Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five

Rich indeed: Bruins hand Peverley three-year extension

Just days after I made an offhand remark about Rich Peverley being one of the NHL’s best under-the-radar bargains, the Boston Bruins made sure that he’ll be very noticeable next season. The team signed Peverley to a three-year contract extension that Bruce Garrioch reports is worth $3.25 million per year.

That works out to $9.75 million overall. Peverley’s going to enjoy almost a $2 million per year bump in average annual salary, although the exact load-out of the contract isn’t clear at this time.

The former Atlanta Thrashers forward hasn’t put together jaw-dropping stats in his career, but he’s been a fantastic fit since being traded to Boston for Blake Wheeler. The 29 year old forward is versatile enough to play on just about any line and can switch between winger and center with ease.

This signing follows a pattern for GM Peter Chiarelli: it seems like he doesn’t want to wait to re-sign players in contract years, which might stem from trading Phil Kessel after fruitless negotiations. Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron barely got into their final years before Chiarelli signed them up; unfortunately for the Bruins’ checkbooks, the same thing also happened with Marc Savard. Still, it’s a proactive practice and the Bruins probably made the right move by signing Peverley before he puts together what could be an expensive career year.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.