Bruins

Bruins interested in bringing back McQuaid

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Bruins interested in bringing back McQuaid

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has plenty on his plate leading the Original Six franchise and one of those items is the July 1 free agency date bearing down on him. Sweeney had a handful of potential UFAs following last season and laid out a bit of his plans moving forward with each of them on a Friday conference call with reporters ahead of the June 26 NHL Draft.

Sweeney re-confirmed that fourth-line grinder and penalty killers Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell won’t be returning to the team, an item announced by Peter Chiarelli prior to him being fired as GM. Furthermore, Sweeney said it was “highly unlikely” that the Bruins would be able to bring back UFA center Carl Soderberg. Tthat’s been clear since a conversation with his agent J.P. Barry a few weeks ago.

The Bruins GM didn’t say it, but there’s also virtually no chance that Matt Bartkowski will be returning to the Black and Gold either after a rough, mistake-prone season in Boston.

Sweeney said there was one of the five upcoming UFAs that the Bruins would like to potentially have back on the roster and multiple league sources have indicated to CSNNE.com that Adam McQuaid is the player Boston would like to re-sign.

“Peter told Greg Campbell and Daniel Paille they weren’t coming back and I have not changed that,” said Sweeney. “I have spoken to the representatives for both Carl [Soderberg] and Matt [Bartkowski] as to what our intentions are [with them], and with Adam McQuaid’s representatives as well. It’s obviously coming down to the wire with their abilities to interview elsewhere.

“I have had several talks with teams [about trades] that may or may not present the opportunity to bring one of those players back. But I can guarantee you at this point in time that all three of them [collectively] won’t be back.”

McQuaid’s then-agent Paul Krepelka told CSNNE.com that they hoped to get a deal down with the Bruins, but it was contingent on the Bruins freeing up some salary-cap space.

“We’re holding out hope [to get something done],” said Krepelka to CSNNE.com two weeks ago. “He’s a good fit here [in Boston].”

McQuaid played in 63 games last season after missing big chunks of time the previous two seasons with injuries. Last season, he averaged a career-high 18:26 of ice time along with one goal, seven points and a minus-2 rating. McQuaid is coming off a three-year, $4.7 million contract where he admittedly struggled, mostly due to injuries, to replicate his first two full NHL seasons. He had his challenges in an attempt to play a top-four role last season.

But he’s still a rock-solid bottom pairing D-man that showed at least some ability to play up into the top four last season, and serves as a great mentor to younger players about what being a pro is all about.

McQuaid also is one of the few B’s players still capable of dropping the gloves and instilling fear in opponents and that’s an asset that shouldn’t be undervalued given Boston’s roots. It would be in Boston’s best interests to sign McQuaid sooner rather than later to take advantage of what should be a clear hometown discount from a player still feeling a huge tug of loyalty.

“My priority, my goal would be to come back here. I don’t know if that’s realistic or not,” said McQuaid on B’s breakup day back in April. “I guess time will tell. I’ll wait and see if it comes to [hitting free agency], and then obviously you have to go down that avenue.

“But this is where I want to be. It’s the organization that…they’ve given me so many opportunities, and worked with me. I’ve said before that they’ve stuck with me through some tough times, and there were times that I felt like – there were things I couldn’t control, obviously, with injuries and stuff – but I felt like I wished I could have done more and been available, and I wasn’t. There were times I felt like I hadn’t held up my end of the bargain as far as that stuff is concerned. It wasn’t anything I could necessarily control, so it was hard that way.”

If McQuaid were able to enter a weak free agent class on July 1 and begin negotiating with other teams, a contract such as the three-year, $8.75 million signed by Deryk Engelland with the Calgary Flames would be a fair comparable for the rugged 28-year-old D-man. The two-year, $4.5 million deal signed by Nick Schultz with the Philadelphia Flyers would make sense as the likely neighborhood the Bruins would be looking at for McQuaid, a fair raise from the $1.8 million salary he made last season in the final year of his deal with Boston.

Could two goals in the Bruins scrimmage spark David Pastrnak?

Could two goals in the Bruins scrimmage spark David Pastrnak?

BOSTON – Certainly an intra-squad scrimmage isn’t going to amount to much in the grand scheme of things once the Stanley Cup Final gets going at the start of next week.

But maybe, just maybe, Bruins right winger David Pastrnak can start catching fire offensively in the best-of-seven game series against the St. Louis Blues after scoring a couple of goals in Thursday night’s glorified practice. Pastrnak and David Backes both scored two goals apiece in the 5-3 final score in the intra-squad, and Pasta does have a solid seven goals and 15 points along with a plus-7 in 17 games during the playoffs.

“It was good. I’m going to give it to Jaro [Halak] a little bit,” said the Czech-born Pastrnak, who scored both of his goals against B’s backup Jaroslav Halak. “He’s Slovakian, so I love to score on him. I’ve never practiced so many days without a game before, so [the scrimmage] is going to be useful.”  

Certainly Pastrnak was being tongue-in-cheek about scoring on his own goalie, but the truth is that the 22-year-old hasn’t really enjoyed a truly dominant stretch in this postseason to this point aside from notching two-goal games against both Toronto and Columbus in the first couple of rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Certainly part of that is the tight-checking nature of the playoffs and the best teams’ top lines cancelling each other out in most games. But there’s also a sense that Pastrnak hasn’t been able to unleash his big shot on the power play with much regularity, and a legit curiosity factor as to whether or not he’s playing through some kind of injury.

As he said during the Columbus series when things were a little slow offensively, Pastrnak is doing the best he can and has certainly seen an uptick in his involvement since joining back up with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on the Perfection Line.

“I think we’ve done just fine. We’re just playing as a team and every single night it’s somebody else’s turn to shine. That’s what the good teams do,” said Pastrnak. “It’s unbelievable how good every line has been in different games, and that’s what so much for us to enjoy in the room.

“I’m doing my best. Every game is different. Obviously there have been games where I’ve been better and there have been games where I’ve been worse, but this is not what I’m focusing on. I’m focusing on trying to help the team rather than whether I’m scoring or not.”

Still, Pastrnak only had six shots on net in the entire four-game conference final series against the Carolina Hurricanes, and he should be more of a consistent threat than that when he’s healthy and going well. So perhaps that scoring burst in the scrimmage can light the candle that ignites the flame on Pasta’s offense at a crucial time when a hot goal-scorer could carry his team to the Stanley Cup. 

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Bruins mock draft 2019 roundup: Who can B's target late in first round?

Bruins mock draft 2019 roundup: Who can B's target late in first round?

The Boston Bruins are four wins away from reaching the NHL mountaintop.

But if they want to stay there, finding strong talent in the draft is a good place to start.

The 2019 NHL Draft is less than a month away -- June 21 in Vancouver -- and the Bruins will have either the No. 30 or No. 31 pick pending their result in the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues.

Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko are virtual locks to be the top two picks, but there's a lot more uncertainty after that, especially near the end of the first round.

Which prospects could the Bruins target? To get a sense of who's in the mix, we've combed through a few NHL mock drafts to see who the analysts have the Bruins taking in the first round.

JOE HAGGERTY, NBC SPORTS BOSTON -- ALEX VLASIC
Age:
17
Position/Shot: Defenseman, Left
Height/Weight: 6-foot-6, 198 pounds
Last played for: U.S. National Team Development Program

Vlasic has good hockey genes; his cousin is San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and his sister, Emma, is a senior forward and captain at Yale. He also stands at 6-foot-6, so if the Bruins are looking ahead to life without 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara, Vlasic might be worth considering. 

SAMMI SILBER, NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON -- ALEX VLASIC
The Bruins don't have a pressing need at defenseman with Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo in the fold, but Vlasic has been tied to Boston in a couple mock drafts. The 17-year-old boasts plenty of upside and will play at Boston University this fall, so there's a local tie here, too. 

STEVE KOURNIANOS, THEDRAFTANALYST.COM -- RYAN JOHNSON
Age:
17
Position/Shot: Defenseman, Left
Height/Weight: 6-foot-0, 161 pounds
Last played for: Sioux Falls Stampede, USHL

Another left-shot defenseman, Johnson doesn't boast Vlasic's size but still plays a physical game. He also has experience in big moments, tallying eight points in 12 playoff games to help lead Sioux Falls to this year's USHL championship.

DAVE STEVENSON, FANSIDED -- PAVEL DOROFEYEV
Age:
18
Position/Shot: Left Wing/Right Wing, Left
Height/Weight: 6-foot-0, 163 pounds
Last played for: Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk, MHL

Dorofeyev would need time to develop, but the upside is there: The Russia native racked up 31 points on 17 goals and 14 assists in 19 MHL games this past season while earning a spot in the MHL All-Star Game. He could be an intriguing project for the B's at the end of the first round.

BILL PLACZEK, DRAFTSITE.COM -- BOBBY BRINK
Age:
18
Position/Shot: Right Wing, Right
Height/Weight: 5-foot-10, 163 pounds
Last played for: Sioux City Musketeers, USHL

Brink blew up for the Musketeers this season, winning USHL Forward of the Year honors after tallying 68 points (35 goals, 33 assists) in 43 games. The Minnesota native is headed to the University of Denver next season but appears to be developing into a strong offensive talent.

CHRIS RYAN, NJ.COM -- PHILIP TOMASINO
Age:
17
Position/Shot: Center, Right
Height/Weight: 6-foot-10, 181 pounds
Last played for: Niagara Ice Dogs, OHL

An excellent skater with strong hands and proven play-making ability, Tomasino is another offensive-minded forward who put up 34 goals and 38 assists in 67 games for the Ice Dogs this season. The B's took three centers in last year's draft, though, so Tomasino would be entering a crowded space here.

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