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Brandon Carlo contract locks things up for the Bruins' back end

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Brandon Carlo contract locks things up for the Bruins' back end

What was once a competitive-looking training camp for Bruins defensemen now becomes a lot less uncertain after the last 48 hours.

Both Charlie McAvoy (three years at $4.9 million per season) and Brandon Carlo (two years at $2.85 million per season) are now signed for the next few years with the Bruins still shimmying under the salary cap ceiling.

While some may see Carlo’s deal as a big-time bargain, the comparable contracts to him (Darnell Nurse at $3.2 million per season and Josh Morrissey at $3.15 million per season both on two-year deals) made this two-year deal a fait accompli once the Bruins had something in place with the 21-year-old McAvoy.

On its face, this means that Don Sweeney has managed to do what many thought would be much more difficult this summer: Fitting Carlo and McAvoy under the cap without moving any big contracts to make room for all the returning players. It also means the Bruins can move on to negotiations with Torey Krug, who will be looking for a substantial raise from the final year of a deal that’s paying him $5.25 million per season.

From a practical standpoint on the ice, the Bruins now have a deep, multi-faceted defensemen corps that doesn’t leave any room on the NHL roster for youngsters like Jakub Zboril or Urho Vaakanainen, or potential veteran tryout campers like Florida’s Alex Petrovic. Most teams would be in a tough spot with veteran D-men like Kevan Miller (fractured kneecap) and John Moore (shoulder surgery) out for at least the first month of the season, but the Bruins will be coming back with the entire group that was playing as they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

Here’s how the pairings are likely to look to start the season:

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Clifton

 

Certainly it would appear that Steve Kampfer is the only player with competition for the seventh D-men spot to start the season. Otherwise, the writing is on the wall with camp only a couple of days old and any possible drama erased with both McAvoy and Carlo inking new deals over the last few days.

The only point of interest at this point for Boston’s back-enders? It remains to be seen just how good McAvoy and Carlo can be over the next couple of seasons after signing fair, market contracts that may be less than many expected.

If McAvoy turns into the No. 1 defenseman he’s tracking toward and Carlo can build some offense to go with his shutdown skills, the Bruins are going to be paying much, much more for these players the next time at the negotiating table. But then again many of the current high-priced Bruins players will be off the roster at that point, and the Bruins will gladly pay for younger players that outperform their shiny, brand new deals.

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Talking Points from the Bruins 4-2 win over the Leafs

Talking Points from the Bruins 4-2 win over the Leafs

Here are Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the Bruins' 4-3 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs Saturday night in Boston.

GOLD STAR: Brett Ritchie was pretty quiet for much of the first few weeks of the season after scoring in the season opener, but the Bruins power forward is getting hot at the right time for the Black and Gold. Ritchie scored the game-winning goal in the third period to break open a tie hockey game and played the kind of solid, strong game that the Bruins had in mind when they signed him as a free agent in the first place. Ritchie’s goal was simply good things happening to somebody that was hanging around the net as Jake DeBrusk’s shot bounced off a Leafs defender, and then landed right on the stick of Ritchie powering to the net. He flicked the shot past Michael Hutchinson for his second goal of the season, and added four shot attempts, four hits and a takeaway in his 13:26 of effective ice time.

BLACK EYE: Mitch Marner has routinely been a guy that kills the Bruins, but he was not very noticeable at all for the Maple Leafs against Boston. Instead he was on the ice for a couple of goals against in his 21:26 of ice time, was shut off the scoreboard and had three shots on net while doing very little else while Alex Kerfoot, Kasperi Kapanen and William Nylander accounted for the goals for the Leafs. Marner did his damage in the overtime win for Toronto last weekend when Boston traveled up to Canada, but he couldn’t summon that kind of speed and energy for the home-and-home rematch in Boston. Both Marner and Auston Matthews were average at best on Tuesday night and that’s why they ended up losing.

TURNING POINT: The game was tied 2-2 and the Bruins were playing a team that was going on the second night of back-to-back games with travel, so one would expect that the third period was going to be a good one for the Black and Gold. And it was. The B’s outshot the Leafs by a 14-8 margin in the final 20 minutes as it was pretty clear that Toronto was lacking in the skating legs department, and they poured on the two goals that ended up being the difference in the game. Certainly the Brett Ritchie goal six minutes into the period gave the Bruins confidence as front-runners on the scoreboard, and then killing the late penalty that turned into Par Lindholm’s goal was the coup de grace in the final period.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Pastrnak continues to dazzle with his offensive skill, his game-breaking ability and the way he has carried the team in the first month of the season. He had a goal taken away in the first period when an offside was successfully challenged by the Leafs, but then he came back with a between-the-legs score that will make highlight reels for the rest of his career. It was Pastrnak’s NHL-leading 10th goal of the season, the 300th point of his NHL career and exactly what the Bruins were looking for to take the momentum headed into the first intermission. Pastrnak added five shots on net, seven shot attempts and he threw a nifty centering pass to Brad Marchand for his own goal in the second period.

BY THE NUMBERS: 500 – the number of career NHL games for Tuukka Rask, who also won his 269th career game in another milestone event against the Maple Leafs team that drafted him.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Everything catches my eye with him right now. He’s just on it.” –Bruce Cassidy on David Pastrnak, who has 10 goals and 17 points in nine games this season.

Highlights: Par Lindholm's goal seals win for Bruins>>>

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Don Sweeney issues update on Karson Kuhlman: Out at least four weeks

Don Sweeney issues update on Karson Kuhlman: Out at least four weeks

The Boston Bruins will be without another player for an extended period of time. 

Winger Karson Kuhlman sustained a hairline nondisplaced fracture to his right tibia in Boston's 4-3 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, Oct. 19 and will be reevaluated in four weeks.

Kuhlman, 24, earned the spot on David Krejci's right wing out of training camp. And although he hasn't recorded a point through eight contests, he's played an integral role in Boston's offense.The Minnesota-Duluth product has played 19 NHL games with Boston, tallying five points (three goals, two assists). 

In this case, it looks like recently-recalled Anders Bjork will remain with Boston for some time -- at least until Krejci and/or Joakim Nordstrom return.

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