Bruins

NHL Rumors: Noel Acciari leaving Bruins for 3-year deal with Panthers

NHL Rumors: Noel Acciari leaving Bruins for 3-year deal with Panthers

The Bruins will have a new look on their fourth line next season as they’ve lost hard-hitting Noel Acciari to an Atlantic Division rival in free agency.

The Rhode Island kid has signed a three-year contract worth around $5 million in unrestricted free agency, which isn’t huge money at $1.67 million per season but certainly more than the B’s are willing to pay for fourth line forwards at this point.

While the Bruins will miss Acciari’s physicality, his willingness to play hurt after playing through a broken sternum in the playoffs and his occasional offense, they have Joakim Nordstrom already signed and ready to slide into a fourth line role at $1 million per season. Acciari picked a good time for free agency with a career-high 72 games played along with six goals and 14 points, and it seemed clear given Boston’s salary cap situation that a fourth-line forward was a luxury they are not going to be able to afford.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney indicated that the B’s had made offers to the 27-year-old Acciari ahead of free agency, but it couldn’t have been for much more than the $1 million Nordstrom will be making next season.

Still, Acciari was broken up at the end of the season about the thought of potentially leaving Boston after playing in New England his entire career with Providence College and the Boston Bruins.

“I love all of these guys. They are my family. I had a lot of fun with them this year. It’s a bitter ending, but we had a great locker room and a great coaching staff,” said Acciari during Bruins breakup day while coming off a deal that paid him $725,000 in each of the last two seasons. “I’d love to come back to Boston. I love all of these guys. I love everybody here. This is all I know.

“We’ll see what happens going forward. You can’t predict anything. Boston has it all. I’m a local guy. I’m not just saying it. I’ve lived it. This is a special, special place. I’m looking for this family [in my next contract]. I’ll take my time and see how things go. But Boston has been my home for my entire life.”

With a three-year deal in Florida, Acciari will be able to visit quite a bit sticking around in the Atlantic Division to face off against the Black and Gold for the foreseeable future.

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NHL rumors: Execs view Bruins, Avalanche as fits for a Joe Thornton trade

NHL rumors: Execs view Bruins, Avalanche as fits for a Joe Thornton trade

Joe Thornton is one of the best players in NHL history who hasn't won a Stanley Cup, but will he choose to chase that elusive ring and ask for a move before Monday's NHL trade deadline?

Thornton has played more than 15 years for the San Jose Sharks after the Boston Bruins traded him to the West Coast during the 2005-06 season. The Sharks have been one of the league's winningest teams during the regular season with Thornton, but playoff success has largely escaped them. They've reached the Stanley Cup Final only once during his tenure in San Jose, and the Sharks lost that series to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games four years ago.

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Thornton is 40 years old and in the final year of his contract. If there was a time to pursue a Stanley Cup title with a contender, it's right now. So, if he does want a trade, which teams make sense for the veteran center? Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun spoke to multiple executives around the league who shared their thoughts on the best fits for Thornton.

He has a full “no move” clause, but the Sharks would like to give him the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup. If he’s going to be dealt, then league executives believe he’ll only go to a team that has a chance to win, so the Colorado Avalanche and Boston Bruins are both viewed as good fits.

Thornton coming back to Boston, the place he began his Hall of Fame career, and winning a Stanley Cup with the Bruins would be an amazing story. 

From a hockey fit perspective, Thornton would be a good bottom-six addition for the Bruins, but only if another move for a goal-scorer was made ahead of the deadline. Thornton alone isn't going to make the Bruins a much-improved team. He's no longer an elite offensive player, and he hasn't hit the 20-goal mark since 2010-11. Thornton is still a decent playmaker and effective on the power play, but the Bruins need secondary goal scoring behind the Perfection Line. A player like New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider would best address this concern, and TSN reported Tuesday that the Bruins and Avalanche have emerged as frontrunners for a Kreider trade.

Kreider and Thornton would be a nice haul for the B's and help give them a strong chance to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals in the playoffs. All three of these teams have made trades over the last two weeks to bolster their rosters for the postseason.

Being traded to a contender doesn't always work for players in Thornton's position, and Jarome Iginla in 2013 is among the best recent examples. But Thornton absolutely deserves a chance, and the Bruins arguably are best-positioned of any team to win the Stanley Cup this spring.

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NHL Rumors: Did Devils GM hint at wanting to acquire a defenseman?

NHL Rumors: Did Devils GM hint at wanting to acquire a defenseman?

The Boston Bruins have been linked to New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri for a while now.

However, the Devils don't appear eager to trade their veteran top scorer at the deadline. Still, if Bruins GM Don Sweeney gives the Devils an offer they can't refuse, then Palmieri very well could suit up on David Krejci's right wing.

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What would it take to land Palmieri? Well, our Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty noted that he could be had for a first-round pick, a young cost-controlled player such as Anders Bjork, and a top-notch prospect. Devils interim GM Tom Fitzgerald had some interesting things to say regarding how his organization would approach the trade deadline.

"We've all underperformed this year. We're in this sell mode right now because of our Octobers, Novembers, Decembers and January. So, there's not one player that feels really good about what the season looks like. Underperforming is really where we're at that drove this situation," Fitzgerald said on SiriusXM's NHL Network. "Certain players, I believe, they will get better. I believe that they can find their games and get it back to where it's normal. We don't need P.K. Subban being a 25-minute-a-night guy. We need to find support for him so he can play at his best -at minutes that will allow him to do what he does well."

Did Fitzgerald just hint at the Devils wanting to acquire a defenseman at the deadline? Maybe. If so, the B's have plenty of defensemen they could send to New Jersey. For example, John Moore, at this point, has been expendable for the Bruins. Prospects such as Jakub Zboril and Urho Vaakanainen may be able to improve New Jersey's defensive situation and ease the life of Subban.

While it's just speculation, it would make some sense considering the Devils traded defenseman Andy Greene to the New York Islanders in exchange for a defensive prospect and Blake Coleman to the Tampa Bay Lightning for an offensive prospect and first-round pick over the weekend.

If the Bruins were to land Palmieri, the Devils would acquire some pretty solid assets in return.