Within Conference (Division): 28 games
* 7 Teams: 2 Home / 2 Away
* 7 x 4 = 28 games

Within Conference (Non-Division): 24 games
* 4 Teams: 2 Home / 1 Away
* 4 Teams: 1 Home / 2 Away
* 4 x 3 = 12 games
* 4 x 3 = 12 games

Non-Conference: 30 games
* 15 Home / 15 Away
* 2 x 15 = 30

Western Conference (Central Division – 7 Teams)

Within Conference (Division): 26 games
* 4 Teams: 2 Home / 2 Away
* 1 Team: 3 Home / 2 Away
* 1 Team: 2 Home / 3 Away
* 4 x 4 = 16
* 1 x 5 = 5
* 1 x 5 = 5

Within Conference (Non-Division): 24 games
* 4 Teams: 2 Home / 1 Away
* 4 Teams: 1 Home / 2 Away
* 4 x 3 = 12 games
* 4 x 3 = 12 games

Non-Conference: 32 games
* 16 Home / 16 Away
* 2 x 16 = 32 games

Western Conference (Pacific Division – 8 Teams)

Within Conference (Division): 29 games
* 6 Teams: 2 Home / 2 Away
* 1 Team: 3 Home / 2 Away
* 6 x 4 = 24 games
* 1 x 5 = 5 games

Within Conference (Non-Division): 21 games
* 4 Teams: 2 Home / 1 Away
* 3 Teams: 1 Home / 2 Away
* 4 x 3 = 12 games
* 3 x 3 = 9 games

Non-Conference: 32 games
* 16 Home / 16 Away
* 2 x 16 = 32 games

2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs

The NHL’s current playoff format will not change.

Expansion Draft 

The following rules were approved for the 2017 Expansion Draft:

Protected Lists
* Clubs will have two options for players they wish to protect in the Expansion Draft:
a) Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender

b) Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender

* All players who have currently effective and continuing “No Movement” clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft (and who to decline to waive such clauses) must be protected (and will be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

* All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).

Player Exposure Requirements
* All Clubs must meet the following minimum requirements regarding players exposed for selection in the Expansion Draft:
i) One defenseman who is a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.

ii) Two forwards who are a) under contract in 2017-18 and b) played in 40 or more NHL games the prior season OR played in 70 or more NHL games in the prior two seasons.

iii) One goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18. If the club elects to make a restricted free agent goaltender available in order to meet this requirement, that goaltender must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the club’s protected list.

* Players with potential career-ending injuries who have missed more than the previous 60 consecutive games (or who otherwise have been confirmed to have a career-threatening injury) may not be used to satisfy a club’s player exposure requirements, unless approval is received from the NHL. Such players also may be deemed exempt from selection by the League.

Regulations Relating to Expansion Franchise
* The Las Vegas franchise must select one player from each presently existing club for a total of 30 players (not including additional players who may be acquired as the result of violations of the Expansion Draft rules).

* The Las Vegas franchise must select the following number of players at each position: 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goaltenders.

* The Las Vegas franchise must select a minimum of 20 players who are under contract for the 2017-18 season.

* The Las Vegas franchise must select players with an aggregate Expansion Draft value that is between 60-100% of the prior season’s upper limit for the salary cap.

* The Las Vegas franchise may not buy out any of the players selected in the Expansion Draft earlier than the summer following its first season.

The 30 NHL clubs must submit their Protected Lists by 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 17, 2017. The Las Vegas franchise must submit its Expansion Draft selections by 5:00 p.m. ET on June 20. The announcement of their selections will be made on June 21.

2017 NHL Draft Lottery

The Las Vegas franchise will be given the same odds in the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery as the team finishing with the third-fewest points during the 2016-17 regular season.

The Las Vegas franchise’s First Round selection in the 2017 NHL Draft will be determined in accordance with the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery and, as a result, the Las Vegas franchise will be guaranteed no lower than the sixth overall selection.

The Las Vegas franchise then will select third in each subsequent round of the 2017 NHL Draft (subject to trades and other potential player transactions).

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

In case you missed it, Kirk Luedeke of Red Line Report joined me this week to discuss the first round of Friday’s NHL draft. Click here for the writeup on his thoughts regarding where Boston’s 2015 selections currently stand.

Following are Luedeke’s thoughts on a number of the defensive prospects that could be available at the 14th overall pick, which the Bruins currently own along with No. 29. Red Line Report has Jake Bean as their top defenseman in the draft, while Luedeke has BCHL defensemen Dante Fabbro as his No. 1 defenseman this year.

“I don’t think there’s any clear emerging dominant defenseman this year,” Luedeke said. “There’s quality at the top of the draft. I think this draft has really good value from picks 1 to 15 or 16 depending on the order of where those players go. There might be a couple of guys that jump into that 15 or 16 that are not currently projected there. But the defensemen are a solid crop.”

Luedeke thinks there is a strong group of D in the first half of the first round and that there are enough quality forwards to push some of the defensemen down. As such, Luedeke feels that moving up would be a waste of assets.

“I don’t think that there’s any defenseman that you need to be moving up to get because I think someone good is going to fall to them,” Luedeke said.

He also noted that he doesn’t feel Kevin Shattenkirk “constitutes good enough to move 14” given that Shattenkirk is ideally not a top-pairing defenseman and only has one year left on his contract.

Here are Luedeke’s thoughts on some of the individual players:

Jakob Chychrun, LD, Sarnia (OHL), 6-foot-2, 194 pounds

I will tell you that Jakob Chochrun has been a tad disappointing. He was the one that was projected to be ‘the guy’ entering this season. A lot of people felt he would go No. 2 overall behind Auston Matthews. That hasn’t materialized. On the plus side, he’s a big kid, he can really skate, handles the puck with confidence. On the downside, there are questions about his vision, his instincts. He didn’t have a strong Under-18 tournament, didn’t have a strong second half of the OHL season, so there are some questions. Chochrun’s sliding. I don’t he’ll slide all that far, to be honest with you, just because there are teams out there that value him, but I see Chychrun has a high-floor, low-ceiling kind of defenseman.

He was seen as a franchise cornerstone at the beginning of the year, and he just hasn’t performed at that level. Having said that, I think he plays.

Mikhail Sergachev, LD, Windsor (OHL), 6-foot-3, 195 pounds

“A real toolsy defender.”

Jake Bean, LD, Calgary (WHL), 6-foot-0, 165 pounds

“In Red Line Report, our No. 1 defenseman is Jake Bean, who scored 24 goals for the Calgary hitmen. He’s a left-shot defensemen and he set a franchise record for goals by a defenseman. He’s got this real wicked sneaky little wrist shot that he gets off quickly and it’s one of those seeing eye puck kind of shots where there might be a maze of people in front and it somehow just will sneak through and will handcuff goalies. They won’t see it coming and it’s by them.

“Real good passer. He’s more of an offensive defenseman at this stage of his development, but I think he kind of gets diminished a little in his defensive ability. He’s a guy that wants to work, but he’s pretty average-sized and he’s slight. During the season, he’s the kind of guy that’s going to have trouble keeping weight on, so he’ll start the season heavier and then as the grind goes on, he’ll lose weight.

“In that WHL, it’s a rugged league, and guys are bigger and stronger and more physical. I think that kind of tends to play into some of the perceptions that Bean is not good defensively, but that overshoots the fact that he’s smart, sees the ice, has good, savvy positional skills, is learning and wants to be good.

“That’s the thing about Bean: he wants to be a complete three-zone player and he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as a single-dimension one-way threat. He understands what he needs to do, and it’s just a matter of maturing physically and continuing to learn, get good coaching and go out and work.

“At Red Line we’ve got Bean like No. 6 overall. He’s our No. 1 defenseman.”

Logan Stanley, LD, Windsor (OHL), 6-foot-7, 210 pounds

“Logan Stanley is a little further down [our list]. If you like Brandon Carlo, you’ll like Logan Stanley. So Logan Stanley right now, he’s big and he’s pretty mobile and he’s a kind of nasty, snarly, intimidating guy, but not much offensive ceiling and upside.

“What is a Logan Stanley really going to do for you in the long run? A couple shutdown guys are key, but how many shutdown guys do you really need on a team? I don’t really see it with Logan Stanley myself. I saw him at the Under-18s. He’s OK. I think he’s going to drive coaches nuts because he turns the puck over, makes bad decisions. So like when Logan Stanley has time and space, just like about everyone, he can make the good, solid first pass. But when the forecheck comes in on him and the game closes in, then he’s kind of a gong show and he’s throwing pucks in the middle of the ice and doing things that are questionable.

“He’s going to need a lot of coaching and a lot of maturity and development ahead because I don’t know that he has the kind of microchip inside his head to process the game all that effectively, to be that two-way threat. I don’t see him emerging as any kind of offensive force down the road. He kind of is what he is. You can’t teach his 6-foot-7 size and he’s nasty, so he’ll be tough to play against; he’s going to lean on guys and hit to hurt and pin guys to the wall, but the Bruins have Rob O’Gara and they have Brandon Carlo. I don’t know that you prioritize a guy like Logan Stanley, and to me you certainly don’t put him at 14. If Stanley’s there at 29, and depending on who else is there, if the Bruins are taking Logan Stanley at 14, then I’d submit to you they’re probably leaving some more talented players on the table and there will probably be some unhappy campers out there, as was the case a year ago.”

Charlie McAvoy, LD, Boston University (NCAA), 5-foot-11, 195 pounds

“I’ve got to imagine the Bruins are keen on him, just because when you look at what they need, he is an impactful offensive, push-the-pace, hair-on-fire, 100 miles an hour defenseman. Who doesn’t want someone like that? I would have to think he would be in the discussion around No. 14.”

Dante Fabbro, RD, Penticton (BCJHL), 6-foot-1, 185 pounds

“I think he’s an excellent player and if he’s available at 14, I suspect the Bruins would have a serious conversation.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The NHL released the regular-season schedule for the 2016-17 on Tuesday. The Bruins will open the season with a three-game road trip beginning Oct. 13 in Columbus before playing in Toronto and Winnipeg. As was learned Monday, Boston’s home opener will take place on Oct. 20 against the Devils.

The NHL released the regular-season schedule for the 2016-17 on Tuesday. The Bruins will open the season with a three-game road trip beginning Oct. 13 in Columbus before playing in Toronto and Winnipeg. As was learned Monday, Boston’s home opener will take place on Oct. 20 against the Devils.

The Bruins’ schedule features 14 sets of back-to-backs. They don’t have any road trips lasting longer than four games, though they do have five four-game trips.

For the complete schedule, click here.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The great Kirk Luedeke of Red Line Report was kind enough to join me for our annual pre-draft podcast. Kirk is an expert on NHL prospects and the draft in general, so his insight is always extremely valuable as we look ahead to the draft.

Listen above for the entire conversation. Following are notes as we reviewed some of the players Boston took in last season’s draft. Check back soon for a post detailing his thoughts on players who might be fits for Boston come Friday.

– Brandon Carlo is indeed the closest of Boston’s three top-60 pick defensemen to reaching the NHL, but Luedeke notes that much of that is based on age. Luedeke doesn’t expect him to make the Bruins out of camp, but that’s “not the end of the world for him” because he has AHL eligibility.

– Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon are “a little further away” and have to go back to their junior teams if they don’t make the Bruins.

Luedeke notes that Zboril, whom the Bruins chose with the 14th overall pick last June, took a step back offensively. Issues that Luedeke had prior to the draft about Zboril’s motor have not gone away, and thus Luedeke considers next season something of a critical year for the player’s development. He notes that the Bruins have emphasized with the player that he can’t puck watch as much as he has in the past.

“There are too many nights where he’s just kind of passive and unengaged and he’ll go long stretches where he’s not really doing much and you have to really look for him. With a player who has that much talent, that’s kind of an issue.”

Added Luedeke: “When he’s playing physical and he is engaged, he is a snarly, surly, atypical European defenseman in that he will lower the boom on people. I’ve seen him fight guys and do very well because they kind of grab the tiger by the tail. He has that big, booming shot and he is capable of delivering that on-target lead pass and distributing the puck on the man advantage. All the things that you like in a defensemen — good in puck retrieval. It’s just that he hasn’t put it together. This is going to be a huge year for him.”

– Lauzon is Luedeke’s favorite of the three defensemen.

“He’s just a solid blend of the three. Not as big as shutdown as Carlo, but solid defensively, good positionally. Not as offensively gifted as Zboril when Zboril’s on top of his game, but still has a real good shot, good vision, can really move the puck. His skating’s fine — probably could stand to improve his pivots and directional change, but it’s coachable stuff. It’s not a major glaring weakness, and that’s really the thing with Lauzon: there are no glaring weaknesses in his game. … I think when you look at what makes a successful pro in this day and age, Lauzon has all those attributes.”

– Luedeke was satisfied with both Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn this season. He notes that though Senyshyn scored 45 goals in the OHL this season, the player’s 200-foot game still needs improvement before he can be considered close to a full-time NHLer. Luedeke feels Senyshyn has a small chance of a nine-game trial to begin the NHL season, but that he’ll be better served to mature with another season in the OHL.

DeBrusk, who could be sent to the AHL if the Bruins chose, impressed Luedeke with his work around the net. Luedeke notes that he’s far from a flashy player, but that he’ll be a productive one.

“He’s not flashy in the way he goes about it, and I think that’s the knock on DeBrusk. There’s this tendency for fans to want to be entertained. They want players to bring them out of their seats and be flashy and electric. I get that, and Kyle Connor was certainly that kind of forward for the University of Michigan this year. I get that it just fueled the debate of ‘Why did the Bruins take DeBrusk?’ but DeBrusk is one of those guys where he’s just kind of there and then all of a sudden he’s jumping on a puck and burying it, or he’s pulling a couple D to him and then sliding a perfect sauce pass to a wide-open teammate for a back-door tap-in. You can’t put a price tag on that. That’s just natural offense and he’s got it.

“If you’re looking to be dazzled every time DeBrusk is on the ice, you’re going to be a little disappointed. If you peel back the onion and you look closer at what he does and how he’s quietly effective — he’ll put that little burst on the puck and beat the defender in a footrace and then get the puck to the net and either score it himself or set it up for a goal by a teammate, he’s doing all the things you look for.

“I really like Jake DeBrusk. I continue to like him. I think he got a raw deal just in terms of how he was perceived because the Bruins didn’t take other people, but he couldn’t control that.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Panthers traded for the rights to pending unrestricted free agent Keith Yandle Monday, according to multiple reports. That means that the top two free agent defensemen could end up off the market before July 1 hits.

The Panthers traded for the rights to pending unrestricted free agent Keith Yandle Monday, according to multiple reports. That means that the top two free agent defensemen could end up off the market before July 1 hits.

Yandle is coming off a stint with the Rangers that lasted parts of two seasons after spending the first eight-plus years of his NHL career with the Coyotes. The Milton native will be 30 years old at the start of next season.

Alex Goligoski, who would probably be the best defender of an extremely weak free agent class at the position, had his rights traded by the Stars to the Coyotes last week.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean