Rumors began to surface in the hours leading to up to gametime, but the Boston Bruins officially confirmed during Thursday night’s season opener that they had agreed to terms with Dennis Seidenberg on a four-year contract extension.
Seidenberg’s new deal will be worth $16 million over four years, or an average annual value of $4 million. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, it also includes a full no-trade clause.
This is a great deal for the Boston Bruins. For the 32-year-old Seidenberg, he receives four years of job security for an organization that has fully embraced his skills and intangibles. As underrated as the workhorse defenseman is around North America, he certainly stood to make more money on the open market, albeit likely for fewer years.
Even if Seidenberg loses a step as he approaches age 36, his $4 million cap hit is certainly not a burden. “Das Hammer” has thrived in Head Coach Claude Julien’s defensive-minded system, contributing in all areas of the game and often pairing with Zdeno Chara in big situations to form one of the NHL’s preeminent shutdown pairs.
Seidenberg is currently skating in his twelfth NHL season. He was acquired by Boston from the Florida Panthers (along with Matt Bartkowski) near the 2010 trade deadline. The German-born blueliner is in the midst of the final year of the four-year, $13 million extension he previously signed to remain in Boston.
David Krejci Named Alternate Captain
In other Boston Bruins news, David Krejci was informed by Coach Julien this week that he would be the team’s third alternate captain. With Chara rocking the “C” and Patrice Bergeron with one of the “A” designations permanently fastened to his jersey, Krejci will share the second “A” with incumbent Chris Kelly.
Lost amid all of the talk of Boston’s solid defensive-play en route to their second Stanley Cup Finals appearance in three seasons, Krejci actually lead the playoffs in points. The nifty playmaker has been known to thrive in the playoffs and in short tournaments, including the Olympic Games and other international affairs. Even when Boston collapsed and blew a three-game lead to the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round of the 2010 playoffs, a major turning point in that series was the Game 4 injury to Krejci.
Krejci now needs to prove to himself and to his teammates that he will not disappear for stretches during the regular season. As impressive as he’s been in spells, Julien would undoubtedly love to see more consistency from his first-line center.
Krejci has been described by teammates as a quiet leader. There’s no reason to expect him to change that persona now. If the “A” on his chest can encourage Krejci to better lead through his on-ice play, then it will have been a good decision.
Krejci was given the “A” this season to replace the one worn last year by Andrew Ference, who departed this season as was presented with the captaincy of the Edmonton Oilers. The second “A” was originally split up by Julien upon Mark Recchi’s retirement following the 2011 Stanley Cup.
Chris Kelly Makes History on Opening Night
The Black & Gold took care of business on home ice, dispatching the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 at the TD Garden. With Boston’s 90th season underway, Chris Kelly added his own historical footnote to the victory.
At 11:39 of the first period, Kelly was hooked on a breakaway as he was releasing the puck. The defensive-minded third-line center was presented with a penalty shot opportunity, and he was poised to make the most of it.
Not only did Kelly pull off a highlight-reel double-move that few were expecting, his tally became the first time in NHL history that any team has ever begun their season with a shorthanded penalty shot goal.
As New England Sports Network studio host Dale Arnold noted about the move, “That’s the same goal Gordon Bombay taught Charlie Conway in The Mighty Ducks.”