Bottom-six forwards have played almost as big a role as all-world goaltending in the runs of the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.
The Bruins have boasted one of the better fourth lines over the last couple seasons, and today general manager Peter Chiarelli moved to keep his energy line intact and also bolster the depth of his bottom six with a pair of re-signings.
Chiarelli re-signed veteran forward Daniel Paille to a three-year deal worth $1.3 million annually. The GM also signed Chris Bourque, who was acquired in a trade with Washington last week for Zach Hamill, to a two-year deal. Bourque’s contract is a two-way deal in the first year and a one-year deal in the second season. Bourque’s NHL cap hit will be $550,000.
Both Paille and Bourque were scheduled to be unrestricted free agents July 1.
With Paille joining Shawn Thornton on the Bruins’ list of signed players, Chiarelli has now made sure that two thirds of his fourth line will be back for at least 2012-13. Center Gregory Campbell remains unsigned and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent July 1.
A two-way deal gives the Bruins some flexibility with Bourque, who will obviously be given a chance to compete for a NHL job in training camp. One would figure if Bourque doesn’t make the team, he’ll be among the first players summoned when injuries hit based on his skill set and experience. Bourque will also be a drawing card for the Providence (AHL) farm team with both his famous name and his track record as a solid AHL producer. Last season, Bourque posted 27-66-93 totals in 73 games for Hershey.