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.
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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.