Bruins coach: Gagne, Leino have legitimate shot at making roster out of training camp
The Boston Bruins invited Simon Gagne and Ville Leino to training camp on professional tryouts, and head coach Claude Julien maintains the veteran forwards won't simply be there to fill out the preseason roster.
Julien told the Bruins' website:
We wouldn't invite those guys just to fill in our training camp roster. 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.
Leino, of course, was bought out by the Buffalo Sabres earlier this summer after failing to live up to the expectations of his exorbitant contract; in fact, he scored only 10 goals during his three seasons with the club. The 30-year-old, however, did show some promise with his previous club – the Philadelphia Flyers – with 19 goals and 34 points in 2010-11 after a 21-point performance in 19 playoff games the previous spring.
Gagne, 34, recorded 597 points in 799 career games prior to sitting out last season, good for an average of 61 points per every 82 games.
If Reilly Smith is absent from camp due to his contract situation, both players will have even more of an opportunity to prove they still have what it takes to hang at the NHL level, while giving the cash-strapped Bruins some low-risk, potentially high-reward options to fill out their forward ranks.