BostonBruins.com – Mark Kastelic has long cherished the Black & Gold.

Growing up, the Arizona native heard the stories from his grandfather, Pat Stapleton, who was a defenseman for the Bruins from 1961-63.

And now, the 25-year-old will get to proudly pull the same Spoked-B over his head.

“It’s super exciting…for me and my family and everyone around me,” said Kastelic, who was acquired via trade from Ottawa along with goalie Joonas Korpisalo in exchange for Linus Ullmark. “You see the ‘B’ and they’re just known worldwide. The amount of history they have in the organization. For me, it’s even special that my grandpa played for them for a little bit as well. It’s just really exciting to play for an Original Six.

“It’s something that as a player you always dream about getting that opportunity and what better place to join a team in Boston. Just really excited to be back in the United States as an American guy. Boston’s a great city. You can’t really beat it…I can’t say it enough how excited I am to join it with the history they have.”

Stapleton spent the first two seasons of his NHL career in Boston, suiting up for 90 games, before going to play eight years with the Chicago Blackhawks.

“It means a lot [to my family],” Kastelic, whose father Ed and uncle Mike Stapleton also played in the NHL. “It means a lot to be following in my dad and grandpa’s footsteps, just being in the NHL, first of all, and getting to wear the same jersey that he’s worn in the past is something that personally for me is really cool and I don’t think very many guys get that opportunity.

“He started his NHL career with them. It’s not something I ever thought would be possible and now it is. It’s gonna be fun.”

Stapleton wore two numbers during his time with the Bruins, No. 11 and…No. 4, the latter of which he knows will remain high above the ice in the TD Garden rafters.

“I believe he was No. 4 before Bobby Orr, obviously,” Kastelic said with a chuckle. “I’ve worn 12 in the past to honor him. I try to honor him and my dad with the numbers they wore in the past if I can.”


Stapleton, who passed away in 2020 at the age of 79, had a strong influence on Kastelic’s hockey career, encouraging him to play a strong all-around style.

“He’s told me a lot of stories,” said Kastelic. “He had a huge part in my upbringing and taught me a lot about the game, about being an all-around player and a high IQ player…he always taught me about the mental side of the game as well, which I take more value in than anything and just being positive in all situations no matter what.

“The game was so different back then that the stories are just pretty interesting to hear. I take a lot with me to this day of what he’s taught me along the way.”

Kastelic acknowledged that he was caught off guard by the trade which came just minutes before the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers squared off in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. But as disappointed as he was to leave his Senators teammates, he is equally excited to begin a new chapter of his career in Boston.

“I was pretty shocked,” said Kastelic. “It was right before Game 7, wasn’t expecting anything at all. Got the call that everything was going down. Obviously was a little bit sad to leave my teammates and that city but that kind of started to go away pretty quickly. Was just filled with a ton of excitement to join Boston. I’ve heard nothing but good things about everybody there.”

The 6-foot-4, 226-pound forward had five goals and 10 points for the Senators in 63 games last season. Overall, he has played 144 NHL games – all with Ottawa – over three seasons.

“So far, expectations are similar to what I’ve been in the past – bottom-six type guy, good on draws, bring a lot of physicality to the lineup,” said Kastelic. “That’s the expectation for right now. As any player, you want to try to improve and grow and do whatever you can to work your way up the lineup and just be a guy that can play anywhere up and down the lineup, play center, play wing. Just be good on draws, reliable all-around player.”

Kastelic is also eager to experience the culture in the Bruins dressing room, which is well-regarded across the NHL.

“The first thing that everybody was telling me when I would talk to everybody about coming to Boston was how great the group is and how close they are and how good of a culture they have,” said Kastelic. “It’s pretty well-known around the league at this point. Just obviously the history with that organization going back 100 years now.

“They definitely do everything the right way. As a player it’s exciting to join that and all you want to do is contribute in a positive way to it.”

Kastelic speaks with media via zoom

Korpisalo Coming to Town

Joonas Korpisalo admitted that his 2023-24 season did not go as well as he would’ve liked. The veteran backstop played 55 games for the Senators, registering a 3.27 goals against average and .890 save percentage, a significant dip from the 2.13 GAA and .921 save percentage he posted with the Los Angeles Kings in 2022-23.

But the Finland native is eager for a fresh start with the Black & Gold and is looking forward to getting his game back on track.

“Last year was a tough year for everyone in Ottawa…change of GM, the new owner, all of the coaches. It’s a long season to go that way…and for me individually, and I think the whole team, we did underperform all year,” said Korpisalo. “And that's behind me, and I look back and obviously there are some things about it. Now I look forward and have a great opportunity here in Boston and couldn't be more excited.”

Korpisalo said he has already consulted with Bob Essensa and left the conversation excited about working with Boston’s longtime goalie coach.

“[Getting traded is] always a shock – even if you expect it or not it’s a shock. Throughout the day I started processing it and then all of the excitement went through the roof,” said Korpisalo. “And having a talk with Bob, yeah, he's done his research, which is a great thing for me and looking at how I am as a goalie. I'm super excited to get to work with him as well.”

The 30-year-old backstop added that he does not expect “an overhaul” of his game, but rather some tweaks that will shore up his performance.

“There's always things to work on, and I think the big picture comes from little details,” said Korpisalo. “Those are the things you work every day, and even now I'm working on all of those little, little details…and I don't think there's anything major to change in my game. It's just on me to be on my level and that's usually enough to win games in the League.”

Korpisalo said he has also communicated with Jeremy Swayman and they are planning for a phone call over the coming days.

“He reached out to me right away,” said Korpisalo. “He texted me and had a warm welcome to Boston…he seems like a great guy. Can't wait to meet him and get to work with him…it's so much fun to watch him play. The technique is there, the game sense is there, everything is there. It's the whole package, and it's fun to watch him play, especially when you’re in the other end and try to beat them.

“But now being on the same team and obviously knowing how good of a relationship he had with Linus, he seems like a great guy and I'm looking forward to meeting him and getting to know him and spending time with him on the ice and off of the ice.”

Korpisalo talks for the first time as a Bruin

Dispatches from Dev Camp

Providence head coach Ryan Mougenel on his initial impressions of Riley Duran…

“Super pleased…. the process probably got expedited a little bit just because we had some call-ups, and he got put in a role with Patrick Brown, and he was awesome. So for me, to be transparent, I think he was a lot better than what I was expecting. And not saying that I had him at a different standard. But we were really surprised at how well his game had grown. And how confident he was in the American League. He was absolutely excellent for us. And for me, he's probably a little bit ahead of where I probably think he would be at this time. So, we're excited about his growth, his development, the person, his work ethic, and being a great teammate. I think Providence College does an amazing job of that. We've been very lucky to get two players over there in Michael Callahan and Riley Duran and I think the first thing that's evident is how great of teammates they are and their work ethic. S, we're very excited about where Riley's development is going.”

Mougenel on what Fabian Lysell needs to do to reach the pro level…

“Well, he had huge steps this year, and we forget how young Fabian is at times. We had him as a 19-year-old. The maturity that he's shown in his game, it's been great to see, things that he does really well. He has a creative mind. He plays the game at a fast pace. His speed creates a ton of anxiety, and those are the things that he has to bring to the table for [Jim Montgomery]…when you come from a different background, especially in Europe. We value different things. And sometimes, when you lay it out for kids, it's a foreign concept. And it's been two years for Fabian where the light started to go on really early on this year that you play well in your own end and itt translates into offense, and he's such a special player.

“He's a special kid, and all these offensive, gifted players, they have some sort of deficiency, especially defensively…it is really starting to come along. I think he's gonna push. He's a super proud kid. He works. He's inquisitive. He wants to learn. For Fabian, the one thing that we want, we want him to play free. I think that's really important for Fabian, especially in training camp.

“We don't want him trying to push it too hard. Just let his skill kind of speak for itself and enjoy the process. And he's still way ahead of where, I'm sure, we all probably think he should be, but we're very comfortable of his growth and his production, his production and him becoming a more mature player.”

Mougenel on where Dans Locmelis’ game has grown…

“He's an offensive guy, and I think coming over here is probably one of the best things for a lot of our European guys, especially to get acclimated to the college game. The one thing he does is he values the puck, his game’s grown, and he's getting stronger. He's an undersized guy, but he does a lot of good things inside. I think he enjoyed his year here. I was just talking to him on the ice, he said he definitely feels like he's gotten better, and it's pretty evident.”

Mougenel on what he liked about Brett Harrison’s game and development…

“Brett was a real young pro for us. And I think coming from a junior background, I think a lot of players in our league, the first year is a real tough year, and I think the best part about what we had with our young players is we had amazing veterans around him that taught him how to work. A lot of the concepts were foreign for Brett…we were very upfront and honest with Brett, this is how it's going to be. You’re gonna spend a lot of time in the weight room and a lot of time with [skating coach] Tom Ford getting better and working on your skills, and there were times in the season that his growth was amazing when things got ramped up a little bit.

“There was a little bit of a decline, but that's what young players have to go through and we're expecting him to take a huge step. You saw it today. He's a hockey player. He's a little bit of a rink rat that's a dog on a bone and has an amazing personality. We're real excited about where he's come…it's a testament of when we draft guys, the quality of a person and player. I think they hit it out of the park with Brett.”

Mougenel talks with the media on Day 3 of Dev Camp