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Boston Bruins Re-Sign Daniel Paille: Is Gregory Campbell Next?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 22:  Gregory Campbell #11 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his third period goal against the Philadelphia Flyers with teammate Daniel Paille #20 on January 22, 2012 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Bruins defeated the Flyers 6-5 after a shootout.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Al DanielCorrespondent IIJune 2, 2012

As the club announced on Friday, the Boston Bruins and would-be free agent winger Daniel Paille have renewed their alliance for the next three seasons. This means two-thirds of the fourth line is locked in through at least 2013-14 after Shawn Thornton inked a two-year extension on March 19.

Within the next season, the 28-year-old Paille will see an altogether modest pay raise of $150,000 while his cap hit increases from $1,075,000 to $1.3 million. Thornton will soon see his salary rise to seven figures for first time in his Boston tenure while his cap hit rises by $287,500.

That just leaves the second-year center of this line, Gregory Campbell, who is one of four established NHL forwards still lacking a new contract with the Bruins.

Campbell saw a particularly noticeable downturn in productivity this past season as a 13-16-29 log in 2010-11 gave way to an 8-8-16 transcript in 2011-12.

Part of that could be attributed to the team-wide October hangover, which saw him go pointless for each of the first 10 games of the season. In fact, he was also hushed in the homestretch scoring merely two goals and one assist, and losing 13 points in the plus/minus column over the final 35 games of the regular season.

Of course, it was a similar story for Paille and Thornton, but that has not diminished their value in Chiarelli’s eyes.

Rather, the contributions from Campbell and his linemates during Boston’s brighter moments in November and December, as well as their entire championship ride in 2010-11 should be sufficient to bring him back for a third year and beyond. The fourth line was hardly the sole reason the Bruins had a slow start, a bumpy finish and a premature exit from the first round of the playoffs.

Campbell and general manager Peter Chiarelli alike ought to appreciate the past and potential future rewards the pivot can reap from his chemistry with Paille and Thornton.

In light of that and the way the two wingers went about their contract extensions, there is no reason why Campbell should not accept an altogether negligible increase on his $1.2 million salary and $1.1 million cap hit.

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