Ference signs 4-year deal with Oilers

Ference signs 4-year deal with Oilers
July 5, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Andrew Ference signed a 4-year, $13-million deal with the Edmonton Oilers.

(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON – The Bruins waved goodbye to Andrew Ference more than a week ago, but it became official on Thursday when the 34-year-old defenseman signed a four-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers that will pay him $3.25 million per season.

The sizeable contract in both term and salary is exactly why the Bruins knew they wouldn’t be able to retain Ference despite his sterling body of work during his seven years in Boston. Ference had a down regular season in 2013 that was in part due to the stress of his unknown contract situation, but he’s excited to be returning to the Edmonton city where he grew up.

The “down” season of four goals, 13 points and a plus-9 in 48 games is the kind of balanced, two-way defensemen play that the Oilers will gladly take, but his value goes beyond the stats on the page.

Ference will be the kind of seasoned, levelheaded leader that could help the young, talented Oilers get over the hump into the playoffs, and will be instrumental given his playoff experiences with the Penguins, Flames and Bruins. Add the on-the-ice defensive abilities and feistiness that Ference brings to the table, and it’s a perfect fit for Edmonton that needed all of the above.

“As soon as Boston told me they weren’t going to re-sign me, the process started. I was fortunate to have a lot of options. It was a great situation for me,” said Ference. “My wife was born there, I grew up there and we have plenty of family there. Plus on the ice it’s a young team with a lot of talent that seems to be a couple of pushes away from getting into the playoffs.”

With Ference off to Edmonton in a top-four defenseman role, it will come down to Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski to compete for the vacant spot among Boston’s defensemen corps with young prospect Joe Morrow also likely pushing from the AHL level.