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It seems that some Boston Bruins enjoy proverbs a bit too much. A current favorite: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”
Wednesday, center Stéphane Yelle became the second Bruin this offseason to join the Carolina Hurricanes, the team that pulled off a surprising upset of the Bruins in the second round of this past season’s NHL playoffs. The 14-year NHL veteran will join Aaron Ward, who was sent to Carolina in exchange for a draft pick and right wing Patrick Eaves (who is now with the Detroit Red Wings), as the other former Bruins to have lost to Carolina, only to be added to that team’s roster later on.
The Ottawa-born free agent – who averaged nearly 15.5 minutes of playing time against Carolina, third for him only to the Nashville Predators (15:51) and the Anaheim Ducks (15:31) – worked out a one-year contract worth $550,000.
“Stéphane is a proven winner,” said Hurricanes president and general manager Jim Rutherford. “He adds depth and experience to the Hurricanes at the center position, and he will contribute to the penalty kill.”
The defensive-minded center – who often wore the alternate captain’s “A” as a result of injuries to Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Ference, and Marco Sturm – played in 77 games during his only season with the Bruins, scoring seven goals and notching 11 assists. Originally drafted in 1992, Yelle has played for the Colorado Avalanche, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001, and the Calgary Flames, in addition to the Bruins. The Carolina Hurricanes will be his fourth professional team.
It was a known fact that Yelle would not be returning to Boston after they signed Steve Bégin to a similar contract. Yelle will most likely continue in the same role he did in Boston, playing as a defensive forward and enjoying some penalty-killing action. Best of luck to Stéphane, as long as the ‘Canes don’t get in our way.