The Boston Bruins have specific plans for the 2013 offseason, according to manager Peter Chiarelli during a conference call on Wednesday morning.
The biggest priority on Chiarelli's docket involves signing restricted free agent goaltender Tuukka Rask to a long-term contract extension. Chiarelli states that the negotiation should be resolved in the near future and that the manager has a number in place. It remains unclear whether that means the two sides have the framework of the extension worked out or if they are nearing common ground on a figure. Previous statements from both parties have indicated a mutual interest in working out a deal. If Chiarelli says a deal is close, it doesn't seem outlandish to speculate that the financial commitment and term have already been worked out.
Previous reports have indicated that Rask is seeking a six-year, $39 million contract.
In terms of the defense corps in front of Rask, Chiarelli states that it will not be an area the team addresses via free agency this offseason. This likely means the team will be relying on an increased role from younger players such as Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug.
However, right wing is a position that will be addressed. With Nathan Horton headed to free agency, Chiarelli is planning to explore options to replenish the team's depth on the right-side. Unrestricted free agent Jaromir Jagr was specifically mentioned by name as a player Chiarelli might be contacting. Chiarelli previously told Jagr that the team was going to move in a different direction. The manager is unsure whether Jagr would still be willing to consider the Bruins, as he potentially could have deicded to move on as well.
Many have speculated that Chiarelli has/will reach out to unrestricted free agent Daniel Alfredsson. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, managers are given a window to solicit prospective free agents before the start of free agency. That window opened at 12:01 a.m. ET on Wednesday.
Boston has had rumored interest in Alfredsson since the start of the 2013 season. While it's largely assumed he will return to the Ottawa Senators, many believe Chiarelli is going to attempt to lure the 40-year-old forward to Boston.
The manager noted that the club has interest in retaining backup goaltender Anton Khudobin. Khudobin has apparently expressed a desire to stay in Boston, but Chiarelli believes he will ultimately hit the free agent market at noon on Friday.