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The Bruins and defenseman Johnny Boychuk agreed on a two-year contract on Thursday worth $3.75 million. The 26-year-old will make $1.75 million next year and $2 million in the 2011-2012 season.
“I was thinking about maybe going to free agency and seeing what was out there, but when I looked around the league I knew what kind of position I would be in and just to come back to Boston, with the great coaching staff we have and knowing the guys, made it a lot easier decision,” Boychuk said. “That was the main factor that tipped the scale for me.”
Boychuk, who was an unrestricted free agent, expressed his desire to return to the Bruins after a successful playoff run (well, personally successful). He posted six points (2 G, 4 A) in 13 games during the postseason, playing a lot of minutes due to injuries to defensemen Mark Stuart, Andrew Ference, and Dennis Seidenberg. As a result, Boychuk was playing as the team’s No. 2 defenseman next to captain Zdeno Chara.
“Obviously it’s going to help me playing with a Norris Trophy winner,” he said of playing alongside Chara. “He’s a great leader and a great player and obviously it’s going to help me develop my defensive game and offensive game and it gives me a little more confidence to do things when you have a guy like that playing beside you.”
He had a solid regular season as well, netting five goals with 10 assists in 51 games.
Heading into next season, Boychuk will likely be a top-4 defenseman after the trade of Dennis Wideman to Florida. You have to figure Chara and Seidenberg will man the top line of defense, while Boychuk and either Ference or Stuart will man the second line, making up a pretty solid group.