If you thought that this off-season for the Boston Bruins was a busy one, it might not hold a candle to what next year could bring. The Bruins have a handful of very notable potential unrestricted free agents next year including captain Zdeno Chara, center Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Mark Stuart. While no one will be worried about losing Marco Sturm and Michael Ryder next year, Chara and Bergeron present potentially huge. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli today gave Bruins fans a reason to relax a little bit.
During his conference call to discuss the Seguin signing, Chiarelli noted that negotiations for extensions for both veteran center Patrice Bergeron and captain Zdeno Chara are continuing. Both players are entering the final years of their deals this season.
“We’ve had talks, recent talks, and we’ll continue to have talks,” said Chiarelli. “And we’ll see where things go.”
While the Bruins salary cap situation for next year isn’t anywhere near as dire as it is this year, it’s welcome news to hear that the Bruins are planning ahead to make sure they can keep the guys that have helped make the team successful recently. How long of a contract they go for with Chara will be of some interest, however. Chara is 33 years-old and while he’s playing solid now, you have to wonder where he’ll be at in the semi-distant future.
As for Bergeron, his contract demands can’t be outrageous as he’s now one of the team’s better defensive forwards. After going from a guy that was drafted and thought to be counted on for points and scoring into being a defensive match-up guy, it’ll be tough to throw heaps of money at him for his play. Then again, the Bruins have shown a history of paying up gobs of money out of the blue at random. Perhaps they’re using the Wheel of Fortune to decide contracts on occasion to keep it lively in the front office and to drive owner Jeremy Jacobs crazy.