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  • An outlook on the Bruins roster heading into final preseason tilts

    Daily News

    An outlook on the Bruins roster heading into final preseason tilts

    Tim Rosenthal September 27, 2017

    Eight days until the regular season and two more preseason games on the horizon.

    For most teams, including the Bruins, most of the opening night roster has been set since the start of training camp. A few spots remain open, and in the Bruins’ case, that can only be a good thing.

    From the prospects making a final push to the veterans hoping to keep their ground, here’s an outlook on how the Bruins’ roster is shaping up entering their last two preseason tilts in Philadelphia and Chicago.

    The locks

    Bruins roster, NHL prospects, preseason hockey

    Anders Bjork is poised to skate on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand come opening night. (Photo by Joe Makarski, Bruins Daily)

    Forwards: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Anders Bjork, David Krejci, David Pastrnak, Matt Beleskey, David Backes, Ryan Spooner, Noel Acciari, Riley Nash, Tim Schaller, Frank Vatrano, Jake DeBrusk

    Defense: Zdeno Chara, Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid, Paul Postma

    Goaltenders: Tuukka Rask, Anton Khudobin

    Without taking potential line combos and D pairings, the Bruins have 21 skaters. That leaves up to two open roster spots.

    Of the aforementioned players, 11 forwards, five defensemen and two goaltenders fill out the nightly 20-man lineup. That leaves one forward and one blue-line spot up for grabs.

    In the case of Paul Postma, the Bruins signed him to a one-way deal in the off-season. Given their blue-line situation, the B’s will likely keep him as the seventh blue-liner rather than risk a chance of losing him on waivers.

    A three-way battle between Tim Schaller, Sean Kuraly (more on him below) and Frank Vatrano will fill the 12th forward spot.

    Unless a lower-body injury to Anton Khudobin is worse than originally reported – he did miss Wednesday’s practice – the Russian goaltender will keep his backup job to start the 2017-18 season.

    On the cusp

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    Sean Kuraly is one of the few Bruins forwards fighting for a roster spot on opening night. (Photo by Angela Spagna, Bruins Daily)

    Austin Czarnik, Matt Grzeclyk, Rob O’Gara, Sean Kuraly, Danton Heinen, Kenny Agostino

    For the second year in a row, Austin Czarnik finds himself on the cusp thanks to another solid preseason. Unlike last year, the former Miami (Ohio) standout has some stiff competition with the likes of Kuraly – who impressed during last year’s playoffs in both Boston and Providence – Agostino, Schaller and Vatrano for one of the final roster spots.

    A strong end to the preseason could lock Kuraly into a fourth line role to start the season, while Czarnik, Heinen and Agostino would likely fill a third line role if they find themselves dressing against the Nashville Predators in eight days.

    Like Postma, Agostino signed a one-way deal with the Black and Gold on July 1. Given the B’s forward depth, however, the Bruins may risk losing Agostino through waivers.

    With Torey Krug’s jaw injury, a defensive spot has opened up for the first week of the new campaign. Former BU Terrier Matt Grzeclyk skated in the top six during Wednesday’s practice with Adam McQuaid. Barring any changes, that duo should stay intact for Thursday’s preseason matchup with the Flyers. Whether or not Postma or Rob O’Gara – the other two blue-line candidates – get another preseason game is anyone’s guess.

    Down to Providence

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    Though he’ll likely start the season in Providence, Malcolm Subban left a solid impression with the Bruins’ brass this preseason. (Photo by Angela Spagna, Bruins Daily)

    Malcolm Subban, Dan Vladar, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Peter Cehlarik, Emil Johansson

    Despite a strong performance against the Blackhawks, including a stretch of saves in the third period to keep the Bruins’ 3-2 lead intact, Malcolm Subban is on his way to Providence for another season. The 2012 first round pick inserts himself as the No. 3 goaltender on the organizational depth chart fending off Zane McIntyre and Dan Vladar, who was sent to Providence on Wednesday after skating for the first time since suffering a wrist injury.

    Like Vladar, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Peter Cehlarik and Emil Johansson have been hampered by injuries throughout camp. All four are likely heading to Providence during the next round of cuts.

    Where this leaves Teddy Purcell

    Though he found the back of the net once in two preseason games, Teddy Purcell’s quest for a roster spot was always going to be uphill. In all likelihood, the former UMaine standout will have to try to catch on with another team in hopes of continuing his NHL career.

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    Tim Rosenthal

    Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.


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