Bruins sign Johnson to a one-year deal

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Bruins sign Johnson to a one-year deal

The Bruins have inked another free agent defenseman to a club-friendly deal thats adding to their overall defensemen depth.
The Bs have signed defenseman Aaron Johnson to a one-year, two-way deal after he put up a career-high 16 points in 56 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets last season. The 6-foot-1, 204-pound Johnson has played in 281 career NHL games for the Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks while putting up 17 goals and 45 assists for 61 points along with 217 penalty minutes.

During the 2010-11 season the 29-year-old played in 72 games with the AHLs Milwaukee Admirals after signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Nashville Predators, and recorded AHL career highs with nine goals, 26 assists and 35 points, while recording a plus-10 rating and 70 penalty minutes.
Johnson will make 650,000 if the contract is at the NHL level and 105,000 at the AHL level next season, and provides veteran insurance along with Garnet Exelby if Dougie Hamilton isnt quite NHL ready in Bruins training camp.

The signing of Johnson and Exelby, both to two-way contracts, also likely closes the door for any chance that the Bruins might bring back Mike Mottau for a full season with the Black and Gold. Mottau finished scoreless in six regular season games and two playoff contests for Boston last year after he arrived via trade from the New York Islanders.

The former Boston College standout had also voiced a strong interest in returning to the Bruins as a potential sixthseventh defenseman for this upcoming season, but that doesnt appear to be in the cards. The likelihood is that Johnson spends the bulk of the 2012-13 season with the Providence Bruins and simply stands ready if injuries hit the Boston defensemen corps throughout the year. One interesting side note to the Johnson signing: he was said to be Rick Nash's best friend on the Blue Jackets team last season. A minor league free agent signing doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the Blue Jackets franchise winger coming to Boston.Butdoes add another layer of interest to the proceedings, doesn't it?

Bruins go for a defensive project late with Daniel Bukac

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Bruins go for a defensive project late with Daniel Bukac

CHICAGO – The Bruins finished up their 2017 NHL Draft class with a bit of a project, but a 6-foot-5 defenseman with some great skating wheels is a pretty good way to go with a seventh round pick. The B’s nabbed Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Daniel Bukac with the 204th pick in the draft, and admitted afterward that he’s an ultra-big bodied player that could take some time in the development process.

Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley said Boston is more than happy to be patient with Bukac given the tools that he’s working with as an 18-year-old prospect. Bukac had two goals and 17 points to go along with 38 penalty minutes in his first season in North America after coming over from the Czech Republic, and Bradley said that B’s scouts noted that he continued to improve and get comfortable as the season wore on.

"He's raw. He's a project. [He’s a] kid from the Czech Republic that played in the Western Hockey League,” said Bradley. “At the start of the year - he's come leaps and bounds with his development. Talking to the people - the coaches, the management, and the GM in Brandon, they're very excited about him coming back to Brandon. They're expecting big things from him. We look forward to seeing him in camp."

Bukac is starting to garner some good international experience after playing for the Czechs in the Under-18’s and the Ivan Hinkla Tournament, but this weekend it was all about his addition to the talented group of Bruins prospects in the hockey world.

"I'm so excited to be drafted by the Boston Bruins," said Bukac, who described himself as a solid two-way defenseman with a good first pass. "It's an awesome feeling. I'm so glad that I was drafted by Boston."

Bruins take a flier on skilled Victor Berglund in 7th round

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Bruins take a flier on skilled Victor Berglund in 7th round

CHICAGO – While the Bruins went strong two-way defenseman early in the 2017 NHL Draft, they took a shot at a more offensive-minded Swedish defenseman late with seventh-round pick of Victor Berglund.

The six-foot, 165-pound Berglund clearly has a way to go in physical development and will need to get much bigger and stronger before he’s potentially ready for the North American pro ranks, but B’s assistant GM Scott Bradley raved about the Swedish defenseman’s skill set and potential. He also noted that Boston’s entire European scouting contingent, including former B’s forward PJ Axelsson, were fully on board with taking a flier on a talented player that simply needs to develop in the Swedish hockey system.

“Our Swedish guys were on top of Berglund. They think he’s a mobile D, he’s ultra-skilled and he skates well. He’s a six-footer, but [PJ Axelsson, Svenake Svensson and Victor Nybladh] were all pounding the table for him,” said Bradley. “We went along with it and I think we might have something there. Talking to his strength coach after the fact he’s working on putting some muscle and weight on, so we look forward to seeing him at development camp.”

In 62 games at three different levels, Berglund posted five goals and 18 points last season and displayed the kind of speed, creativity and play-making that one needs from their defensemen in today’s NHL.

"I'm an offensive defenseman, who likes to play with the puck, with a great short pass," said Berglund. "I like to follow the rush up ice and want the puck."

It will be a matter of building size and strength and for Berglund to continue developing his game in Sweden for the time being, but the Bruins are certainly happy with him at the 195th pick in Saturday’s second day of the draft.