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On the eve of their season opener in Prague against the Coyotes, the Bruins announced Friday that they have signed center Patrice Bergeron to a three-year contract extension, making the 25-year-old a Bruin through the 2013-2014 season. Financial terms of the deal have not been released by the team, but several reports indicate that the contract is worth a total of $15 million over the three years. Bergeron and the team will make the signing public at a brief press conference after the team’s practice Friday.
Bergeron is slated to make $5.75 million this season, so his new contract does represent a bit of a salary dip, but his actual salary cap hit over the last four years was at $4.75 million, so the cap hit does increase by a quarter million dollars.
A second round selection back in 2003, Bergeron enters his seventh season in black and gold. He and fellow centerman David Krejci shared the team points lead last year at 52 a piece, with Bergeron notching 19 goals and 33 helpers on the season, along with 11 points in 13 postseason contests. Career totals for Bergeron entering the year sit at 99 goals and 181 assists through 376 regular season games. He is arguably the team’s most versatile and well-rounded forward, showcasing his strengths on the power play, on the penalty kill, and at the faceoff dot.
The Sillery, Quebec native will lead the B’s in battle beginning this weekend, when the team takes on the Phoenix Coyotes in a pair of games being played in Prague, Czech Republic. Bergeron signs this new deal just days after scoring two goals and adding three assists in the team’s final preseason game Tuesday, a 7-1 win over Liberec, a pro team from the Czech Republic.
With Bergeron signed up long term, GM Peter Chiarelli will now turn to another pending free agent to be, captain Zdeno Chara. Chara, 33 in age and on his jersey, is in the last year of his current five-year deal with the B’s. The team and the player both hope to hammer out a new deal for the towering defenseman sooner rather than later. Chara has said he would like his new deal to take him to about his 40th birthday.