The Bruins are looking to potentially upgrade their situation on the back end as they jump into their offseason improvement plan, but they’re also clearly interested in fortifying the organizational depth they already have.
With that in mind, the Bruins announced on Wednesday that they’ve re-signed longtime depth defenseman Tommy Cross to a one-year, two-way deal worth $650,000 at the NHL level.
Cross, 27, will be entering his sixth season as a member of the Bruins organization after a standout career at Boston College, and appeared in one playoff game for the NHL team, along with 90 combined regular-season and playoff games in the AHL with Providence this past season.
In all, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Cross has appeared in four NHL games the past couple of seasons and provides the perfect tough and smart depth D-man for the Bruins if injuries hit. He's also the kind of role model and leader in the AHL with so many impressionable B’s prospects playing in Providence.
Bruce Cassidy perhaps said it best about Cross this past season when describing what the rugged D-man could bring when Cross was called up in the first round of the playoffs.
“You know what you’re getting with Tommy. He’s a hard-nosed guy. He moves the puck and he’s had career numbers down in Providence this [past] season,” said Cassidy. “If he’s called upon, we expect him [to do the job]. He’s a good pro. He’s been the captain down there [in Providence], and he’ll give us everything he’s got.”
Cross seemed to add an offensive component to his game last season with 12 goals and 35 points in 74 games in the AHL regular season and two goals and nine points in 16 AHL playoff games. Cross isn’t expected to crack the NHL lineup out of training camp barring something unforeseen happening, but he gives the B’s somebody solid in the minors once the injury bug hits, as it inevitably will to a team’s defensemen depth at some point.
DALLAS - It’s more smoke than fire, hours ahead of the first round of the NHL draft at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Friday night, but the rumblings involving Oscar Klefbom and the Bruins are out there in hockey circles.
Klefbom, 24, the Edmonton Oilers defenseman, would certainly be at the top of the list of available players that would fit a need for the Black and Gold. He would definitely fit Boston’s longstanding need for a frontline, top-four, left shot D-man that can play in all situations. Sure, he had a down season with five goals and 21 points in 66 games along with a minus-12 rating for the Oil last year, but he still was an absolute horse with 22:51 of ice time per game at an ideal 6-foot-3, 220-pound size.
Klefbom is also just a year removed from 12 goals and 38 points while playing in all 82 games and clearly he has the pedigree as a former first-round pick. There’s also the fact that he’s signed for four more years at just $4.167 million and would become a major salary-cap bargain if he can bounce back and continue to be a reliable top-4 D-man.
Torey Krug’s name has been speculated on multiple occasions to be involved as a power-play quarterback D-man who would fit a glaring need for Edmonton and there’s also obviously plenty of knowledge of Krug’s game with former Bruins management Peter Chiarelli and Keith Gretzky running things in Oil Country.
No confirmation as of yet with plenty of names being tossed around hours ahead of the draft, but this one should be something for Bruins fans to keep an eye on as teams begin closing trades this weekend.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the NHL Draft is ready to begin tonight after the NBA had their big moment on Thursday.
*USA Today has the top-5 teams expected to make moves at NHL Draft weekend, and the Boston Bruins are not one of them. It may be that any big fireworks for the B’s are coming around July 1 rather than the draft, so we’ll have to wait and see.
*PK Subban talks about hanging out with the wicked smart kids at Harvard, and being on the cover of an EA Sports game.
*Interesting follow-up with Chrissy Teigen and Ryan Miller after they went head-to-head on social media a few weeks ago. Looks like they managed to squash any social media beef they might have had, and the social media heroes trying to rip Miller for making a joke can go find something else to be outraged about.
*After a long, successful run in Carolina, the Hurricanes and goaltender Cam Ward are going to be parting ways this summer.
*It sounds like the Washington Capitals are looking for a first round pick for backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer. I’m not sure if they’re going to get that, but we shall see.
*Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli talks about where the Oil sit as a potentially active team on draft day.
*Good piece by Katie Strang on what any teams interested in Slava Voynov should be thinking long and hard about before signing the Russian defenseman charged with assaulting his wife. If I were a GM, I’d be passing on him and doing it without even a quick pause.
*For something completely different: Even if he was the absolute LVP (Least Valuable Player) of the Infinity War, you’ve got to appreciate Chris Pratt AKA Star Lord.