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.