The Bear Cave

July 3, 2009 8:32 AM

Recchi in, Reich Out on Day Two

After an action-packed first day that saw a total of 51 players sign new contracts for the 2009-10 season, day two slowed down quite a bit. Thursday did feature a few large contracts, as Nik Antropov signed a four-year, $16 million deal with the Atlanta Thrashers, Adrian Aucoin locked on for one year with the Phoenix Coyotes, and Rob Scuderi ventured across the country with the Los Angeles Kings for a four-year contract worth $13.6 million. Mikhail Grabovski was Thursday's biggest re-signer, as he stayed with the Toronto Maple Leafs for three years and $8.7 million.

For the Boston Bruins, the second day featured one plus and one minus. In the late stages of the morning, the team announced that Mark Recchi will return for his 20th NHL season, staying in Boston for another potential shot at glory. Later in the day, the Bruins found out that Jeremy Reich won't be back, as he signed on the dotted line with the New York Islanders.

Although he might not be getting any younger, Boston's signing of Mark Recchi was a bargain that the team was smart not to pass up. According to TSN, Recchi signed a one-year deal worth $1 million. 2009-10 will be the 41-year old's 20th campaign in the National Hockey League, and his second with the Bruins. Recchi was dealt to Boston at the trade deadline, and promptly responded with ten goals and six assists in 18 regular season games with his new club. The native of Kamloops, BC has played in 1490 regular season contests with seven teams, scoring 545 goals, 897 assists, and 1442 points. That success has also translated into the playoffs, where Recchi has 50 goals, 73 assists, and 123 points in 151 postseason games. Two of Recchi's postseason appearances have ended in Stanley Cup Championships.

So, what makes this such a great deal for the Bruins? Despite his age, Recchi's production has stayed consistent throughout the years. 1998-99 and 2007-08 were the only two years in the past decade that Recchi failed to reach the 20-goal plateau during the regular season. The fact that he was able to light the lamp ten times in 18 games with Boston last year dictates that he fits into the organization's offense perfectly. Although nothing is guaranteed, one would have to figure that the veteran forward will finish with approximately 20 goals again this season. Now, if someone offered you a potential 20-goal scorer for $1 million in a league where scorers routinely make $3-5 million, wouldn't you take that deal?

While the Recchi signing was certainly a positive, the Bruins also lost a player on Thursday, as Jeremy Reich signed a one-year deal with the New York Islanders. Assuming he is able to make the big club on Long Island, Reich will be playing alongside former Bruin Nate Thompson, while being directed by former Providence head coach Scott Gordon. The 30-year old forward spent each of the last four years in the Boston organization, playing in parts of two seasons at the NHL level. In 90 regular season games with the Bruins, Reich recorded two goals, three assists, and 141 penalty minutes. Last season, the Craik, SK native played in 76 games with the P-Bruins, putting up 21 goals, 13 assists, and 139 penalty minutes as the team's captain. Reich's leadership is the quality that the organization will miss the most. After playing in parts of two seasons in Boston, the forward could have easily pouted when he was assigned to Providence. However, he used the demotion as motivation to get back to the NHL, while also showing his dedication by leading the Bruins' younger players as a tremendous captain in Rhode Island.

With Martin St. Pierre, Jeremy Reich, and Peter Schaefer all out of the organization, one of the next goals will be to bring in some veteran players for the 2009-10 Providence Bruins. Providence should still be in great shape with a plethora of prospects, but it's always helpful to have experienced players to help in leading them in the right direction.

After two days of free agency, the Boston Bruins have signed one new player, re-signed three players, and lost three players to other clubs. Phil Kessel, PJ Axelsson, and Matt Hunwick are all still available.

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