The decision to risk losing Reilly comes a day after Connor Clifton’s rather forgettable end to the warm-up slate, with Clifton on the ice for two goals against and seemingly targeted by the Devils’ Jack Hughes. (That said, the fact that it was Hughes certainly helps ease the blow to the psyche or confidence of Clifton.) Still, Clifton’s often been at his best when starting out as a No. 7 who forces his way into the rotation.
It’s also on the heels of what was a quiet finish to Jakub Zboril’s preseason after an undeniably strong start, with Zboril on the ice for six of the last 10 goals scored against the Bruins. It’s a bit discouraging based on how good he looked out of the gate, but the Bruins aren’t panicking over the bumps in the road for Zboril.
“We have to remember that he is a young man who just came back from ACL reconstruction,” Montgomery said after Saturday’s loss. “The more you play, the more you get the grind of it mentally [and] having to assert yourself again every game to prepare the right way and to make plays. When you’re coming back, you aren’t in a rhythm of playing a lot of hockey games in a short amount of time and he’s going through that right now.
“We knew there were going to be moments where he wouldn’t be consistently good for us, just because of the fact that he was coming back from the injury and all of the time off.”
Reilly’s move to the waiver wire may also mean that Grzelcyk is truly and indeed ahead of schedule.
The 5-foot-9 Boston defender, who projects as a second-pairing fixture when healthy, has ramped up his workload in recent days, and has even ditched the non-contact jersey. But he still needs to take more contact before he’s officially ready to take flight and rejoin the Boston lineup, and the long-term thinking here is that extra time to be 100 percent is better than rushing into things, a source told 98.5 The Sports Hub.
And then there’s Anton Stralman.
In camp on a professional tryout, the 36-year-old Stralman did not suit up for the preseason finale, and didn’t even take part in the warmup for that matter. The current belief is that the Bruins would like to sign him (Montgomery is a big fan of his game), but with Stralman’s family back in Arizona, it probably has to make sense for him beyond the obvious of playing for a good hockey team if he’s going to put the pen to paper.
The LTIR money will be used to sign Stralman (if he’s indeed signed by the B’s), and though that has no impact on Reilly right now, it will if and when the Bruins find themselves weighing the value in a more affordable Stralman over Reilly and his $3 million price tag when McAvoy and Grzelcyk return to the Boston backend.