BOSTON -- The Bruins announced today that they've signed forward Shawn Thornton to a two-year extension through the 2013-14 season. General manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed to the media, prior to Monday night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, that the deal will earn Thornton 1.1 million per season.
Chiarelli also explained why he'll be keeping Thornton around.
"Since we got Shawn, every year to me, he's improved as a player," said Chiarelli. "That and his conditioning has allowed him to be a good fourth-line player in this league, and then a good catalyst in his own way.
"You see some of the skill that he has, when he scores, when he makes some plays. But most importantly, you see the enthusiasm and the vigor that he brings to the rink every day. He's important for this team, and his character is important for this team.
"So, I'm happy to get him signed," added Chiarelli. "And I believe he just takes so much pride in his conditioning, and that's gotten better over the time that I've seen him. I think, without question, he'll be able to play well for two more years."
Chiarelli said that the Bruins liked Thornton's size when they acquired him following his 2006-07 championship season with the Anaheim Ducks. And while they value his ability to drop the gloves, the Bruins also value his offensive skill set.
"I think you have to define the role," said Chiarelli. "There's the role of someone who exclusively fights, and I don't put Shawn in that category.
"I think what Shawn has done, and it kind of started when he came here, was, he really took pride in his conditioning. And that's allowed him to maintain his skating, and it's allowed him to make plays. it gives him room to make plays. He recognizes that that's a valuable part of his game."