|John Bishop is the beat writer for BostonBruins.com. He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. |
Tuesday afternoon, the Boston Bruins and Mark Stuart agreed to a contract extension and Wednesday morning, the B's General Manager sounded very happy to have yet another piece to the puzzle in place.
"We're very pleased to get this deal done," said Boston GM Peter Chiarelli via cell phone. "He plays hard, with physicality, has size and just never backs down.
"He really had a strong second half and I think we saw that in the playoffs and I think we also saw that in the world championships.
"He's a good young player with a good attitude and he's a big part of our (defense)," he said.
Chiarelli has already signed three of his free agents from last year's squad since the season ended, with Stuart joining Chuck Kobasew and Aaron Ward on Tuesday.
"I try to get these guys done in a relatively quick fashion," said the GM. "One, for peace of mind for them and, if the numbers are close, peace of mind for us.
"It wasn't to get it done before July 1…it was just to try and get it done at the right number for both of us as soon as we could."
Now, all Stuart has to concentrate on is his continued development on the blueline.
"I think he's going to continue his maturation process as a shutdown guy," said Chiarelli. "But he is also going to have an offensive bent to his game...especially with his shot."
Beyond his physical gifts, Stuart's composure and character make him a natural fit for the Black & Gold.
"Mark is a real solid individual," added the GM. "We got to see that a little bit more this year.
"He leads by example (and you see) what happened in the (World Championships) and what happened prior to his professional career as far as letters and leadership.
"He's always going to be a leader (and) that's one of the outstanding characteristics of his make-up," he said.Hunting down Bruins in Free Agency
|Petteri Nokelainen (right) |
"There's no update (on Dennis Wideman)," said Chiarelli when questioned about the defenseman during the Stuart conference call.
What about rumors about the Bruins and Brian Campbell?
"I prefer not to comment," said the B's boss. "I had a question along those same lines with another player (about) rights, and I prefer not to comment on it.
"You can couch my non comment in whatever way you want (chuckling).
"It's a legitimate question, and that's happening around the league, but I prefer not to comment on it," he said.
What about Bruins restricted free agent Petteri Nokelainen? Have the B's talked with him?
"We got (a qualifying offer out) to Nokie and we are negotiating," said Chiarelli. "I don't anticipate any problems with getting him signed."
The same can not be said of some of Nokelainen's teammates in Providence last season.
"There are a few that we didn't extend (offers) to," said the GM. "We didn't extend them to T.J. Trevelyan, Nathan Saunders and Chris Collins."
Boston also made a trade on Tuesday when they acquired Johnny Boychuk
for Matt Hendricks.
"It was a depth trade," said Chiarelli. "Boychuk's a right-shot defenseman with a big shot.
"We have a lot of forwards...so he's going to give us some depth on defense."
By the way, don't look for the B's to sign any of the well known players that were recently bought out by their clubs.
"Probably not," said Chiarelli, "I'm thinking of the three that were just done and I'm thinking probably not."Development Camp
And finally, the Bruins general manager was also asked if the B's 2008 draft picks would attend development camp in July.
"They are," he said. "We're going to release a roster shortly and they're all invited (although) there may be one that can't come."
The Bruins expect to announce a camp roster (which should include 23 or 24 players) soon.