Ex-Winnipeg defenseman Postma happy for fresh start with Bruins


Ex-Winnipeg defenseman Postma happy for fresh start with Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – It turns out that the move to the Bruins organization is quite a monumental one for Paul Postma.

Postma, 28, has spent the past eight years as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets organization before signing a one-year deal with the Bruins on the July 1 opening of NHL free agency. He's established himself as a steady, reliable D-man who ended up playing 65 games for the Jets last season and had his best performance to date with a goal and 14 assists along with a plus-3 rating.


Still, Postma was blocked as a big-bodied right shot defenseman with Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba ahead of him on the depth chart and buried in an organization. They also had Tyler Myers, Toby Enstrom and Mark Stuart ahead of him in the pecking order. So, Postma is looking at signing with the Bruins as a “fresh start” of sorts where he can get a chance to really see what he can do at the NHL level.

“I was a little too comfortable with Winnipeg. I had been with that organization for 10 years, so coming into camp I knew where I fell in the depth chart,” said Postma, who has 10 goals and 34 points in 191 career NHL games. “I was stuck in a rut [in Winnipeg] where I wasn’t really developing at all, so it was time for a change for me.
“This has been great for me so far. I’ve never really been traded like this or signed with a new team, so everything is new to me. But it’s been a great transition and I think I’m doing well with the systems and stuff, and even the business of city life. I’m starting to settle down and really enjoying it.”

The fractured jaw injury to Torey Krug may open exactly that kind of door for Postma in the first few games to start the regular season. Postma can play on both the left and right side and has already shown his big shot in scoring a preseason goal against the Red Wings, so now it’s about competing with younger, homegrown players Matt Grzelcyk and Rob O’Gara to see who will be in Boston’s top-six on opening night. 

“He’s interesting because he might be a little bit of a tweener where he’s a young veteran guy,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’s a bit of a new guy to us, so he’s got to balance showing us his best side with also simply getting ready for the season. As a veteran, they’ve got their own checklist to get ready for the season. My guess is that he wants to show his teammates and the staff that he’s a good hockey player and that he deserves to be in there every night, and do that while also getting himself ready.

“There is definitely some competition there. That’s one of the things we talked about with him, specifically. We’ve got some young kids that are going to push him. Some of them are still here and some them are not. Grzelcyk and O’Gara are still here and had a little bit of action last year while [Jakub] Zboril and [Jeremy] Lauzon have gone to Providence. So, it’s whittling down, but there is still competition.”

It remains to be seen if it will Postma, playing the left side for the first time in a couple of seasons, or Grzelcyk, a very similar player to Krug in stature and skill level, who will step into the lineup in Krug’s place for the first few games of the regular season. It may even be O’Gara if he can do something in the final two few preseason games (tonight in Philly, Saturday in Chicago) to make the B’s evaluators stand up and take notice. Either way, it seems inevitable that Postma will get his chance to show what he can do in Boston this season and perhaps take advantage of the fresh start he’s getting with the Bruins. 

Banged up B's 'look forward to the challenge' vs Tampa team they're chasing

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Banged up B's 'look forward to the challenge' vs Tampa team they're chasing

TAMPA BAY – It certainly might not be the shape they envisioned themselves being in when these late season games arrived against the President’s Trophy favorites in Tampa Bay, but the Bruins are bracing for a showdown with the high-powered Lightning either way. 

The Bruins stand just four points behind the Bolts with one game in hand, and mathematically they absolutely have a shot of catching and surpassing the Lightning for the NHL’s top spot with three games remaining against them in the season’s final month. But realistically it’s got to be considered a long shot at this point with Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk all out for Saturday night’s meeting with Tampa, and Bergeron and McAvoy expected to potentially miss all three of their divisional scraps. 

Coming off a 3-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Florida Panthers and at the end of a week-long, four-game road trip, the Bruins know they’re going to need to tighten things up against a Lightning team they can’t match firepower with in their weakened state. 

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job of just playing the game in front of us, and not getting too far ahead, too high or too low. We’ve got the best team in the National Hockey League, arguably, at home and rested [in front of us],” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We look forward to the challenge. They’re a high-scoring team, so we talked about that with our goaltenders and our ‘D’ today. We better be ‘on’ because they’ll be coming. Our forwards are going to have to help out in that area and make sure we’re reloading well, and keep getting pucks at the net. 

“We didn’t finish [against Florida] but it wasn’t because of lack of effort or lack of pucks at the net. That part of our game is trending pretty well offensively. I think you’re going to have score to a certain extent against this team because you’re not going to shut them down completely. That’s our game plan for whoever is going to be in the lineup. They’ve got to be ready for it because that’s how it works, and that’s how it’s worked all year long for us. We need the guys in there to do their part and do it well.”

Certainly the Bruins could still do some offensive damage with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak still intact on their top line, and David Krejci and Rick Nash also still developing their chemistry on the second line. Torey Krug also came through feeling healthy at practice on Friday after soaking up 26 plus minutes of ice time in the loss to Florida, so they’ll also have some puck-moving and offensive pop on the back end as well.

But it may come down to the Chara-less defense and Tuukka Rask to step up and go into shutdown mode against the Lightning if they’re looking to really push up on the Lightning, and make this a horse race for the Atlantic Division down the stretch. Not to mention, it would be a psychological swing for both teams if the Bruins could take down a rested, relatively healthy Tampa Bay hockey club with their undermanned, injury-ravaged bunch. 

That in and of itself should be plenty of motivation for a Bruins team that’s got their sights and set on bigger and better things this spring with the Lightning expected to be one of the big obstacles standing in their way.


Morning Skate: Tavares or Seguin?

NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Tavares or Seguin?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while jacked and pumped about that Infinity War trailer. Wow. 


*Credit here for something outside the box and clear hockey satire while looking far into the NHL’s crystal ball where the new expansion team is called the Seattle Slippery Seals, and Brad Marchand is the head of the NHLPA. That is quite a twist at the end of the movie right there. 


*The Hockey Central crew debates whether they would want John Tavares or Tyler Seguin as a player to build their team around. Seguin is having a solid year (with the end of his contract coming into view), but I’m going with Tavares all day long. I think he’s more of a competitor and a reliable player along with an equitable level of talent, and that counts for quite a bit in team-building. 


*It’s good to see the PHWA decide to make public the ballots of all NHL Awards starting at the end of this season. It’s something I voted in favor of and already did annually as I think transparency is something we always ask for from those we cover, so it should never be something we shy away from. 


*The Flyers have hit the skids again after pushing themselves into playoff view. This has been such a streak team over the last couple of years. 


*Pro Hockey Talk says that the Montreal Canadiens need to take a long look into the mirror before they move on from this season. I couldn’t agree more. 


*For something completely different: I feel badly for my kids that Toys R us is liquidating as a company, and the stores will be closing. It’s getting to the point where there will be no more brick and mortar toy stores for kids to visit, and that’s something from my youth experience that they’re going to miss out on. Frankly, it’s kind of sad.