August 1, 2010

Former Bruins still seeking homes for 2010-11

Former Bruins defenseman Nick Boynton levels the Flyers' Darroll Rowe during the Stanley Cup finals. (photo: Getty)

Taking a look around the NHL landscape over the past month might lead one to believe that landing a multi-million dollar contract with a new team is an easy task. With deals ranging from $600,000 up to in excess of $100 million dollars being doled out throughout the league, an exorbitant amount of money has changed hands since free agency began on July 1.

Still, while many a player has packed up and exuberantly departed from one hockey town to the next, there are still a great number of individuals left waiting in the wings. To date, there are more than 15 former Boston Bruins in search of a new NHL gig.

From journeymen and former can’t-miss prospects to wily vets with a championship or two on their resumes, the list of former employees of the Black and Gold is a lengthy one. Here’s a rundown of the available free agents who once dawned the Spoked-B.

After re-emerging from the AHL and earning himself a Stanley Cup ring this season in Chicago, former Bruins All-Star defenseman Nick Boynton is potentially considering calling it a career.

“I don’t know what I’ll do next year or about playing because winning the Stanley Cup was what I set out to do and I’ve done it.” Boynton told the King Sentinel earlier this month.

Shean Donovan, who spent one season in Boston before being shipped to Ottawa in exchange for Peter Schaefer (also a free agent), suited up in just 30 games for the Sens in 2009-10. The TorontoSun reported that the veteran winger might continue his playing days in Europe. Schaefer has yet to play anywhere since being bought out by Boston last summer.

After spending parts of two seasons with Pittsburgh, winger Bill Guerin (Wilbraham, Mass.) has yet to decide where to take his services. Guerin, who scored a career-high 41 goals in 2001-02 with Boston, has reportedly discussed a return to Boston, according to St. Louis Blues writer Andy Strickland.

Coloradohas reportedly shown no interest in retaining the services of Matt Hendricks. Hendricks appeared in 67 games for Providenceback in 2007 before being shipped to the Avs in exchange for defenseman Johnny Boychuk.

It appears as though Minnesotaisn’t wild about retaining two former Bruins either. Both Shane Hnidy, deified by broadcaster Jack Edwards as the “Sheriff,” and former Universityof Michigan standout Andy Hilbert still remain on the market.

The Montreal Canadiens also appear ready to part ways with a pair of former B’s. Glen Metropolit, who racked up a career-best 33 points during his lone season in Boston, is still available after potting 16 goals for the Habs in 2009-10. Defenseman Paul Mara (Belmont, Mass.), who sported a woeful -22 rating in 59 games for the 2006-07 Bruins, is looking to latch on with a new team after an injury-shortened campaign.

The Phoenix Coyotes have no intention of re-signing 39-year-old veteran Robert Lang. Lang, who enjoyed a quick cup of coffee with the Bruins in 1997-98, has 703 points in 989 career games.

Martins Karsums, acquired by the Lightning from Bostonin the Mark Recchi deal, still remains unsigned. Karsums, who spent time in the KHL this season, is expected to stay with Dynamo Riga, according to the Tampa Tribune.

Winger Pascal Pelletier, who the B’s shipped to Chicagoin exchange for center Martin St. Pierre in 2008, recently headed to the Swiss National League. Meanwhile St. Pierre, who led the AHL’s Binghamton Senators with 72 points this season, remains an unrestricted free agent.

Former 19th overall pick Shaone Morrisonn, part of the package Bostonsent to the Capitals in the 2004 trade for Sergei Gonchar, is also an unrestricted free agent. Morrisonn has spent the last six seasons in Washington.

Thirty-four-year-old center Dave Scatchard will not be returning to the Predators. The veteran pivot, who picked up 10 points in 16 games for the B’s back in 2005-06, has suited up for just 16 NHL games since the start of the 2007-08 season.

Old friend Aaron Ward is reportedly ready to jump back into NHL action after a trying 2009-10 campaign. Shipped to Carolina last offseason as essentially a salary cap dump, the witty rearguard finished up the season in Anaheim after being traded for the second time in less than a calendar year.

Defensive specialist Stephane Yelle, who centered the Bruins’ fourth line throughout the 2008-09 season, returned to Coloradoin a midseason trade from Carolina. No contract news has come about for Yelle, who won two Stanley Cups during his first stint with the Avs, but the 36-year-old veteran may still be a viable option for teams in search of dependable depth down the middle.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.