The Bruins had been on the hunt for Tomas Kaberle for a couple of years. But now that they've seen him, will they choose to keep him?

The answer to that question will most likely come in the next 12 days for Kaberle, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said yesterday there are still decisions to be made on both Kaberle and Michael Ryder, another UFA-to-be.

But he went out of his way to praise the 33-year-old defenseman, who found himself the subject of harsh criticism early in the playoffs.

"You know what he brings, and you saw it more against Vancouver. He brings the ability to both slow down the play and speed it up with his passing and skating," said Chiarelli. "And he freezes guys. He freezes guys for the opposing forecheck, he freezes them in the neutral zone. He makes great passes, he skates into the trap. I think he was our top defensive scorer. He was a real important component here and I know he was criticized for a time.