While the Bruins finalized a deal with a future franchise cornerstone on Tuesday by signing top pick Tyler Seguin, general manager Peter Chiarelli also confirmed ongoing efforts to keep two of the club's current centerpieces in town.
During his conference call to discuss the Seguin signing, Chiarelli noted that negotiations for extensions for both veteran center Patrice Bergeron and captain Zdeno Chara are continuing. Both players are entering the final years of their deals this season.
"We've had talks, recent talks, and we'll continue to have talks," said Chiarelli. "And we'll see where things go."
Chara signed with Boston as an unrestricted free agent in 2006, inking the franchise's biggest deal to date when he agreed to a five-year, $37.5 million contract. He carries a $7.5 million cap hit through 2010-11, but it's possible the Bruins could lower that hit with a front-loaded contract similar to the seven-year deal they gave Marc Savard last season.
Chara won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman in 2008-09 when he posted 19-31-50 totals to go along with his usual dominant defense. Last year, his numbers slipped to 7-37-44 as he battled a hand injury much of the year, but he remained a towering defensive presence on the blue line.
Bergeron also agreed to a five-year deal in 2006, with his worth $23.75 million for a $4.75 million cap hit. After suffering a severe concussion in 2007 that limited him to 10 games that season and threatened his career, Bergeron bounced back in a big way last season. He led the Bruins with 52 points (19 goals, 33 assists) while continuing his solid two-way play, and earned a gold medal with the Canadian Olympic team in Vancouver.