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Sweeney on RFAs: 'We're working to get there'

Bruins general manager talks Carlo, McAvoy negotiations at Fan Fest Tour

by Eric Russo @erusso22 / BostonBruins.com

BostonBruins.com - With just about three weeks remaining until the opening of training camp, the Bruins still have some work to do - specifically on the back end - to shore up their roster for the 2019-20 season.

Restricted free agent defensemen Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy both remain unsigned as negotiations between their camps and Bruins general manager Don Sweeney continue.

During an appearance at Day 5 of the organization's third annual Fan Fest Tour on Thursday afternoon in Leominster, Sweeney said the talks are not progressing "as fast as everybody would like."

"But that's just the nature of the business," added Sweeney. "Negotiations have their own timeline. We'll find a finish line at some point in time. Brandon and Charlie will be a part of our organization for a long time. We think really highly of them as players on and off the ice. We just have to find the common ground and we're working to get there."

Video: Sweeney talks short summer, RFAs and Fan Fest

McAvoy has played 117 games over his first two NHL seasons, notching 14 goals and 60 points. The 21-year-old also suited up for 23 postseason contests last spring, registering two goals and six assists, while leading the Bruins in ice time (24:30 per game).

Carlo, 22, has accumulated 32 points (8 goals, 24 assists) in 230 games over three seasons. The Colorado native played in all 24 of Boston's postseason games in 2019, ranking third in time on ice (21:31) and second in plus/minus (plus-10).

Following such a lengthy run to the Stanley Cup Final, Sweeney added that it will certainly be a challenge for his club to get back into the right mindset given the team's loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7.

"I'm not worried about [the quick turnaround] as much as I worry about the players mentally and physically, to take the appropriate time to decompress from a really incredible run," said Sweeney. "Disappointing finish being right at the precipice of potentially winning, but I'm still excited. We have a bunch of young players that will come in and challenge, internal competition will get ratcheted back up.

"I know our guys will be there, but you try to address things head on, realize that it will be a mental challenge getting underway."

Sweeney was joined at the Leominster event by Bruins forward prospect Jack Studnicka, who is preparing for his first full professional season. The 2017 second-round pick had 36 goals and 83 points in 60 games between Oshawa and Niagara of the OHL last season.

Studnicka joined Providence for the playoffs and picked up a goal and an assist in four games. The 20-year-old center also played five games for the P-Bruins at the end of the 2017-18 season, during which he compiled five points (goal, four assists) in five games.

"Very excited. Jack's a big part of what we're trying to do going forward, has a game that identifies offensively with what we need," said Sweeney. "But he's a responsible player, he's played on all sides of the puck, all situations on two different teams. Got a chance at World Juniors last year. Just needs to get stronger and get acclimated to the pro game.

"He has the hockey IQ that we covet and the ability to make plays in a position that is coveted around the league. It will be interesting to see how much work he's been able to put in this summer and the steps that he can take to challenge and push. But we're excited he's a pro this year."

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