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2010 NHL free agency: Bruins accept Blake Wheeler decision, sign him for $2.2 million


The Boston Bruins have made a commitment to Blake Wheeler. After Wheeler’s arbitration case was decided yesterday with the winger winning a $2.2 million award, some wondered if that cost was going to be enough to make the Bruins walk away from the young scorer. After all, the Bruins are in a bit of a salary cap bind and they’ve still got to find a way to get Tyler Seguin locked in. All of that doesn’t matter now though as the Bruins have accepted the arbitrator’s award and signed the forward for one year at $2.2 million. Fluto Shinzawa gets some words from Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli.

“It is never a pleasant experience for either side to go to arbitration,” GM Peter Chiarelli said in a statement. “However, as a manager, you know that the player will be under contract for the following year either way. We talked to Blake before and after the hearing and we are satisfied to have a good, young player under contract for another year.”

It’s always best to do some work with the player before and after these things to make sure there are no ill feelings coming out of an arbitration hearing. As for the Bruins and the salary cap, that’s another mess unto itself. The solutions on what to do probably boil down to one difficult move in sending Michael Ryder down to Providence and having a guy make $4 million to play in the AHL.

Ideally swinging a trade to free up the cash would be a great solution but the main man of rumors, Marc Savard, likely isn’t going anywhere. Other guys who might be considered for deals are the aforementioned Ryder and perhaps a defenseman like Andrew Ference. The catch with those two, as always, is the money. Ryder has one year left at $4 million and Ference was given a contract extension last year that pays him $2.25 million for the next three years. How the Bruins handle this situation will be worth watching.