Connor Clifton inks three-year extension with Bruins

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Connor Clifton inks three-year extension with Bruins

Rob Rasmussen

Rob Rasmussen

Rob Rasmussen

Jonathan Banks, Men's Hockey Beat Reporter

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By: Jonathan Banks

Connor Clifton is staying in the New England area for the foreseeable future.

Clifton, a former captain at Quinnipiac who scored for the Boston Bruins in game one of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals, landed a three-year contract extension with the B’s after an impressive showing throughout the second half of the season and playoffs.

“This year I think was a huge step in my career. Having a game like in Dallas in my NHL debut was, I mean, pretty crazy,” Clifton said during media availability Wednesday morning. “It happened so fast, and then I’m playing in the NHL… it was a huge step this year in my career, but I want to continue to make strides and be the best player I can be.”

“Cliffy Hockey” will see his new contract earn him $3 million over the new agreement. He does have one more year on his current deal worth $725,000, so his extension will not kick in until 2020.

Even after his strong performances in a Bruins sweater, Clifton was unsure the team wanted to extend his contract this offseason.

“I think it was a little unorthodox, me being on my first year of my entry level and still having one more remaining,” Clifton said. “I mean, I don’t want to say I was surprised, maybe a little when I first – when it was first introduced to me, but I was thrilled about it… it’s exactly where I want to be with the group I want to be with every day. After that, it was an easy decision.”

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney saw a lot of value in bringing back the 24-year-old blueliner.

“Connor did a good job and deserved to play. In all situations, provided a lot of depth for our club,” Sweeney said after the Bruins and Clifton reached an extension. “Obviously we missed Kevan Miller. I think moving forward, we just recognized there’s a lot of value for what Connor brings to the table.”

The 2013 fifth-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes tallied six points in 37 combined appearances throughout the postseason and playoffs. With Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy still on the market as restricted free agents, Clifton could be set for an even bigger role next season if either one of them does not return to the Stanley Cup finalists.