With the Bruins missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007, big changes are expected on Causeway Street, and the first of them were announced during Bruins break-up day on Monday.
In his end of the season press conference, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said that he has told forwards Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille that they would not be re-signed. Both players were key contributors on the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup-winning team.
“I’ve spoken with Dan Paille and Gregory Campbell and I told them that we won’t be re-signing them,” Chiarelli said. “There’s more questions that we’ve got to get answered first before we make determinations on [other free agents]. We’ll see where that sits as kind of the day, the week unfolds. There’s time to make decisions, there’s time to go through the planning process, there’s time to look at various rosters and players and unfortunately we have a lot of time that way.
“It’s business as usual; we started conducting the exit interviews at nine this morning and we still have a bunch of them left. We’ve talked to some of them. The job uncertainty, the questions surrounding us, it’s part of the job that you have to do and just move forward. But it hasn’t impacted my interviews, my discussions, my meetings with [coach] Claude [Julien]. Business as usual.”
Campbell has been with the Bruins for the past five seasons after being acquired – along with Nathan Horton – from the Florida Panthers in 2010 for Dennis Wideman and two draft picks. He played 358 games during his Bruins tenure, scoring 39 goals with 52 assists.
Campbell will always be remembered by Bruins fans for his memorable play during Game 3 of the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals. While blocking a slap shot from Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, Campbell broke his leg, but stayed on the ice for more than a minute in obvious pain to try and help kill off a Penguins power play. Campbell would miss the rest of the postseason.
Paille joined the Bruins two games into the 2009-10 season after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 2010 third round draft pick. Paille scored 50 goals with 45 assists in 375 games over six years with the Bruins.
Both players struggled to contribute this season, with Campbell and Paille posting 12 and 13 points this season, respectively. These were the lowest totals of each of their Bruins tenures. Paille was a healthy scratch for the last nine games of the season, while Campbell was scratched for three of the final four.
“It’s tough,” Campbell told reporters on Monday when asked about being scratched in those crucial games. “Probably the toughest thing you can do as an athlete, not be a part of it. Not a fun situation.”
The departures of both Campbell and Paille mean that the Bruins’ famed “Merlot Line” is now history. The line’s third member, right wing Shawn Thornton, signed with the Florida Panthers last offseason.
“It’s been a wonderful time,” Paille said of his time in Boston. “Obviously it’s not a season that I’d like it to end to, but it’s been wonderful, and if it continues, great, but I think when I look back here, we competed for a number of years and played some good hockey. It’s been a tremendous time, and it’s unfortunate we ended the season the way we did, but overall, it’s been a great experience and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”