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Sweeney Talks Pastrnak, Bjork, Arnesson at NHL Combine

Bruins GM says contract talks with Pastrnak "moving in right direction"

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Bruins general manager Don Sweeney met with the media at the 2017 NHL Scouting Combine on Friday afternoon and addressed a number of topics as the B's front office prepares for a busy stretch of offseason activities.

Here's a rundown of what Sweeney touched upon in Buffalo:

Pastrnak Talks "Moving in Right Direction"

Bruins forward David Pastrnak is a restricted free agent this offseason, setting off discussions regarding a long-term contract for the 21-year-old. Pastrnak notched a career-high 34 goals and 36 assists in 75 games this past season, his third in the NHL.

"[Pastrnak's agent] JP [Barry] and I have sat down, we've had some good discussions," said Sweeney. "It's moving in the right direction. Timeline, I don't have. But we expect to complete a deal and for him to be a longtime member of the Boston Bruins. That's our intention."

"Excited" To Have Bjork On Board

Sweeney spoke for the first time since signing Anders Bjork to a three-year entry-level contract earlier this week. Bjork was drafted by the B's in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Draft and was a Hobey Baker Finalist this past season after leading Notre Dame with 52 points (21 goals, 31 assists).

"I'm excited to have him as part of our group and I hope that he turns out to be a hell of a player and I expect him to. His intentions are and were to play for the Boston Bruins," said Sweeney, who acknowledged the organization never gave Bjork a "drop-dead date" as to when he had to sign.

"It did play out how I kind of thought it might, given the kinds of conversations we had with Anders' representatives and Anders himself," added Sweeney. "He wanted to check all the boxes for himself as to what was best for him and what his family and advisors felt would be best for his own professional development.

"School is very important to him and his family. I think I can fully respect that. We did fully respect that. That's why it wasn't forced as a drop-dead date of any kind. There was never a timeline placed on when Anders might sign with the Boston Bruins.

"If that had been this time next year, we'd have been equally as happy about it."

Read: After Entry-Level Deal, Bjork Prepared to Take Next Step

Sweeney said Bjork would be given every opportunity to compete for a spot on the Bruins' roster next season.

"We do believe that he's ready to come in and challenge with his skill set as I mentioned before," said Sweeney. "He's got hockey sense, he's got speed, he's got skill. He doesn't have experience at this level. I think the World Championships represented a small sample size for him to be able to do that and check off another little box that's making him feel more and more comfortably with his decision.

"We'll try to spend some time with him in Development Camp with our coaches, with Butch [Cassidy] and Jay [Pandolfo] and Joe [Sacco] because he misses a window of opportunity that [Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson] went through and Charlie [McAvoy] went through.

"Good players determine their trajectory and we hope that he's one of those players that will determine. The opportunity will be there."

Arnesson Off to Sweden

Defense prospect Linus Arnesson, the B's second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, has signed on to play in his native Sweden next season, according to Sweeney. Sweeney said the club would extend a qualifying offer to Arnesson in order to retain his NHL rights.

Arnesson has been hampered by injuries during his three years in Providence, playing in 79 games with one goal and nine assists. He was limited to 20 games this past season, but did return to play in 13 postseason games during the P-Bruins' run to the AHL's Eastern Conference Finals.

"He's had some injuries during his time here and wants to hit the reset button to some degree," said Sweeney. "We're disappointed in the sense that he wasn't healthy to have a full body of work for himself and for us to evaluate it. He did play well in the playoffs and has a lot of upside.

"I just think the injuries have taken a toll to some degree. Confidence takes a hit as a result of that. But great young man and we'll preserve those rights."

Surgery Updates

Sweeney said Patrice Bergeron (sports hernia) and Tuukka Rask (groin) were recovering "very well" from their offseason surgeries, while also providing updates on prospects Jeremy Lauzon, Malcolm Subban, and Peter Cehlarik.

"Jeremy Lauzon actually had similar surgery to Patrice," said Sweeney. "Malcolm is being evaluated for an ongoing problem he had, missed some time. Undecided on that right now. Cehlarik had his shoulder surgery, so he's well on his way to recovery. It's a long one because of the nature of the injury."

Video: Sweeney explains Bruins approach at NHL Combine

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