Sobotka dealt to Blues
Bruins acquire BU’s Warsofsky
LOS ANGELES — Yesterday, the Bruins pulled off a trade. Just not the one everybody was anticipating.
While they continue to shop Tim Thomas and Marc Savard, they found a taker in St. Louis for Vladimir Sobotka. With too many bodies occupying bottom-six roles (Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille being his primary competition on the fourth line), Sobotka was swapped for the rights to Boston University defenseman David Warsofsky. The Marshfield, Mass., native will be a junior at BU this fall. The Bruins are not pushing Warsofsky to leave school and turn pro.
“He sees the ice,’’ said general manager Peter Chiarelli. “He moves the puck. He’s almost 190 pounds. We see him a lot. We like him.’’
The Sobotka-Warsofsky swap was the only deal that materialized on a day when the Bruins hoped to find takers for Thomas and Savard. According to an NHL source, Thomas has waived his no-trade clause, freeing the Bruins to find a trading partner.
The Bruins and Flyers considered a trade — Chiarelli conducted a 10-minute conversation with Philadelphia counterpart Paul Holmgren on the Staples Center floor yesterday morning — but could not come to an agreement.
The Flyers, who saw Patrick Kane slip a bad-angle goal through Michael Leighton for the Stanley Cup clincher in overtime, have not committed to the journeyman as their goalie of the future.
The Flyers also could be in the hunt for Evgeni Nabokov, the San Jose netminder who was informed by the Sharks that he would not be re-signed. The Flyers could either pursue Nabokov once he becomes an unrestricted free agent Thursday or trade for the right to negotiate with Nabokov prior to the opening of free agency. Holmgren also spoke with San Jose GM Doug Wilson on the draft floor yesterday.
The hindrance to landing the 36-year-old Thomas is the $5 million annual cap hit the acquiring club must assume for the next three seasons. Thomas also underwent offseason hip surgery. However, Thomas is only a calendar year removed from winning the Vezina Trophy and, at full health, he is considered a sharper goalie than Nabokov.
If the Bruins trade Thomas to the Flyers, Jeff Carter would not be the return in a one-for-one deal, according to the source. Carter, coming off a quiet postseason, has one year remaining on his deal that carries a $5 million annual hit, the same number as Thomas. But Carter, the shoot-first center, would be too much for the Flyers to give up.
Savard, along with Thomas, remains in play. There is no guarantee that Tyler Seguin, drafted second overall by Boston Friday, will make the team this fall. However, if Seguin makes the jump from junior to the NHL and the Bruins determine he can handle the workload at center, they could slide him into the No. 3 spot behind David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron.
Savard has a full no-trade clause. But according to Rogers Sportsnet, he has agreed to waive it if the destination is one of two teams. In 2011-12, Savard’s no-trade clause includes provisions that allow the Bruins to ship him to Chicago, Montreal, Ottawa, Philadelphia, or Toronto without his clearance.
Chiarelli refused to comment on any trade scenarios involving Thomas and Savard.
Yesterday, with no movement on Thomas or Savard, the Bruins trained their sights on the 20-year-old Warsofsky. This past season, the Bruins were lacking defensive prospects. But at the trade deadline, they acquired Steve Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski, two blue-line prospects. They also signed Yuri Alexandrov, their second-round pick in 2006, to a two-year deal.
In Warsofsky, the Bruins added a mobile, puck-moving defenseman with a winning pedigree. Warsofsky, selected by the Blues in the fourth round of the 2008 draft, won a national title with BU as a freshman. This past season, he helped Team USA strike gold with an upset win over Canada in the World Junior Tournament.
To land Warsofsky, the Bruins said goodbye to Sobotka, their fifth-round pick from 2005. In 61 regular-season games, Sobotka had four goals and six assists. Sobotka was at his belligerent best against Buffalo in the first round. But he injured his left shoulder and was not the same against Philadelphia. Sobotka underwent successful surgery to stabilize his shoulder May 25.
“He’s like a little wrecking ball,’’ Chiarelli said. “He’s a competitive kid. We acquired Greg Campbell. We’ve got some more centers coming in. On the wing, with his size, he’s had trouble adjusting.
“I talked to Vladdy. He’s happy that we’re giving him a chance somewhere else.’’
The Bruins will now prepare for Thursday’s opening of free agency. They are not expected to pursue any big-time free agents. But they could still make noise via trade.
“I went into this period of the last month or so thinking that I’m going to be more active on the trade market,’’ said Chiarelli. “I think that’s still the case.
“With the trade market, there’s still from now until June 30. Then there’s a bit of a shuffling with the unrestricted market, and at the same time the trade market is still going on.
“I’ll be involved. We’ll see what happens there.’’