Johnny Boychuk became the latest member of the Bruins to exit Boston for a hockey job overseas when he confirmed to CSNNE.com that hes signed with the Salzburg Red Bulls in the Austrian First Division Hockey League.
Boychuk becomes the 11th member of the Bruins the most of any NHL team -- to head over to Europe for a hockey job while the NHL and NHLPA have surpassed Day 60 of the NHL lockout in North America.
The Red Bulls boast former Bs goaltender Alex Auld on their roster, but it appears that Boychuk will be the first NHL refugee to sign on with Salzburg since the lockout.
Boychuk, ever the mirthful prankster, joked with CSNNE.com that hed signed with the Melbourne Down Unders before coming clean about his contract with the Red Bulls. The Boychuk signing in Europe means that four of Bostons six projected starting defensemen are currently playing in Europe, and the sixth Dougie Hamilton is still playing OHL junior hockey for the Niagara IceDogs.
That leaves Adam McQuaid as the only Bs blueliner that isnt currently experiencing game-intensity while getting ready for a potential shortened season. The 28-year-old Boychuk is entering the first year of a three-year, 10 million contract extension with the Bruins, and put up 15 points in 77 games for Boston last season.
Boychuk did have a scheduled appearance with Brad Marchand at a Providence Bruins game on Dec. 2, but it appears he wont be able to make that event. The defenseman is told CSNNE.com that he leaves right away for Austria, and probably wont be back until the dreaded lockout has finally ended.
Boychuk had been a staple at the morning skates in Boston among locked out Bruins players over the last two months, but their numbers had dwindled down to just Shawn Thornton, Mike Mottau and Daniel Paille skating with a handful of other NHL players on Friday.
As with all NHL skaters in Europe, Boychuk has an out clause in his deal that will allow him to return to Boston when the NHL regular season is ready to begin.