October 11, 2011

Perseverant Peverley earns three-year extension with Bruins

Rich Peverley had 12 points in 25 playoff games for the B's last season. (Getty)

WILMINGTON – Rich Peverley wouldn’t have minded playing under the pressure of a contract year, but the possibility of embarking on that scenario was officially thrown out the window on Tuesday morning.

The speedy forward agreed to a three-year extension with the Bruins that’ll keep him in Boston through the 2014-15 campaign.

“It feels nice,” said Peverley. “It feels good to not have to worry about having a contract on your mind the whole year. Some guys play better in different situations, and I’ve done this before. It does help, but it doesn’t change the goals in mind that you have.”

Peverley has gone through quite a journey to get to where he is today. The St. Lawrence University alum spent parts of two seasons in the ECHL upon turning pro before thriving with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals and eventually earning a spot with the team’s parent club, the Predators.

But a midseason waiving in 2008-09 led him to Atlanta, where Peverley averaged nearly a point-per-game before establishing a career-high with 22 goals and 55 points for the Thrashers the following season.

“You look back, but I don’t like really looking back too much,” said Peverley, whose cap hit will more than double, jumping up to $3.25 million. “I was given a great opportunity in Atlanta to get my foot in the door. I came here and was lucky to fit on the team and find a role with a great team.”

Peverley arrived in Boston in February this year, as the B’s shipped Mark Stuart and Blake Wheeler to Atlanta to gear up for their playoff run. After logging heavy minutes with the Thrashers, the Ontario native took some time to get used to playing with a new club and taking on a smaller role.

“I think when I came here, there was an adjustment period,” he said. “I feel like I can put up numbers close to what I’ve done before, and you always try to improve. I always want to be an all-around player and I always want to contribute.”

Peverley now finds himself on not only a team but a line that prides itself on strong two-way play. So far, the 29-year-old forward has thrived in Mark Recchi’s old spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, tallying twice in the first three games as the trio has combined for six points out of the gate.

“I think the two other guys I play on the line with, those are offensive players too,” Peverley said of balancing being defensively responsible while still contributing down the other end. “We want to be good and be out there in critical situations defensively, but at the same time we want to help the team win, and that’s scoring goals too. It comes both ways.”

When he arrived from Atlanta, Peverley was admittedly surprised to be dealt, as he felt as though he’d fulfill his current contract with the Thrashers. But now, the gifted forward feels as though he’s truly found a home.

“This is the place I want to be,” he said. “There’s a lot of good people in the organization. Obviously winning last year, you want to be part of a winning organization. I really enjoy coming to an Original Six team and a place where hockey is a big deal. I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far.”

Now under contract with a team that promises to be in contention for another Cup for the foreseeable future, Peverley should have plenty more enjoyable moments to look forward to with the Black and Gold.