Editor's Note: The Bruins are facing a longer offseason than they had hoped after their title defense was ended early with a first-round loss to Washington. The extra time could come in handy though, as the Bruins have plenty of decisions to make this summer. At the top of that list is what they will do with the many pending free agents on their roster. Each day over the next two weeks, NESN.com Bruins beat writer Douglas Flynn will look at one of the club's veteran free agents.
After mortgaging a chunk of their future to land Tomas Kaberle at the trade deadline last year, the Bruins wisely opted not to throw good money after bad in an effort to re-sign him over the summer. Kaberle signed a lucrative three-year, $12.75 million deal with Carolina, so the Bruins swung a minor deal with the Hurricanes to land a cheaper replacement.
Thus, Joe Corvo arrived in Boston last summer. He suffered similar struggles to Kaberle, but at least he came at a cap hit $2 million lower and cost just a fourth-round pick. His contract also required just a one-year commitment, and it's extremely unlikely that either side will look to extend the relationship any longer than that.
2011-12 stats: 75 games, 4-21-25, plus-10, 13 PIMs; playoffs – 5 games, 0-0-0, plus-3, 0 PIMs
2011-12 cap hit: $2.25 million according to CapGeek.com
2012-13 status: Unrestricted free agent
Season in review: Corvo was supposed to add some offense from the blue line and serve as a power-play quarterback. He had ample opportunities to fulfill those goals, but produced little in those areas. After scoring 10-plus goals in four of his previous six seasons, Corvo managed just four with Boston.
It took him 28 games before he scored his first, when he finally broke through with two goals in Columbus on Dec. 10. It was another 22 games before his next goal, then 20 more before his fourth and final tally. Ironically, it was after scoring that goal in Florida that he was finally taken out of the lineup and scratched for the next six games. Corvo was a healthy scratch seven times in all, while also sitting out the final two games of the playoffs. He was hurt blocking a shot in his final appearance in the playoffs, but by that point, he may have been sat out regardless.
The fact that he was hurt blocking a shot was somewhat noteworthy, as he was eighth on the team and seventh among defensemen in that category with just 56 blocked shots in the regular season. Despite a solid 6-foot-1, 210-pound frame, he also provided little in the way of a physical presence. He was last among the club's defensemen and 20th overall on the team with just 27 hits in 75 games.
Despite being fifth on the team in ice time at 18:48 and third among defensemen in power-play time at 2:24 a game, Corvo managed just one power-play goal and eight assists on the man advantage while that unit struggled again, especially in the postseason.
Should Corvo be re-signed?: In a word, no. The Bruins can't be faulted for the move to bring him in over the summer. His resume offered hope that he could help on the power play and chip in some offense from the back end, but he never clicked with this team. One season of seeing his offensive limitations and defensive deficiencies should be more than enough for the Bruins, who fortunately should have top prospect Dougie Hamilton close to being ready for NHL action and the rest of their top six defensemen already under contract.
Will Corvo be re-signed?: There doesn't seem to be any doubt on this one. The Bruins and Corvo are both best served by parting ways. Corvo may be able to find his scoring touch again with a fresh start elsewhere, while the Bruins are better off building around the core they have in place on defense and giving some of the youngsters in the system a look to fill any voids.
In Corvo's own words: "I did everything I could," Corvo told reporters at the club's breakup day. "Put in the situations I was put, I tried to do everything I could. That's the way I look at it. I don't draw up the plays. I don't do any of that stuff. They just put him in the spot and I try to play it the best I can."
Monday, May 21: Chris Kelly
Tuesday, May 22: Gregory Campbell
Wednesday, May 23: Daniel Paille
Thursday, May 24: Brian Rolston
Friday, May 25: Greg Zanon
Monday, May 28: Mike Mottau
Coming Wednesday: Marty Turco