Bruins

NHL Rumors: Noel Acciari leaving Bruins for 3-year deal with Panthers

Bruins

The Bruins will have a new look on their fourth line next season as they’ve lost hard-hitting Noel Acciari to an Atlantic Division rival in free agency.

The Rhode Island kid has signed a three-year contract worth around $5 million in unrestricted free agency, which isn’t huge money at $1.67 million per season but certainly more than the B’s are willing to pay for fourth line forwards at this point.

While the Bruins will miss Acciari’s physicality, his willingness to play hurt after playing through a broken sternum in the playoffs and his occasional offense, they have Joakim Nordstrom already signed and ready to slide into a fourth line role at $1 million per season. Acciari picked a good time for free agency with a career-high 72 games played along with six goals and 14 points, and it seemed clear given Boston’s salary cap situation that a fourth-line forward was a luxury they are not going to be able to afford.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney indicated that the B’s had made offers to the 27-year-old Acciari ahead of free agency, but it couldn’t have been for much more than the $1 million Nordstrom will be making next season.

Still, Acciari was broken up at the end of the season about the thought of potentially leaving Boston after playing in New England his entire career with Providence College and the Boston Bruins.

 

“I love all of these guys. They are my family. I had a lot of fun with them this year. It’s a bitter ending, but we had a great locker room and a great coaching staff,” said Acciari during Bruins breakup day while coming off a deal that paid him $725,000 in each of the last two seasons. “I’d love to come back to Boston. I love all of these guys. I love everybody here. This is all I know.

“We’ll see what happens going forward. You can’t predict anything. Boston has it all. I’m a local guy. I’m not just saying it. I’ve lived it. This is a special, special place. I’m looking for this family [in my next contract]. I’ll take my time and see how things go. But Boston has been my home for my entire life.”

With a three-year deal in Florida, Acciari will be able to visit quite a bit sticking around in the Atlantic Division to face off against the Black and Gold for the foreseeable future.

Ranking the NHL's Top 25 free agents of the offseason>>>>

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