Bruins

Bruins sign depth players Kenny Agostino, Paul Postma to one-year, one-way deals

Bruins sign depth players Kenny Agostino, Paul Postma to one-year, one-way deals

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins made offers and held discussions for bigger, better players leading up to the July 1 opening of free agency in the NHL, but at the end of Saturday came away with a pair of depth signings that offer zero risk and little cost. The Bruins signed AHL MVP Kenny Agostino ($875,000) and Winnipeg Jets defenseman Paul Postma ($725,000) to one-year, one-way deals with each of the two contracts coming in at well under $1 million in salary.

“Have we made offers? Have we explored? Yeah, we have – on both fronts, through trade or putting out offers. But, as I teed up [on Friday], I didn’t think it was necessarily going to happen and it didn’t,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney. “We made offers to players that signed elsewhere, again, for different reasons. That’s entirely up to the player themselves, whether the term wasn’t right or the dollars weren’t right or the location wasn’t right.”

The Bruins also signed Providence Bruins forward Jordan Szwarz to a one-year, two-way deal worth $650,000 at the NHL after he enjoyed an excellent season with the P-Bruins.

The Bruins didn’t come away with anything that’s going to demonstrably move the needle at the NHL level, but they made signings that provide good insurance for the B’s if injuries crop up, or if Boston’s prospects show they aren’t quite ready for prime time.

The 25-year-old Agostino, a Yale teammate of B’s defenseman Robbie O’Gara, was named the American Hockey League MVP in 2016-17 after posting 24 goals while leading the AHL with 59 assists and 83 points in 65 games with the Chicago Wolves. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder also appeared in seven NHL games with the St. Louis Blues in 2016-17 and posted a goal and three points, and has played in 17 NHL games during his three-year pro career.

“He’s been prolific in the AHL over the last couple of years. Our guys have followed players of that nature and felt that he really deserves an opportunity to play at the NHL level and put forth his skillset that he’s displayed there,” said Sweeney. “Even in a small sample size at the NHL, he’s done well. So, we’re going to give him an opportunity. I think the internal competition piece I spoke of [at forward positions] will be interesting come training camp.”

The 28-year-old Postma played a career-high 65 games last season for the Winnipeg Jets and finished with a goal and 14 points, and has appeared in 191 games over the last seven seasons for the Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets. He’s got good size at 6-foot-3, 190-pounds, has a big shot from the point and can play both sides in the kind of versatile package that will make a pretty solid seventh defenseman-type for the Black and Gold.

“Paul still has got upside. If you look at his power play stuff that he’s done in the minors and what he’s been able to accomplish – he’s got a big, heavy shot. [Winnipeg was] heavy on the right side, we’re heavy on the right side. I talked to him yesterday,” said Sweeney. “He played a lot of hockey with [Michael] Stone in junior on the left side. He feels there is versatility in his game. He was excited about our organization and having a bit of a fresh start.”

Sweeney indicated that there could be more signings or trades in the second or third waves of free agency now that the July 1 frenzy is over and done with, but it’s Agostino and Postma that the Bruins had to show for when the dust settled on Day One of free agency.  

Talking Points: Khudobin keeps rolling in shootout win

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Talking Points: Khudobin keeps rolling in shootout win

GOLD STAR: Who else but Anton Khudobin? The Bruins backup netminder improved to 6-0-2 on the season and upped his NHL-leading save percentage to .938 while making 40 saves in a shootout win over the New Jersey Devils. Khudobin was outstanding stoning players like Nico Hischier and Blake Coleman on breakaways, and stood tall in the third period while the Bruins were outshot 15-5 and ended up tying the game. Even better Khudobin was super-competitive in the shootout where he was challenging shooters, and even stared down Hischier after he poke-checked the puck away from him on his attempt. The Bruins don’t win Wednesday night’s game without Khudobin playing the way he did, and that should pretty much guarantee that he plays again on Friday afternoon against the Penguins.

BLACK EYE: One shot and one hit in 8:28 of ice time for Jimmy Hayes in his first game against his old Bruins team, so pretty much par for the course from the underachieving big guy. Hayes has scored a couple of goals for the Devils this season, but he’s been mostly the same as in the past with sporadic scoring, intermittent tough guy play in the danger areas and then long stretches where you don’t even notice the 6-foot-6 guy out on the ice. Of the two ex-Bruins forwards going up against their old team tonight, Drew Stafford was by far the better of the two with three shots on net and at least one pretty decent scoring chance among them after stealing a puck from Frank Vatrano.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins set things up for their shootout win with a strong opening first period when it came to finishing off plays. Yes, they were outshot by a 15-10 margin, but they also made two big plays with Jake DeBrusk scoring a goal and then David Pastrnak setting up Patrice Bergeron for his fifth goal of the season. Beyond that Anton Khudobin also stopped 14 pucks in the first period that included a number of scoring chances for the Devils, and it showed what the Bruins are capable of when they’re on the right side of some key plays early in the game. Sure, the Devils clawed their way back in, but the Bruins felt like they had the game in control because of the work they put in during the first period.

HONORABLE MENTION: Charlie McAvoy led all skaters with a game-high 27:04 of ice time, and played a strong game while totaling three shots on net and three blocked shots. But he saved the real good stuff for the 11th round of the shootout when he threw a nifty stick move at Cory Schneider, and then roofed a backhanded attempt in tight and close to the net. The McAvoy shootout move begged the question why it took so long to get to him, but also mercifully closed out a shootout session that felt like it could have gone on forever between the Bruins and Devils. The finishing move from the 19-year-old was pure, unadulterated skill with the puck.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the first NHL career point for Matt Grzelcyk arrived in the first period when he picked up an assist on a lead pass off the boards that freed Jake DeBrusk up for a goal-scoring rush.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “It’s the end of a road trip, so give the guys credit. They dug down deep and found a way to get the two points.” – Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy,  

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Bruins outlast Devils in 11-round shootout

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Bruins outlast Devils in 11-round shootout

NEWARK, N.J. Charlie McCoy scored in the 11th round of the shootout to lift the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.

Anton Khudobin made 40 saves as Boston improved to 9-7-4 with its third straight win-all with Khudobin in goal.

Jake DeBrusk and Patrice Bergeron scored first period goals for the Bruins.

New Jersey has dropped three of its last five in falling to 12-5-4.

Jesper Bratt and Brian Gibbons scored for the Devils, and Cory Schneider made 27 saves.

The shootout opened with Hall and David Pastrnak trading goals. And it stayed that way until McAvoy's game-winner

Prior to the extra period, the first of three regular season meetings between the longtime Eastern Conference rivals was essentially a special teams affair.

Despite not scoring on their four power plays and surrendering a man advantage goal to the Devils, it was the Bruins who left with two points thanks to two first period even strength strikes and the play of their ostensible backup goaltender.

The Bruins struck first when rookie left winger DeBrusk opened the scoring with his fifth of the season with a shot from the right circle at 1:25. And Bergeron added to Boston's lead with his fifth of the season at 11:02.

The Bruins had a two-goal lead and Khudobin, who made his third straight start, tried to make it hold up with a pad save on a Nico Hischier break-in with and a diving stop on Travis Zajac in a span of 1:13. But there was nothing he could do on Bratt's power play goal with 2:50 left as New Jersey's rookie right winger lifted a loose puck in the slot to halve the deficit while Brian Boyle was tied up with Zdeno Chara in front of Khudobin. A video review upheld the goal.

The game remained 2-1 until the Devils equalized on Gibbons' top-of-the-crease deflection with 4:44 left in regulation. Up to that point, though, Khudobin was the story as the netminder stopped a Blake Coleman shorthanded attempt with 10:35 left in the second. Khudobin also benefitted from Hischier, the first overall pick in last June's NHL draft, losing control of the puck alongside the goal line late in the period. Midway through the third, Khudobin stoned Hischier from the top of the crease.

The Devils outshot the Bruins, 42-29.

NOTES: Prior to the game, New Jersey announced RW Kyle Palmieri would miss 4-6 weeks with a broken right foot, suffered in the Devils' 4-3 overtime win in Minnesota Monday. The team later announced Palmieri had been placed on the injured reserve retroactive to Monday. .New Jersey scratched D Dalton Prout and RW Stefan Noesen. .Bruins C Ryan Spooner dressed for the first time since suffering a torn right adductor on Oct. 15. .Boston scratched LW Matt Beleskey, D Torey Krug and D Paul Postma. .The Bruins did not have LW Anders Bjork (undisclosed), LW Brad Marchand (upper body injury), RW David Backes (colon surgery) and D Adam McQuaid (broken right fibula). .Boston announced RW Jordan Szwarz had been sent down to AHL Providence. .The Devils announced Friday's home game against Vancouver will coincide with the team hosting the NHL and NHLPA "joint initiative Hockey Fights Cancer" as part of the "annual Cancer Awareness Month."

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host Pittsburgh Friday afternoon.

Devils: Host Vancouver Friday night.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE