Bruins Sign Carlo To New Contract

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Photo Courtesy Of Getty Images

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that the team has signed defenseman Brandon Carlo to a two-year deal with approximately $2.85 million per season. The signing comes just two days after the B’s were able to come to terms with Charlie McAvoy. Carlo skated in 72 regular season games for the B’s last year, recording two goals and eight assists for ten points. He also appeared in all 24 postseason contests last spring, posting two goals and two assists.
 

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The Bruins drafted the Colorado Springs native in the second round (37th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Carlo skated in all 82 regular season games for the B’s in his rookie year, posting six goals and ten assists for 16 points which are still career highs for the young defenseman. Due to injuries at the end of both of his first two seasons, Carlo didn’t appear in the postseason either of those years. Carlo spent seven games in 2015-16 with the Providence Bruins, recording an assist.

Carlo may not be the offensive force that Charlie McAvoy is but he is just as important to the team if not more. He has already cemented himself as one of the best young defensive defensemen in the entire league. Don’t be surprised if the B’s increase his ice time this season, and if all goes well he may contribute a little offense.

Bruins Ink McAvoy To New Deal

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Photo Courtesy Of The Boston Globe

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

First reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Bruins have signed Charlie McAvoy to a three-year contract worth about $4.9 million dollars per season. McAvoy skated in 54 regular season games for the B’s last year, posting seven goals and 21 assists for 28 points. He also appeared in 23 postseason games last spring, posting two goals and six assists for eight points.

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In McAvoy’s rookie season in 2017-18 he posted seven goals and 25 assists for 32 points in 63 regular season games. He also posted a goal and four assists in 12 postseason contests. The 21-year-old also appeared in six playoff games in 2016-17, posting three assists in six games. In that year, McAvoy also appeared in four games in Providence, recording two assists. The Long Beach, New York native was drafted by the Bruins in the first round (14th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

McAvoy will certainly be a big part of the Bruins future and perhaps the present as well. Number 73 should see increased ice time overall and on the power play and we could see a breakout season if he can stay healthy. Now with McAvoy locked up, the Bruins defense corps will be solid for years to come. Logically, signing Brandon Carlo would be next on the list for Don Sweeney.

Bruins Sign Bruce Cassidy To Extension

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Photo Courtesy Of Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced this morning, that the team has signed Head Coach Bruce Cassidy to a multi-year contract extension. Cassidy is about to start his third full season behind the B’s bench and has compiled a record of 117-52-22 since taking over for Claude Julien.

Cassidy already owns the fourth-best winning percentage in team history and is the second-fastest head coach in team history to reach 100 wins. In just his second full season in Boston, Cassidy led the B’s to a 49-24-9 regular season record and an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. It was the second straight year the Bruins had topped 100 points and the third straight season the team had reached the playoffs under Cassidy.

 

Prior to joining Claude Julien’s staff in 2016-17, Cassidy spent five seasons (2011-2016) as the Head Coach of the Providence Bruins. He also spent three seasons (2008-2011) as an assistant to the hockey club. The 54-year old native of Ottawa, Ontario compiled a record of 207-128-45 in his tenure as Head Coach including four playoff berths. Since taking over for Claude Julien, Cassidy has been rock solid as Head Coach and has done a fantastic job in a very short span. It’s good to see the front office and the organization not only recognizes his work but rewards him for the success he’s had.

B’s Season Can Be Successful Without A Return Trip To Final

 

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Photo Courtesy Of NBC Sports Boston

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Ideally, when you start a season in any sport the goal is to win a championship. That’s what you work for, what you put in so much for and what you hope to be rewarded for. The Boston Bruins are no stranger to knowing what it takes to win a championship and how much sacrifice it takes. Oftentimes in the NHL, one team’s overall success is often defined by the championships they win because of the nature of the postseason and the level of sacrifice it takes. In a city like Boston, championships are expected this day in age and when a team comes so close to winning a title and doesn’t get it done, words like failure get brought up. In this case it’s fair to label losing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final at home to be a failure because the Bruins lost to an inferior team and got blown out. As Boston fans, especially recently we expect our teams to win in those situations but sometimes it doesn’t work out and as much as it is hard, it’s what makes sports so captivating. Ideally, the Bruins are out for redemption this season as they look to finish the job, but even without a championship they can still have a successful season.

I’ll reiterate that ideally, the Bruins do want to raise the cup after coming so close about two and a half months ago but a championship doesn’t need to define their success for the upcoming season. Oftentimes we as Boston sports fan focus too much on winning championships that we lose track of a team’s progression. For example, when Bruce Cassidy took over for Claude Julien, the B’s were a team stuck in neutral and looking for a new direction. The Bruins had missed the playoffs for two straight seasons and were dangerously close to becoming a mediocre hockey club. Hiring Cassidy was the perfect medicine as he’s led the team to three consecutive playoff appearances including a Stanley Cup Final appearance. It’s not just the team that’s progressed so well, the front office has had a successful few years including really solid free agent acquisitions such as Riley Nash, Tim Schaller, and Chris Wagner. Don Sweeney has done a fabulous job drafting players like Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, and Brandon Carlo who are now a big part of the B’s core.

There are certainly ways the B’s can have a successful season including the continued success of the young players and prospects and whether they’ll be a part of the team’s future. It’ll be exciting to keep track of players such as Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, and Urho Vaakanainen just to name a few. It’s not crazy to think a few of these players play meaningful games for the B’s this season. Another player to be excited about is Charlie Coyle. The Weymouth native was acquired by the Bruins prior to the trade deadline and paid huge dividends with a great playoff performance. Coyle is playing for a new contract perhaps in Boston and could give the front office an option should they decide to move on from a player like David Krejci.

There’s a very good chance the B’s don’t return to the Final this season and personally I believe people need to be ready for that reality. The Bruins got some serious help in the playoffs last season with both Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh being swept in the first round. This isn’t to discredit the B’s at all because making it to the Final is a great accomplishment no matter how you get it done. However, it’s hard to believe the Bruins won’t have to go through at least one of those teams next spring, so the expectation to get back to the Final may need to be tempered a little bit. There’s a reason why teams often don’t repeat as Cup champions or don’t even return to the Final the following season. Only seven teams since 1990 have returned to the Final the following season. Not to say the Bruins can’t do it because looking at their roster there isn’t a ton of changeover from last season but it certainly isn’t easy and history is not necessarily in their favor. 2019-2020 will be an exciting year for the Boston Bruins but they shouldn’t be judged solely on whether they return to the Stanley Cup Final.

Contract Year Could Mean Big Things For Bruins DeBrusk

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

It’s been quite a two year ride for Jake DeBrusk. He’s seen a lot, from scoring a goal in his first career game to dominating his first playoff experience to losing on home ice in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. The former first round pick has excelled for the most part since his debut, putting together a rookie season of 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points. DeBrusk performed above expectations and followed up his impressive regular season with an even better postseason. He posted numbers of six goals and two assists for eight points in just 12 playoff games. The young winger surprised everyone by performing so well, playing with an edge not typically seen in a rookie. His energy and excitement was unmatched in his first season that was full of great moments.

After having such a successful rookie season, the pressure was on DeBrusk to duplicate those numbers or perhaps go beyond that. After performing so well with virtually no expectations, DeBrusk struggled at certain points last year with expectations to improve on his rookie numbers. The crazy thing about it is, this happens in every sport after a player has a strong rookie season. The particular player is expected to perform the same or better despite considering their age and experience. It seemed like these expectations got to DeBrusk and caused him to go through some tough stretches. Ironically, Number 74 finished his second season with just one fewer point than the season before. DeBrusk posted 27 goals and 15 assists for 42 points, drastically improving his goal scoring total. DeBrusk also saw more time on the power play, especially on the top unit with players like Patrice Bergeron and Torey Krug.

DeBrusk then had an up and down postseason that ended with a Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup Final. It was revealed after the series that the young winger had played through a concussion in the postseason and potentially could’ve been the reason why he didn’t seem to perform at the same level as did the year before. DeBrusk posted four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 24 postseason games which in terms of raw production was better than his first postseason but appearing in so many games perhaps should’ve had him produce more than he did. Obviously though playing through a concussion has serious effects on a player and perhaps DeBrusk was effected in a such way that it changed the way he played. With a player his age, using this past spring as a learning experience certainly would go a long way as he continues to grow as a professional.

DeBrusk will almost certainly come into training camp with something to prove after perhaps a less than stellar postseason. The good news is his place in the lineup likely won’t change barring something unforeseen such as an injury. DeBrusk will almost certainly start the season on David Krejci’s left wing and should continue to see time on that first power play unit. DeBrusk is certainly going to get a ton of scoring chances and it’s not unreasonable to think he could reach 30 goals. With this season being a contract year, expect DeBrusk to play with that energy we all saw in his first year. It’s been a bumpy ride for DeBrusk in his first two seasons but expect his best season yet in 2019-2020.

Former Bruin Marc Savard Hired As Assistant Coach For Blues

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Photo Courtesy Of Sporting News

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

It was reported this afternoon that the St. Louis Blues had hired former All-Star Marc Savard to their coaching staff. Savard appeared in 807 career regular season games, including 304 with the Bruins. Savard amassed 706 points during his career, posting 207 goals and 499 assists. Savard announced his retirement in January of 2018, seven years after his final NHL game with the Bruins. Savard has been active in hockey after his departure, working as a radio and television analyst and as a coach in the Peterborough Pete’s organization.

Savard signed with the Bruins on July 1st, 2006 on a four-year $20 million contract after nine seasons playing for the Rangers, Flames, and Atlanta Thrashers. Savard totaled 74 goals and 231 assists for 305 points in his five seasons in Boston. He also appeared in 25 career playoff games with Boston, posting eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points. Savard’s career was unfortunately cut short after suffering two concussions less than a year apart.

The Ottawa, Ontario native was originally selected by the Rangers in the fourth round (91st overall) of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. Savard will join a St. Louis staff led by Head Coach Craig Berube, that is coming off their first Stanley Cup Championship in team history. The Blues will return to the TD Garden on October 26th so mark your calendars not only for a Stanley Cup rematch but a chance to see Savard in his element again.

Bruins Sign Pavel Shen To Entry Level Contract

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Photo Courtesy Of NHL.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced on Tuesday afternoon that the B’s had come to terms on a three-year entry level contract for Pavel Shen with a cap hit of $809,167 per season. Shen most recently played for Salavat Yulayev Ufa of the KHL, appearing in 20 games and recording an assist. Shen also competed for Russia at the U-20 World Championships, posting three goals and one assist for four points in seven games.

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Shen was drafted by the Bruins in the seventh round (212th overall) of the 2018 NHL Draft. Shen also appeared in the MHL, playing for Tolpar Ufa for five games and recording an assist. Shen recently had terminated the contract for that team, allowing him to sign in Boston for the next three years. Shen was in fact the leading goal scorer for Russia at the U-20 World Championships in Canada at the end of 2018.

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The Ufa, Russia native is an interesting case as a ton of draft experts had him being taken much earlier than the seventh round. The exciting part is that Bruins fans may be able to see the 19-year-old much sooner than expected and get to see what he brings to the table. With any luck, Shen comes to North America and thrives and B’s fans get to see him more often and get more familiar with his game.

Haydon: Ideal Bruins Lineup On Opening Night: Version One

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins

Photo Courtesy Of NESN.com

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

First Line: Marchand-Bergeron-Studnicka

If there’s going be a young forward that breaks into the B’s lineup, I’m willing to bet it will be Jack Studnicka. The youngster is already a very talented and dynamic player but obviously doesn’t have much experience as he only has 5 AHL games under his belt. Putting him on the top line gives him a chance to play with some word class players but also to learn from them. Studnicka one day should become a center, but starting on the wing especially on the first line would allow him to not become overwhelmed by NHL play.

Barring an injury of some sort, there’s no reason to think the duo of Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron won’t return to the top line on opening night in Dallas.

Second Line: DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak

There’s a simple fix to the revolving door of wingers on the second line, and that is to add a little pasta. David Pastrnak is easily the B’s best right-shot winger and has come into his own the last two seasons and become one of the best goal scorers in the entire league. This really should be a simple decision for the Bruins coaching staff, to create two elite offensive lines to make it difficult on opposing defenses. Jake DeBrusk should improve after a slight down season and David Krejci should be at the top of his game after putting together his best season in quite a while.

Third Line: Heinen-Coyle-Kuhlman

I am being completely serious when I say this but if this line is put together it has the chance to be one of the best lines in the entire league. The trade for Charlie Coyle turned out to be an amazing move for the Bruins in February as Coyle was spectacular in the postseason. Not only did he put up the points, he was also very strong on the puck and was able to stabilize the B’s third line which had been stuck in neutral all season long. There’s no reason to believe he shouldn’t perform close to that next season and pairing him with two young, talented forwards would give the Bruins another rock solid line.

Danton Heinen should improve after a rocky second season and should see more scoring opportunities playing with Coyle. Karson Kuhlman is a perfect fit for this line with his determination for the puck and his willingness to go to the dirty areas. He also certainly doesn’t lack in his offensive game and could see upwards of 15 goals next season if he remains in the lineup.

Fourth Line: Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

No surprises here, with Noel Acciari going to Florida. Chris Wagner was incredibly solid in his first year in Boston and should continue on the fourth line and won’t be too much of a downgrade from Acciari. Joakim Nordstrom rebounded from a uneven regular season to be one of the B’s best forwards in the playoffs and should have no trouble keeping his job in training camp. With Sean Kuraly centering this line, the Bruins again will have incredibly solid depth down the middle. Kuraly seems to improve every season so there’s no reason to not expect another jump from him this season.

Extra Forwards: Lindholm, Ritchie

Both players were signed as NHL depth so it wouldn’t shock me if they both started the year in Boston. Lindholm is a solid, versatile player that can easily slot in to replace anyone in the lineup if it be an injury or inconsistent play. Ritchie will probably be used in a similar way to Acciari as a fourth line replacement or he may see time on the third line if Kuhlman were to struggle in camp or the preseason.

First Pairing: Chara-McAvoy

Chara is another year older and probably won’t be able to play 24-25 minutes anymore but McAvoy should be able to pick up some slack. However, both players seem to work very well together and are often in the right place especially defensively. McAvoy could easily surpass Chara as the number one defenseman this season which would be good for the front office to see that the team would be in good hands when Chara eventually hangs them up.

Second Pairing: Krug-Carlo

As much flack as Krug gets for being average or worse in his own end, he is a beast of an offensive player and is a big reason why the power play had such a good season last year. He is easily their best offensive defenseman and should continue to be that next season. Brandon Carlo is almost the exact opposite as he became a shutdown defenseman during the playoffs and is just a solid player to have on the back end. Offensively he may not contribute much but is so rock solid defensively that is almost doesn’t matter. Assuming the B’s shed some salary, Carlo should see a decent raise this offseason.

Third Pairing: Grzelcyk-Clifton

This is yet another rock solid pair on the back end with both young players having very solid postseason performances. Grzelcyk has grown exponentially as a player ever since he was drafted and at points last season he was the B’s best defenseman. Clifton was incredibly solid when called upon and had a great postseason despite never playing a playoff game prior to this past season.

Extra Defenseman: Kampfer

With both John Moore and Kevan Miller likely starting the year on injured reserve, Kampfer is the obvious choice to have as the seventh defenseman. The B’s signed Kampfer to a two-year deal prior to free agency to serve as a safety net in case of injury or inconsistencies. He was solid in his playing time this past season and understands his role so keeping him around was a no brainer for the Bruins.

Goalies: Rask-Halak

Really no debate here as both goalies should return to a 1A and 1B situation that was so successful for the team last season.

Rask was well rested by the time the playoffs rolled around and had his most successful postseason since 2013. Halak was incredibly solid as a backup and arguably had a better regular season than Rask. Both goalies should again have very good seasons barring any injury.

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Report: Bruins Sign Connor Clifton To Contract Extension

NHL: Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs

Photo Courtesy Of WEEI Radio

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Prior to the start of free agency on Monday afternoon, it was reported that the Bruins had signed Connor Clifton to a three-year extension worth three million dollars total. The young defenseman had a year left on his current contract worth $725,000 for next season.

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Clifton appeared in 19 regular season games for the Bruins this past season, totaling an assist. He also skated in 18 playoff games during the B’s Stanley Cup run, scoring a pair of goals and adding three assists for five points. Clifton also appeared in 53 games for Providence this past season, posting six goals and 21 assists for 27 points. Clifton also skated for Providence last season, posting four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 54 games.

The Long Branch, New Jersey native was originally selected in the fifth round (133rd overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Arizona Coyotes. Clifton signed with the Bruins last May after completing his senior season at Quinnipiac University. Clifton played four seasons for the Bobcats, posting totals of 19 goals and 37 assists for 56 points in 156 career games. Clifton should see a larger role this season considering how well he performed during the postseason. With this signing it certain seems as though we could see some movement on the Bruins blue line.

Bruins’ Sweeney Named GM Of The Year

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Photo Courtesy Of The Boston Herald

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney won General Manager of the Year on Wednesday night in Las Vegas during the NHL Awards ceremony. Sweeney beat out Hurricanes General Manager Don Waddell and Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong for the honor, becoming the first Bruin to win the award since its inception in 2010. Since Sweeney took over as the General Manager in 2015, the B’s have compiled a record of 143-75-28 which ranks third in wins and points in the entire league over that span. Sweeney has been a part of the Bruins front office since 2006.

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Sweeney oversaw the construction of a squad that finished in second place in the Eastern Conference and tied for second in the entire league in 2018-19. The Bruins compiled a record of 49-24-9 this past season and advanced to the Conference Final for the eight time since the round was introduced in 1982. The Bruins also clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in the last decade and first since 2013. Despite the Bruins losing over 250 man games this season due to injury, Sweeney was able to make the right moves to keep the team near the top of the league standings almost all year.

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His trade deadline acquisitions of Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson proved to be two of his best moves as General Manager as both players were outstanding during the B’s long playoff run. Coyle totaled nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in the playoffs after posting just two goals and four assists for six points in 21 regular season games. Johansson posted just one goal and two assists for three points in ten games in the regular season and then exploded for four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 22 playoff games.

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Sweeney was incredibly thankful for the award and credited the Bruins organization, “I really believe this is an acknowledgement of the Boston Bruins organization,” he said. “I was very fortunate that Mr. Jacobs, Charlie, and Cam gave me this opportunity. And the incredible, devoted coaches and players, people I get to work with every day should share this as well.”

Sweeney also credited his twin boys, Jared and Tyler as inspirations for the award. “From the time they were born at one pound and six ounces,” he said, harkening back long ago to the anxious days of their birth. “But most importantly, to my beautiful wife, she has been the rock of our family. She has selflessly supported all of my career aspirations and I share this with her tonight as the special person she is.”

Sweeney’s work this season was incredibly solid and while he did make a few moves that were head scratching to some people, those moves ultimately worked out. The signings of Chris Wagner and Joakim Nordstrom last July turned out to be some of his better free agent signings in recent years. The addition of Jaroslav Halak was very helpful as he was able to play effectively enough to allow Tuukka Rask to stay fresh for the long playoff run. The additions of college free agents Connor Clifton and Karson Kuhlman proved to be very good moves especially in the playoffs as the two of them played very significant roles. We will see this offseason if Sweeney can pull off any more shrewd moves to get this team to bring some hardware back to Boston next June.