The Boston Bruins organization made it clear from the beginning of this extended offseason that they would like to keep the nucleus of the team together. In their minds, there is no need to take a big splash into the uncertainty of free agency and disrupt team chemistry.
On Monday, the Bruins locked up two important players to multi-year deals. Veteran centers Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell were inked to contract extensions that featured well-deserved increased salaries for both players.
Kelly received a four-year deal worth $12 million, an average salary of $3 million per year. Kelly was only making a little under $2.2 million in the final year of his first contract with the Bruins. The 31-year-old, two-way center set career highs in both goals (20) and points (39) last season.
He just missed out on receiving the “Seventh Player Award” for the being the Bruin who exceeded expectations this past season. He lost to the eventual winner, Tyler Seguin. Kelly will continue to provide depth down the middle of the ice and provide structure to the penalty kill.
On the other hand, Campbell will be in a black and gold sweater for three more years. He will make $4.8 million for an average salary of $1.6 million per year. With the Bruins already re-signing both Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton, their salaries set the guidelines for what Campbell’s deal was going to look like.
Campbell made $1.1 million last season, a salary that is somewhat high for a fourth-line player. However, Boston has put such a high value on their grinders that an increase in pay like this was to be expected.
Also, the B’s have been searching for a fourth-line center for years, no offense to Steve Begin. Campbell, or “Soupy” as the players like to refer to him, provides hard-nosed hockey with a scoring touch. More importantly, he is a vital piece to the penalty kill. He recorded eight goals and eight assists during the 2011-12 season. He also dropped the gloves on 10 separate occasions.
The Bruins will not make a big splash this offseason, but rather just dip their toes in the water. Signing both Kelly and Campbell to long-term deals further proves that assumption to be true.