So the end of the season has greeted us a little sooner than expected, yet after nearly 200 games played over the course of the last 19 months, it seemed ‘better late than never’ as the Bruins played practically two full seasons with only a month break in between. Thankfully we can expect to see a majority of the same team for the 2012-2013 season. However, there are a few guys that we are not so likely to see. From the Bruins team alone there are nine free agents. Some are newcomers, such as Brian Rolston, Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau while others have been with the Organization for a while such as; Chris Kelly, Benoit Pouliot, Joe Corvo, Tuukka Rask, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille.
During the season Chiarelli was able to sign David Krejci, Rich Peverley, Shawn Thornton and Johnny Boychuk, eliminating them from being on the market during the post-season. However, there are still nine members to worry about and consider.
Prior to the Bruins making the 2011-2012 playoffs there was already some talk between Chris Kelly‘s agent and Peter Chiarelli. However, those negotiations were put on hold as to keep the forwards’ focus on the current situation, performing well in the playoffs. Now that the season has ended for the Bruins, the assumption to be made is that the negotiations between Kelly’s agent and Chiarelli will resume.
Kelly stated in an exit interview with the Bruins media organization that he wants to stay in Boston in stating:
“I truly do like it here,” said Kelly. “I know some guys just say that, but everything about Boston has been a pleasant surprise from the team, the coaching staff, the management and obviously the city.”(via Bruins News)
To Kelly’s advantage he posted career-high numbers this season with 20 goals and 19 assists in 82 games played, a perfect attendance record. He was also awarded the honor of wearing the ‘A’ on his sweater, given his astounding leadership skills on the ice and in the locker room. While there is no guarantee that Chris will stay in Boston, the hopes remain high and providing the price is right, we can expect to see him around.
Unlike Chris Kelly, defenseman Joe Corvo has openly stated that he does not intend on sticking around the Boston area and that he will be pursuing the free agency market openly. Considering Corvo is unrestricted, he is able to go to any team that he chooses, provided they show interest in him.
Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Brian Rolston are also unrestricted free agents as of July of this year and while they have each provided the Bruins with their biggest asset, offensive depth. Combined the three forwards managed to post 24 goals and 41 assists for the Bruins in the regular season. Post-season Rolston was one of the Bruins key assets with his line leading in the scoring column.
Along with Campbell, Rolston and Paille forward Benoit Pouliot and Tuukka Rask are restricted free agents, meaning a player prior to age 25 is obligated to his former team. Even if another team offers him a contract, it can be matched by his old team. Thus he is restricted on who he can sign with. Rask, along with Kelly would love to stay in Boston as he has since his career started.
“I always said I like it here and I think we have a great group of guys and the organization is great, so I wouldn’t see why anybody wouldn’t want to be here. In my case, same thing. I love it here and we just got to make things work, that’s all.”(via Bruins news)
Peter Chiarelli also indicated in an interview that he has no intentions of moving goalies around, despite some speculation going around he made no indication that Rask would be playing elsewhere.
Although it is uncertain what the future holds for the inconsistent Canadian forward Benoit Pouliot, we can only hope to see him evolve with the Bruins next season. He had some serious slumps through the year (mid-February) but also showed us the true potential and skill set he has(Example: goal vs Florida Panthers or undressing Cammaleri to score on Price). It is not unlikely that the Bruins could offer him another short-term contract to stick around. (Hopefully we get to see the ‘flow’ in BeanTown)
At the end of the day the Peter Chiarelli has the team’s best interests at heart and right now the Bruins need a top none forward.
“We obviously have some guys to consider whether we sign them or not,” Chiarelli said. “From the makeover perspective, certainly we’re not going to do anything to makeover this team. You hear me talk about the parity in this league and our first-round loss in seven games this year can be another Stanley Cup final next year — it’s that close. …. You just have to be prepared. I’d like to maybe look at a forward to bolster our top nine…That doesn’t mean I’m not going to look at signing Pouliot. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to consider (Jordan) Caron up there. I just want to look at the trade market and the free agent market.”(via The Herald News)
It is sad to think that our best post-season line, consisting of Chris Kelly, Brian Rolston and Benoit Pouliot could be completely dissolved and non-existent. The reality of seeing entirely new faces come training camp or early September is quite plausible, however, the core to the team will still remain in tact with Bergeron, Chara, Seguin, Krejci, Lucic and Seidenberg not going anywhere.