The Boston Bruins have signed defenseman Jay Leach to a two-year contract and right wings Eric Nickulas and Garret Stroshein to one-year contracts, it was announced today by Bruins General Manager Mike O'Connell. All three players were unrestricted free agents and, in keeping with club policy, terms of the contracts were not released.
Nickulas, 30, played three seasons of college hockey at the University of New Hampshire with 70-43=113 totals and 178 penalty minutes in 106 career college games. Drafted by Boston as their third pick, 99th overall, in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, he joined the Bruins organization in the 1998-99 season after playing one season with the independent Orlando Solar Bears of the IHL. The 5’11”, 206 lb. native of Hyannis, Massachusetts played three seasons in the Bruins organization in both Boston and Providence/AHL, winning a Calder Cup championship in Providence in 1998-99, before joining the St. Louis organization as a free agent. He split two-plus seasons between St. Louis and their AHL affiliate in Worcester. The 2003-04 season was his first full season in the NHL as he had 7-11=18 totals in 44 Blues games before going to Chicago on waivers in February, 2004 and finishing that season with 1-1=2 totals in 21 Blackhawks games. He played the 2004-05 season with Norfolk/AHL with 11-11=22 totals and 32 PIM in 53 games. Nickulas has career NHL totals of 13 goals and 19 assists for 32 points with 74 PIM in 102 career games with Boston, St. Louis and Chicago.
Leach, 25, played four seasons of college hockey at Providence College with 6-46=52 totals and 276 penalty minutes in 142 career college games. He was drafted by Phoenix as their fifth pick, 115th overall, in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft and played two seasons in the Coyotes organization at the ECHL and AHL levels. The 6’4”, 220 lb. native of Syracuse, New York played the 2003-04 season for four teams in the ECHL and AHL and began the 2004-05 season in the ECHL with Trenton where he had two assists in the first 11 games. He signed a contract with Providence/AHL on Nov. 26, 2004 and finished last season with 4-5=9 totals and 92 PIM in 62 AHL Bruins games.
Stroshein, 25, played three seasons of junior hockey with Seattle of the Western Hockey League and Chilliwack of the British Columbia Hockey League with 10-9=19 totals and 395 penalty minutes in 124 career junior games. Never drafted by an NHL team, he played his first two pro seasons with six teams in the AHL, ECHL and WCHL. The 6’7”, 245 lb. native of Edmonton, Alberta signed as a free agent with Washington in July 13, 2003 and spent most of the 2003-04 season with their AHL affiliate in Portland with 1-1=2 totals and 7 PIM in 35 AHL games. He played three scoreless NHL games in Washington at the end of that season, including his first NHL game played April 1, 2004 in Boston. He played the 2004-05 season in Portland/AHL with one assist and 109 penalty minutes in 42 contests.