Going into the NHL's free agency period on July 1, Boston General Manager Peter Chiarelli said he wasn't planning on his club making a splash this summer, but today the Black & Gold dipped a big toe into the waters of the NHL's offseason marketplace by signing former Montreal Canadiens forward Benoit Pouliot
and re-signing Providence Bruins forward Trent Whitfield
and goaltender Anton Khudobin
Pouliot, a 24-year-old Alfred, Ontario native, played in 79 games for the Montreal Canadiens in the 2010-2011 season and set a career high in points (30), assists (17) and penalty minutes (87) to go along with 13 goals.
"He’s been a healthy scratch in Montreal [but] he’s certainly has shown flashes," said Chiarelli of Pouliot. "He’s got to earn a spot, as will everyone else. So you know, he’s anxious to come here and to prove himself.
"We think he’s got a pretty good package that we can work with."
For his career, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound forward has recorded 37-35-72 totals in 183 NHL games with the Minnesota Wild and Canadiens.
"He played the right side in junior and...we’ve see him on both sides," said Chiarelli. "So it gives us some flexibility."
Khudobin (acquired on March 1, 2011 in a trade with the Minnesota Wild for Providence Bruins defenseman Jeff Penner and the restricted free agent (RFA) rights to forward Mikko Lehtonen) is a 5-foot-11, 203-lb native of Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan. The 24-year-old goalie played in 16 games with the Providence Bruins in the 2010-2011 season, posting a .920 SV % and 2.40 GAA. He played in four NHL games this season with Minnesota, having a record of 2-1-0, a 1.59 GAA and a save percentage of .940.
"So he’ll battle, he’s in our mix for goaltenders," said Chiarelli. "If he doesn’t make the big squad...we signed him to be out third goalie for next year. He’s comfortable with that.
"It’s a two-way contract. The two-way contract for this year, a one-way contract the following year. So it’s a price we have to pay to have him stay here. And it’s a decision we have to make next year, but we’re comfortable.
"He’s a good person who wants to be part of this organization. We’re comfortable making that decision with him the following year."
Khudobin recorded his first career NHL shutout when he made 32 saves in a 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks on January 16.
Whitfield, who served as the Providence Bruins captain this year, spent the beginning of the 2010-11 season recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. The forward returned from injury in January and went on to appear in 45 games for the AHL's P-Bruins and recorded 18 goals and 18 assists for 36 points.
His 18 goals ranked third on the team and 36 points ranked fifth. He was the American Hockey League’s Player of the Month for March after netting 12 goals and adding 10 assists for a league-best 22 points in 13 games during the month.
During the 2009-2010 season, Whitfield notched 17-26-43 totals in 52 games for the P-Bruins and was named the club’s Most Valuable Player. He was recalled to Boston on four occasions and registered one assist in 16 NHL games with Boston in 2009-10. Whitfield also skated in four playoff contests for Boston.
The 34-year old veteran has played in 193 career NHL games with the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins recording 11-18-29 totals.Goodbye Mike...
The B's GM also talked about the Dallas Stars' signing of Michael Ryder.
"Well you know what in the three years we had him, he was really good in the postseason," said Chiarelli. "And you know, the timely scoring is something that I’ve liked what I’ve seen with the rest of the group.
"At the end of the day he provided us with good service when we needed it," said the GM. "It’s going to be something that we’re going to have to replace.
"But I like the growth of our guys, and our forward group and I feel confident that they can effectively replace that.
"I talked to Mike, or I texted him, and I wished him well, and I said make sure you light up all of those Eastern Conference teams except us."
And Chiarelli joked that he hoped that Ryder would continue to help his old club.
"I texted him, and I wished him well, and I said make sure you light up all of those Eastern Conference teams except us," he said.B's Shopping Spree to Continue?
Chiarelli also indicated that the Bruins might not be done with their summertime shopping.
"Well, they’re defenseman, that’s who we’re talking to right now," said Chiarelli. "One is Tomas Kaberle, and there’s a couple others."