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Bruins stay tough, sign up for two more years of Merlot Line’s Shawn Thornton

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Dennis Seidenberg, Gregory Campbell, and the newly-inked Shawn Thornton (AP)

The boy in the Freddy Kreuger shirt is probably really happy about this news.

Shawn Thornton will be seeing green this St. Patrick's Day, as the Boston Bruins have re-signed the pending UFA enforcer to a two-year extension worth $1.1 million per year.

Bob McKenzie broke the news Saturday afternoon, which is in keeping with his reports from mid-February that GM Peter Chiarelli would be attempting to re-sign all three members of Boston's Merlot Line, the fourth-line trio of Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille and Thornton.

One down, two to go.

(According to the Merlot Line's Facebook page, the nickname comes from the color of their practice jerseys -- and also their impeccable class. And maybe the fact that Paul Giamatti hates them?)

Thornton's taken a step back since his 10-goal, 14-major campaign in 2010-11 (at least on the scoring end -- he's got 19 majors this year), but he remains an integral part of the Bruins' identity, as well an increasingly valuable entity in this league: a tough guy that can play.

A large part of the Bruins' success comes from their ability to roll four lines, an advantage that many (myself included) felt was the difference in the Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins were able to keep their forwards fresher than the Vancouver Canucks by giving their fourth line regular -- and often momentum-changing -- shifts.

There aren't many teams in the league with bottom trios as effective as Boston's.

The contract may seem a bit steep for a player that doesn't put the puck in the net all that often, but it's a great deal for Boston, all things considered. Judging by the value that teams are beginning to put on fighters that can take regular shifts, I'd argue that Thornton probably left some money on the table here by opting to forego unrestricted free agency in July.

I'm willing to wager he could have gotten $1.5 or more on the open market, especially if he were allowed to represent himself. Thornton wins debates; just ask Tony Gallagher.

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney


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