Self-made Peverley earns his spot with B's

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Self-made Peverley earns his spot with B's

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON Its been a long road of perseverance and patience for Rich Peverley, but its all paid off in the end.

The 29-year-old picture of versatility has worked his way up as an undrafted free agent out of St. Lawrence University, and seemed a long way from yesterdays announcement when he potted 30 goals for the South Carolina Stingrays during the 2004-05 hockey season fresh out of college.

For 99 percent of hockey players toiling in the coast league as undrafted hockey commodities with no draft ties to an NHL organization, thats usually as far as it goes.

For 30 percent of those players that move on to the AHL and get within a single step of their NHL dream, thats the end of the line in a road less traveled by elite hockey prospects.

Its something in the neighborhood of 5-10 percent of players if even that much that manage to go from being East Coast Hockey League roster filler to the NHL hockey pinnacle, and it usually takes one thing beyond anything else to get there: the unsinkable belief that you belong.

The shifty forward needed to gain strength and learn how to play with the right amount of grime in his game, but he always believed hed made it.

Peverley did all of that while working his way up from the bottom, and going from minor league Stingray to Stanley Cup champion.

While a player that skipped the minor league experience altogether like Blake Wheeler through no fault of his own never really learned how to will himself to success or develop parts of his game beyond the shiny skill set -- Peverley needed to learn how survive in some rough-and-tumble places before knocking the NHL door down with the Predators and Thrashers.

So it was a pretty sweet day for Peverley on Tuesday as he inked a three-year deal with the Bruins for 9.75 million that will keep him for the foreseeable future. A hockey source indicated that Peverley will get 3 million next season, and 3.75 million in both2012-13 and 2013-14 for the B's. The Bs inked Peverley before restricted free agents like David Krejci and Tuukka Rask, and Peter Chiarelli said it was the culmination of several weeks worth of negotiating.

The competition level within the dressing room is so high pushing for minutes and for spots in the lineup, said Peverley. Hockey is something I really take seriously, and its a game that I love. Im a big sports nut to begin with, so Ive felt very lucky to be here since getting traded to the Bruins last spring.

Other places Ive played havent really even been sports towns like Boston is, so I truly appreciate it here. This is the place I wanted to be. There are some great people here and I wanted to be a part of it.

Chiarelli remembers Peverley as far back as his college hockey days, but he permanently plopped on the Bs radar after exceeding 20 goals and 50 points for the Thrashers while continuing to get his nose dirty. The offensive performance combined with his fearless style he doesnt win every puck battle, but hell engage regardless makes him a player Chiarelli has always noticed.

He's a player we've always coveted and we were fortunate to get him last year," Chiarelli said. "He's just one of the guys we thought could fit into our top seven or top six. Maybe we've waited a little bit longer in signing some guys that are potential UFAs, but we just decided to move forward with Rich. He's got speed, a good shot, he's still relatively young in the grander scheme and he's just a guy we wanted to have in our mixfor the next four years.

Peverley doesn't quite have the Tim Thomas story, but he's really worked his way up. He signed as an unrestricted free agent that was never drafted and worked his way through the Coast (East Coast Hockey League). I admire thatI admire that in him. I think I said that when we acquired him. I know he likes the town, he likes the organization. He mentioned that his wife likes it in Boston also so that played a part in him signing.

While Peverley honed his craft with the Predators and Thrashers before nearly washing out of the NHL after Nashville cut ties with him, he arrived in Boston as the Swiss Army Knife forwards. He came with a price tag as the Bruins had to give up Mark Stuart and Wheeler to acquire him, but his teammates know they never capture the Cup without his contributions.

Its easier to tick off what Peverley cant do than his varied skills: He has great skating wheels, can finish with an accurate shot and quick release, can make the extra pass, kill penalties, provide a viable alternative on the power play and give quality face-off coverage along with a pretty healthy amount of grit. Hes fond a solid home as the replacement for Mark Recchi along the right wing, and the two-goal performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning seems like the tip of the iceberg for Peverley.

He deserves it, he was a huge part of us winning and he really worked hart for it," Patrice Bergeron said. "Its unbelievable that now hes getting recognized all of a sudden. I always thought he was a great player when we played against them in Atlanta. Hes a hard worker, hes tough on draws, able to play in at every position and every line and always fit in.

Theres no guarantee Peverley will skate with Bergeron and Brad Marchand for the rest of the season, but hes already proven early on that their trio combined could vie for top line status with the Black and Gold.

Given Peverleys solid makeup and varied skills, he should be in the mix for that kind of role for the rest of his soon-to-be-long career lending his speed, shot and experienced savvy to the Bruins.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

Sources: Bruins engaged in trade talks involving Ryan Spooner

This probably won’t come as a complete shock to those watching the way things have played out with him this season, but the Bruins have engaged in discussions with multiple teams about a Ryan Spooner trade, per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. 

The 23-year-old Spooner was mentioned casually a few months ago as possible fodder in a Jacob Trouba deal with the Winnipeg Jets, but that deal never really materialized prior to the Jets signing their young, frontline D-man to a two-year deal. The Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and San Jose Sharks have all expressed interest in Spooner, per one hockey source, as it appears that things simply aren’t going to work out for him in Boston. 

It’s been a challenging year for Spooner with pedestrian numbers of three goals and eight points in 24 games, but there are plenty of mitigating circumstances behind the slow start. Spooner has been pushed into playing left wing for the bulk of the season rather than his natural, preferred center position, and he’s been dropped to the fourth line by Claude Julien over the last few weeks. At times he’s also been pulled from the Bruins power play where he racked up six goals and 17 points working off the half-wall last season.  

Julien talked about the former second round pick in frank terms after this week’s win over the Carolina Hurricanes, which featured a Spooner snipe to the top corner during a successful shootout for the Black and Gold. 

“I think at times that [David Krejci] line goes quiet, other times it’s better. We’ve tried different guys on the left side right now and one [Spooner] might give them speed but doesn’t win as many battles,” said Julien of his search for stability at left wing alongside Krejci and David Backes. “The other way [with Tim Schaller] guys are a little harder right now, and they spend more time in the O-zone. So we’re really trying hard to find the right balance there.”

Trade talks have increased the past few weeks because A) the situation has worsened recently with Spooner’s prolonged stint as a miscast fourth line winger and B) the speedy, skilled forward will most likely be a man without a spot when 22-year-old left winger Frank Vatrano returns sometime around the mid-December range. 

According to one source, the Bruins are asking for a “top six forward” in exchange for a package including Spooner, and it’s a lead pipe certainty they’re looking for some goal-scoring given their 24th ranked offense this season. That represents a bit of an organizational sea change after the Bruins searched low and high for a top-4 defenseman in trade over the summer. The emergence of 20-year-old Brandon Carlo, and the Boston defense’s performance across the board, has lowered the Black and Gold’s priority list need to trade for a D-man. 

The Bruins have scored two goals or fewer in 18 of their 25 games this season and badly need somebody that can put the puck in the net from one of the wing positions. Unfortunately for the Bruins, there aren’t a lot of top-6 forwards readily available that could make an immediate impact. It’s highly doubtful any team is going to fork one over for an asset like Spooner that’s been downgraded due to the way he’s been utilized by the Bruins this season. He hasn't played with the same creativity or confidence this season after posting 13 goals and 49 points as their third line center last season. 

So it remains to be seen what the Bruins will get for Spooner after they offered him and a draft pick to Buffalo for rental forward Chris Stewart a couple of years ago. That was a deal Sabres GM Tim Murray turned down before trading Stewart for considerably less at the trade deadline.

The bottom line: the Bruins are working the phones discussing possible Spooner deals, and it feels like there is some motivation from B’s management to move a player that doesn’t seem like he'll ever be a proper fit in Julien’s system. 

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Sunday Dec. 4: Zacha adjusting to life in the NHL

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at the Bruins setting a franchise record this season for fewest practices in a regular season. Thanks compacted schedule due to the World Cup!

*Pavel Zacha is adjusting to life as a rookie in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, and things are getting better as they go along.

*Manitoba Moose players relive their favorite Star Wars moments prior to the team holding their Star Wars Night.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman sits down with new Florida Panthers head coach Tom Rowe to discuss the massive changes in that organization with the firing of Gerard Gallant.

*Good for Anders Nilson putting a rainbow decal on the back of his goalie to mask to support some gay friends that have faced public resistance in their lives.

*Bruce Garrioch has his weekly NHL notes with several players, including Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald, potentially on the trade block if anybody wants them.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson suffering a broken leg that will keep him out 6-8 weeks.

*There was no blood for the Vancouver Canucks fans, but there was still plenty of drama in a win over the Maple Leafs.

*For something completely different: The World Baseball Classic works for everybody except for Major League Baseball, and that would appear to be a problem.