The Boston Bruins are looking to build on a successful season by bringing back a core group of players to the city that was sold out for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
As the team prepares to play their first preseason game at TD Garden on Sunday, there are some familiar faces returning to the fold for the first time in nearly a decade.
One of them is defenseman Michael Frolik, who signed a two-year, $4.2 million contract extension with the Bruins in November.
The team also re-signed defenseman David Pastrnak, who made $4 million this season, to a three-year deal on Friday.
With Frolkis contract extension, the team will have more salary cap space than it did before the 2015-16 season.
That should allow the team to spend aggressively on defense this season and help rebuild the Bruins defense in a bid to return to the postseason.
“We have an opportunity to build something,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
“I think we are going to be able to do that.
I think the guys are excited about it, and they’re excited about the opportunity that’s presented to them to be a part of that.”
Boston has spent the last decade rebuilding its core of veterans.
The club signed unrestricted free agents Kevin Hayes and David Pastnarik to extensions before the season, and also brought back goalie Tuukka Rask and defenseman David Warsofsky to play in 2017-18.
“The thing that we were able to achieve is a big change in our approach and I think we were a little bit hesitant to do it because we had such a successful run a couple of years ago,” Julien told reporters Thursday.
“Now we can say, ‘Here’s how we’re going to do this.’
And we’ve got a good chance to do so.”
Bruins fans can expect a similar approach this season as the team takes on the Boston Red Sox in the opener of a six-game homestand that begins Friday.
The Red Sox are expected to have some veteran leadership on the team, which will be led by former Boston teammate Chris Sale.
But the Red Sox also have plenty of young talent and a young defense.
“I think this year is going to play a big part,” Julian said.
“[Boston] has a pretty good group of young guys, and the Red Wings have a pretty young group of guys.”