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Bruins Bolster Depth with Three Signings on First Day of Free Agency

Agostino, Postma, Szwarz excited for opportunity in Boston

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - The Boston Bruins made three signings on the first day of free agency Saturday, inking forwards Kenny Agostino and Jordan Szwarz and defenseman Paul Postma to one-year contracts.

Agostino, last season's AHL MVP, was signed to a one-way contract worth $875,000, while Postma was signed to a one-way deal worth $725,000. Szwarz, who led the Providence Bruins in scoring last season, was signed to a two-way contract worth $650,000 at the NHL level.

The moves added to Boston's depth on the wing and on the back end, while aligning with general manager Don Sweeney's preference to stay patient, rather than make a big splash in the opening hours of free agency.

"Do you pick your team on July 1? No, I don't think anyone would want to be doing that," Sweeney said late Saturday afternoon at Warrior Ice Arena. "But, a lot of it happens on July 1 that has an impact going forward. We've been cognizant that we have several players at [age] 19 and 20 that could arrive and collide together.

"We just have to understand that. And that is included in the players of the past two years or such that we've added, because those players are a part of our team for the foreseeable future and I think they all arrived and have their share of the picture of it."

Here's a more in-depth look at Boston's July 1 signings:

Kenny Agostino

Last team: St. Louis Blues/Chicago Wolves
Position: Forward
Height: 6 feet, 1 inch
Weight: 205 pounds
Shoots: Left
Age: 25
Hometown: Morristown, NJ
Drafted: 2010 - Pittsburgh Penguins (5th Round, 140th Overall)
Twitter: @kennyagostino

Scouting Report: Agostino played 65 games for the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League during the 2016-17 season, collecting 24 goals and 59 assists for a league-leading 83 points. Agostino was named the AHL's Most Valuable Player for his efforts.  

"He's been prolific in the AHL over the past couple years," said Sweeney. "Our guys have followed players of that nature and felt that he really deserves an opportunity to play at the National Hockey League level and put forth his skillset that he's displayed there.

"Even in a small sample size at the NHL, he's done well. So, we're going to give him an opportunity. I think the internal competition piece I spoke of will be interesting come training camp."

Agostino, who has played mostly on the left wing during his career, also appeared in seven games for the St. Louis Blues last season, recording one goal and two assists. Over 17 career NHL games with the Blues and Calgary Flames, he tallied two goals and three assists.

"It can be frustrating when you don't stick, obviously, but one of the biggest things is opportunity," said Agostino, who was in a third-line role with the Blues. "I think I had a good stint last year with St. Louis - a good seven-game stint, I thought I played well, but I think hopefully next year with Boston now is my opportunity to show I belong in the NHL and I feel ready for that opportunity.

"It's not that hard to look at Boston and see how it's a successful organization and it has such great history. It seemed to be a good fit, so I'm really thrilled to be joining the Boston Bruins."

The 6-foot, 201-pound forward also helped lead Yale to their first NCAA National Championship in 2013.

Paul Postma

Last team: Winnipeg Jets
Position: Defenseman
Height: 6 feet, 3 inches
Weight: 195 pounds
Shoots: Right
Age: 28
Hometown: Red Deer, Alberta
Drafted: 2007 - Atlanta Thrashers (7th Round, 205th Overall)

Scouting Report: Postma has skated in 191 career NHL games over the course of seven seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, amassing 10 goals, 24 assists and 49 penalty minutes. Last season, he played in a career-high 65 games and posted a career-high 14 points (one goal, 13 assists).

"Obviously, I was a little nervous about the whole day. I've been with the Jets for five years and that organization for 10," said Postma, who acknowledged he feels comfortable playing either the left or the right side.

"Definitely something different for me…I feel like there's a better opportunity in Boston. I can't say enough good things about that organization, everything about it. I'm just really excited to get there and try to help the team in any way I can."

The Red Deer, Alberta, native skated in 226 career AHL games with the Chicago Wolves and St. John's Ice Caps, totaling 49 goals, 96 assists and 98 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 22 AHL playoff games, tallying a goal, 11 assists and 14 penalty minutes.

Sweeney, who hinted on Friday that he was interested in adding a right-shot defenseman, views Postma as a solid addition to Boston's defense corps, citing the veteran's versatility and strong shot.

"Paul still has got upside," said Sweeney. "If you look at his power play stuff that he's done in the minors and what he's been able to accomplish - he's got a big, heavy shot…he feels there is versatility in his game. He was excited about our organization and having a bit of a fresh start."

Jordan Szwarz

Last team: Providence Bruins
Position: Forward
Height: 5 feet, 11 inches
Weight: 201 pounds
Shoots: Right
Age: 26
Hometown: Burlington, Ontario
Drafted: 2009 - Phoenix Coyotes (4th Round, 97th Overall)
Twitter: @JSzwarz

Scouting Report: Szwarz had a career season with the Providence Bruins during the 2016-2017 campaign, posting AHL career highs in goals (22), assists (32), points (54), plus/minus (plus-20), and penalty minutes (76). His 22 goals and 54 points led all Providence skaters.

He also skated in 17 Calder Cup Playoff games during Providence's run to the Eastern Conference Finals, collecting six goals, five assists and 18 penalty minutes.

The six-year veteran played 35 games for the Arizona Coyotes from 2013-15, scoring four goals and logging 21 penalty minutes. In 312 career AHL games, Szwarz amassed 69 goals, 97 assists, 286 penalty minutes and a rating of plus-29.

"Szwarz has been a good depth player," said Sweeney. "Really, really established himself last year. He was a good - really good veteran for our group down there. He played with [Danton] Heinen an awful lot and they were a really good line.

"I think he's another guy, as I said, the depth part of our organization, we wanted to continue. And again, when you look around the league, there's a lot of teams that did very similar things that we did today in that regard."

News and Notes

*Bruins unrestricted free agents Dominic Moore (Toronto - one-year, $1 million) and Joe Morrow (Montreal - one-year, one-way) signed elsewhere on Saturday. Winger Drew Stafford, meanwhile, remains on the market, though Sweeney has stayed in contact with the winger's camp.

"I've been in touch with Stafford's group," said Sweeney. "As I said, I'm in a bit of a patient position. We're continuing to talk to a couple different players, more so on the veteran side of things. We'll explore that. I talked to a couple teams.

"Once the dust settles - sometimes, there's a reset for some teams who may have been in on a player that they don't get. We'll continue to explore it. I don't things shut down, per se, because it's July 2."

Sweeney confirmed that he is also still in the market for a left-shot defenseman.

"We're going to continue to look at it," said Sweeney. "Whether it materializes - as I said, some teams will look at the depth that they have and what they did over the course of today and we'll see where it goes."

Video: Bruins sign three on first day of free agency

*Sweeney's primary focus will now shift to signing the team's restricted free agents, most notably David Pastrnak.

"Well, it will be a primary area, yeah. No question," he said. "We have some other RFA's that we are going to attack in Ryan Spooner and Schalls, and Austin Czarnik. So we have a few guys we still have to address. The goaltenders in [Malcolm] Subban and [Zane] McIntyre, but that's where we'll shift things to."

*Sweeney also commented for the first time on the organization's decision to buy out forward Jimmy Hayes on Friday afternoon.

"When he stopped scoring, I think Jimmy's game, he felt a lot of pressure and whether or not the environment or his own human nature kind of played a part of it - last year was a tough year for him, certainly," said Sweeney. "I think the game has gotten faster and I think it's caught up to him a bit in that regard. He's done a lot of work on and off the ice and he's a great teammate, first and foremost. I want to thank him for putting forth the effort that he did. It just didn't seem to work for him last year."

-- Chris Weyant and Kevin Gamgort contributed to this report.

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