The Boston Bruins will not be retaining the services of Andrew Ference, Jay Pandolfo or Jaromir Jagr, general manager Peter Chiarelli said during his end-of-season media availability on Wednesday. All three players will become unrestricted free agents on July 5.
Due to the declining nature of the salary cap, Chiarelli -- as well as several other managers -- will be forced to make difficult decisions this offseason. With goaltender Tuukka Rask scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer and forward Patrice Bergeron set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, Chiarelli is interested in signing those players to long-term contract extensions. Rask is reportedly looking to receive a multi-year contract that will carry an annual average salary in the range of $6.5 million per season.
Chiarelli also expressed interest in retaining pending-unrestricted free agent Nathan Horton while saying unrestricted free agent defenseman Wade Redden "might return." It appears as though the latter decision will be based upon the state of the salary cap after attempting to sign Bergeron, Horton and Rask. The manager would also like to keep backup goaltender Anton Khudobin, who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Ference didn't expect to return to the Bruins, though Jagr has expressed a desire to return to the NHL next season. The 41-year-old superstar says he's not yet ready to retire from professional hockey in North America.