Matt Beleskey took a reasonable contract with the Bruins. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)Don Sweeney may have looked like a rookie at his first draft, but he looked like a seasoned vet in his first free agency period. 



In announcing their flurry of acquisitions Wednesday, the Bruins slipped in an interesting name that had yet to come up during free agency: Jeremy Smith.

The B’s announced that they had signed the goaltender, who split time with Malcolm Subban in Providence last season, to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level. That would make it likely that Smith will at the very least contend to be the backup in Boston behind Tuukka Rask next season.

Smith has never played in the NHL. The Bruins have had mixed results with giving unproven veteran AHLers their backup gig in recent seasons. Chad Johnson proved to be a steal for $600,000 in the 2013-14 season, while the team lost faith in Nicklas Svedberg last season on the same contract. Svedberg bolted Boston early in the offseason to play in the KHL. Both Johnson and Svedberg had one-way deals, however, so Smith could easily be stashed in Providence for less money should he not make the big club.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins have traded Reilly Smith and Marc Savard‘s contract to the Panthers for the rights to restricted free agent Jimmy Hayes. The trade was first reported by ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

The Bruins have signed left wing Matt Beleskey to a five-year, $19 million  contract, according to a source. The deal carries an annual cap hit of $3.8 million.

TSN’s Darren Dreger was the first to report the terms of the deal.

According to a source, the Bruins and Matt Beleskey are close on a five-year contract that will pay the left wing in the neighborhood of $4 million a season.

Darren Dreger of TSN has reported the deal to be done, with an annual cap hit of $3.8 million.

The 27-year-old Beleskey scored a career-high 22 goals last season for the Ducks. He figures to serve as a replacement for Milan Lucic, who was traded to the Kings last week.

The cap hit of Beleskey’s contract comes as a surprise, as his status as the top wing in a weak free agent class suggested he might cash in on a mega-deal. However, a source told WEEI.com prior to free agency that Beleskey was “not just going to take the biggest payday,” and that the Bruins were an ideal fit.

It looked unlikely that a deal would happen in the hours after free agency opened, however, as Beleskey began weighing offers from multiple clubs while the Bruins stayed relatively quiet. It’s believed that Boston jumped in as the day went on before emerging as the front-runner.

With the addition of Beleskey for $3.8 million and the trade of Reilly Smith and Marc Savard to the Panthers, the Bruins now have $62,485,667 committed to 17 players for next season.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

According to ESPN’€™s Pierre LeBrun, the Bruins have traded Reilly Smith and Marc Savard‘s contract to the Panthers for the rights to restricted free agent Jimmy Hayes.

The move swaps out Smith, a 24-year-old left shot right wing, for a right-shot right wing in the 25-year-old Hayes.

A native of Boston and product of Boston College, Hayes scored 19 goals for the Panthers last season.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
David Warsofsky

David Warsofsky

The Bruins have lost a couple of young depth players to teams in the Metropolitan division.

TSN reporter Frank Seravalli reported Wednesday that the Penguins had given defenseman David Warsofsky a one-year deal, while ESPN’€™s Joe McDonald reported that center Matt Lindblad had signed with the Rangers.

A native of Marshfield and product of Boston University, Warsofsky is a good offensive-minded defenseman who has been stuck in Providence due to the presence of Torey Krug in Boston. The 25-year-old has played just 10 NHL games since the Bruins acquired his rights from the Blues in 2010.

Lindblad played two games for Boston in each of the last two seasons, with the vast majority of his professional career being spent in Providence since leaving Dartmouth College. The Illinois native could have been a candidate to push for a roster spot in Boston next season, but the Bruins declined to send him a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent this week.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Matt Bartkowski

Matt Bartkowski

Predictably, Matt Bartkowski’€™s time with the Bruins is over. Predictably, the next chapter of his career will be in Vancouver.

The Canucks signed the 27-year-old defenseman to a one-year deal on Wednesday, the opening day of free agency. Bartkowski was an unrestricted free agent after spending the first five years of his career with the Bruins.

Bartkowski will be reunited with former Bruins assistant general manager Jim Benning, who took over as Canucks GM last offseason.

The B’€™s initially acquired Bartkowski in a 2010 trade with the Panthers that also brought Dennis Seidenberg to Boston. Bartkowski was a seventh-round pick of the Panthers in 2008, but never signed with Florida. He left Ohio State after two seasons to turn pro.

Bartkowski’€™s tenure with the B’€™s was full of stops and starts and various stints in Boston and Providence. A skilled skater, Bartkowski struggled with confidence and had trouble solidifying a spot in Boston’€™s lineup, with the 2013-14 campaign seeing him play a career-high 64 games thanks largely to Seidenberg‘€™s season-ending knee injury.

Though Bartkowski scored a big goal in Game 7 of the first round against the Maple Leafs in the 2013 playoffs, he has no goals in 131 regular-season games in the NHL.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Matt Beleskey scored 22 goals for the Ducks last season. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Free agent left wing Matt Beleskey scored 22 goals for the Ducks last season. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Poor Matt Beleskey.

He could very well cash in on Wednesday, but you can’€™t help but feel for the guy.

He’€™s getting ruined in the press, you see.

The newly 27-year-old left wing might be the most offensively potent free agent in this year’€™s class, yet he’€™s at the very top of virtually every “buyer beware”€ list. Instead of the being billed as the solution to teams’ problems, he’s being billed as the second coming of David Clarkson.

Why? Because he’€™s only done it once.

“It” being reach the 20-goal plateau, that is. In 65 games for Anaheim last season, Beleskey notched 22 goals and 10 assists for 32 points. Not only was it Beleskey’€™s only 20-goal season; it was just his second 10-goal season in the NHL, as his previous career high was 11 goals, which he registered in the 2009-10 season as a rookie.

What makes Beleskey’€™s goal total flash red is the fact that this season saw him play on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, two of the best hockey players in the whole wide world. As our pal Nick Goss points out, his shooting percentage nearly doubled last season from his career mark entering the season

As such, arguing that a particular team should sign the player figures to be met with skepticism, but the Bruins could actually be a fit in the right circumstances.

Now, we learned at the draft that the B’€™s had expressed interest in the player once the window for teams to talk to players and agents opened last week. That was met with a shrug based on the assumption that Beleskey would wisely look to cash in and take the richest deal possible. If such were the case, Boston would be out of the question.

Thinking a bit outside the box, what if he’€™s actually looking for a good situation where he can try to build on his 20-goal season and try to win without the pressure of living up to an absurd contract?

That’€™s a big, big “if,” considering how many teams are vying for his services (a lot), but if Beleskey wants to play on a good line on a potential playoff team, Boston could make sense, provided they are actually trying to be a playoff team themselves.

With Milan Lucic traded, the Bruins need a left wing for David Krejci. That could potentially be Loui Eriksson if the Bruins move him to left wing, but the Bruins would then need a wing to replace Eriksson’€™s minutes elsewhere.

Interestingly enough, Lucic and Beleskey are the same age to the day (June 7, 1988, also the birthday of a very handsome sportswriter). The Bruins paid Lucic $6 million against the cap last season to score 18 goals. If Beleskey could be had for somewhere in the $4-4.5 million range annually, the B’€™s could expect similar production from him playing on a line with Krejci. With Ryan Spooner ready to take over as the team’s third-line center, the Bruins didn’t have a reason to give Carl Soderberg the five-year, $23.75 million deal he got with the Avalanche, but if Beleskey is willing to take a slightly smaller deal than that, he could be a fit on a team that could use a good left wing.

That would be a tough financial pill to swallow next season given that the Bruins are paying Lucic $2.75 million in retained salary to play elsewhere, but with Spooner continuing to progress, signing Beleskey could give the B’€™s an option for either their second or third line in the coming years as Brad Marchand (two years remaining on his contract) continues to skate with Patrice Bergeron.

Of course, if he struggles to produce like he did prior to his next contract, the Bruins would find themselves in a similar situation they’ve been in recently with Chris Kelly ($3 million) and the Blackhawks have been in with Bryan Bickell ($4 million).

The Bruins also don’t have a lot of cap space, so if they were to sign Beleskey, that might be the highest-priced player they’d take on this offseason, including possible trade targets. With approximately $61,160,667 committed to 16 players not counting Ryan Spooner’s two-year extension, the Bruins do not have a ton of spending money underneath the $71.4 million upper limit. Team’s can be 10 percent over the cap during the offseason, but they might need to trade someone (perhaps Kelly) at some point if they want to give Beleskey a decent contract.

Don Sweeney says the Bruins aren’t rebuilding. After losing Lucic, the team could do worse than to bring in a tough left wing whose career could still be progressing. Beleskey’s only a major risk if he’s given major dollars, so the Bruins should see what he’d be willing to take in Boston before he makes his decision.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

According to a source, the Bruins and Ryan Spooner have agreed to a two-year contract extension worth a total of $1.9 million. The contract will carry an annual cap hit of $950,000.