Gregory Campbell, Chris Kelly Close to New Deals?

By Emma Harger

With less than a month to go until the opening of free agency, the Boston Bruins are trying to re-sign as many of their restricted and unrestricted free agents as possible before July 1.

Daniel Paille recently got onto a multi-year deal, and with Shawn Thornton getting re-signed in March, now that means impending UFA Gregory Campbell needs to be re-signed for the fan favorite Merlot Line to remain unchanged next season.

Recently, news that there was no progress yet in terms of re-signing Campbell led to some discouragement among fans, some of whom misread the news as a definite sign that Campbell was gone. This is not the case. There just had not been any significant progress to report, even though there’s still lots of time left in June. However, now reports are surfacing that Campbell is close to a new deal, and things seem more encouraging than they did just a few days prior.

There were legitimate reasons to wonder about Campbell returning, though. He hadn’t been as productive this season–eight goals and eight assists in 78 games this season as opposed to 13 goals and 16 assists in 80 games last season (excluding playoff games in both instances)– and his desire for a raise from his $1.1 million salary could be a difficult wish to fulfill, considering that the Bruins are now responsible for the $5.5 million cap hit from Tim Thomas. But Campbell has said he likes playing in Boston and wants to keep doing so. Here’s hoping the club rewards his loyalty with a new deal soon.

Another UFA needing to be settled is Chris Kelly, who deserves to be rewarded with a new deal. This season, he was pretty clutch, and he wouldn’t have been one of the team’s alternate captains if he wasn’t worthy of the distinction. He certainly was: 20 goals and 19 assists in all 82 games, plus the game-winning goal in Game 1 of the playoffs. As with Campbell, though, signs are encouraging that Kelly will remain in Boston.

No deals are official yet for either player, but the compass is pointing toward the both of them being in black and gold this fall.

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