Sweeney: Bruins have had ‘very productive’ talks with ... John-Michael Liles
Torey Krug: Signed to a four-year, $21 million contract extension with the Boston Bruins.
Dennis Seidenberg: The Bruins put him on unconditional waivers for the purpose of the buyout.
John-Michael Liles? Well, according to Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, the club and the player are in discussions. Liles is a free agent tomorrow, as his four-year, $15.5 million deal is at an end.
The Bruins added Liles to their roster at the trade deadline, in a bid to bolster their blue line for the stretch drive, which eventually ended with Boston unable to qualify for the post-season.
There is still a need for Boston to strengthen its blue line for next season, and buying out Seidenberg would add further room to a team with more than $17 million in cap space for Friday.
“We’ve talked to free agent candidates. I mentioned John-Michael, I think that we’ve had very, very productive talks there,” Sweeney told reporters in a conference call.
“We’re looking for balance. We’re looking for our younger players to have an opportunity, emerge and grab a hold of that. Whichever way we can improve our team internally, externally, we’re going to continue to evaluate and pursue. The trade market, whether that materializes, that remains to be seen.”
The Bruins have been in the market for a “transitional defenseman” but those come at a cost, perhaps a heavy one and perhaps too heavy in the trade market. Free agency? There are possible candidates, although some, like Brian Campbell and Dan Hamhuis, are decidedly older options.
On defense, the pickings are even slimmer. Jason Demers is the top prize, which speaks volumes about a market that grew even more limited after the early trades and signings of Keith Yandle and Alex Goligoski. The remainder is like the produce selection at Haymarket: distressed and picked over.
The Bruins still have restricted free agent defensemen Joe Morrow and Colin Miller left to sign.
“If we can bring in a guy as advertised ... no matter what the acquisition costs are, if it lines up we’re in a position to do that. The flexibility we have is there to be able to continue to explore and improve our team,” said Sweeney.
“If it’s internal ... then we’re going to continue to do that. We do feel we have players that can emerge in that sense. Puck possession game, transition game comes in different forms.”
As for Loui Eriksson, also a free agent tomorrow, Sweeney said the two sides continue to talk but they haven’t found “common ground.”