BOLTON, Mass. -- Defenseman Torey Krug and forward Reilly Smith were not at the Bruins’ annual charity golf tournament, as the entry-level free agents remain unsigned with training camp around the corner.
What happens if the cap-strapped Bruins can’t come to terms with Krug and Smith, an admittedly unlikely scenario?
The Bruins have nine defensemen on the depth chart, including Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Seidenberg, Boychuk, Adam McQuaid, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller, David Warsofsky and Krug. If Krug does not sign, no one is traded, and everyone is healthy, the Bruins will be well protected in that area.
Offensively, even with Smith in the mix, there are already two forward positions up for grabs. David Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner, Matt Fraser, Justin Florek, Bobby Robins, Alexander Khokhlachev and Jordan Caron will all be battling for those spots. Without Smith, there would be three spots to fill.
“If there’s going to be some openings there, we feel we’ve got some people at our camp that can certainly fill those openings. It’s up to every one of them that has that chance to stick with the team to take advantage of it, have a good camp, and force us to keep them,” coach Claude Julien said Tuesday.
“Absolutely. We wouldn’t invite those guys just to fill in our training camp roster,” Julien said. “Those are guys who have experience. Both of them are coming off injuries, major injuries, and they both feel really good.
“Gagne didn’t play at all last year, but he trained a lot and he’s feeling the best he’s felt in a long time, and Ville Leino is the same way. Those guys have some experience and it’s an opportunity for those guys to seize some of those spots if they want to, and then for the young guys to battle their way into it. We always have to add some youth to our lineup as well, so I think there’s room for both, whether it’s veterans or young guys.”
In past years, Chiarelli has always locked up the players, so everyone could focus on hockey.
“It’s been good,” Julien said. “You know what? When you have a certain amount of success it’s because your players are doing well. When your players are doing well, eventually they get raises. It was just a matter of time before we got into those situations, and right now I think we’re still in a good position where we can handle it. It’ll just take a little bit of time and I’m sure, as Peter mentioned to you guys a few days ago, he may have to make some moves in training camp. We’ll have to wait and see. At the end of the day, I’ll have 20 to 23 players at my disposal that I’m going to make sure work to our advantage.”