Sometimes it's unfair to second guess NHL teams on players they allow to walk away in free agency.
Certainly when a player is demanding more than they are probably worth, then it's completely understandable. When it comes to the Bruins, there are numerous examples of the team walking away from players like Loui Eriksson who priced their way out of Boston.
But it's a much more difficult scenario to gauge when it's a relative pittance that results in a good player leaving the Black and Gold fold.
The term and cap number might have seemed too rich for a fourth-line player for the Bruins, but they proved it wasn't earlier this season when they inked fellow fourth-line winger Chris Wagner to a three-year deal for $1.35 million per season.
This season, the 28-year-old Acciari has 17 goals and 20 points while playing 15:46 of ice time per game in a much bigger role for the Panthers. He's on pace to score over 30 goals this season and would sit fourth on the Bruins in goals behind just Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak more than halfway through the regular season.
And more importantly, he's doing it for an NHL pittance that the Bruins certainly could have afforded when they spent a combined $1.85 million to sign Par Lindholm and Brett Ritchie to free agent contracts in July.
There's a chance the scoring might run down a little for Acciari in the second half given that he's already shattered his career high, but he also continues to bring an in-game intensity that has him leading the Panthers with 82 registered hits as well.
He'd sit fifth on the Bruins in that department behind Wagner, Charlie McAvoy, Connor Clifton and Sean Kuraly, but his ability to throw massive hits, draw penalties and fearlessly block shots was an invaluable part of the B's fourth line along with his ability to create his own offense through hustle and grit.
Acciari's 70 blocked shots for the Panthers would actually rank third on the team behind only Charlie McAvoy and Zdeno Chara, and is something that Bruce Cassidy openly lamented that the B's didn't have enough of earlier this season.
"The message here is ... last year's over," said Cassidy back in December when the Bruins were struggling through a slump and he was benching players. "You learn from it, you're proud of certain accomplishments, but you don't change the way you play.
"You've still got to eat pucks (block shots) when it's your turn to eat pucks, put out fires when it's your turn to put out a fire. At the offensive end, I don't think we're generating consistently by getting our nose dirty or getting inside. Hopefully ... we start getting back to that style of play."
Acciari clearly had no hesitation about "eating pucks" and it feels like the Bruins perhaps didn't value that quality enough when making decisions about last year's incumbent free agents.
It's the kind of punishment and physicality that at times the B's fourth line has been missing this year while playing at a lower ability level and being a little less difficult to play against.
Sure, the fourth line has been a little better as of late, but it feels fairly obvious they have missed Acciari's presence across the board while casting no aspersions against Kuraly, Wagner or Joakim Nordstrom.
"We've kind of been scrapping together. [Nordstrom] has had some tough luck this year [with injuries] and guys have been in and out [of the lineup]," admitted Wagner, who is on pace to fall below last year's offensive numbers with just four goals and eight points along with a minus-8 in 45 games. "But when we're called upon we want to be the reliable, trustworthy guys that have to come 200 feet. We know that's part of our job is taking the D-zone face-offs. But once we get in the O-zone, we want to hold onto the puck and take it to the net."
Maybe now that the trio is healthy and back together they can regain some consistency, but they sure could use exactly what Acciari has been bringing to the Panthers all season long.
If the Bruins had been willing to spend a few extra dollars and maybe tack on another year beyond what they were comfortable with, they could have held onto another local kid in Acciari who certainly wanted to remain with the Bruins when it appears the organization had a different direction planned.
Did Bruins make a mistake in letting Noel Acciari go? Feels like it originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston