Bruins Rookies Debut in Florida

Bruins rookies

It was a big weekend for Bruins rookie hopefuls as they traveled south for a weekend trio of games in preparation for full training camp which starts on Wednesday. Despite a loss to the Panthers and ties with the Lightning and Predators rookies, a number of players had impressive performances as they battle for attention.

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Soderberg Two Steps Closer, Griffith Signed

soderberg

The Boston Bruins have reportedly made more headway in bringing Swedish Elite League star Carl Soderberg to the NHL, crossing off two of three important steps in the process. While no details have been made official, numerous sources including CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty and ESPN Boston’s James Murphy have confirmed that the Bruins and the 27-year-old have come to an agreement on a contract, and his Swedish team, Linkoping HC, have agreed to release him from his team contract as well.

The remaining hurdle is for the Swedish Ice Hockey Association to approve Soderberg’s transfer to NHL, which still has not been completed. There have been many rumors flying around whether or not Sweden would agree to the release given the upcoming Olympics, but it seems as though the feelings are positive in terms of making this swap official.

B’s President Cam Neely said that things were “looking good” from the Bruins’ perspective today on The Sports Hub with Felger and Mazz, adding that Soderberg would have a shot with the big club this season, likely starting at wing. Soderberg led the SEL with 31 goals and 60 points in 54 games this season, and could potentially bolster the Bruins offensively if he can make a quick adjustment. According to reports, if he plays in a single regular season game he will be eligible to play in this year’s playoffs as well, another good sign.

While many fans are excited about the prospect of adding another scorer to the lineup, Soderberg still has a lot to prove in terms of being an effective NHL player. He’s supposedly been reluctant to come to North America for a number of years after the Bruins acquired his rights in 2007 (Hannu Toivonen anyone?), with the European game a far more wide open game built around speed and skill. While the 6’3″ 210 lb. Soderberg certain possesses the size and skillset to play a slower, more physical game here, there will undoubtedly be an adjustment (including going from center to wing) to make, so don’t go handing him the scoring title quite yet. But with the Bruins current offensive struggles well documented (last night aside), the potential to add another skilled player to a team that is built around depth is certainly something to keep an eye on.

UPDATE 4/10/13: TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting that Soderberg’s new contract with the Bruins is for 3 years, paying him $600k this year and $1m for the next two.

Griffith Signed

seth_griffithOn the official news front, the Bruins announced today that they’ve signed prospect Seth Griffith to a three year entry level contract. Drafted by Boston in the fifth round of the 2012 Entry Draft, the 20 year old had a breakout year with the OHL’s London Knights, tallying 81 points in 54 games, including 33 goals.

At 5’11″ and 185 lbs. he has some growing to do, but has displayed impressive play-making abilities and a serious scoring touch this season. It’s unclear whether Griffith will join the Providence Bruins at the conclusion of his OHL post-season, but signing this deal shows the Bruins have definite interest in making him a part of their future.

Loose Pucks – December 19

Bruins Loose PucksIt’s been a little quiet around here lately, mostly because there hasn’t been much going on in the hockey world, and also because blogging about a bunch of billion- and millionaires fighting amongst each other didn’t really seem worth it in light of the other events of the past week.

But in an effort to get caught up, here goes…

    • The big NHL news is obviously the NHLPA voting on whether or not to give the board of executives power to file a ‘disclaimer of interest‘. This is apparently similar to decertification that was discussed earlier this month, essentially dissolving the players’ union and opening the door for the players to file antitrust law suits against the league. This doesn’t mean the board will actually go this route, only that they will have the power to. With no meetings on the calendar, this seems like a more likely possibility.
    • Reacting to this news, the NHL promptly filed it’s own charges in New York federal court, a historically league-biased playing field. They’re claiming bad faith bargaining on behalf of the union, along with a bunch of other garbage. The catch here? Should the union decertify/go the antitrust route, the league wants all contracts to be null and void. Meaning every single player is an unrestricted free agent. This is seen as a very slippery slope, as having success in this effort could lead to mass chaos and is likely to make a good number of teams unhappy. While it’s still a long way from actually coming to pass, these filings certainly bring this into the realm of reality.
    • The latest rumor in terms of a drop dead date for the season is apparently ‘mid-January’ according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who also added that he thinks there still will be a season (as if he would say otherwise). He also added that there are more cancellations coming this week (surprise!). He’s of course still also not happy with how the union is choosing to negotiate, but I’m sure the union is saying the same about him.
    • File this under troubling, but it seems as if even Canadians are losing interest in the NHL. According to the Montreal Gazette, a poll taken by NRG Research Group between December 11th and 16th found that 58% of those polled responded that they ‘did not care’ to the question “Do you think the NHL lockout will be settled in the next couple of weeks; in the new year in time for a shortened season to be played; not until it’s too late for games to be played this season; or don’t you care?” Not good, even worse that the league and players still don’t seem too concerned.

 

Bruins' Adam McQuaid

  • In terms of Bruins news, we start with a good, yet scary update on B’s defenseman Adam McQuaid. CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty reports that McQuaid underwent multiple surgeries back in October after developing a blood clot under his collarbone. Part of what’s called ‘thoracic outlet syndrome,’ Quaider had to have an entire rib and part of his neck muscle removed as part of the procedure, though all signs are positive so far and he’s on the road to recovery. He’s still got a ways to go, but luckily the issue is taken care of and the rugged blue liner can get back to working out.
  • Next, the Bruins recently released its latest ‘Prospect Report,’ with extended write ups on Providence Bruin Ryan Spooner and London Knights forward Seth Griffith, drafted by the Bruins last year. Spooner is starting to kick into gear with 16 points in 23 games for the baby B’s, while Griffith is tearing up juniors with 58 points in 36 games, including 25 goals. A good read regarding the potential future of the team.
  • Lastly, Haggs’ also has an article on forward Jordan Caron, who’s struggling mightily in Providence. Despite spending a significant portion of last season in Boston, Caron has a measly 7 points in 25 games, and is a flat out awful -9, tied for worst on the team. If his play continues on this pace it could make the competition for a winger spot in Boston interesting, assuming the season actually starts soon.

Bruins Prospects Update: Subway Super Series

Super SeriesWhile most of the attention this week has rightfully been on the extended meetings between the NHL and NHLPA, there is another event worth checking out as it relates to the Bruins. The Subway Super Series is underway at locations across Canada, matching up the best junior players in the CHL, WHL, OHL and QMJHL against the best young talent that Russia has to offer. There are a handful of Bruins prospects participating in some of the games as part of the OHL and Russian rosters, giving fans a glimpse at some of the young guns that may call Boston home in the near future.

 

Three games have been played so far, with Russia taking two of the games, the latest a 2-1 victory over the OHL squad last night. 2011 first round draft pick Malcolm Subban played just over half of the game in goal, stopping all 7 shots he faced. It’s expected that the other three Canadian Bruins prospects, Dougie Hamilton, Anthony Camara, and Seth Griffith will suit up for the OHL in the upcoming rematch on Monday night. NHL Network has been carrying these games live, so check it out to see how these guys are progressing. Monday’s game has a 9pm start time.

 

On the Russian side, Bruins’ 2011 second round pick Alex Khokhlachev has played in all three games so far, scoring a goal and maintaining a +1 rating. However, in last night’s game he took a slapshot to the side of his face, so his return for the remaining games could be in question. Reports say he will be ok though, which is a good sign. Props to PuckDaddy for finding the video.

 

In the Face

In the Faaaaaccceeee!

 

Loose Pucks

  • If you haven’t seen it already, see how Milan Lucic has been keeping busy during the lockout over at PuckDaddy’s blog. The title of the article states it pretty plainly: “Here’s Milan Lucic in possibly the worst commercial you’ve ever seen.
  • Remember that sense of optimism you had about the continued meetings that are taking place? Donald Fehr doesn’t seem to be feeling it. In a memo sent to the players after yesterday’s meeting, Fehr made it clear that there is still a lot of work to be done to hammer out a deal. The league seems to be holding strong on their call for an immediate 50/50 split in revenue, as well as on a number of contract restrictions. Meetings today are just now wrapping up.