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Why a chip on Rich Peverley’s shoulder made him money with the Bruins

10.11.11 at 1:57 pm ET

WILMINGTON — Next season, Rich Peverley will carry a heavier price-tag than he’s had in his career. Coming off a two-year deal with an annual cap hit of less than $1.5 million, Peverley’s salary will more than double, as he will cost the Bruins $9.75 million over the next three years.

That doesn’t mean he’s always been a big name. Peverley has gone from an undrafted college player to an ECHL player to a guy who was waived by the Predators. Now with his third team and 29 years of age, Peverley seems poised to put up career-best numbers as a top-six forward on the defending Stanley Cup champions.

“He’s one of those guys that really blossomed later in his career so that helped when we got him but he’s a player that, I think he continues to have offensive upside to his game and some players mature a little bit later,” B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I think we got another one in that in Dennis Seidenberg. I think he matured a little bit later in his career so you just have to recognize that and then make decisions based on that.”

After graduating from St. Lawrence University, in 2005, Peverley played in the ECHL as a member of te south South Carolina Stingrays. H, where he scored 30 goals in 69 games. He played one game in Portland that season, his first AHL action, before spending the next two seasons between the ECHL and AHL. He signed his first NHL contract with the Predators, where he played sparingly in parts of three seasons before being waived in 2009 and claimed by the Thrashers. He came to Boston last year in the deal that send Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart to Atlanta.

Peverley revealed Tuesday that his thought process throughout his years working his way up wasn’t to get the NHL at all costs, but to just get to the next level. He’s reached the highest level now, and after establishing himself as a major contributor to the league’s best team last season (he played on the first line in place of the concussed Nathan Horton in the Stanley Cup finals), he hopes there’s even more he can accomplish.

“I’ve always said this: I think that you start in the minors and you don’t really have your eyes set on the NHL,” Peverley said. “I think I’ve always taken it one step at a time. I wanted to be in the American [Hockey] League, be a good player there. Once I got to the American League, the NHL was that much closer. You want to get to [NHL] and you want to be a better player in the [NHL]. It’s just one step at a time.”

While that line of thinking is hard to believe for an undrafted player coming out of St. Lawrence, Peverley can thank it for his success. Even so, for a player who was told by the league that he wasn’t good enough and then later put on waivers by the Predators, he can also thank a pretty big chip on his shoulder that he developed.

“Absolutely,” Peverley said when asked whether he’s had a chip on his shoulder. “There’s teams that get rid of you, and there’s teams that have no interest. You want to prove people wrong. You see that every year. Guys are on waivers, guys get traded. They want to prove people wrong. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a good motivational tool.”

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