While none of them register as anything remotely surprising, the Bruins have made final decisions on several of their looming free agent players. Kenny Agostino, Paul Postma and Brian Gionta have all been informed by the Bruins that they won’t be offered contracts for next season, according to B’s general manager Don Sweeney, and so that ends their stint with the Black and Gold.
“We’ve had some preliminary talks with all the [free agent] players, and just trying to sift through the term aspect in some of those conversations,” said Sweeney to reporters at the NHL scouting combine in Buffalo. “All those players have indicated they felt they fit in well with our hockey club and I’ve attested earlier I think they did as well. It’s unrealistic that they will all be back.
“Postma, Agostino and Gionta will not be offered contracts and they’ve been told as much. We’ve had discussions with Austin [Czarnik] and I think that he’s intrigued by what may exist elsewhere. We certainly haven’t closed the door [on Czarnik] and I don’t think he has as well.”
Postma and Agostino were both signed as free agents on July 1 a little less than a year ago as depth players that could potentially fill in at the NHL level if injuries or youthful ineffectiveness impacted the team. The 29-year-old Postma managed to get into just 14 games for Boston this season amid long stretches as a healthy scratch and was essentially bypassed on the depth chart by Matt Grzelcyk during the season.
The 26-year-old Agostino got into five games for Boston without much of an impact when injuries hit in the first few months of the season, and posted 16 goals and 53 points in 64 games for the P-Bruins last season. Once rookies Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk locked down winger spots early in the season, there wasn’t going to be much of a chance for Agostino to show what he could do at the NHL level.
The 39-year-old Gionta signed with the Bruins at the NHL trade deadline after skating for Team USA at the Winter Olympics and was good enough as a depth piece scoring two goals and seven points in 20 games for the Black and Gold. It was, however, clear that Gionta’s effectiveness waned as his playing time increased, and the small winger really didn’t have much to give Boston in the playoffs when Bruce Cassidy gave him a shot in the series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Sweeney left the door open for 25-year-old free agent center Auston Czarnik (25 goals and 69 points in 64 games for the P-Bruins last season) as well, but it sounded like the Bruins prospect was going to at least play things out through free agency to see what kind of offers might be out there for him. Aside from those players mentioned, it sounds like no decisions have been made with pending UFAs like Anton Khudobin, Rick Nash, Riley Nash, Tommy Wingels and Nick Holden as cursory discussions on new contracts have taken place.