He wasn’t too worried about his own future in Black and Gold. Boston had acquired him at the trade deadline in March from Tampa Bay. The Bruins had seen potential in the 6th overall pick from 2010. He was a right-shot right winger with a shoot-first mentality, and a 6’2” 181-pound frame that he didn’t mind taking into the corners and going to battle. He knew his abilities, and they did too.
Still, it was reassuring for Connolly to know that he still fit into the team’s plans.
Sweeney announced on Monday that the team signed the restricted free agent to a one-year contract that will keep him a Bruin for the 2015-16 season. The deal is worth a cap hit of $1,025,000.
“You know, you don’t really know what the plan is, but I felt that I had always been in the plans this summer, and that I’m going to get a good opportunity,” Connolly said via phone from Toronto, where he trains in the offseason.
BostonBruins.com - “It’s a business.”
That’s a phrase heard heavily around the trade deadline, again in the offseason from the draft through free agency and training camp, and then into the start of the season.
Rosters need to be pieced together and chemistry needs to be formed. A team needs to take shape. Players will sign elsewhere. Teams will part ways with players. Trades will happen. It’s all a part of the team-building process.
On Wednesday night, following the opening of free agency, General Manager Don Sweeney and his staff continued their approach of creating a more aggressive, hard-working and accountable roster, by saying goodbye to players and welcoming others.
In doing so, the Bruins signed hard-nosed winger and unrestricted free agent Matt Beleskey to a five-year deal. They also acquired 6-foot-6 forward Jimmy Hayes from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Reilly Smith and Marc Savard. They wingers, both still young at 25 and 27 years old, combined for 41 goals last season in breakout years with the Ducks and Panthers, respectively.
BostonBruins.com - Technically, Matt Beleskey could have signed anywhere.
As an unrestricted free agent and a commodity on the market, the 6'0'', 204-pound winger had an opportunity during the NHL’s interview period to visit cities and speak with teams about his future.
Beleskey was coming off a torrid 2015 postseason with the Anaheim that saw him net eight goals in 16 games, at one point scoring in five straight contests, as the Ducks took the Chicago Blackhawks to Game 7 of the Western Conference Final before being eliminated.
He preceded that with a 2014-15 season in which he doubled his output, scoring a career-high 22 goals and 32 points through 65 games.
The Bruins weren’t the only team who were targeting Beleskey’s services, but in the end, they were the only team handing out a new five-year contract to the 27-year-old through the 2019-20 season. It is worth an annual cap figure of $3,800,000.
“It was a very hectic day,” Beleskey said via phone on Wednesday night once the deal was finalized. “I couldn’t be happier where me and my family have landed in Boston. That’s been a team that we’ve always liked and we talked about leading up to this and it’s just amazing that it ends up that way.”
The 6'6", 221-pound Hayes, a native of Dorchester, Mass. and former Boston College Eagle, put up 19 goals and 16 assists for 35 points in 72 games for Florida in 2014-15.
General Manager Don Sweeney said on Tuesday during a conference call prior to free agency that he had discussed Savard with a lot of teams. Savard's contract carries about a $4 million annual cap hit through the 2016-17 season (base salary of $575,000).
BostonBruins.com - The NHL enters free agency on Wednesday, July 1 at noon ET and the Bruins are set to enter the next phase of their offseason.
After a busy draft weekend of trades, General Manager Don Sweeney joined media on the club’s annual conference call prior to the opening of free agency. He was well aware of those weighing in on the organization’s decision making.
“Well, ‘heat’ is the appropriate term, I would say,” Sweeney said on the call Tuesday morning. “I knew going in that the chair would be warm, accepted that challenge, and knew there would be some hard decisions to make.”
“We’ve been in cap purgatory for quite some time and wanted to extradite ourselves from that going forward to improve our club hopefully from this point forward and in the future.”
The GM spoke strongly about the Bruins not being in a “rebuild” mode, though.
“No, I don’t think it’s a rebuild. We didn’t strip this down,” said Sweeney. “We have a tremendous core group of guys that are going to obviously carry an even heavier load here in the short term while these other kids can come in and start to take footing.”
BostonBruins.com - General Manager Don Sweeney held a conference call for reporters on Tuesday morning, prior to the start of NHL Free Agency on July 1.
The call happens annually prior to free agency. Sweeney is also slated to address reporters on Wednesday (July 1), following the start of free agency (another annual occurrence).
Sweeney fielded several questions in regards to the club’s moves since NHL Draft weekend in Sunrise, Fla., their plan heading into free agency and the heat that has been put on him and the organization in the ensuing days.
“Well, ‘heat’ is the appropriate term, I would say,” Sweeney told reporters on the call. “I knew going in that the chair would be warm, accepted that challenge, and knew there would be some hard decisions to make.”
“You know, our staff went about trying to make the best ones and as I’ve said, referencing the fact that we’ve been in cap purgatory for quite some time and wanted to extradite ourselves from that going forward to improve our club hopefully from this point forward and in the future.”
BostonBruins.com - The 2015 NHL Entry Draft has come and gone, with the Bruins’ roster and depth landscape significantly changed.
Trades with the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames saw Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton heading elsewhere for the 2015-16 season. With 10 selections in the draft, including six in the first two rounds, Boston added prospects at every position.
While fans and media have weighed in and will continue to do so, 10 players now find themselves as a part of the Bruins’ organization and are one step closer to one day achieving their dreams of playing in the NHL.
The players have been closely watched and they have been interviewed by scouts and management, with a spectrum of their talent and character assessed. Their development trajectory is projected as best as possible. Ultimately, though, it’s up to the players to determine whether or not they’re going to establish themselves at the NHL level.
SUNRISE, Fla. - For the first time in NHL Draft history, a team made three consecutive picks in the first round.
That happened to the Bruins on Friday night at the BB&T Center after General Manager Don Sweeney and his staff had a busy lead-up to the draft, making trades that sent Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings and Dougie Hamilton to the Calgary Flames.
Boston made selections with the 13th, 14th and 15th overall picks.
Defenseman Jakub Zboril was chosen 13th with the pick acquired from Los Angeles. Forward Jake DeBrusk was chosen as the Bruins’ second selection, 14th overall, and forward Zachary Senyshyn was selected 15th with the pick acquired from Calgary.
“It’s unique that we had three in a row. Certainly had a lot of talk to try to get further up in the draft and wasn’t able to do that,” Sweeney said following the first round. “You know, we certainly identified three players that we wanted to take and that’s why I didn’t move back - I had opportunities to move back and collect more picks later in the draft, but we worked awfully hard as a group to get those three selections, and we feel good.”
SUNRISE, Fla. - Head Coach Claude Julien will be coaching a Bruins’ team with a different look in 2015-16.
On Friday, General Manager Don Sweeney announced trades that garnered a handful of draft picks, including two first rounders that saw the Bruins make the 13th, 14th and 15th overall selections. Milan Lucic was traded to the Los Angeles Kings, and Dougie Hamilton was sent to the Calgary Flames.
Hamilton played his three entry-level years with Boston after being drafted in 2011. Selected in 2006, Lucic first eight years in the League with Boston mirrored Julien’s tenure that began in 2007-08.
The personnel moves weren’t necessarily easy for Julien to take, but he’s backing Sweeney and the vision his staff has for the team both in the short term and in the future.
“First of all, I think you’ve got to give Don a lot of credit,” Julien told reporters late Friday night at the BB&T Center towards the end of the first round. “He’s come into this in this role and there was a lot on his plate, and a lot going on, and there were some tough decisions to be made, and personally, I’m pretty impressed with how he’s handled it.”
SUNRISE, Fla. - General Manager Don Sweeney and his staff did their work heading into the 2015 NHL Entry Draft at the BB&T Center in Florida, crafting their list and being prepared for all scenarios.
The latter includes trade activity. Sweeney had been in talks with the other 29 general managers, and those came to fruition on Friday in what was a busy lead-up to the first round that saw the Bruins pick 13th, 14th and 15th overall.
Earlier on Friday, Boston acquired the 15th, 45th and 52nd overall picks in this year’s draft from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Dougie Hamilton.
The activity began on Thursday, when the Bruins acquired a 2016 sixth round pick from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for the rights to Carl Soderberg, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and wasn’t going to be returning to Boston.