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Bruins sign sought-after free agents Chara, Savard

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins signed two of the top free
agents on the market Saturday, inking 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara and center Marc Savard.

Chara got a five-year deal worth $37.5 million dollars, and
there is also a no-trade clause in the contract. Savard left
Atlanta to sign a four-year deal worth $20 million with Boston.

"We were really aggressive out of the gate," interim general
manager Jeff Gorton said on a conference call. "It made it much
easier to sign Savard after Chara signed with us. He could see how
serious we were about winning."

Chara, the tallest player in the NHL, had a career best 43
points last season for Ottawa, with 16 goals and 27 assists in 71
games. He spent the last four seasons with the Senators, and played
for Farjestads of Sweden during the lockout season.

Chara, who also played four seasons with the New York Islanders,
has 57 goals, 118 assists and 901 penalty minutes in his NHL
career.

"I was very impressed with how professional and straightforward
Boston was in pursuing me," Chara said in a statement released
through his agent. "I want to lead this team by setting a good
example with my work ethic, drive, dedication and discipline."

Savard had career-high totals of 28 goals and 69 assists in 82
games for the Atlanta Thrashers last season.

"Marc is one of the top playmaking centers in the game today,"
Gorton said. "He will fit in well with the skill players we have
on our team and the direction in which we are headed."

Savard has 133 goals and 268 assists in an eight-year career
that includes stints with the Calgary Flames and the New York
Rangers, who drafted him in the fourth round in 1995.

The Bruins are overhauling their entire organization after
finishing out of the playoffs and in last place in the Northeast
Division last season with a 29-37-16 record for 74 points.

The team fired general manager Mike O'Connell late last season
and hired Ottawa assistant GM Peter Chiarelli to replace him last
month. One of Chiarelli's first moves was to fire coach Mike
Sullivan and replace him with former Detroit Red Wings coach Dave
Lewis.

Per the agreement between Boston and Ottawa, Chiarelli -- who
does not officially take over the Bruins until July 15 -- wasn't
allowed to advise Boston about any of the Senators free agents.

The Bruins have also been dumping aging players, buying out the
contracts of left wing Shawn McEachern and center Travis Green on
Friday.

"We're a much better team today than we were yesterday, that's
for sure," Gorton said.