Bruins assign young players to Providence

With the NHL lockout looming, the Boston Bruins assigned many of their young players and prospects to the AHL's Providence Bruins.

Joining Providence will be Matt Bartkowski, Ryan Button, Carter Camper, Jordan Caron, Colby Cohen, Tommy Cross, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek, Michael Hutchinson, Jared Knight, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Adam Morrison, Tyler Randell, Max Sauve, Ryan Spooner, Niklas Svedberg, Zach Trotman and David Warsofsky.

Players such as the above who are on their entry-level contracts are eligible to be sent down without clearing waivers, meaning that teams could opt to do so with a young star player, such as the Bruins' Tyler Seguin.

But it seems unlikely the Bruins would go that route with Seguin, who on Tuesday signed a six-year, $34.5 million extension. The 2012-13 season would be the last on his original contract. He was not included in Friday's announcement by GM Peter Chiarelli.

On Friday evening, an NHL source told ESPNBoston.com's James Murphy that "at this point, players such as Seguin who have played more than 160 games regardless of being on an entry level contract cannot be sent down to the AHL or sign a contract to play there during a lockout. But that could change as discussions are ongoing to determine their situation."

Players who are on two-way contracts also are eligible to be sent down upon clearing waivers, and the Bruins are doing so with Garnet Exelby, Christian Hanson, Jamie Tardif and Trent Whitfield. These players can re-enter the NHL and join their old team without having to pass through re-entry waivers, provided it's done at least three days before the start of the season. The lockout is set to take effect at 11:59 ET Saturday unless a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached.

Meanwhile, Niagara IceDogs defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who was viewed as having a good shot to make Boston's roster in training camp, will be heading back to the Ontario Hockey League, as will 2012 first-round draft choice Malcolm Subban, who will be sent to the Belleville Bulls. Junior players such as Hamilton and Subban can reach an agreement with their teams at any time and return to the NHL.