The Bruins have entered into an affiliation relationship with the South Carolina Stingrays of the East Coast Hockey League, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced today in a statement. Under the affiliation, the Bruins will be able to designate players within their development system for assignment with the Stingrays during the 2012-2013 season.
The Stingrays have played in Charleston, S.C. since 1993. They were most recently affiliated with the Washington Capitals, from 2004 to 2012. The Reading Royals previously served as Boston's ECHL affiliate from 2009 to 2012.
"I love the organization, and I love the city -- I couldn't ask for a better situation," said the 52-year-old Julien, discussing his new pact during a noon media conference inside TD Garden. "I remain hungry."
His yearning, noted Julien, is a desire to win another Stanley Cup for the organization that he has now coached for five seasons. In 2011, he led the club to its first Cup since 1972.
Julien stressed a number of times during the 30-minute conference the need for a coach to adapt, to share a mutual respect with his players, and forever to keep learning on the job.
"You evolve every year as a coach," he said. "Most of the guys who know it all are retired."
Julien had one season remaining on a three-year deal. It's likely the new pact will add at least three, perhaps four years to that deal.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed that the 27-year-old winger, who played in only 46 games last season after battling concussions, should be ready to play when the Bruins take the ice in September.
"By all accounts from our medical staff, [Horton] will be ready to play when it comes time to play," Chiarelli said when he addressed the media at TD Garden this afternoon.
Horton was knocked out of last year's Stanley Cup Finals against the Canucks when Aaron Rome blindsided him with a check that resulted in a suspension for the Vancouver defenseman.
Horton returned to the ice to start the 2011-12 season, but was sidelined again with another concussion when the Flyers' Tom Sestito took him out in January.
Chiarelli also said that Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid has been cleared for contact after suffering a concussion late last season.
Chiarelli also addressed the major moves being made by teams around the NHL. "We don't react right away," Chiarelli said. "But we do not ignore... we are not standing still." But Chiarelli said no roster changes are expected prior to the start of the season.
Chiarelli also formally announced the multi-year contract extension for head coach Claude Julien.
"Over [Julien's] tenure here, he’s show the ability to adapt," Chiarelli said. "He’s had a very, very disciplined team, which is a testament to his coaching. At the same time, it is a tough team. That’s a difficult balance to maintain and he’s been able to do that with success."
The Globe's Kevin Dupont contributed to this report. He will have more from today's press conference in our Bruins Blog this afternoon.
Veteran defenseman Aaron Johnson has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Bruins. Johnson, most recently in the Columbus organization, will serve as a depth defenseman in Providence.
If the 29-year-old Johnson makes the Boston roster, he will earn $650,000. Johnson will make $105,000 in Providence.
The 6-foot-1-inch, 204-pound Johnson appeared in 56 games last year for the Blue Jackets. Johnson scored three goals and recorded 13 assists.
For Krug, St. Louis is a valuable mentor off the ice. St. Louis is known as being a workout animal.
“He’s taking a pretty good beating,” said strength and conditioning coach Ben Prentiss of Krug. “He’s vying for a spot, so hopefully he’ll get on that team.”
Krug will compete for a varsity roster spot when camp opens. The former Michigan State captain appeared in two games for the Bruins at the end of the regular season.
This Sunday’s Globe will have a closer look at Prentiss’s summer program.
The Bruins have signed restricted free agent Matt Bartkowski to a one-year, two-way extension. Bartkowski will earn $660,000 in Boston and $62,500 in Providence.
The 24-year-old Bartkowski will be entering his third pro season. The defenseman has played most of the last two years in Providence. In 50 AHL games last season, Bartkowski scored three goals and 19 assists.
The left-shot Bartkowski has appeared in nine career NHL games. Bartkowski, acquired from Florida in the Dennis Seidenberg trade, is a physical defenseman who skates well. But Bartkowski has struggled with his decision-making and hockey sense during his stints in Boston.
The Bruins have signed veteran defenseman Garnet Exelby to a one-year, two-way contract. If Exelby makes the varsity roster, he will earn $600,000 in 2012-13. Exelby will make $130,000 in Providence.
The 30-year-old Exelby could be in the running to serve as the No. 7 defenseman to start 2012-13. Exelby is a stay-at-home left-shot defenseman whose best days took place in Atlanta. Exelby was a five-year regular with the Thrashers, where he played a simple but in-your-face style.
Toronto acquired Exelby and Colin Stuart from Atlanta for Pavel Kubina and Tim Stapleton on July 1, 2009. Exelby fell out of favor in Toronto.
Exelby played in the AHL the last two seasons. Last year, Exelby scored seven goals and 14 assists in 75 games for Grand Rapids, Detroit’s AHL affiliate. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Exelby also recorded 177 penalty minutes. In 2010-11, Exelby put up a 3-10-13 line with 128 PIMs for Rockford, Chicago’s farm club.
“He is still young enough to become a regular in the rotation,” Neil Abbott, Exelby’s agent, wrote in an email. “He is very pleased to be joining the organization and the fans will really enjoy his hitting ability.”
* The Bruins re-signed Lane MacDermid to a one-year, two-way deal ($600,000/$70,000). MacDermid was a restricted free agent. MacDermid could push for a fourth-line job.
The Bruins have signed former Toronto forward Christian Hanson to a one-year, two-way contract. Hanson will earn $600,000 in NHL salary. In Providence, Hanson will make $105,000.
Last season, the 26-year-old Hanson played for Hershey, Washington’s AHL affiliate. Hanson scored 10 goals and 11 assists in 52 games.
The 6-foot-4, 228-pound Hanson was an undrafted free agent. After a four-year career at Notre Dame, Hanson signed with Toronto on March 31, 2009. In 42 games with the Maple Leafs, Hanson scored three goals and six assists.
Hanson is better known for being the son of Dave Hanson of Slap Shot fame.
Zach Parise signed a 13-year, $98 million contract with the Wild on Wednesday. Before accepting Minnesota’s contract, Parise received a significant offer from the Bruins, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. It is unknown how closely Boston’s bid approached Minnesota’s.
Before Sunday’s market opening, GM Peter Chiarelli said he expected to be quiet. The Bruins have less than $3 million in available cap space.
Had the Bruins signed Parise, they would have exceeded the $70.2 million cap by the allowable 10 percent offseason margin. They could have placed Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve if necessary.
Parise said his final decision came between Minnesota and New Jersey. Parise is a Minnesota native. The left wing had previously played for the Devils his entire career.
Parise, the ex-captain of the Devils, was one of the two high-end free agents available on the market. Ryan Suter was the other. Both signed identical deals with the Wild.
“You very rarely come away from these camps with a negative feeling,” GM Peter Chiarelli said. “It’s all potential.”
Dougie Hamilton, Jared Knight, and Ryan Spooner should be among the group contending for varsity status. Hamilton will be in the mix on the blue line. Knight and Spooner will most likely start 2012-13 in Providence.
“He’s on a real good progression line and development line,” Chiarelli said of Hamilton. “He’s a real good player, a real good prospect. I’m excited we have him here with our group.”
* Chiarelli didn't anticipate signing any free agents today.
As expected, the Bruins have been on the sidelines since noon, when free agency officially opened around the league.
“I don’t anticipate anything happening today based on what’s happened up until this point,” said GM Peter Chiarelli during a conference call. “I said prior that I’m not actively looking for anything. If there’s something that can improve our team, we’ll consider anything. With the secondary market, we’ll take the same approach. I’m not actively looking, whether it’s with the secondary market in free agency or with respect to trades. We’ll continue to look at that stuff, but I’m not actively looking.”
Chiarelli said he kicked the tires on several forwards during the day. Chiarelli did not have a target in mind heading into the day. In contrast, on July 1, 2008, the Bruins knew they wanted to pursue Michael Ryder and signed the right wing to a three-year, $12 million contract.
The Bruins officially said goodbye to Joe Corvo (Carolina) and Greg Zanon (Colorado), who reached unrestricted status at noon. Benoit Pouliot signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract with Tampa Bay.
* The Bruins addressed some housekeeping by making the signings of Tuukka Rask, Chris Kelly, and Alexander Khokhlachev official.
* The Bruins will conclude their development camp on Monday at Ristuccia Arena.