Bruins release Leino; Boychuk staying put?

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A couple of Bruins notes following the signing of restricted free agents Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.

First, Ville Leino has been released from his tryout, according to general manager Peter Chiarelli. No real surprise there. Leino was a long shot to make the team after being bought out by the Sabres. When Smith signed — and combined with the positive play of veteran Simon Gagne (also on a tryout) — Leino’s chances became nil.

Second, B’s fans that were worried about Johnny Boychuk’s status with the club have to be buoyed by Chiarelli’s remarks on the cap-friendly deals that Krug and Smith signed.

“They understand what we’re trying to do here,” said Chiarelli. “They understand the ultimate goal is to win and keep a strong core.”

Boychuk is certainly a member of that Boston core. Only Zdeno Chara logged more minutes last season than the 30-year-old right-shooting defenseman. It was the Bruins’ cap crunch, along with Boychuk’s pending UFA status and $3.4 million cap hit, that led to the trade speculation.

Chiarelli might still make a trade to give the Bruins some cap flexibility. It just may not have to include a key player like Boychuk now.

Krug, Smith sign with Bruins

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You can scratch two more names off the restricted free agents list.

The Boston Bruins announced new one-year deals for defenseman Torey Krug and forward Reilly Smith Monday.

According to the release, the deals are identical carrying a cap hit of $1.4 million.

With the signings, the Bruins now have $418,000 of cap space remaining per The Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin. This of course includes the relief they get from Marc Savard remaining on long term injured reserve.

Krug, 23, actually ends up taking a pay cut in the deal as he made roughly $1.75 million last season according to CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty.  TSN’s Aaron Ward reports Krug’s deal is worth $900,000 with a $100,000 signing bonus.

Krug had 14 goals and 40 points in 79 games during his rookie season with the Bruins in 2013-14. He became just the fifth rookie in franchise history to score 10 or more goals in his first season.

In his first full season with the Bruins, Smith who earned $2.7 million over three years on his entry-level deal, scored 20 goals and 51 points in 82 games in 2013-14.  The Bruins acquired Smith in July 2013 from the Dallas along with Loui Eriksson, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow in the deal which saw Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button go to the Stars.

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is going to be a busy man next summer. In addition to Smith, Krug and Fraser, Ryan Spooner, Dougie Hamilton, Jordan Caron, Justin Florek and Niklas Svedberg will become restricted free agents following the 2014-15 season.

That’s on top of Johnny Boychuk, Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski, Carl Soderberg, Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille becoming unrestricted free agents.

Smith and Krug coupled with Jaden Schwartz leaving money on the table in St. Louis  certainly can’t help the case of Columbus Blue Jackets’ holdout Ryan Johansen.

Nashville also inked restricted free agent defenseman Ryan Ellis on Thursday.

Brenden Dillon and Cody Eakin of the Dallas Stars along with Johansen are also among the notable restricted free agents still awaiting new deals.

Bruins’ Pastrnak returns to practice, Campbell questionable

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Boston Bruins 2014 first round pick David Pastrnak returned to practice Sunday.

Pastrnak suffered a shoulder injury early in training camp after taking a hit from defenseman Matt Bartkowski.

The 18-year-old, who was selected 25th overall in June, had an impressive showing early in camp and was working is way into contention for a roster spot prior to the injury.

On Sunday, Pastrnak skated on a line with forwards Ryan Spooner and Ville Leino.

However, following practice, Bruins coach Claude Julien said the rookie has not been cleared for contact as of yet, but the team would like to see him in game action before having to make a decision on where he’ll play this season.

Pastrnak had eight goals and 24 points in 36 games last season in the second-tier pro league in Sweden.

Julien also updated forward Gregory Campbell’s situation Sunday saying that the rugged forward is questionable for the team’s season opener Oct. 8.

Boston trimmed their camp roster by 11 players Sunday.

Lucic is excited to get into a Bruins preseason game

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Milan Lucic has a good reason to be excited tonight, as he’ll play his first game of the preseason as the Boston Bruins are set to face the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Considering his protracted rehab from a wrist injury this summer, it’s understandable that he wants to get those first hits (giving and receiving) in, as he notes to the Bruins website.

“I think that’s an important part of preseason — getting into the game situation and taking a hit, getting in on the forecheck, battling on the wall and knowing where you are in the D zone again,” Lucic said.

The 26-year-old has been very happy about his progress in the past few weeks, yet there’s still some justifiable concern that he might begin the 2014-15 season a little tentatively. In an ideal situation, the B’s would probably like Lucic to become an even more demonstrative force – at least with upping his shots on goal each night – but that might be tough considering the healing process he’s still going through.

If nothing else, he’s apparently been looking like his overpowering old self to teammates like Dougie Hamilton.

“It’ll be fun to see him,” Hamilton said. “I think he’s been pretty good in practice. I don’t think he looks like he’s hurt, so it should be fun to see him in the game. He’s obviously a huge part of our team, so he’s going to help us out a lot.”

Exhibition or not, tonight’s contest could be a nice way for the big winger to get back into a rhythm.

Bruins ’14 first-rounder Pastrnak injures shoulder

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David Pastrnak had cause for optimism going into training camp, but he’s hit a bit of a roadblock early on. Pastrnak left Saturday’s practice because he fell into the boards awkwardly following a hit from Matt Bartkowski, per CSN New England. The Bruins later revealed that he suffered a tweaked shoulder and isn’t expected to play in Sunday’s scrimmage.

The good news is that the Bruins don’t think the injury is serious, but the timing is still unfortunate. After being selected with the 25th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Pastrnak had been labeled as a candidate to make the team’s opening game roster by Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, but with the odds likely stacked against him, Pastrnak needs every opportunity he can get to make his case.

Prior to the injury, the Bruins had paired Pastrnak up with fellow Czech David Krejci, but now that he’s hurt, that opportunity has at least temporarily gone to Tyler Randell.

It’s also worth noting that while Chiarelli felt Pastrnak’s “speed, skill, sense is all there,” he was concerned in July that the 18-year-old forward might not have bulked up enough to be ready to match up physically in the NHL.

He had eight goals and 24 points in 36 games in Sweden’s second-tier league in 2013-14.