Tuesday: The team has officially announced the signing.
Monday: A day after extending young goalies Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban, the Boston Bruins have come to terms with another one their restricted free agents. According to CapFriendly, two-way forward Austin Czarnik has re-signed with the Bruins on a one-year, two-way deal. Czarnik will make just $675K at the NHL level, which may end up being a bargain for GM Don Sweeney and company after a solid rookie season.
Czarnik, the former captain of the Miami University RedHawks and a highly sought-after college free agent in 2015, has found success in all aspects of the game so far in his pro career. In 2015-16, Czarnik, alongside Boston’s Frank Vatrano and former Bruin Seth Griffith, had a breakout campaign in the AHL with the Providence Bruins, scoring 61 points in 68 games in his first pro season. Czarnik led all AHL rookies in points, and that offensive production earned him an NHL shot last season. The small, shifty center took on an important bottom-six role for the first half of the season, recording 13 points in 49 games and leading the team’s third penalty kill unit. While Czarnik did not show the same offensive explosion, he proved that he had the intelligence, composure, and versatility to be an NHL player. Czarnik was eventually returned to Providence for much of the second half and the postseason, where he again was an offensive juggernaut with 23 points in 22 games, but has earned another shot in Boston in the near future. Czarnik is one of many young forwards who will fight for a roster spot this season, including fellow two-way forwards Noel Acciari and college teammate Sean Kuraly, veteran minor leaguers Tim Schaller and Kenny Agostino, and promising prospect scorers Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Zach Senyshyn, Jake DeBrusk, Anders Bjork, Peter Cehlarik, and Danton Heinen. Czarnik may need some luck to hold off a plethora of NHL-ready talent, but has the advantage of NHL experience on his side.
With Czarnik signed, the Bruins’ only two remaining restricted free agents are a couple of notable names: 21-year-old star winger David Pastrnak and play-making third-line center Ryan Spooner. While Boston is high on Czarnik and other young forwards, with more than enough competition as is, many also believe that they could stand to add another veteran winger into the mix as well. However, such a move will likely come after the extensions for Pastrnak and Spooner are over with. Negotiations with Pastrnak have been ongoing for a while now and Spooner has his arbitration date set for July 26th, so it’s only a matter of time before the Bruins have more news to announce. Re-upping Czarnik is another step in the right direction, but there’s still work to be done in Boston.