The Boston Bruins have agreed to a two-year deal with defenceman Johnny Boychuk.
The team website didn't divulge the financial details.
"I was thinking about maybe going to free agency and seeing what was out there. But when I looked around the league, I knew what kind of position I'd be in," Boychuk said. "To come back to Boston and the great coaching staff that we have there and all the guys there, it made it a lot easier decision knowing that we would have all these people back.
"That was the main factor that tipped the scales for me."
Boychuk started last season as the Bruins' seventh defenceman. The Edmonton-born player was a healthy scratch for 23 of the club's first 26 games before he was assigned to Providence of the American Hockey League for conditioning. He returned to Boston on Dec. 5 and missed only five games the rest of the season, an absence caused by a facial injury.
The 26-year-old showed promise in his first extended stint with the Bruins. Boychuk, scored five goals and 10 assists in 51 regular-season games the past season, and added two goals and four assists in 13 playoff contests.
"He's made great strides this year. He was patient before he got in the lineup. He learned our system," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "He's got a dimensional shot. He competes, he's got size. But the biggest thing that I saw was he's improved, going from being the defenseman of the year in the American League to our seventh D to start and working his way into our lineup, patiently but learning along the way.
"We have a very good defensive system and Johnny has picked it up and he's showed improvement while he's in the lineup."
Boychuk possesses size and speed, and his emergence helped pave the way for Boston to trade defenceman Dennis Wideman earlier in the week, a multi-player deal that netted them Florida's Nathan Horton in return.
Boston acquired Boychuk in a 2008 trade that saw Matt Hendricks head to Colorado. The Avalanche had selected Boychuk in the third round of the NHL entry draft six years earlier.
Boston is scheduled to select second overall in the draft on Friday, a pick acquired from Toronto in the Phil Kessel deal.
The Bruins gave up the 15th overall selection in the Horton transaction.With files from The Associated Press