Lots to talk about, but discussions limited to the inner circle
What’s certain: The Bruins, owners of the No. 2 selection in Friday’s NHL draft, will not be trading the pick, which guarantees that either Tyler Seguin or Taylor Hall will pull on a Black-and-Gold jersey that night.
What’s not: Which of the two teenagers it will be.
Because of Hall’s skill set and big-game presence (he is the only player to win back-to-back Memorial Cup MVPs), Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini is expected to announce the Windsor Spitfires left wing’s name on Friday. But Tambellini has yet to tip his hand, meaning certain scenarios — even a deal between the Bruins and the Oilers to give Boston GM Peter Chiarelli dibs on the player he prefers — still could take place.
“I spoke with Steve over the weekend,’’ Chiarelli said during a conference call yesterday. “We didn’t really discuss [a deal] in any detail. After speaking with Steve, I think he’s probably as close as we are. He has these two guys very close, as we do. Neither of us really committed to moving forward in that kind of discussion. We spoke briefly over the weekend, and I imagine we’ll talk again. But if the draft were tonight, I’d say there’d be no deal.’’
As committed as they are to retaining the No. 2 position, the Bruins are open to swapping their three remaining picks in the first two rounds (Nos. 15, 32, and 45). Because of how weak the free agency market will be come July 1, teams are looking to improve their rosters via trades.
Last week, the Canadiens traded Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz, explaining that Carey Price (a restricted free agent) still projects to be an ace starter. Nashville made two deals, first moving Dan Hamhuis to Philadelphia for Ryan Parent and a 2011 conditional pick, then dealing Jason Arnott to New Jersey for Matt Halischuk and a 2011 second-round selection.
Because of their cap situation (approximately $51 million already committed to next year’s roster), the Bruins aren’t expected to be significant players in free agency. But they could use their picks to move up, move down, or even bundle them with current roster players to free cap space. Chiarelli said he was not involved in any imminent trades, but he expected movement around the league to take place this week.
“I think you’re going to see more deals than usual,’’ Chiarelli said. “The reason is that the free agent market is relatively thin. I’ve noticed that there’s significantly more talk in the last week than I’m used to in my years in management. There’s more activity. You saw a couple deals on the weekend. I would say you’ll probably see more. Maybe you won’t see blockbuster draft-day deals, but you’ll see more deals this week.’’
The preseason schedule, released yesterday, will include an Oct. 2 faceoff against the Belfast Giants Select, an All-Star team from the United Kingdom’s Elite Ice Hockey League. The Bruins will travel to Belfast Sept. 29, then fly Oct. 3 to Prague, where they’ll play an exhibition against HC Liberec of the Czech Extraliga.
The Bruins will open the preseason with two rookie games against the Islanders’ prospects Sept. 14 and 15 in Shelton, Conn. Full training camp will open Sept. 17. Of their seven exhibition games, two will take place at TD Garden: against Florida Sept. 25, and vs. Washington Sept. 29.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com.