General Manager Peter Chiarelli and company certainly have their work cut out for them this this offseason.
The Boston Bruins have a plethora of UFA/RFA whom will hit the free agent market on the first of July if Boston doesn't resign them before then. The Bruins don't have too much cap space to play with, so their decisions need to be made wisely in order to repeat another playoff run.
The top two free agents in the Hub of Hockey this year are undoubtedly Phil Kessel and David Krejci.
To make matters even more difficult, both players will be going under the knife this offseason for repairs to their battered bodies. Both Krejci and Kessel will not be ready for training camp, and may in fact miss the first month or two of the 2009-10 season.
Fluto Shinzawa wrote a fantastic piece earlier today on boston.com; Krejci, Bruins were playing hurt—this is a must-read.
Krejci, diagnosed with an impingement on his right hip, is one of three Bruins who will have surgery in the upcoming weeks. Phil Kessel (torn rotator cuff and labrum) and Andrew Ference (groin tear) will also undergo operations. Recovery time for Krejci and Kessel is four to six months. Neither is expected to be in uniform for the start of the 2009-10 season.
Mark Recchi had a kidney stone removed last Wednesday, just over 24 hours prior to the Game Seven puck drop. Marc Savard, who sprained his right knee in Game Six, said he probably would have missed two weeks had it been the regular season. A cross-check to the back in Game One broke two of Chuck Kobasew's ribs. Zdeno Chara played through shoulder, knee, and groin injuries. Milan Lucic brushed off a bruised toe.
There have been a few rumors and hypothetical situations regarding the resignings of Krejci and Kessel—one of those being possibly trading Marc Savard and his $5 million contract.
No. 91 signed a four-year, $20-million contract with the Boston Bruins on July 1, 2006.
Savard spent the 2005-06 season with the Atlanta Thrashers, where he played in all 82 games—one of four players to play the entire season. Savard's career-high 97 points ranked him ninth in the NHL, and his 69 assists were good enough for third in the league.
Since coming to the Hub of Hockey, Savard picked up where he left off in Atlanta. The most underrated player in the NHL posted 96 points (ninth in the NHL). His 74 assists were good enough for third in the league, while playing in all 82 games for Boston—the only player to skate in all 82 games.
In 2007-08, Savard was sidelined with an injury, but still suited up for 74 games with the Bruins. He led all Boston players again with 78 points, and he was in the top three in the league in assists with 63. The B's managed to squeak into the playoffs, before getting bounced by the No. 1 seeded Montreal Canadiens in seven games. Savard tallied one goal and five assists in the playoffs.
This year was more of the same. The durable, consistent Savard was just one of three Bruins to have played in all 82 regular season games. He once again led the squad in points for the third year straight with 88—and ninth in the NHL.
Savard's 63 assists not only ranked him sixth best in the NHL, but his unselfish play made his linemates better too. Phil Kessel played wing on the first line with Savard while leading all Bruins with his career-high 36 goals.
“I’d like to finish here. I really don’t want to move around anymore,” Savard said. “I’m very happy here. I love the fans, I love the city…I’m open to anything, so we’ll see what happens.”
“I think it’d be nice for anybody to be able to do something like that,” he continued. “At the end of the day, I know I just have to wait and see.”
Both Kessel and Savard tore it up in the postseason, combining for 25 points and a plus-nine in 11 playoff games.
To break it down, Savard has played in all 18 playoff games for the Bruins since the 2007-08 season. He has averaged over a point per game with 19, and a plus-one rating.
Joe Thornton in Boston—35 playoff games, 19 points, minus-10.
Bottom line—Marc Savard needs to stay in Boston for next year and years to come.
This article was originaly published on Examiner.com
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