The Boston Bruins have extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Anton Blidh, Colby Cave, and Sean Kuraly, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced Tuesday.
The big news here obviously pertains to Kuraly, the bottom-six forward that carved out a solid role for himself a season ago.
An energetic fourth-liner with significant penalty-killing contributions, Kuraly set career-highs in goals (six), assists (eight), and points (14), as well as games (75) for the Bruins in 2017-18. The 25-year-old also continued to be a noteworthy playoff contributor, with two goals and four points in 12 postseason contests. Given the expected offseason losses of Riley Nash and Tim Schaller, the Bruins will certainly lean on Kuraly to be a rock somewhere on their bottom two forward lines.
The offers to Blidh and Cave, meanwhile, will continue to provide the club quality insurance and extra bodies should the Black and Gold go through another ridiculous injury spell like they have at various points in the last two seasons.
Blidh, a sixth-round pick in 2013, has one goal and two points in 20 NHL games since 2016-17. The 23-year-old set career-highs in goals, assists, and points with the P-Bruins this past season, and has 31 goals and 56 points in 189 AHL games. Considered an agitator, Blidh also chipped in with two goals in four Calder Cup Playoff games this past season.
The qualifying offer for Cave comes after the 6-foot-1 talent made his NHL debut in the 2017-18 season, skating in three games with the Bruins. An undrafted talent, Cave has recorded at least 29 points in all three of his seasons in Providence.
Justin Hickman, meanwhile, was not extended a qualifying offer. The 24-year-old winger spent the last three seasons in the Bruins organization, with 12 goals and 19 points in 123 games with the P-Bruins. A 6-foot-2 forward that never quite found his scoring groove in the AHL, Hickman is apparently taking his talents to Norway.