Schaller remains a home team playerBy ALEX HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader
July 07. 2017 2:13AM
Playing in front of his family and friends during almost every Boston Bruins home game helped Tim Schaller record career-best numbers last season.
Schaller’s loved ones will need to renew their ticket plans.
The Bruins signed the forward from Merrimack to a one-year contract worth $775,000 on Wednesday. Schaller, 26, signed a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 with Boston last year and entered this offseason as a restricted free agent.
Schaller said his new deal started to come together after he received a phone call from Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, who explained he wanted Schaller back with the team. From there, it was a simple process for Schaller to re-sign with the team he grew up rooting for.
“I definitely wanted to sign back with them,” Schaller said. “I couldn’t be happier to be back in Boston and I’m excited Don was excited to have me back.”
Schaller logged career-high marks in points (14), goals (seven), assists (seven) and penalty minutes (23) last season. The Providence College product played in 65 games for Boston in his first full NHL season, including the first six postseason games of his career. Schaller scored his first career playoff goal in the Bruins’ 4-3 overtime loss at Ottawa on April 15.
“It was definitely a special year for myself,” Schaller said. “If I take my confidence out of last year into this year, I should have another good year.”
Schaller said his breakout campaign was due in part to the fact that he was closer to home. Before signing with Boston last year, Schaller spent his previous three seasons with the Buffalo Sabres and their AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans.
“I think being comfortable at home, knowing I had family and friends in the building at almost every game (helped),” Schaller said. “And on off days, I’d come home sometimes and just take my mind off hockey. Being close to home definitely made it easier to focus on the game.”
Schaller (6-foot-2, 219 pounds) spent most of last season skating with Dominic Moore, who signed with Toronto last Saturday, and Riley Nash. Schaller said he learned a great deal from skating with both Moore and Nash and being around alternate captain Patrice Bergeron.
Schaller wants to utilize what he learned from his teammates and the confidence he built last year to become a more offensive threat for Boston next season. He is using this offseason to work on all aspects of his game but improving his shot is one of his focal points.
“I think points is something that will come for me as I get more confident,” Schaller said.
As Schaller prepares for his second season with Boston, he has plenty motivating him to improve. Just like all of the familiar and not-so-familiar faces in the TD Garden crowd, Schaller is a Bruins fan and wants to see his favorite team in the Stanley Cup playoffs again.
“I thought arenas were loud during the regular season but the energy that comes from fans during the playoffs is on a whole other level,” Schaller said. “It’s something you want to experience every season, for sure.”