Re-signed Chuck Kobasew
The Bruins re-signed Kobasew to a new 3-year deal with a 2.3 cap hit. I'm probably not the only one who believes that Chucky would have made a huge difference in our 7-game quarterfinal war against the Habs. He potted 22 goals in 73 games during the regular season on a team that was usually referred to as offensively handicapped. Despite our boys scrounging up 10 goals between Games 5 & 6, we still could have desperately used his quick and gritty style of play. With the return of Bergeron and hopefully good health, I can see him nearing the 30-goal mark, which at a 2.3 cap hit, is a steal. He also scored one of my personal favorite highlight reel goals last year, proving to Garden fans you don’t need to be standing on your own two feet to score a goal.
The Final Word: A great re-signing. For a potential 30-goal scorer a 2.3 cap hit is nothing at all. Stay healthy Chuck and from your knees or not, just score some goals.
Re-signed Aaron Ward
Locked up Ward to a 2-year deal worth 2.5 a season. Ill be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of Ward when he first came over in the Mara trade but the more I see him, the more I like him. He has really developed into quite the leader here in Bean town and there is no price on the leadership a guy like this can bring to an overall young team. He fits well into the Bruins system because they like to force shooters to take their shots from the outside and it just so happens Ward is a shot blocking machine with a team leading 119 last year, not to mention a tremendous physical presence with 143 hits good for 3rd overall on the team. Despite being a defensive defenseman he came through in the clutch with two epic overtime goals, one being the infamous broken stick shot. Having Aaron here in Boston for the next two seasons will continue to provide us with a great 3-time cup champion presence and a terrific mentor to our rising young D-men corps. Now just look at the guy's game face, doesn’t he seem the type to take his skate off and stab somebody with it, ala Adam Sandler from Happy Gilmour.
The Final Word: It will be great to have him back, and his leadership will be invaluable over the next two years. Only bad thing is we have to wait till February for him to beat Philly.
Traded D Jonathan Sigalet for F Matt Marquardt
We have quite a few young promising defensemen in the system, and Sigalet was low on the depth chart looking up at guys like Lashoff and Hunwick. This player seems to fit Chia's plan, he weighs in at 6'3, 222 pounds who just recently turned 21 last week. He was drafted in the 7th round by the Columbus Blue Jackets, 194th overall in the 2006 Entry Draft. By looking at some stats given to me by BostonBruins.com he seems to have some offensive flair putting up career highs in 2006-2007 with the Wildcats showing off a 41-29-70 line, he fits a raw mold of a potential power forward. Since being drafted by the Bruins in 2005, Sigalet made 199 Providence appearances and only one big club cameo, which was on January 9th, 2007.
The Final Word: Good trade. I doubt Sigalet would ever make the Bruins with much better options in Hunwick, Lashoff and McQuaid. Marquardt is a future potential power forward so it should be interesting how he pans out, if Lucic gives him some room that is.
Traded F Matt Hendricks for D Johnny Boychuk
With the exit of Sigalet to the Rocky Mountains of Denver, Chia went out and replaced him with defenseman Boychuk. A couple things stick out at me when I read about this transaction, one being the fact that when he played for the Albany River Rats he was the only player to suit up for all 80 games in 06-07 while also ranking 2nd on the team in defensemen scoring with 28 points. Although this doesn't always mean anything, but he was drafted in the 2nd round, while Hendricks was drafted in the 5th round (by the Nashville Predators).
The Final Word: I can see Boychuk possibly getting a call-up at some point this year, maybe due to injuries of other players, but look for him to spend the year with the Baby B's.
Re-signed Mark Stuart
Stuart was rewarded with a new 2-year contract worth 1.3 per season. C'mon, who doesn't want to hear Jack Edwards tell us that he's "strong as an ox" about ten times a game next year. Besides that I just absolutely love watching this guy play, and had the privilege to do so 82 times last season. He is a true warrior of the game and you know he is proud to wear the spoked-B on his chest. He is still only 24 and certainly a few rough edges still remain in his game, but after a full season plus 7 playoff games under his belt we should all be looking forward to what he will show us not only next year but years after that.
The Final Word: A great signing in my opinion as I love the heart and style of play he brings to the Bruins, with a cap hit that’s not to bad at all. Look for him to develop into a key cog on our blue line for years to come.
Signed UFA Michael Ryder
Signed Michael Ryder to a 4-year deal worth 4.0 a year. Massive amounts of criticism has surrounded this highly controversial free agent signing, while everybody had Hossa on the brain, Chia went out and converted a Sith into a Jedi. I will admit when I first saw this headline my heart sank a little bit, not because he was a Hab last year but mainly because of his lack of production. But I'm going to go ahead and assume the contract is based on the back to back 30-goal years he had prior to this season. I realize signing players based on what they did a few years ago sounds silly and irresponsible but the catch here is, he's back with his buddy Claude. Those two have a quite a history, this reunion in Boston will mark their 7th season together, the prior 6 being in the QMJHL from 1997-2000, Hamilton in 02-03 and then finally Montreal 03-04 and 05-06.
The Final Word: In the end, it's all going to come down to what he does THIS year. Hopefully the reunion with Julien and playing alongside playmakers Bergeron and Savard will give this former Hab a fresh start. I say he will net at least 25-30 goals this year, anything less would be extremely disappointing.
Signed F Blake Wheeler
I was ecstatic when hearing the news of this signing. Wheeler was drafted in the 2004 Entry Draft in the 1st round, 5th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes, but chose not to sign there. Wheeler opted to become a free agent instead and could have signed with any NHL team that he desired, but he chose Boston. This kid has a lot of promise and I'm very excited to have him in the system, another thing that stood out to me was his quote about why he chose the Bruins as his destination. He told the press in a conference call that Cam Neely played a large role in the reason he came here because he would like model his game after a player like him. How good does this feel Bruin's fans? A young promising former 1st rounder choosing to come to our team, and wanting to model himself after one of our own legends.
The Final Word: He may start the season in Providence but keep your eyes open for a Wheeler appearance in Boston this year, and don't be surprised if he is able to make an impact, maybe not at the level of Milan Lucic did but he won’t be flying under the radar by any means.
Traded F Pascal Pelletier for F Martin St. Pierre
A little disappointed at first glance, only because it was a lot of fun watching the kid line of Krejci-Pelletier-Sobotka despite recording zero points. Despite having a breakout season for the Baby B's last year it was doubtful Pascal would ever grab a permanent roster spot on the Bruins. St. Pierre is more of a playmaker than a scorer, he notched 67 assists in 69 games last year for Rockford, and so he should flourish with all the talented scorers in Providence.
The Final Word: I can see St. Pierre putting up huge numbers with Providence this year, but don't hold your breath on him making an impact with the big club just yet.
This is it for now; I'm going to make a separate Wideman signing/Murray waiving blog for as early as tomorrow so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoyed my first blog.