With the market prices for two-way defensemen skyrocketing (thanks, Andrei Markov) and puck-moving blueliners expecting to receive more dollars and years than they deserve amidst a very weak free agent class, the Boston Bruins have decided to let Tomas Kaberle walk.
That's not very surprising. That they're letting Michael Ryder go, too, is a bit unexpected.
Ryder, it's no secret, has had a very strong relationship with coach Claude Julien and General Manager Peter Chiarelli, and was often the Bruins' best forward throughout their run through the playoffs, scoring key goals, getting involved on the backcheck and - everyone thought - raising his value in the eyes of the Bruins' front office.
Both Ryder and Kaberle were set to become unrestricted free agents at midnight on Friday, but the Bruins had the opportunity to negotiate a new deal with the players prior to the July 1st deadline.
Talks with Ryder never materialized, and talks with Kaberle didn't progress very far before the Bruins tried to shop the former Toronto Maple Leafs' rights, to no avail. That Boston tried to send his rights away likely means that he was asking for more years or dollars than the Bruins were willing to offer him, especially with Steven Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski waiting in the wings.
It's still possible that the Bruins could re-sign either Ryder or Kaberle, but it's unlikely that Kaberle will be back; if the Bruins want to bring in a more experienced puck-moving defenseman than Kampfer, they'll likely look to the services of James Wisniewski, among others who should be available for less than Kaberle wanted.
The Bruins also have internal talent that they could fill Ryder's spot with (look for Jordan Caron to make the regular season roster), and because Chiarelli has admitted that he's not keen on this year's free agent class, it's likely that that's the route Boston will take.