March 25th, 2010 by

Oft-injured Ference receives a raise; 3-year/$6.75M extension

Smile, Andy. Your GM just overpaid for you.

Well, you can’t say that Bruins’ general manager Peter Chiarelli has “short arms, deep pockets.” At least he’s got that going for him.

As first reported by Matt Kalman on yesterday morning,  Boston’s oft-injured defenseman Andrew Ference earned himself a three-year extension worth $6.75M.

Let me say that again: 31-year-old Andrew Ference — who has averaged just 53 games played over the last two seasons, and who has missed 22 games already this season — was rewarded with a three-year contract extension, good through the 2013-14 NHL season.

Ference has been plagued with a nagging groin injury for the past two seasons. An injury that required offseason surgery — and may require more surgery this coming offseason — and kept him sidelined for all but three post-season games last season, plus significant time this season.

When healthy on the ice, there’s not too much to complain about. Ference isn’t an offensive threat by any means, and won’t log a bunch of power play time, but is a solid stay-at-home blueliner who is averaging nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game. A leader on and off the ice, Ference remains a reliable defenseman who gives his full-out effort every night, with an experienced hockey IQ.

Through 50 games this season, No. 21 has a 0-8-8 scoring line with a minus-7 rating and 60 shots on goal. Ference was an impending UFA  making $1.4M this season. With the signing, the Bruins have four defenseman on their current roster locked-up for next season: Zdeno Chara, Matt Hunwick, Dennis Wideman.

I, for one, was expecting Ference to be history come July 1. This money, $2.25M per season, could have been better spent elsewhere; for instance: UFA defenseman Dennis Seidenberg [currently making $2.25M this season] and RFA defensemen  Mark Stuart and Johnny Bouchuk. It would have been a perfect time to “out with the old, in with the new”.  Kalman also wrote a gem here, breaking down the Bruins’ salary-cap-pickle that they’re in for next season.

Tomas Kaberle of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who loses his No Trade Clause this summer, is making $4.25M per season. Making a run at a player of his caliber, while trying to move some players and cap-space, is just one example of improving this team and its blueline. Not to say the Bruins should necessarily seek out Kaberle, but look elsewhere to upgrade and not remain stagnant with average players.

I highly doubt Ference reach 180 games played over the next three regular seasons; considering he’s well-below the 60 game mark, and isn’t getting any younger.

So here’s to the Bruins overpaying for yet another roster player, while expecting Ference to spend plenty of time limping around the ninth-floor until 2014.

Career NHL regular season totals: 569 GP, 24-117–141, 504 penalty minutes
Career NHL postseason totals: 61 GP, 3 goals, 3-18–21, 63 penalty minutes

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