Bruins’ contract talks with Pastrnak ‘moving in right direction’

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At the top of general manager Don Sweeney’s to-do list this offseason is working out a new contract extension for restricted free agent forward David Pastrnak.

He seems to be making progress with that task.

On Friday, Sweeney said that contract talks with the 21-year-old forward are “moving in the right direction” and that he expects to complete a deal that will make him a “longtime member of the Bruins.”

Pastrnak is coming off of his entry level deal and had a massive season for the Bruins in 2016-17, finishing second on the team in goals (34) and total points (70) behind only Brad Marchand. His goal total was good enough to put him in the top-10 in the entire league.

He followed that up by adding four points (two goals, two assists) in six playoff games.

He has 59 goals and 64 assists in 172 games over three seasons with the Bruins.

Having just turned 21 and already blossoming into one of the NHL’s best young offensive players, Pastrnak figures to be a long-term building block for the Bruins for the foreseeable future. The fact that Sweeney mentioned his next contract making Pastrnak a “longtime member” of the team would seem to indicate they are looking at more of a long-term contract extension as opposed to a shorter-term bridge deal.

Bruins sign coveted prospect forward Bjork to entry-level deal

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After three years at Notre Dame, including impressive sophomore and junior campaigns, Anders Bjork has turned pro.

On Tuesday, the Boston Bruins announced they had signed the 20-year-old Bjork to a three-year entry-level contract.

The Bruins had been eager — “We’re doing everything we possibly can,” team president Cam Neely said a few weeks ago — to get the 2014 fifth-round pick and left-shooting forward under contract following his third season in the college ranks.

There have been suggestions he could step right in to a top-six forward role, which would certainly show just how much the Bruins value Bjork and how much he’s developed at Notre Dame.

Bjork wrapped up his junior year with 21 goals and 52 points in 39 games, which earned him recognition as a Hobey Baker Award finalist. He set single season career highs in goals, assists, points and games played from what was an already impressive sophomore season, in which he averaged a point per game.

“Anders has done a good job of making himself stronger in the weight room, and he’s done a better job at working at the parts of his game that needed to get better,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson told the Boston Globe earlier this month.

“Understanding that he’s got great speed, he needs to be able to utilize it with the puck and without it. He’s grown as a player and he’s maturing as a young man.”

Bjork had just recently wrapped up his experience at the World Hockey Championships. He didn’t register a point in five games for Team USA.

Bruins expect Bergeron, Rask to be ready for next season after surgeries

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The Boston Bruins put up a good fight in the postseason, but injuries and the Ottawa Senators did them in. A couple “successful surgeries” heighten hopes that the B’s will begin 2017-18 closer to full strength.

Patrice Bergeron (sports hernia) and Tuukka Rask (right groin surgery) both underwent successful procedures this week and are expected to be ready for next season, the team announced.

Bergeron scored 21 goals and 53 points in 79 games, hogging the puck often enough to become a Selke finalist once again. Rask experienced an up-and-down season, at least by his lofty standards, but perhaps he was hindered by health issues.

If successful surgeries aren’t enough optimism for Bruins fans, Joe Haggerty has some praise for the work GM Don Sweeney is doing in this CSNNE.com piece and video.

Report: Bruins talking Ryan Spooner trade with at least three teams

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When a team changes coaches, it often means that players get a clean slate, which is often an especially promising opportunity for “finesse” players.

Claude Julien made way for Bruce Cassidy in Boston, but it seems like the Bruins still view Ryan Spooner as less-than-essential.

He was reportedly on the trading block late in 2016, and the Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy reports that the Bruins are shopping him again. More specifically, they’re essentially trying to trade Spooner’s negotiating rights, as he’s slated for restricted free agency this summer.

At the moment, three possible landing spots are to the New Jersey Devils, Vancouver Canucks or Vegas Golden Knights, according to Kennedy.

Spooner was solid but unspectacular in 2016-17. He collected two assists in four postseason games while generating 11 goals and 39 points in 78 regular-season games, slightly down from 2015-16’s totals.

Nothing spectacular there, yet he could conceivably give an offense-needy team a boost.

Bruins ‘doing everything we possibly can’ to sign prospect Bjork

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Boston will soon learn the fate of prized prospect Anders Bjork.

Bjork, the club’s fifth-round pick at the 2014 draft, has blossomed into one of the top collegiate players in the country and, accordingly, one of the Bruins’ most important assets.

But he’s yet to decide if he wants to turn pro, or head back to Notre Dame for his senior season.

“We’re doing everything we possibly can,” Bruins president Cam Neely said of the club’s push to sign Bjork, per CSNNE. “He had a very difficult decision (about turning pro) right after his season was over. I think it was overwhelming for him. He’s at the World Championships now. His camp has told Don that he’s going to make a decision whether or not to return to college hockey or turn pro after the World Championships at some point.

“Our hopes are that he sees where we’re at as a team and some of the young players we’re putting in our lineup. We hope that he understands that he’s a player that we think very highly of that can step in and contribute [in the NHL].”

Bjork, 20, is currently playing for Team USA at the Worlds, another indication he’s viewed by hockey folk as a youngster that’s ready to make the leap. His selection by USA Hockey comes after a stellar junior campaign with the Fighting Irish, in which he racked up 52 points in 39 games, helping the school advance to the Frozen Four.

There were rumblings the B’s first tried to get Bjork to turn pro right after his collegiate season ended, not unlike what they did with Charlie McAvoy. And the club certainly showed a willingness to implement youngsters into the lineup, as McAvoy averaged a whopping 26:12 TOI per game during Boston’s opening-round playoff loss to Ottawa.

Bjork, of course, has options. If he sticks around for another year at ND, he could head into next summer facing the prospect of unrestricted free agency — “pulling a Vesey,” as it’s come to be known.