Kessel Resigns With Bruins; Aaron Ward Back To Carolina

OK, well this is not entirely true, but you can mark this post. Loge19.com is making the call that the Bruins will be resigning Phil Kessel for the 2010 season any day now. How can we make such a claim with unwaivering confidence? Look at the facts: Today the Boston Bruins traded defenseman Aaron Ward to Carolina for Boston College Alum Patrick Eaves and a 2010 fourth round draft pick. Here’s the catch, as soon as the transaction was completed, the Bruins immediately put Eaves on waivers in hopes of another team picking up the contract, or the Bruins buying him out.

Why does this matter? With the Ward trade and Eaves on waivers, this clears up about $2.5 million in cap space that the Bruins were to pay Ward this season. Additionally they may not have to put forward the $1.7 million to Eaves, if someone picks him up. Hopefully you’re starting to see the light here.

Eaves, somewhat of a disappointment so far with only 90 points in 242 NHL games, is not the man the Bruins looking to for some offensive prowess. Instead something else has to be in the works here, right? Therefore there’s no doubt that with the additional cap space the Bruins have something “Bruing”. My guess is a 1 year contract for Kessel, and they will probably keep Kobasew along for the ride as well. Both Eaves and Ward’s contracts expire next year, and the Bruins will have some working to do in order to keep Marc Savard around along with Ference. Although there are still some desirable free agents still lurking out there, including veteran defenseman Sergei Zubovthat the B’s might be showing interest in. On a side note, why not bring Darren McCarthy into the mix here in Boston? He won’t take up any cap space, accept for the 30 packs of Milwaukees Best you will have to pay him in.

There is however another interesting dynamic to this story. Ward is going back to Carolina to meet up with, now teammate, Scott Walker. For those of you who don’t remember, Walker is the goon who sucker punched Ward in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals game 5.

This set off a fire storm between the two teams, via the media, during an already chippy game. While no punishment was handed out, and disciplinary actions that were going to be taken by Shawn Thornton would be put on hold until the following season, it’s going to be interesting to see how the two teams will react. Not to mention, Ward proclaims that he is flat out hated in North Carolina after this incident.

When Bruins defenseman Aaron Wardleft Boston for the summer to head back to his full-time home in North Carolina, he expressed a bit of fear of how the locals would treat him in the offseason. After Ward was punched by Hurricanes forward Scott Walker in Game 5 of the Bruins-Hurricanes conference semifinals series, he apparently became a target of Carolina fans and media in the following days and was skeptical of how he would be received over the next couple of months.

“The fan base there was wrapped up in me being Public Enemy No. 1,” Ward said before heading home to Carey, N.C., where he has resided since winning the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006. “I don’t get it. I was the one who got belted in the face. I was surprised when I got to Carolina by the level of animosity directed at me. I got back to Boston, and I sat up with my wife until 3 a.m. trying to convey to her the level of animosity in Raleigh. She didn’t believe it. I said, ‘I’m dead serious. I’m going to go back to Raleigh, and they hate me.’

“I was in my car driving guys to the rink. People are calling into the radio to talk about me, and the guys are looking at me going, ‘You live in this town?’ I’m going to be laying very low down there.”

With that being said, I’m going to miss Ward. While not the most effective player on the ice, he was gritty and played the Boston style of hockey that’s asked of him. Notorious for blocking shots and mucking it up, Ward is getting up there in age, and I would not be surprised to see this be his last season in the NHL. It is nice to see him back in Carolina, where he won a cup. Good luck to Aaron, I’m sad to see him go, and I’m sure he’s disappointed to be leaving Boston.

The Boston Bruins have the official story:

B’s Trade Ward to Carolina
Acquire Patrice Eaves and 2010 draft pick. Eaves on Waivers.
 Boston Bruins
Jul 24, 2009, 11:44 AM EDT

BOSTON, MA-Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that the club has acquired right wing Patrick Eaves and a fourth round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Aaron Ward. After acquiring Eaves, the club has placed Eaves on waivers for the purpose of buying him out.

Eaves, 25, just completed his fourth pro season following a three-year college career at Boston College where he twice earned All-American and Hockey East All-Star honors (2004, 2005). Drafted by Ottawa as their first pick, 29th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, he played his first two-plus seasons in the Senators organization.

The 5’11”, 190 lb. native of Calgary, Alberta was traded to Carolina along with Joe Corvo in February of the 2007-08 season for Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore. He had six goals and eight assists for 14 points with 31 penalty minutes in 74 regular season games with the Hurricanes last season and added 1-2=3 totals in 18 playoff games as Carolina advanced to the Eastern Conference finals where they fell to the Stanley Cup champion Penguins. Eaves was scoreless in seven playoff games in their series vs. the Bruins. He has 45 goals and 45 assists for 90 points with 99 penalty minutes in 242 career NHL games.

Ward, 36, returns to the team with which he won a Stanley Cup championship in 2006 and where he still maintains his off-season home. The 6’2”, 209 lb. native of Ottawa, Ontario has played the last two-plus seasons with the Bruins since he was acquired from the NY Rangers for Paul Mara at the March, 2007 trade deadline and he had three goals and seven assists for ten points in 65 regular season games while adding one goal in 11 post-season games for the Bruins last year.

Originally the first pick, fifth overall, of the Winnipeg Jets in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Ward has 43 goals and 95 assists for 138 points with 674 penalty minutes in 762 career NHL games with Detroit, Carolina, NY Rangers and Boston. He won two Stanley Cups with the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 prior to his third championship in Carolina.

4 Responses to “Kessel Resigns With Bruins; Aaron Ward Back To Carolina”

  1. July 24, 2009 at 2:11 PM

    An alternate scenario to signing Kessel (which I personally think is equally possible)

    The Bs trade Kessel for a top 4 d-man using the extra cap space to make that possible. Maybe talks between the Bs and Leafs will resume and the Bs will send their newly acquired 4th round pick with Kessel to Toronto for Kaberle. Absolutely speculating, but you never know.

    • 2 thekiiid
      July 24, 2009 at 2:20 PM

      Well said, or they tell Kessel to take a hike, and without resigning take someone in Free Agency. Again, speculation, but I think they will resign Kessel. Either to play for the season or use as trade bait. If they do use him as trade bait, they need to be careful on the stipulations of the contract, along with value. I would not be surpised to see Kessel with the B’s up until the trade deadline, and see the Bruins make a move then.

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