Mark Stuart has signed a one-year, $1.675 million extension. Stuart was a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, but he opted not to file because the sides were close to an agreement.
Stuart was coming off a two-year contract that paid him an average $1.3 million per season. Stuart will be an unrestricted free agent after 2010-11.
“Stuey’s a high-character player,” said GM Peter Chiarelli. “He had a few injuries this year, but came back after the hand infection and added to our lineup then.”
Stuart appeared in 56 games in 2009-10, scoring two goals and five assists while logging 80 penalty minutes, third-most behind Shawn Thornton and Zdeno Chara. Stuart, the team’s reigning iron man entering the season, missed 26 games because of freak injuries — a broken sternum, broken pinkie, and infection.
Chiarelli said the one-year contract could be a bridge deal into something long-term based on Stuart’s play.
“I was very happy with how I played when I got in there. Unfortunately there were some injuries that were out of your control, but that stuff happens. That’s part of the game. No matter what, I think it gets factored in. Even though I think that’s fair. I think it should. If you’re going to get a long-term deal, you have to earn it. You probably have to play as close to a complete year as you can. But our team is different with the makeup of our team, cap issues, and things like that. I definitely wasn’t expecting anything long-term this year. But if I can earn a long-term deal by playing really well this year, then I’ll be very happy with it.”
The Bruins have their projected six-man blue line in the fold (Stuart, Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference, Matt Hunwick).