Bruins General Manager told the media in a conference call Thursday morning that the team will let defenseman Tomas Kaberle and forward Michael Ryder hit the unrestricted free agent market Friday at noon when the 2011 NHL free agency season opens. But he stressed that doesn’t mean that either player’s time with the Bruins is over.
“There is no finality to our relationship,” Chiarelli said of Kaberle when asked if it was decided he wouldn’t return. “What we’ve agreed to with Tomas and his agent (Rick Curran) is that he would look into the market and we’d continue to talk with him. So certainly there’s no finality there.”
According to Chiarelli the same goes for Ryder.
“We certainly haven’t parted ways,” Chiarelli said. “I’m weary of the market as it stands now so I said ‘look guys go out there and see what’s going on and we’ll continue to talk.’ The risk that we run is that they’ll get a deal and they can’t come back to us and I understand that risk. That’s where those two guys stand.”
Kaberle was largely a disappointment after being acquired by the Bruins from the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 18. He had just nine points in 24 regular season games and then added 11 assists in 25 playoff games. He finished the season playing on Boston’s No. 3 defensive pairing. While Ryder had an inconsistent regular season that included being a healthy scratch a handful of times, he played well in the playoffs, scoring eight goals and adding nine assists.
“I don’t know but I have a sense of what segment they’re in within the market but I’m not entirely certain,” Chiarelli said when asked if he thought he may still be able to get Ryder and Kaberle back at the right price for his team. “Those are two guys that gave us good service so for the right number, I’d like to have them back but I can’t tell you. I don’t know what that number is.”
Chiarelli also confirmed that he has made qualifying offers to three restricted free agents: Forwards Brad Marchand and Stefan Chaput as well as defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk. Chiarelli said that negotiations with all three players have yet to begin.
After a breakout 21-goal regular season to go with 11 goals and 19 points in the playoffs, Marchand will be in for a big pay raise.
Chiarelli said he has informed unrestricted free agent to be defenseman Shane Hnidy that the Bruins will not be bringing him back in the 2011-12 season.
“We’ve told Shane that we aren’t re-signing him,” Chairelli said of the utility defenseman. “I think he will be a good addition somewhere else so I told him that.”