They made their six picks and promoted Bruce Cassidy from assistant to head coach of the Providence (AHL) farm club.
Meanwhile, their division rivals were all active making their picks and adding help for their NHL rosters for 2011-12.
Toronto and Buffalo both bolstered their back ends by adding veteran blueliners. The Maple Leafs landed John-Michael Liles from Colorado in exchange for the Bruins’ second-round pick in 2012 (the extra pick shipped to Toronto to complete the Tomas Kaberle deal). So in essense, Leafs general manager Brian Burke traded Kaberle for Joe Colborne, Liles and first-round pick Tyler Biggs (who was taken 22nd after a trade with Anaheim involving the Bruins’ former first-round pick at No. 30). Not a bad haul for Kaberle, and a strong addition to the Leafs’ power play (ranked 22nd in 2010-11) with Liles moving over.
The Sabres convinced Robyn Regehr it would be in his interest to swap the winters of Calgary for the winters of Buffalo (cold is cold, after all) and that gives them not only a solid veteran defensemen, but a veteran mentor for the young blueliners. At 31, Regehr is the perfect combination of someone who can still play and be a positive influence, as opposed to the likes of Teppo Numinen and Craig Rivet, who didn’t have much left to offer the Sabres the last several seasons.
Ottawa added three first-round forwards to its already deep corps of scorers. Even if none of them make an NHL impact next season, the Senators should be set for several years after — both with guys that can snipe and potential trade bait. For their 2011-12 roster, however, they added Nikita Filatov for just a third-round pick from Columbus. Considering how many picks the Sens already had, this was a risk-free move. Filatov, a former No. 6 overall pick, is still just 21. Many still like his skill set if he can get his head on straight and focus on contributing to an NHL squad (plus get along with the coach). The future is bright in Ottawa, even if that brightness might not start to shine this coming season.
Montreal was the only Bruins competitor not to add anyone from the outside for their NHL roster. But they made an important re-sign with Andrei Markov re-upping for three years at a cap hit of $5.75 million. Everyone knows the injury problems Markov has had to deal with the last couple seasons. If he stays healthy, though, he could turn out to be a bargain considering his ability to quarterback the power play and provide solid play at both ends at even strength. Markov’s deal also set the bar for high-end free agent defensemen, which down the road could affect what the Bruins or another team wind up paying Kaberle.
So the offseason is off and running. The teams closest to the Bruins are making their moves and the Bruins, for now, look set to stand pat. That might change as we approach July 1 and after the free-agent market opens. But as of today, repeating just as division champs, never mind Stanley Cup winners, looks like a little tougher task.