While the Boston Bruins remained quiet on the July 1 opening of unrestricted free agency, three former members of the Black and Gold squad opted to sign elsewhere on Sunday.
First up was defenseman Joe Corvo, who inked a new one-year pact worth a total of $2 million dollars with the Carolina Hurricanes. The 35-year-old rearguard struggled mightily during his one and only season in Boston and was often the subject of heavy criticism, despite posting a respectable 4-21-25 stat line. The Oak Park, Illinois native is making a return to Raleigh for what will be in third stint in a Hurricanes’ uniform.
Not long after news broke of Corvo’s signing in Carolina, we would learn of the imminent departure of another Bruins’ blueliner. 2011 trade deadline acquisition Greg Zanon had decided to leave the limelight of the Boston hockey scene and head west to join the Colorado Avalanche. Signing Zanon was part of a gigantic day for Avs’ general manager Greg Sherman, who also landed bottom-six pivot John Mitchell and scoring winger P.A. Parenteau. The Burnaby, British Columbia native skated in 17 games for the Bruins after coming over from Minnesota — in exchange for Steven Kampfer — and picked up one goal and one assist while stabilizing the defensive zone play of Boston’s bottom pair. The Bruins would of likely had an interest in bringing Zanon back into the fold, but when the price exceeded the two-million mark, general manager Peter Chiarelli probably walked away from the table. Zanon’s two-year deal with the Avalanche is worth a total of $4.5 million dollars, with an average annual value — and cap hit — of $2.25 MIL.
Another player who spent time in a Bruins’ uniform last season and signed a new contract on Sunday was third line winger Benoit Pouliot. Pouliot’s rights were dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning — in exchange for AHL forward Michal Ouellet and a fifth round draft choice (Seth Griffith) — on day two of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, but the two sides were not able to come to an agreement on a new deal until Sunday afternoon. The 25-year-old Alfred, Ontario native scored 16 goals and added 16 assists in 74 games for the Bruins during the 2011-’12 campaign. The new 1-year, $1.8 million dollar pact provides the Bolts with some tremendous value, as it’s quite possible Pouliot can thrive and produce at a higher level in head coach Guy Boucher‘s up-tempo offensive system.
During a conference call with the Boston media on Sunday afternoon, Chiarelli noted that he’s “not actively looking for anything” but would consider making a move if the right situation presented itself.
“If something can improve our team, I’ll – we’ll consider anything.” — Peter Chiarelli
In looking at the currently constituted Bruins’ roster, it appears as if the biggest need is a top-nine forward to skate alongside Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley on the third line. With only five NHL defensemen under contract for next season, it would be logical to assume that Chiarelli and co. will also be hard at work scouring the list of remaining free agents in search of veteran depth on the blueline.
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.