Bruins

NHL Notebook: Ranking Bruins’ post-lockout free-agent deals (No. 21 – 11), chaos reigns at NHL Draft Lottery

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Both the 2005 and 2006 seasons represented a changing of the tides for the Boston Bruins.

Over the span of those two years, Mike O’Connell, Jeff Gorton and Peter Chiarelli orchestrated a number of moves that uprooted the Original Six franchise — dealing away Joe Thornton, adding Zdeno Chara and investing in the future with youngsters like Patrice Bergeron. 

Given the amount of upheaval felt in those two years, we figured we’d take a long look at all the moves taken in the post-lockout era that have allowed Boston to keep a Cup-contending window open for over a decade now. 

First up, we’re going to rank all of the Bruins’ free-agent signings since the 2005-06 season — from mega-deals that transformed the franchise to one-year contracts that rounded out Boston’s bench. 

In terms of parameters for which players did / did not make the cut:

  • The free agent needed to play at least 40 games with the Bruins, or at least 10 games for goalies. So, alas, guys like Brian Gionta and Simon Gagné aren’t under consideration. 
  • Players claimed directly off of waivers also don’t make the list — sorry, Landon Ferraro. 
  • Both NHL UFAs and college free agents are up for grabs in this ranking, while an RFA that needed to be traded to Boston before inking a deal, like Jimmy Hayes, isn’t eligible. 

After going through Part 1 on Friday, here’s Part II of our selections, plus additional news and notes: 

21 - Noel Acciari, Winger
Signed 2-year, $1.85 million contract on June 3, 2015
180 GP - 18 goals, 13 assists, 80 PIM - 12:13 ATOI

After leading Providence College to an NCAA title in 2015, Acciari signed with Boston that June — giving it a physical, two-way skater that was primed to rise through the ranks in short order.

Regarded by Bruce Cassidy as one of the cleanest checkers in the NHL, Acciari was often known for his punishing hits whenever he hopped over the boards — but rarely put himself in the crosshairs of the officials for his tenacious style of play.

A fourth-line staple during his tenure with Boston, Acciari’s ability to throw his weight around on the forecheck was a key ingredient in what made the Acciari-Kuraly-Wagner line so effective down the stretch for the B’s in 2019.

https://twitter.com/ConorRyan_93/status/1109616828362428416

20 - Miroslav Satan, Winger
Signed 1-year, $700,000 contract on January 2, 2010
38 GP (+13 playoff games) - 14 goals, 10 assists - 15:46 ATOI

Who could forget “Miro The Hero?” 

A key mid-season pickup for the Bruins, Satan inked a one-year, $700,000 deal with Boston just after the new year in 2010 — with the veteran left winger providing an added scoring punch to the B’s middle-six grouping.

Already a solid value add due to his regular-season totals, Satan proved himself to be a bargain thanks to his postseason heroics — as he tallied 10 points over 13 contests during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Satan tormented the Sabres throughout Boston’s opening-round matchup against Buffalo — scoring a double-overtime goal in Game 4 before securing the game-winning tally in Game 6.

19 - Anton Khudobin, Goaltender
Signed a 2-year, $2.4 million contract on July 1, 2016
47 GP - 23-12-8, .910 save percentage, 2.59 GAA, 1 shutout

Even if the numbers may not exactly stand out when compared to a few of the other netminders that have logged minutes as Tuukka Rask’s backupsover the last couple of years, Khudobin was a key cog for Boston during the 2017-18 season — going 16-6-7 over 31 outings. 

Khudobin’s steady play in net under increased minutes allowed Boston to significantly cut down on Rask’s workload over the course of the season — a strategy that Boston doubled down on by adding Jaroslav Halak to the roster in the summer of 2018. 

18 - Benoit Pouliot, Winger
Signed 1-year, $1.1 million contract on July 1, 2011
74 GP - 16 goals, 16 assists - 12:13 ATOI

Even though Pouliot never lived up to the high expectations as the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, he was awfully effective in his lone season with Boston — excelling in a bottom-six role on another talented Bruins club. 

Signed at a bargain price of $1.1 million, Pouliot tallied 16 goals — the third-highest total of his career — for the Bruins, helping to pick up some of the scoring slack lost when a middle-six regular in Michael Ryder departed in free agency during the summer of 2011. 

With Boston already dealing with cap constraints – and with Chiarelli expecting Jordan Caron to step up into a regular starting role (whoops!) — the Bruins dealt Pouilot’s rights to Tampa Bay just before the 2012 NHL Draft. 

17 - Dominic Moore, Center
Signed 1-year, $1 million contract on August 30, 2016
82 GP - 11 goals, 14 assists - 12:57 ATOI 

A free-agent pickup just ahead of training camp in 2016, Moore excelled in his lone season as Boston’s fourth-line center, tallying 25 points — the fifth-highest scoring total of his lengthy career — while chipping in on the B’s PK unit. 

16 - Stephane Yelle, Center
Signed 1-year, $750,000 contract on September 3, 2008
77 GP - 7 goals, 11 assists, 32 PIM - 13:16 ATOI

One of the unsung heroes on a 2008-09 Bruins team that paced the entire Eastern Conference with 116 points, Yelle was a bargain pickup for Boston with a cap hit of just $750,000.

Despite the small price tag, Yelle was a defensive specialist in Boston’s bottom-six, often tasked with shutting down opposing top-six forwards, night in and night out. For his efforts in his lone season in Boston, Yelle even received a vote for the 2008-09 Selke Trophy. 

15 - Chad Johnson, Goaltender
Signed 1-year, $600,000 contract on July 5, 2013
27 GP - 17-4-3, .925 save percentage, 2.10 GAA, 2 shutouts

After only appearing in four games up in the NHL ranks during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Johnson was handed his first full-time gig with Boston the following campaign.

While Rask’s strong play earned him the Vezina Trophy following the 2013-14 season, Johnson excelled in a backup role for the B’s — posting a .925 save percentage and a pair of shutouts.

Having only been paid at a bargain value of $600,000, Johnson went elsewhere following his lone campaign with Boston — inking a two-year, $2.6 million contract with the Islanders on July 1, 2014. 

[caption id="attachment_569911" align="alignnone" width="1600"] (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)[/caption]

14 - Chris Wagner, Winger
Signed 2-year, $2.5 million contract on July 1, 2018
143 GP - 18 goals, 11 assists, 98 PIM - 12:59 ATOI