Forwards Simon Gagne and Ville Leino will have a chance to make the Boston Bruins roster at training camp, coach Claude Julien said Tuesday.
"We wouldn't invite those guys just to fill in our training camp roster," Julien told the Bruins website. "Older guys that have some experience … both of them are coming off injuries, major injuries. They both feel really good. Gagne didn't play at all last year but trained a lot; he's feeling the best he's felt in a long time. And Leino's the same way. Those guys have experience, so it's an opportunity for those guys to seize some of those spots, if they want to, and then for the young guys to battle their way into it."
Gagne and Leino will attend camp, which begins Thursday, on a tryout basis. Gagne, 34, did not play in the NHL last season because of injuries to his neck, head and groin. Leino, 30, had 15 points (all assists) in 58 games with the Buffalo Sabres and was given a compliance buyout this summer.
"You always have to have some youth in your lineup as well, so I think there's room for both, whether it's veterans or young guys," Julien said at the Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament in Bolton, Mass.
There is an opening at forward while restricted free agent Reilly Smith remains without a contract. It is unknown if he and restricted free agent defenseman Torey Krug will be signed in time for camp.
"We don't know what's going to happen," Julien said. "We'll find out Thursday morning, but if they don't [show up], then I've got to find some replacements, and we feel that we've got them at our camp. We'll just move forward."
The Bruins also are looking to replace forwards Jarome Iginla (Colorado Avalanche) and Shawn Thornton (Florida Panthers), who left this offseason as free agents. Ryan Spooner (22) and Jordan Caron (23), who played for Boston last season, along with 2014 NHL Draft pick David Pastrnak (18), could get full-time roles.
"There's going to be some openings there, and we feel we've got some people at our camp that can certainly fill those openings," Julien said. "So it's up to every one of them that has that chance to stick with the team to take advantage of it and have a good camp and force us to keep them."