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Bruins get Seidenberg, Thornton back in the fold

by James Murphy
BOSTON -- The Bruins had a busy weekend, re-signing forward Shawn Thornton and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.

Thornton agreed to a two-year extension worth $1.625 million over the two seasons on Friday and Saturday Seidenberg signed a four-year extension worth $13 million and a $3.25 per season against the salary cap. Both players were set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1, but both had also made it clear they wanted to remain in Boston and the Bruins obliged.

In Seidenberg, the Bruins retain a solid, dependable two-way defenseman they obtained at the trade deadline from the Florida Panthers. Since then, Seidenberg convinced the Bruins he was worth a long-term investment. Despite suffering torn tendons in his wrist on April 3 that sidelined him for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, Seidenberg became a major presence on the Bruins' blue line, logging major minutes as Zdeno Chara's partner. He had 2 goals and 7 assists in 17 games with Boston.

"When we acquired Dennis we valued him as a strong two-way defenseman and he showed that style of play," Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli said. "He showed his strength. He showed it in the matchup role and he showed an offensive side to his game that we knew he had. We had to get the signoff on his wrist. We flew Dennis from Florida up to Boston and we had the wrist examined and everything was good so we consummated a new deal."

Seidenberg made it clear that he liked the Bruins and wanted to stay in Boston. He also didn't want to have to go through a waiting game on the free-agent market like he did when was a UFA last summer prior to signing with Florida. He felt instant chemistry with Chara as the No. 2 defenseman and with his teammates.
"When we acquired Dennis we valued him as a strong two-way defenseman and he showed that style of play." -- Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli

"I think it was a lot of fun playing with them," Seidenberg said. "I was prepared with one of the best seasons in the league. Just going through that experience was a whole lot of fun. I think just going onto the ice in front of sold out buildings every night and playing with guys who are really knowledgeable I think that made the decision pretty easy to hit the page and mark it."

Chiarelli reiterated that the Bruins have long been fans of Seidenberg's two-way game and his performance in the short time he's been in Boston just reaffirmed that he was a guy they wanted in the fold long term.

"When we acquired him, we knew his contract was expiring so I guess we knew there would be a risk that all he would be would be a rental," Chiarelli said. "But we went into that acquisition, that trade hoping we could resign him. Sometimes you acquire that type of player knowing you weren't going to re-sign him, but for Dennis we had scouted him a lot throughout the year in Florida. He's a guy that kept popping up high in our scouting lists [and] our free-agent lists. So we went into it knowing that we would try our hardest to re-sign him, so this wasn't a case of acquiring him simply as a rental; it was with the thought that we were going to re-sign him. We gave a player, Bryon Bitz, a high second round pick for Dennis and Matt Bartkowski, so we wanted both players to be part of our organization."

As for the Thornton signing, Chiarelli is thrilled to have the "good soldier" and rugged winger back in the fold as a veteran leader and tough guy that can also contribute ten solid minutes per game.

"Shawn's been a terrific soldier for us in the time that he's been here," Chiarelli said. "He's always among the leaders in fisticuffs. I won't say fighting, because it's an art for Thorny. He knows his role. He has an offensive side that comes out, probably more two years ago than last year. I know he can provide some offense on the forecheck. Tremendous character, good in the room, wants to be in Boston. It was a good decision that we made and a relatively easy decision that we made. We're happy to have him back."

Just as Seidenberg did, Thornton made it clear when the season ended that he preferred to remain a Bruin.

"I wanted to be a Bruin for as long as possible," Thornton said. "We love the city. We love being here. I'm still here. I'm really happy to be back. I'm glad we could make it happen."

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