Kaberle still in talks with Bruins

Through a busy first day in free agency for the suddenly cash-rich NHL, Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle is still available and still in open discussions with the team.

In 2010-11, Kaberle scored 4 goals and 43 assists, though just nine of those points came during his 24 regular season games with the Bruins. Kaberle also had a rough time in the playoffs, though he did get stronger in the later rounds, posting 11 assists and a plus-8.

General manager Peter Chiarelli took a calculated risk in letting Kaberle get to free agency, openly shopping his rights around the league before July 1 with the understanding that the talented defenseman could walk. Whether his uneven play was symptomatic of a decline or just an adjustment to Claude Julien‘s swirling defensive system was hard to tell.

It seems the Bruins weren’t totally sold on Kaberle, but given the need for a veteran defenseman to play in front of Steve Kampfer, Matt Bartkowski and draft pick Dougie Hamilton, the devil they know in Kaberle could be better than the devil they don’t know in another veteran free agent.

In other free agent news …

The Bruins signed Benoit Pouliot for some reason, possibly to give fans a target for their frustrations in 2011-12. When Pouliot takes a stupid penalty, gives up a key turnover and then gets himself suspended when he throws an elbow at some unsuspecting sap’s temple, he’ll have finally realized his potential.

Pouliot has been signed to a one-year, $1.1 million deal. …

The Bruins also re-signed center Trent Whitfield and goalie Anton Khudobin to two-year contracts. Whitfield has been the captain of the Providence Bruins for the past two seasons and offers veteran leadership to the young club, as well as center depth for Boston. Khudobin will be the team’s third goalie and will likely join Whitfield in Providence, waiting to fill in should Tuukka Rask or Tim Thomas succumb to injury. …

Michael “Yes sir!” Ryder said his official goodbye today, signing a two-year, $7 million contract with the Dallas Stars. …

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