By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Bruins and defenseman Connor Clifton have reportedly agreed to a three-year, $3 million contract extension. TSN's Frank Seravalli was first to report the news of Clifton's agreement with the B's via Twitter on Monday.
Three more years of #CliffyHockey. #NHLBruins have agreed to terms on a three-year extension with Connor Clifton worth $3 million total. He has one year left at $725k, extension can be papered as soon as today.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 1, 2019
Clifton, 23, emerged as a viable third-pairing defenseman on the right side for the Bruins in 2018-19. He posted just one point in 19 regular season games, but in the wake of an injury to Kevan Miller he was thrust into a regular role. Clifton notched two goals and five points in 18 playoff games, despite averaging just 14:30 of ice time.
He also posted outstanding possession numbers in the regular season with a 56.9 CorsiFor percentage. His aggressive nature and ability to move pucks translates well to the modern NHL. He's not afraid to play physically, too, despite being slightly undersized at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds.
The Bruins still have Miller signed for one more year and just re-upped Steven Kampfer for a two-year deal. But it appears that they're comfortable parking Clifton on the third pairing next season and beyond. At the very least he will give them an affordable depth option on the blue line to back up Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.
Assuming the Bruins also lock up the latter two names, who are both restricted free agents, with long-term deals, then the B's may have the entire right side of their defense locked in for the next few years. Clifton may never become a top-4 defenseman, but for a former fifth-round pick (133rd overall in 2013 to the Coyotes) that never signed with Arizona, he's turned out to be a find for Boston.
UPDATE: The Bruins have officially announced the Clifton signing, along with forward Brett Ritchie and goaltender Maxime Lagace, among others.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].