But general manager Peter Chiarelli still has plenty of decisions to make before free agency opens on July 1. The Bruins have a number of veteran players eligible to test the market if they are not re-signed this month.
Chiarelli would like to prevent most of them from doing that, but wouldn’t tip his hand on Friday on any progress in reaching new deals with the likes of Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell, Boston’s two most important unrestricted free agents remaining unsigned.
"I don’t comment on negotiations, but as I’ve said before we’re trying to sign the bulk of them and will continue to do that," Chiarelli said during the conference call to discuss Paille’s extension. "But I’m not going to comment specifically."
Chiarelli did reveal one specific, though it hardly came as a surprise. The GM admitted that he was not going to negotiate with Joe Corvo to keep the defenseman in Boston after he struggled through his lone season with the Bruins this past year.
"We’ve got some young players coming and there may be another player that we feel could fill that spot better," Chiarelli said of the decision to move on from Corvo. "[It was] a number of different things."
Dougie Hamilton, the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft, is expected to make a strong run at a spot with the big club after an outstanding season in the OHL, while the rest of the top six on the blue line appears set with Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference and Adam McQuaid all under contract.
Fellow defensemen Greg Zanon and Mike Mottau, along with forward Brian Rolston, could still return to Boston, but Chiarelli is inclined to let those three trade deadline acquisitions test the market in July first.
"With the three guys we acquired at the deadline, I’ve said, 'Let’s go into the free agency and see where it goes,'" Chiarelli said. "Really, there hasn’t been any commitment or anything, but I haven’t dismissed it I guess is my point."
That leaves Kelly and Campbell. Kelly has played a key role on the team since arriving from Ottawa in a 2011 deadline deal. He helped the Bruins win the Cup that year, was named an alternate captain this past season and put up his first 20-goal campaign while remaining one of the team’s top defensive forwards and penalty killers.
Campbell has also contributed plenty in his two seasons in Boston with his toughness, defensive play and solid offensive production from the fourth line, while proving capable of moving up the lineup when needed as well.