Boston Bruins history for July 1 centers on some recent free agency frenzy day acquisitions:
2006: The Bruins’ then-new general manager Peter Chiarelli puts down a big $57.5 million investment on Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard during his first free agency opening day with the Boston organization. These investments seem rather large at first, but pay dividends for Boston as they look to escape their doldrums. Chara was subsequently named the team captain, the third Slovak-born player to ever captain a team, and though he had a -21 rating for the 2006-07 season, that was because the team was still rebuilding. Since then, of course, he has improved quite a lot (won the plus-minus award in 2011 with a +33, then followed that up with the Stanley Cup), as have the team’s fortunes. Savard paid off immediately, leading the team in scoring for 2006-07 with 96 points, 74 of those assists. He continued to do well until sidelined by two concussions in 2010 and 2011.
2007: Shawn Thornton joins the Bruins on a three-year, $1.5 million deal. Though he’d won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim just before that, he wasn’t an NHL regular and only when he came to Boston did he become one. He also kept up his physicality and became the Bruins’ beat cop, as he’s sometimes known. 2010-11 was a big year for him: he put together 20 points, 10 of each goals and assists, following that up with his second Cup win. He re-signed with Boston earlier this year and even has a cameo appearance in the movie Ted.
2008: Michael Ryder signs a $12 million, three-year contract with the Bruins. Ryder may have selected Boston because of prior experience playing under Claude Julien. In his three years with Boston, he won the Cup and had at least 33 points in each season. Then, last July, he signed with the Dallas Stars. Blake Wheeler also makes it official with the Bruins by signing on for $1.75 million on a two-year entry-level deal. His road to Boston wasn’t the usual sort–drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2004, he went on to play college hockey and hadn’t yet come to terms with Phoenix after four years. So, he became an unrestricted free agent after deciding against a maximum entry-level deal from the Coyotes and selected the Bruins. He spent two and a half seasons with the Bruins, getting at least 38 points in both full seasons and then 27 in 2010-11 before his trade to Atlanta.
2009: Steve Begin signs an $850,000 one-year contract with the Bruins. He played 77 games and put up 14 points in that one season before an October 2010 signing with the Nashville Predators as a free agent.
2011: Benoit Pouliot becomes a Bruin with a one-year, $1.1 million deal. In his time with Boston, he scores 16 goals and 16 assists, plus one more of each in the playoffs. He also improved his game to the point that Jack Edwards, who used to think he wasn’t as good as his high draft selection should make him when he played for Montreal, changed his tune. Plus, he scored a highlight-reel goal on his former team:
On the 2012 draft weekend, though, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Michel Ouellet. He recently signed with his new team.
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