Twenty-four hours after being placed on waivers with the express intent of sending him to the AHL’s Providence Bruins, forward Nick Johnson cleared through NHL waivers, according to a source, and will open the season with the P-Bruins.
Johnson lost out to 22-year-old Jordan Caron in the battle for the 13th forward spot in Bruins training camp after leading the Bruins with four goals scored during the preseason, and showing the requisite kind of grit that Boston is looking for in a bottom six forward. But the Bruins were concerned that Caron wouldn’t get through all 30 teams on waivers -- with at least one team expressing considerable interest -- and the organization would lose a former first round pick with nothing to show for it.
“I had a good time,” said Johnson before learning of his fate. “Overall [the preseason] had gone well, and I did what I could. As you grow up as a player in your professional career, they’re always watching you and it’s hard to remove yourself from that completely.
“But you have to put that stuff aside, and just put it way. Family and friends brought it up and I would read stuff, but you kind of just put it aside. Even in the American League system you’re playing with guys that you’re competing with, and it makes things really complicated. But you’ve got to get past it. In the last few years I’ve made the conscious decision to be a team guy. I was really happy that Jordan [Caron] scored that goal [in the preseason finale]. When you’re teammates you’ve always got to work toward a common goal.”
One thing Johnson definitely did: put his name on the radar of a Bruins coaching staff that knows he can do the job if once injuries inevitably hit during the 82-game regular season. So it’s safe to see nobody in Boston has seen the last of the 27-year-old even if he’s starting the season as one of the veteran leaders of a Providence team filled with talent.