Paul Postma

Bruins moving on from Gionta, Agostino and Postma; Czarnik may hit free agency

Bruins moving on from Gionta, Agostino and Postma; Czarnik may hit free agency

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.     

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Bruins recall Blidh, Postma from AHL

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File Photo

Bruins recall Blidh, Postma from AHL

SUNRISE, Florida – The Bruins were banged up physically by the end of their epic comeback over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, and they will continue to be beset by injuries for the foreseeable future.

The Bruins called up scrappy bottom-6 forward Anton Blidh and depth D-man Paul Postma from Providence on an emergency basis on Thursday morning, and it’s expected both will be there to replace injured players in Boston’s lineup. Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk all exited in the third period of the 6-4 comeback win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and it appeared postgame as if all three had undergone X-Rays while walking around the bowels of PNC arena.

Chara tumbled into the corner boards awkwardly midway through the third period and appeared to be having trouble with his shoulder area before exiting the Bruins bench, and DeBrusk was hit hard against the side boards earlier in the game. The 21-year-old played through it for a time, but it was pretty clear he was feeling the residual effects of the hit before eventually exiting in the third. It’s unclear exactly what happened to Krug prior to his departure from the Carolina win.

There should be a more thorough update later on Thursday morning as the Bruins undertake their Thursday morning skate at the BB&T Center ahead of tonight’s road game against the Florida Panthers.

The 23-year-old Blidh has skated in 59 games with Providence this season and has posted nine goals and 13 assists for a career-high 22 points and a plus-9 rating after posting a goal and two points in 19 games for Boston last season. Postma has five assists in five games for the P-Bruins since getting shipped to Providence right around the NHL trade deadline after clearing waivers, but spent the rest of the season in Boston as a little-used reserve with a single point in 12 games played for the Black and Gold.

Injury, illness and a possible suspension may leave Bruins shorthanded

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Injury, illness and a possible suspension may leave Bruins shorthanded

BRIGHTON -- Thanks to injuries, illness and possible suspensions, the Bruins have several lineup question marks for Thursday night’s pre-All-Star game finale in Ottawa.

Both Patrice Bergeron and Noel Acciari were absent from practice on Thursday. Bergeron got the morning off after playing through, and scoring through, illness on Tuesday night against New Jersey, and Acciari was sidelined by a lower body injury that was also bugging him in the 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. Bruce Cassidy expects Bergeron will be good to go Thursday night against the Senators, but a banged-up Acciari is a bit more of a question mark.

"[We] hope [Acciardi is] ready to go," said Cassidy. "If not, then we’ll look to Providence (for a replacement) and that’s an internal conversation we’ll have to have."

On the other end of the spectrum, Brad Marchand skated Wednesday at Warrior Ice Arena but may not be available after a hearing with NHL’s Department of Player Safety concerning an uncalled elbow to the head of Marcus Johansson. At this point it feels like Marchand is headed for a suspension, so it’s a matter of how many games he’ll get. He's been fined or suspended by the league seven times before.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings at Wednesday’s practice prior to leaving for Ottawa:

Marchand-Postma-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Spooner

Heinen-Nash-Backes

Schaller-Kuraly-Vatrano

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Grzelcyk-Miller

Postma

 

Rask

Khudobin