The Boston Bruins will begin free agency with the addition of a New York Islander.
Unfortunately for those constantly refreshing their Twitter feeds, it won’t be that Islander center. It’s instead bottom-six energy forward Chris Wagner, who will reportedly join the Bruins on a two-year deal, according to Andy Strickland.
In a season split between the Anaheim Ducks and Islanders (the Ducks traded him to New York when they acquired Jason Chimera), Wagner established career-highs in goals (7), assists (9), points (16), and games played (79).
The Walpole, Mass. native also finished the year with a staggering 253 hits, which was just one hit shy of matching the Oilers’ Milan Lucic for the most hits by any National Hockey League forward last season. Utilized primarily as a defensive-zone specialist, Wagner finished the year averaging a career-best 13:17 of time on ice per game, and won 230 of his 470 faceoffs.
A right-shot capable of playing both center and the wing, Wagner will bring obvious value to a Boston bottom-six still lacking an identity given the potential turnover it can and will go through when free agency officially opens at 12 p.m. on Sunday.
A fifth-round pick of the Ducks in 2010, the 27-year-old Wagner has 17 goals and 29 points in 174 career NHL games.
While nothing is guaranteed, Wagner’s addition likely confirms that New Hampshire native Tim Schaller and deadline addition Tommy Wingels, two of Boston’s more physical fourth-line wingers a season ago, will indeed move on to new cities.
Wagner’s cap hit is still unknown at this point in time.