According to Darren Dreger and now Matt Kalman, who might just be quoting Dreger, the deal carries with it a cap hit of $2.25M per year. This seems high to me and the commenters are out in full force on the Globe's blog post. He had previously only carried a cap hit of $1.4M and hasn't exactly proven to be durable. He played in 59 games in '07-'08, just 47 last year and he has already missed 22 games this year. Now, the surprising statistic here is the Bruins are just 5-12-5 in those 22 games meaning they are 28-15-7 when he is in the lineup. He first got injured in the Ottawa game shortly after the Winter Classic where the Bruins played very well. The next game was against Chicago where Savard exited on the first shift. Ference then missed the next 14 games and the Bruins went 1-9-4 in that span. He returned just in time for the 4-game winning streak prior to the Olympics. Maybe something can be said for this, but the Bruins were missing Savard and Bergeron for much of that stretch as well.
I just don't think he is worth that much for what he brings to the table (8 assists in 50 games and questionable durability). Right now, the Bruins are committed to four defenseman for next year (with cap hit in parentheses): Chara ($7.5M), Wideman ($3.875M), Ference ($2.25M), and Hunwick ($1.45M). Stuart and Boychuk are RFA's and Seidenberg is a UFA after this season. Wideman and Hunwick have been MIA this season.
It makes you wonder what Chiarelli has in store for the offseason. I still think Peter wants Tomas Kaberle (who will be in the final year of his contract and will no longer have the no-trade clause this summer). This signing has me worried that Mark Stuart might go the other way for Kaberle. Mark Stuart fits the Brian Burke mold and would give Burke the salary relief he needs on his back end.