BOSTON — The Bruins unveiled the roster they will take to Europe on Wednesday, and it's a lineup that is just about finalized for the regular season.
The Bruins will take 25 players with them to Northern Ireland after Wednesday night's exhibition game against the Capitals at the Garden. That's just two over the regular-season limit of 23, but one of those two extra bodies is third goaltender Nolan Schaefer. The Bruins are allowed to carry a third netminder for the games in Prague due to the logistics of trying to get another backup there if one is injured, so in reality, the Bruins have to make just one more cut before opening night.
"Really we've only got one more transaction to do," said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. "We're bringing this group. Unfortunately, there's going to be somebody during that week or the 10-11 days [in Europe] that's going to be moved, assigned, traded, something."
Chiarelli also stated that the Bruins will carry a full 23-man roster to start the season. In past years, the Bruins have carried fewer players to maintain more salary-cap flexibility, but with both Marc Savard and Marco Sturm expected to start the year on long-term injured reserve, the Bruins aren't in as much of a cap crunch for now and will take advantage of the extra depth to start the year.
Despite limited success so far in the preseason — the Bruins are just 1-2-1 in their first four exhibition games — Chiarelli likes what he has seen from his club in camp.
"I know we've only won the one game, but I actually think we've played pretty well," said Chiarelli. "Our defensive system had been good. Our breakout has been good. Our specialty teams have been OK, but I think our even-strength stuff has been really good. To me that's been a real positive."
The other positive for Chiarelli has been the play of the club's youngsters. Rookies Tyler Seguin, Jordan Caron and Matt Bartkowski earned the right to stay with the team heading to Europe, while Joe Colborne, Zach Hamill and Steve Kampfer were among the tough final cuts on Wednesday.
"One of the refreshing things was these young guys pushing for jobs, and that was consistent throughout the whole camp," said Chiarelli. "That's refreshing for me as a manager."
AHL veterans Jeremy Reich, Wyatt Smith and Jeff LoVecchio were also returned to Providence on Wednesday. Tough guy Brian McGrattan, in camp on a tryout basis, earned the right to remain with the club. He will be battling with agitator Brad Marchand and Bartkowski for the final cut, depending on whether the Bruins opt to keep a 14th forward or an eighth defensemen when they finalize their roster.
The Bruins roster for the European trip: