BOSTON — To a man, every Bruins player ticketed for free agency — be it unrestricted or restricted — voiced a desire to remain with the club next season.
Most notably, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, who’s unrestricted, said that he knows general manager Peter Chiarelli and his agent J.P. Barry have begun talks, although he didn’t know any details yet. Seidenberg said he’s hoping to get a long-term deal after waiting a while and then signing for just one year with Florida last summer.
“You just hope it gets done soon because last year I was waiting for a long time,” said Seidenberg, who said he stopped rehabbing his injured left wrist but might’ve been around a week away from a return had the Bruins kept playing. “It wasn’t a fun time. I got nervous, I got scared. I didn’t know where I was going to be. I hope this year it’s going to be different and I hope I come back here.”
Seidenberg came over at the trade deadline from Florida and formed a perfect top pair with Zdeno Chara until suffering his injury April 3 in Toronto.
“I guess the tradition of being an Original Six team. Everybody likes hockey here,” he said about why he wants to stay in Boston. “There’s a broad fan base, great fans, and playing in front of a packed house every night. Playing with Zee, playing with all the guys in this locker room here, it’s something that was a lot of fun.”
Fellow UFAs Shawn Thornton, Johnny Boychuk and Steve Begin all expressed a desire to say if Boston wants them.
Boychuk, in particular, has lifted his stock with great improvement over the course of this season.
“I’m not really thinking about that. I want to stay here,” he said. “That would be the main goal: to stay in Boston. I love it here.”
Thornton just finished his third season in black and gold and is now one of the longest-tenured players on the team, as well as a pillar in the community.
“Especially because we set up our roots here and we love being here. I want to stay,” said Thornton. “If it’s up to me, I want to stay. If not, I guess we’ll see what happens. It’s definitely not easy going into this period, it’s been three years for me. So I’m hoping that we can get something done before so I don’t have to worry about it.”
Mark Recchi declined to speak today after spending an enormous amount of time talking after Game 7. He said that night that he’ll have to think things over and talk with Chiarelli over the next month or so. Miro Satan, who left to play for Slovakia at the World Championship in Germany, could also be in the mix.
Among the restricted players, Blake Wheeler said he expects to be back next season, while Mark Stuart, Daniel Paille and Vladimir Sobotka sounded less sure about the future, even though they want to play here.
“Obviously, you think about that a little bit,” said Stuart. “You think about the options and what might happen. But we’ll see. I’ve just got to wait and be patient I think. It probably won’t happen right away. They’re probably evaluating things like every team is after a season. … I’ll be patient and wait for the call and see what happens.”
“I would love to be back,” said Sobotka. “But I don’t know what’s going to happen. … I love the fans here and Boston is a nice city, a great city. My whole career has been played here.”
By Chiarelli’s statement during his press conference, it sounds like there might be more guys left to walk than retained, as players from within the organization move up the depth chart.
“We have some young players who will be given opportunities,” said Chiarelli. “That’s not to mean that we’re discounting or dismissing any of our restricted or unrestricted free agents. They’re a part of the planning process.”