"I want to be in the NHL every year," the Providence Bruins head coach said Thursday, "simple as I can say."
Those words come as Boston has a vacancy on its bench. Last month, Bruins longtime assistant coach Geoff Ward resigned to take a head coaching job in German after serving for seven seasons on Claude Julien's staff, and Cassidy has been mentioned as a possible replacement.
"Well that's where I am now," Cassidy said of his status with Providence. "So whatever happens down the road with the vacancy here will happen. But I'm always preparing for Providence. You know, if something else changes, well give me a call and I'll talk to you about it."
For example: The 20-year-old goaltending prospect was nearly 45 minutes late getting onto the ice for the first day of camp Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena. After the session, Subban explained he experienced leg cramps after the dry-land running drills and needed to ice down before he put his equipment on to join the others on the ice.
There's still plenty Subban needs to learn about being a pro, and that's why he's here.
"As a young goaltender, we felt that the time he would be able to spend with [goalie coach] Bob [Essensa] would be very, very instrumental in continuing his development," Sweeney said. "So, he had a really good first year, had some ups and downs, had to fight through some things, and try and try and battle for the net. It's healthy for him to be around kids really his own age, to be honest with you, even as a first-year pro. So we're happy that he's here and going to be able to take advantage of that extra time."
The Bruins selected Subban in the first round (24th overall) of the 2012 NHL entry draft, and he spent the entire 2013-14 season with the P-Bruins, posting a 15-10-5 record and a 2.31 goals-against average, with one shutout in 33 games. Sharing the net (with Niklas Svedberg) was something Subban was not used to doing in his career.
"I'm used to playing a lot of games and being the go-to guy, so it was kind of tough being the secondary guy," Subban said. "I just tried to stay focused mentally, and that was the hardest thing for me mentally was to stay focused and earn my way. You don't play as much, so when you get a chance to play you got to play well, and that's what I tried to do."
Added Subban: "Last year was huge for my development I felt, adjusting to the game and seeing where you belong and what kind of style you have to play. Obviously, you don't want to change too much, but I felt I needed to make a couple of adjustments coming into the AHL. I thought it went really well, to be honest."
The Bruins recently signed Svedberg to a one-year, one-way contract worth $600,000 to serve as Tuukka Rask's backup.
If that plays out during training camp and Svedberg earns the backup role, Subban will see plenty of rubber in Providence next season. Subban said he's prepared for anything, so when the Bruins informed him that he would participate in development camp, the response was typical. He told Sweeney, "Hey, man, whatever you want," explained the assistant GM.
"He's very easygoing that way," Sweeney said. "Great nature, and really wants to be on the ice. [I] felt that he would be able to take advantage of it as I described it, and [he] was very, very receptive."
With Rask locked up through the 2020-21 season, where do Subban and Svedberg fit into the Bruins' plans, beyond having depth at the goaltending position and a healthy internal competition?
"I think the book on goaltending is that you should be patient to allow them to go through some ups and down and experiences," Sweeney said. "Tuukka is a great example of that, spending time in the American League, coming up, having an apprenticeship, so to speak, then getting the net."
Now that Rask is the true No. 1 goaltender for the Bruins, Svedberg and Subban find themselves as the so-called apprentices.
"[Svedberg] is going to try and go in and be that backstop, the complementary piece to Tuukka," Sweeney said. "The other guys are going to move along the path that they're supposed to be."
Subban doesn't lack for confidence, but he understands his role in the organization and will prepare this summer to compete for the backup role in Boston or be ready for another season in the AHL. So the fact that he's back at development camp does not bother Subban or ruffle his ego.
"It's good," Subban said. "It keeps you sharp for the rest of the summer, and it's good to get back on the ice and see the guys. It's a fun camp, besides the run test."
Subban is disappointed about one thing: He left his Xbox at home. David Pastrnak, Boston's first-round pick (No. 25 overall) in this June's draft, has an extremely outgoing personality and is already chirping that he's better than Subban at NHL14.
"I wish I brought it, but we might go get one," Subban said with a smile.
Realistically, Subban needs more time to develop at the pro level. He knows he has to be outstanding in order to earn a spot and play in the NHL for the Bruins. That progress began last summer at development camp, and it continues now.
"I'm just focused on getting better this summer and competing for a spot in September," he said, as he took a drink of water.
"It's a pretty small hockey world," Boston College forward and Massachusetts native Ryan Fitzgerald said Thursday after skating in the second day of Bruins development camp, "to be this far down the line and still be playing with kids that I played with when I was 10."
It's been a common occurrence for the Bruins in the last several years.
Boston has drafted a Massachusetts-born player in each of the last three drafts. The organization hasn't really seen a bumper crop of New England-born players from the region's secondary schools since the period from 1984 through 1992 -- a span that also happens to coincide with what many view as the zenith of high school hockey in Massachusetts.
Many of the recent draft picks have ties to the team. Both Fitzgerald and Ryan Donato, this year's second-rounder, have fathers (Tom and Ted, respectively) who donned the spoked B. Charlestown native and current Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, who was selected out of the United States National Team Development Program in the third round in 2012, is the son of John Grzelcyk, longtime member of the "bull gang" at TD Garden.
In addition, the Bruins drafted defenseman Robbie O'Gara out of Milton (Massachusetts) Academy in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. Although O'Gara is a native of Long Island, he and 2013 fifth-rounder Wiley Sherman (Hotchkiss School/Greenwich, Connecticut) add further New England roots.
All are in attendance at development camp this week.
"I think half the guys here are from Massachusetts," Providence Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy quipped after Thursday's skating session.
It underlines one of two recent trends in the Bruins' draft philosophy.
In the same years the organization has increasingly pulled from its backyard, the Bruins are also looking to Sweden. Boston has taken five players from the country's junior ranks in the last two years, headlined by the Bruins' first picks in each of those years -- 2014 first-rounder David Pastrnak and 2013 second-rounder Linus Arnesson.
The Bruins also have beefed up their presence in the area, adding former fan favorite P.J. Axelsson as a European scout, in addition to Svenake Svensson, who also is based in Sweden and has been with the team for 24 years.
It points to the evolving nature of hockey at home and across the pond -- one that has brought two schools of philosophy closer together.
"I think the game's becoming more centralized," Cassidy said Thursday. "The North American game has gone more toward the European game -- with puck possession and the way the lineups are filled out. And the European game has moved a little bit toward the North American styles. Some of these Swedes that are coming over here and they're gritty, they're hard on the puck, they're hard to get the puck from, they compete for it, whereas in years past you might not have said that."
It should come as no surprise that the Bruins' assistant director of amateur scouting is a local as well. Scott Fitzgerald, brother of Tom Fitzgerald and uncle to Ryan, is part of the brain trust that has charted a course to familiar waters.
"It's pretty special putting on the black and gold, but it's awesome to be able to do it with a couple of Mass. guys as well," Ryan Donato said Thursday. "It shows how good Mass. hockey is. I think it just shows that Mass. hockey is getting better."
There might just be a symbiotic relationship to hockey in the area. For all the rinks and hockey careers Bobby Orr inspired, the same might be able to be said of the Bruins' most recent Stanley Cup victory.
"You watch [Donato's] family realize how exciting it is, both Ryans for that matter [Donato and Fitzgerald], and Grizz's [Matt Grzelcyk] family is a great story," Bruins assistant general manager Don Sweeney said on Wednesday. "They weren't drafted because of the story, but the best part about it is they get to add another chapter. And if they do go on to fulfill their dream, then it becomes that much better, that much more rewarding for everybody involved because the Bruins are part of the fabric of this community."
While tight-knit, there are six degrees of separation sometimes in the hockey community.
Despite growing up in the same state, having fathers who played for the same team and being separated by only a couple of years in age, the younger Donato and Fitzgerald had never met until joining the team at Ristuccia Arena this week. The centers have more in common than not. Besides their first name, they share the same outlook regarding the name on the back of their sweaters.
"He'll probably say the same thing, we've had it our whole life," Ryan Fitzgerald said about the pressures of growing up in an NHL family. "It's something that we've dealt with. We don't feel that much pressure to be honest with you."
Donato reflected on the impact he and his fellow local Bruins could have on the younger generation. It's also possible that Massachusetts could produce next year's overall No. 1 draft pick in Chelmsford's Jack Eichel -- a former teammate of Donato's at the youth level -- in addition to several potential first-rounders in a rich draft class.
"Little kids will look up to them and a bunch of the guys here and want to be like them," Donato said. "That's a pretty special thing."
A world of hockey that's pretty small, after all.
But the 18-year-old native of the Czech Republic is making his case to stay in North America. In fact, the Bruins’ first-round draft pick might not have any choice in the matter for some time. He told reporters on Thursday that he lost his passport.
His agent told him that he might have “lost it on purpose” in an attempt to stick in Boston.
At 6 feet and 173 pounds, it’s a bit premature to imagine this year’s 25th overall selection sticking in Boston, but he’s turned heads in his two-day stint thus far.
“He’s fast, he plays at a very high rate of speed,” Bruce Cassidy, the head coach of the Providence Bruins, said after Thursday’s camp session at Ristuccia Arena. “He’s got great one-on-one ability, body control. He’s a high-end skill player. It’s hard to evaluate his overall skill at this point, obviously, because it’s mostly one-on-one, but you can see why he’s a high pick.”
“There is a time when I changed my game,” Pastrnak said of his time with SSK. “I think I’m a two-way forward now. It’s important, you have to be a two-way forward if you want to make not just the NHL but any big league.”
The decision came with much debate, after considering coming to play junior hockey in North America. Pastrnak said the move away from home was difficult enough and admitted to being home sick.
If he’d come to North America earlier, Pastrnak added, “They would have crushed me here.”
Another benefit to playing in Sweden -- and aiding his potential move to the Americas -- was Pastrnak learning a new language. He took it upon himself to learn English, in order to talk with this teammates.
There’s another part of Pastrnak’s game that translates as well.
“If you can skate, you can play anywhere,” he said.
While Pastrnak’s raw skill is apparent, he’s only begun his physical development.
“You’re playing against men -- violent, angry men a lot of nights,” Cassidy said of life in the NHL.
However, the Bruins are depleted in a category Pastrnak can satisfy: right-hand-shot forwards. And that, in addition to his eye-popping skill that had him ranked fourth among European skaters in the NHL Central Scouting’s midterm report last year, could bolster his odds to stay.
“That’s an area of need,” Cassidy said of the Bruins' depth on the wing, “so he has that going for him as well.”
Pastrnak wasn’t looking past this week’s camp.
“It’s hard to say, you never know,” he said of his chances for making the big club out of the chute.
“I just want to show them they made the right decision.
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- When Ryan Donato heard his name called at the NHL entry draft last month at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, he experienced a moment of shock upon being selected by the Boston Bruins.
"Honestly, I blacked out when I got drafted," Donato said with a big smile.
The Bruins selected Donato, 18, in the second round, the 56th overall pick. The 6-foot, 174-pound forward from the Dexter School is the son of former Bruins forward and current Harvard men's ice hockey coach Ted Donato.
Ted Donato played nine seasons for the Bruins, and when he heard his son's name called last month in Philadelphia, Ted gave Ryan a big hug.
On Wednesday, Ryan Donato was on the ice as an official member of the Bruins' organization. Donato joined 22 other potential prospects, most of whom were wearing the spoked B for the first time, on the first day of rookie development camp at Ristuccia Arena.
"It's incredible," Donato said. "Watching my dad, and being around the rinks growing up, and now being able to put on the Black and Gold myself felt really good."
We want you to name your favorite player from your favorite team -- of all time. Not just this season, not just the past five years, not just that one time when they should have won the Stanley Cup but were robbed by a bad call. Of all time. Columbus Blue Jackets fans, you've got less work to do than, say, fans of the Montreal Canadiens. And keep in mind that the player is representing the franchise, not just the team. New Jersey Devils fans, don't forget about your complicated lineage. Winnipeg Jets fans, remember those long, hot winters in Atlanta. Etc.
So, who's it going to be? Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque or Zdeno Chara? Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull or Jonathan Toews? Marcel Dionne or Jonathan Quick? Mike Modano or Cesare Maniago? Yes, it's a tough gig, picking players from different positions and different eras. Who cares if Bobby Clarke had to finish his career wearing Cooperalls? The bottom line: Does he deserve to be named Mr. Flyer over Bernie Parent? Or Eric Lindros (wouldn't that be ironic)?
We need representation from all 30 teams, or it's just not going to work, so vote now and vote often. Vote for players on teams you love, vote for players on teams you don't.
You can cast your ballot in three ways: in the comments section below, through our Facebook page or, if you're hitting us up from the Twitter, use the hashtag #ESPNplayerNHL. We'll sift through all of the comments and isolate the most insightful and invective-free for a grand and provocative unveiling later in the summer.
The time for bellyaching is over. You can't complain if you don't vote. Now, go!
Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2015 on the 14-acre site that includes the new world headquarters of New Balance. A commuter rail station will also be built. Also, additional office buildings, retail shops, restaurants, a hotel and sports complex will be developed on the site.
For years, the Bruins have been talking about a new, state-of-the-art practice facility in order to keep up with other NHL organizations. The Bruins discussed and studied many options until deciding on the New Balance site.
“I am thrilled that we have found the Bruins a new practice home within the Boston city limits,” said Bruins principal Charlie Jacobs. “Our goal is to set the industry standard in everything that we do, and we are confident that our new practice facility will do just that. As we enter the design phase of the project, we look forward to sharing details as they become available.”
The Bruins have been using Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, Mass., as their practice rink since the 1987-88 season. Over the years, the Bruins have made renovations to the rink to accommodate the players, but the facility is not up to league standards. Most NHL teams have top-notch facilities.
“Since joining the Bruins in a front-office capacity, a goal of mine has been to move the Bruins into a first-class practice facility and this agreement moves us closer to accomplishing that goal,” said Bruins team president Cam Neely. “The vision that New Balance has for the Boston Landing project is exactly what we were looking for, and we are confident that through this partnership, we will build a facility that our entire organization will be proud of.”
Since many of the players live in the city, this new practice facility will make it more convenient for players and fans.
Before the free-agent period opened Tuesday, Chiarelli had said he would not go full force into the market. Instead, he believes the organization’s prospects are ready to make an impact for the Bruins.
Bruins coach Claude Julien would have to tweak his lineup to accommodate those two spots, depending on which players prove their worth during training camp. Fraser, who made an impact during his brief stints with the Bruins last season, can play either wing and is ready for the opportunity.
“I think it’s exciting that they’re leaning towards presenting that opportunity to some players, because as a player that’s all you want, you want a spot there that’s open that could be yours,” Fraser said in a phone interview. “For myself, I’ve got to take what I learned from this past season, in the American League and in the NHL, and you’ve got to put it to good use and you’ve got to learn from that experience and rely on that experience and let everything else take over.”
Fraser arrived in Boston as part of a seven-player trade that sent Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button to the Dallas Stars in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and Joe Morrow. Hampered by injury, Fraser was limited to 44 regular-season games with the Providence Bruins of the AHL. He registered 20 goals and 10 assists for 30 points for the P-Bruins. During the Calder Cup playoffs, he had three goals and two assists for five points in five games before he was recalled to Boston and played four games for the Bruins in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“Obviously, the whole experience was pretty invaluable for my development as a player and development in this organization,” Fraser said. “I think anytime you can get your feet wet in the NHL, whether it’s the regular season or the playoffs you gain that experience and you get a little more comfortable with the guys and how stuff is done. When camp rolls around in September you’re not so nervous and you can be yourself, on and off the ice, and you can relax when you’re out there and you’re not gripping your stick so tight because you know you’ve done this before and it’s just another day out there. Overall, it made me feel just a little more comfortable on the ice, knowing that I can play and keep up and do the things I need to do to stay there.”
Fraser suffered a displaced fracture in his right foot while playing for the P-Bruins in Game 1 of their Calder Cup playoff series against the Springfield Falcons. He finished that five-game series and then played four games for the Bruins with the injury. He said at the time he would rather cut off his foot than be taken out of the lineup.
Fraser had surgery a week after the season ended and he’ll continue to rehab this summer. He returned to Boston last week for an examination and the healing process is progressing well. He expects to be 100 percent for the start of training camp in September.
“They said everything was looking good and everything was ahead of schedule,” explained Fraser.
He’s working closely with the team’s training and medical staff to make sure it heals properly. Currently, he’s working on his upper body while his foot heals for another month and he’s scheduled to start skating in early August.
“I want to make sure it’s 100 percent and that I’m not taking steps back in the summer, so I can make sure I don’t have any more problems with it,” he said.
After the surgery, he returned home to Red Deer, Alberta and was finally able to reflect on his first season in the Bruins’ organization. The biggest moment of the season came when he scored the game-winning goal at 1:19 of overtime to help the Bruins to a 1-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 of their second-round Stanley Cup playoff series on May 8 at Bell Centre in Montreal.
“Obviously scoring that goal, words can’t describe it,” he said. “Coming home and seeing how much support you have that you didn’t even know about and that’s kind of when it sinks in. Two weeks after being home, you see your friends and people come out of the woodwork and talk to you and things like that. After a few weeks it sank in and you realize what you accomplished, but at the same time I would imagine when Lucic goes home, or Bergy goes home they get that all the time and that’s because they’ve done it game in and game out, season in and season out. For me, it was one game but it gave me a taste of what kind of player I wanted to be in this league.”
Fraser has the opportunity to make an impact for the Bruins in 2014-2015 and beyond and he’s ready for the challenge.
The camp will be held from Wednesday, July 9 through Sunday, July 13 at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. All on-ice sessions are open to the public and the media.
The camp features 23 players -- 13 forwards, nine defensemen and two goaltenders. That includes 17 players within the Bruins organization, counting Boston’s four selections in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and six additional players attending on an invite basis.
Here are the players:
Forwards: Cole Bardreau*, Kyle Baun*, Anders Bjork, Anton Blidh, Peter Cehlarik, Mitchell Dempsey, Michael Doherty*, Ryan Donato, Ryan Fitzgerald, Alex Globke*, Colton Hargrove, Simon Norberg*, David Pastrnak.
Defensemen: Linus Arnesson, Matt Benning, Matt Grzelcyk, Emil Johansson, Rob O’ Gara, Wiley Sherman, Billy Sweezey*, Oleg Yevenko*.
Goaltenders: Zane Gothberg, Malcolm Subban.
* invite basis.
Wednesday, July 9 (Ristuccia Arena)
-- On-ice practice, 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, July 10 (Ristuccia Arena)
-- On-ice practice, 11:00 a.m.
Friday, July 11 (Ristuccia Arena)
-- On-ice practice, 10:00 a.m.
-- Community event locations and times TBD
Saturday, July 12 (Ristuccia Arena)
-- On-ice practice, 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 13 (Ristuccia Arena)
-- On-ice practice, 10:00 a.m.
Smith's contract is worth $550,000 at the NHL level and $80,000 in the AHL.
During a conference call Tuesday night, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said he was looking to add another goaltender to the organization.
Smith, 25, spent the 2013-14 season with the Springfield Falcons, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and finished with a 21-14-3 record, a 2.78 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage.
The Bruins recently signed goaltending prospect Niklas Svedberg to a one-year, one-way contract worth $600,000. Chiarelli said Svedberg still needs to earn the spot as Tuukka Rask's backup, and Smith's presence will help create that internal competition among Svedberg, Smith and Malcolm Subban.
Smith, who also spent time in the Nashville Predators system with the Milwaukee Admirals, has an overall AHL record of 87-60-10, a 2.48 GAA and a .912 save percentage, including nine shutouts in 166 games.
Chiarelli said he wouldn't go full force into the free-agent period, and in the first two days on the open market, the Bruins have signed Smith and defenseman Christopher Breen.
Breen, 25, signed a one-year, two-way contract Tuesday worth $600,000 at the NHL level and $175,000 for the AHL. Breen made his NHL debut with the Calgary Flames last season but has spent five seasons in the AHL with the Abbotsford Heat. The 6-foot-7, 224-pounder played 245 games and accumulated 172 penalty minutes in the AHL.
Even though the job appears to be Svedberg's at this point, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Tuesday night during a conference call with the media that the rookie goalie still needs to earn the backup role. Either way, Chiarelli believes the 24-year-old netminder is ready for the NHL.
"I think he’s almost ready, if not ready," Chiarelli said. "It doesn’t mean he gets the job. It doesn’t mean we won’t add somebody at some point to challenge him."
Despite reports, the Bruins have no interest in signing veteran goalie Marty Brodeur, according to a league source.
During the 2012-2013 season for the Providence Bruins of the AHL, Svedberg was outstanding with a 37-8-2 record, a 2.17 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in 48 games. He was the best goalie in the AHL that season, but those stats dipped a bit during the 2013-2014 season when he posted a 25-15-4 record, a 2.63 GAA and a .910 SP in 45 games for the P-Bruins.
"His stats weren’t as good as they were [in 2012-2013]," Chiarelli said. "I thought he had a terrific training camp. This is a fellow who won the Swedish Elite League championship [in 2012]. He was goalie of the year in the American League the next year."
Svedberg, along with fellow prospect Malcolm Subban and veteran Chad Johnson, were all solid during training camp last fall. Johnson earned the backup role and thrived, posting a 17-4-3 record, a 2.10 GAA and a .925 SP. Svedberg made one start for the Bruins and posted a victory.
"It may be in his mind [that] he thought he was ready to play and start and certainly had a very good training camp," Chiarelli said. "I think for that reason, mentally, he was a little off last year. I think he’s a professional. He’s got areas to work on in his game. What I do know is that our goalie coach is good, our system is conducive to good goaltending. We keep the pucks on the outside. That doesn’t diminish anything from our goalies’ accomplishments, but it can be a better system. You have to be able to find pucks in traffic. But generally, they’re on the outside. Every goalie that we’ve brought in -- at least the last two or three -- has improved as a backup, and Niklas's work ethic is terrific. He’s got some areas in his game he has to improve, but we had calls on him from other teams. He’s certainly going to challenge for a spot."
With Johnson headed to the New York Islanders on a two-year deal, Subban will also be given an opportunity to earn the backup role. But the 20-year-old could use more time to hone his skills in the AHL. In his first pro season, the former first-round pick (24th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft posted a 15-10-5 record, a 2.31 GAA and a .920 SP in 33 games for the P-Bruins.
Unless Svedberg is not prepared for training camp, or struggles, the job is his to lose.
As a result, Iginla is heading west, agreeing to a three-year deal worth $16 million with the Colorado Avalanche when free agency opened Tuesday afternoon.
Given Boston's salary-cap constraints heading into the 2014-15 season, Chiarelli would have had to move a player or two off the current roster in order to create cap space for Iginla, something Chiarelli was not comfortable doing.
Had Chiarelli found a way to re-sign the future Hall of Famer, it would have impacted the team's ability in the future to sign forwards David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Reilly Smith and Carl Soderberg, along with defensemen Johnny Boychuk, Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug.
Krejci will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2014-15 season and the top-line center will receive a major pay raise. Soderberg also will become a UFA after next season. Lucic has two years remaining on his current deal. Boychuk will be a UFA, while Hamilton becomes a restricted free agent after next season.
During a 30-minute conference call with reporters, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli admitted other organizations have contacted him about the possibility of acquiring Caron’s services.
The Bruins tendered Caron a qualifying offer, which means Boston is subject to draft-choice compensation and has the right to match an offer from another organization.
“I think he can be a full-time player,” Chiarelli said. “I’ve gotten a couple calls on him today and I have talked to him about this. It may be that it is time for him to get a chance with another team. As I said at the draft, I’ve talked to a few teams about him and Jordan wants to stay in Boston, but he would welcome another opportunity also. So I will continue to explore those.”
If Caron remains in Boston, Chiarelli said he would have to earn a spot on the roster. The GM also explained that he sees four or five players already in the organization vying for two forward positions next season, including Caron, Matt Fraser, Ryan Spooner, Alexander Khokhlachev, Bobby Robins and Justin Florek.
Caron, a first-round pick (25th overall) in the 2009 draft, has played a total of 132 games in parts of four seasons with the Bruins and has registered 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points. He spent much of last season as a healthy scratch, but still played 35 games during the regular season and seven during the playoffs.
The veteran forward and future Hall of Famer has signed a three-year deal worth $16 million with the Colorado Avalanche, according to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun.
This is a big loss for the Bruins, but almost unavoidable given Boston’s salary cap constraints. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli wanted to re-sign Iginla. At season’s end, Iginla said he wanted to return to Boston because the Bruins are built to win another Stanley Cup. But when a team like the Avalanche offers that kind of security with salary and term, it’s a good move for Iginla.
The Bruins will miss his leadership both on and off the ice. He fit perfectly on Boston’s top line with his size, strength, physicality and scoring ability. Iginla’s linemates in Boston -- David Krejci and Milan Lucic -- enjoyed the most consistent seasons of their respective careers with Iginla on the right wing.
“I wish him all the best,” Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron wrote in a text message. “He’s been a great player for us last year and I learned a lot from him on and off the ice by the way he approaches the game.”
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