Bruins extend Connor Clifton, lose Noel Acciari to Florida

By WEEI 93.7

With just $12 million in cap space available and three important restricted free agents to get signed, the Bruins don’t have much room to add on Monday at the opening of free agency.

So it seems that the first thing they did was make a move that won’t affect their 2019-20 salary cap. It has been reported they’ve signed defenseman Connor Clifton to a three-year extension worth around $3 million total. Clifton still has one more year left on his entry-level contract at $725,000, so this extension won’t begin until 2020.

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 has worked his way from an AHL deal to a NHL deal to a multi-year extension by becoming a reliable right-shot defenseman that filled in well for Kevan Miller in last year’s playoffs, right up until he was scratched for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

He had one assists in 19 regular-season games last season, but had two goals and three assists in 18 playoff games.

The Bruins also reportedly lost fourth-line forward Noel Acciari to the Florida Panthers as an unrestricted free agent for a contract worth $1.67 million annually for three years.

Noel Acciari’s AAV is $1.67M on a three year deal in FLA.

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 1, 2019

The term and price were certainly too steep for Boston, with Chris Wagner, Sean Kuraly and Joakim Nordstrom all signed through the end of this season at least. Plus the Bruins probably couldn’t talk specifics with the UFA because of their holdup with RFAs Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and Danton Heinen.

Acciari had 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 72 games last season, and scored 10 goals the season before, but he is replaceable by both signed veterans and younger players such as Karson Kuhlman and Anton Blidh.

Update: The Bruins have since made the Clifton extension official.

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