BRIGHTON, Mass – It was a pretty eventful time in Boston for Drew Stafford even if it only amounted to less than two months when it was all said and done.
The 31-year-old Stafford was traded to the Bruins from the Winnipeg Jets at the end of February for a conditional draft pick, and became an affordable, useful trade deadline acquisition for Bruins GM Don Sweeney with four goals and eight points in 19 games for the B’s. Stafford played up and down the lines in the forward group and played both on the left and the right side during his time in Boston, and also popped in a couple of goals during the six-game playoff series against the Ottawa Senators as well.
“The goal when I got here was to try to help the team get into the playoffs any way that I could, and I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Stafford. “But everybody was really welcoming and I felt like I was put in a position right away where I could find my way a little bit. Overall this was an extremely positive experience and there are a lot of great people here throughout the organization.
Off the ice, Stafford and his wife Hali also had twins born during his B’s stint as well, and the veteran forward had been away from his wife and newborn baby when they stayed behind in his home state of Minnesota given the situation.
So it was clearly a situation that worked out for both the team and the player with Stafford providing a veteran winger that could score a little bit, and Boston giving up next-to-nothing for the rental player. Now that it’s over, however, Stafford said he loved his time in Boston and would welcome any chance to return before hitting the open free agent market on July 1.
“Absolutely. If there’s any kind of a chance [to return to Boston], I would definitely be into it. I know my wife wasn’t able to make it out here, but we had talked about it a little bit as a possibility,” said Stafford. “If they feel like it could be a good fit then we’ll cross that bridge moving forward. The business side of it kind of works itself out, but personally I loved my experience here and it would be great. We’ll see what happens.”
Stafford is coming off a two-year, $8.7 million contract he signed with the Winnipeg Jets a couple of years ago, but clearly will be getting less this time around coming off a combined eight goals and 21 points in 58 games this season for the B’s and Jets. The Bruins will obviously be setting their sights a little higher than Stafford looking for a natural left wing to pair with David Krejci next season, but perhaps he becomes an affordable free agent veteran option down the line once Sweeney implements his offseason plan.