BOSTON - David Pastrnak joined the Bruins' practice on Sunday at TD Garden for the first time since tweaking his shoulder on the second day of training camp.
The right winger was off the ice for four days following the injury before he started skating again last Wednesday.
"He skated with us, but he's not cleared yet for contract or anything like that so we've got to wait for him to be cleared," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told reporters following Sunday's practice.
It was a step forward, though, for the forward.
"Yeah, absolutely," Julien agreed. "He skated today, was shooting pucks and all that stuff, so he's heading in the right direction, and guys know not to have any heavy contact with him."
Ideally, the Bruins would like to see him in preseason game action.
"I think we'd like to, no doubt - if it's possible, we'd like to see him play," said Julien.
With four of the Bruins' preseason games already in the books and just three games remaining, there's not much time left to get a look at Pastrnak against higher competition.
Other prospects already had their shots in the Bruins' scrimmage and early preseason games, along with numerous practices.
With several cuts made in the past few days, Boston is working towards its opening day roster, but Pastrnak still could get his opportunity.
"We've got to see here how he fares in this week and then we'll have to make a decision, whether we remain patient or whether we go the other way with him, I don't know," said Julien.
"A lot of it will come from upper management, which direction they want to take with him. I'm open to anything right now with him. I've seen his skill level, I know what he's capable of doing so I'm going to have to trust that they're going to make a decision based on what they need to do according to his injury right now, and how well he is by the end of this week."
Depending on how that plays out, Pastrnak may find himself with the chance to continue with the Bruins into the regular season for the nine-game window. At some point, management will need to decide where he'll spend the 2014-15 season.
"That is not going to be my decision - I'm actually not 100 percent aware of what they plan on doing with him," said Julien, who will manage his roster with whatever GM Peter Chiarelli and the management group decide.
"I know that there's a choice between [Sweden and the American League], so I don't know what's going to end up happening here."
With Sunday's practice marking the first time the group was skating together in one session, Pastrnak skated on a line with Ryan Spooner and Ville Leino, mostly to play in his natural spot on the right wing more than anything else.
There are 18 forwards at camp now, not including Gregory Campbell, who has been sidelined for all of training camp with a mid-core issue, and restricted free agent Reilly Smith, who remains unsigned.
Campbell is on the right track, but may not be ready for the Bruins' regular season opener on October 8.
"I'd say right now it's questionable," said Julien. "Questionable means it could go either way, and I don't know if he'll be ready at all for that opener."
"From what I'm hearing, there's a possibility he could be skating this week, and I think that'll be determined with how he progresses these next few days here."
With the chance that the Bruins will keep eight defensemen on their 23-man roster to start season, they have a week and a half to get down to 13 forwards - with or without Campbell, and with or without Smith.