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Quick reaction to the Johnny Boychuk extension

02.14.12 at 3:28 pm ET
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My initial reaction to the news that Johnny Boychuk got a three-year extension: semi-surprise.

My reaction to the news that Johnny Boychuk got a three-year deal with an annual cap hit of $3.36: lots of surprise. In what galaxy is Boychuk worth more than Dennis Seidenberg?

That’s a lot to pay your fourth-best defenseman, but the Bruins thought it was worth it for Boychuk. In the end, maybe it works out. Remember, once upon a time, people were blasting Peter Chiarelli for giving $2.25 million a year to Andrew Ference, and that deal has proven to be a heck of a bargain for the Bruins this year.

A common counterpoint to the idea that the B’s overpaid for Boychuk is that he would have made big bucks on the open market, and that’s true. With 10 points (three goals, seven assists) and a plus-23 rating that has been helped by playing with Zdeno Chara, Boychuk would have been the next pretty good defenseman to get paid like a very good defenseman. If Christian Ehrhoff can get a 10-year-deal, Boychuk probably could have gotten upwards of $4 million as a free agent.

But that’s the issue with the signing. The Bruins paid Boychuk too close to what a desperate overpaying team would have given him. The B’s should have been in the driver’s seat in negotiations. After all, they have Dougie Hamilton presumably coming along next season, and all they’d simply have to find a replacement for Joe Corvo (also a free agent) in order to have their six defensemen.

With all of these signings, the ultimate question is what it means for the rest of the players who are at or near the end of their contracts. Tuukka Rask and Chris Kelly are the team’s two biggest players with expiring deals, and Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Nathan Horton are all up at the end of next season. Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell are also unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

If Boychuk can prove to be more than the guy who plays with Chara, this could end up being a good deal. If the money allocated to him gets in the way of the team keeping some of their better players, this could go down as one that Chiarelli regrets.

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