Wingers P.J. Axelsson and Mark Recchi highlight the sextet of Boston Bruins players from this season’s team scheduled to become unrestricted free agents July 1.
Center Stephane Yelle, defensemen Steve Montador and Shane Hnidy and goaltender Manny Fernandez complete the group.
Axelsson, the longest-tenured member of the Black and Gold, knows that no matter how much he wants to be back, there’s a chance he’ll have to move to another franchise for the first time.
“That’s how it is in this business, especially now under the new CBA. (There’s more) free agents than ever. And I think that’s what we’re going to see for years to come, shorter contracts and there’s going to be a lot of free agents,” he said today.
Recchi, who only joined Boston at the March 4 trade deadline, said he fell in love with his new organization. He wants to return to Boston, but beyond that — at 41 years old — he’s going to be picky about where and if he continues his Hall-of-Fame career.
“I’d like to play. But I love it here and obviously they’ve got some decisions to make here. But I really enjoyed it here and I’ve expressed that to them,” Recchi explained. “I’m kind of in a position in my life where I can play where I want to play if the team wants me. I’m not going to play just to play. And Boston’s a place where I would want to come back to. It’s just something that if it doesn’t work out and they don’t have room, I might not play. We’ll see how it goes.”
Recchi added that he’d be unlikely to be the type of guy to wait until November or December to make a decision, so at least we’d be spared a Mats Sundin situation here in the Hub. As for the three UFA forwards, general manager Peter Chiarelli had this to say:
“We’ve got some decisions to make, as far as signing, the amounts, the term, how that impacts future years under the cap,” said Chiarelli, who has to deal with four major RFAs in addition to his UFAs. “These are things that we’ve been addressing and looking at all year, so it’s come time now that we have to make these decisions, and part of those decisions will come out in how we negotiate; part of those decisions will come out in with whom we negotiate.
“Really, to tell you exactly what we’re going to do, I couldn’t tell you exactly what we’re going to do, but you’ll see it in future days.”
Hnidy said he hadn’t really thought much about his future but he definitely enjoyed his past.
“You’re proud to put on that Bruins jersey with the history and a group of guys and the way this team’s headed. That’s my first choice,” he said. “But that’s up for others to decide and we’ll see; we’ll go from there. I can’t say enough about the chance to play with the group we had here. This team’s going to be good for a long time.”
Montador, another March pick-up, would like to wear a spoked ‘B’ again as well.
“I would absolutely love to play here next year. If I get that opportunity I would be very grateful,” he said. “It is a great organization with a great history. There will be some renewed energy coming in next year.”
Fernandez most likely won’t be asked back and doesn’t even know if he wants to continue to play.