Just one day after inking rugged veteran forward Shawn Thornton to a two-year extension, the B's locked up defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
Seidenberg,who was signed to a four-year extension worth $13 million and a $3.25 million per season against the salary cap, would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He was flown to Boston from Florida on Friday to have one final exam done on his wrist.
The Bruins traded for Seidenberg with the intention of re-signing him and on Saturday, they followed through.
"When we acquired Dennis, we valued him as a strong two-way defenseman and he showed that style of play,” general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a teleconference with the media and Seidenberg. "He showed his strength. He showed it in the match-up role and he showed an offensive side to his game that we knew he had. So we finished the deal yesterday. We had to get the sign off on his wrist. We flew Dennis from Florida up to Boston and we had the wrist examined and everything was good so we consummated a new deal."
Since coming to Boston and posting two goals and seven assists in 17 regular season games before suffering the wrist injury on April 3, Seidenberg has made it clear that he liked the Bruins organization and wanted to stay in Boston. He also has made it clear that he didn’t want to have to go through a waiting game on the free agent market like he did when was a UFA last summer prior to signing with Florida.
He felt instant chemistry with Zdeno Chara as the No. 2 defenseman slotted next to the Bruins captain and with his new teammates after coming here at the trade deadline on March 3. He knew this was the right fit.
"I think the short period of time that I played with the guys; I think it was a lot of fun playing with them," Seidenberg said. "I was prepared with one of the best seasons in the league. Just going through that experience was a whole lot of fun. I think just going onto the ice in front of sold out buildings every night and playing with guys who are really knowledgeable I think that made the decision pretty easy to hit the page and mark it.
"You never know what's going to happen, what teams marks are going to look like if they go a week. It’s a gamble. I was happy and I’m just happy to sign for those four years and be secured in that time."
Chiarelli reiterated that the Bruins have long been fans of Seidenberg’s two-way game, and his performance in the short time he’s been here just reaffirmed their beliefs that he was a guy they wanted in the fold long term.
"Well when we acquired him we knew his contract was expiring, so I guess we knew there would be a risk that all he would be would be a rental," Chiarelli acknowledged. "But we went into that acquisition, that trade hoping we could resign him. Sometimes you acquire that type of player knowing you weren’t going to resign him, but for Dennis, we had scouted him a lot throughout the year in Florida. He’s a guy that kept popping up high in our scouting lists [and] our free agent lists. So we went into it knowing that we would try our hardest to resign him and we ended up resigning him.
"So this wasn’t a case of acquiring him simply as a rental; it was with the thought that we were going to resign him. We gave a player, Byron Bitz, a high second round pick for Dennis and Matt Bartkowski, so we wanted both players to be part of our organization."
Seidenberg is excited to be able to come back next season and help the Bruins redeem themselves after the unceremonious playoff exit with the 3-0 series lead blown in the semifinals. He admitted that he was frustrated watching his teammates’ collapse and not being able to help them in the playoffs.
"There is definitely a motivation to go further this year, but when I watched those games
it was just kind of me more being annoyed and not being able to help the guys," Seidenberg said. "But I think overall they’ve done a tremendous job just going this far and you know, I said before, I just hate watching and hopefully that's not going to happen again, so I can be part of the success next year."
The German rear guard who has also played for the Coyotes, Flyers, and Hurricanes, in addition to the Panthers and Bruins last season, is also thrilled to be calling Boston home for at least the next four seasons.
"Well I’m excited to be part of this organization and I think Boston is a great town, a great hockey town," Seidenberg said. "The guys are great, and the future for our organization looks really good with all these young guys coming in and us being pretty young and having a good mix between younger and older guys. We ought to be really competitive the next couple of years. I can’t wait to start next season and the next four years to be part of all that."
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