BOSTON - The Bruins signed hometown forward Chris Wagner to a two-year contract on Sunday worth an average annual value of $1.25 million.
"I can't even explain it. I just want to thank Don Sweeney, Cam Neely, the Jacobs family for giving me this opportunity and putting their trust in me," said Wagner, who is from Walpole and still lives in Boston. " I can't even describe how happy I am to come home and to fill a dream. Everyone feels great coming home."
Last team: New York Islanders
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 198 pounds
Birthday: May 27, 1991 (27 years old)
Hometown: Walpole, Mass.
Drafted: 2010 | 5th Round, 122nd Overall (ANA)
Miscellaneous: The Massachusetts native played his junior hockey for the South Shore Kings of the EJHL, before moving on to play college hockey at Colgate University for two seasons. Wagner was drafted by the Ducks in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, playing parts of the last four seasons in Anaheim. The 27-year-old also played 26 games for the Colorado Avalanche in 2015-16, before returning to the Ducks the following season.
Wagner was traded to the New York Islanders just prior to last year's trade deadline. He combined for seven goals and nine assists in 79 games between the Islanders and Ducks last season, while ranking third in the NHL in hits (253), behind Colorado's Nikita Zadorov and Edmonton's Milan Lucic.
"I just wanted to find the best situation, obviously," Wagner said of choosing the Bruins. "It seemed that they had success recently and definitely had a chance to make a run for the Stanley Cup. That was huge for me. I've heard a lot of great things about the character of the guys in the room with the Bruins. I've always wanted to play here and be close to home and be close to my family. My parent, my grandparents, and my brother and all that so it's just a win, win and a dream come true."
Scouting Report: A gritty, energetic forward that can play both wing and center. Should provide plenty of energy in a bottom-six role and could prove to be a solid replacement for Tim Schaller on the Bruins' fourth line.
"I've played pretty much everywhere in the lineup, especially this year when Anaheim had a ton of injuries. Definitely comfortable playing the wing," said Wagner, who also has penalty-killing experience. "I think it's a little bit easier to play the wing because you have less responsibility than at center but I played center mainly in juniors, throughout college, and in my AHL career, so kind of whatever the team needs is what I try to fill."