Bruins ink Jakub Zboril, two others

While interesting names still remain on free agent market, the Bruins took care of some necessary business on Wednesday.

The B’s signed 2015 first round pick Jakub Zboril to a two-year, one-way extension worth an annual cap hit of $725,000, added depth forward Greg McKegg to a one-year, two-way contract with an NHL cap hit of $700,000 and signed minor league goalie Callum Booth to a one-year, two-way contract with an NHL cap hit of $700,000.

The Zboril deal gives every indication that the 23-year-old defenseman will be granted a legitimate shot at making the varsity roster in training camp, whenever that is held. The B’s first pick (13th overall) in the fateful 2015 draft in which they owned six picks in the first two rounds, Zboril enjoyed his best season as a pro in 2019-20. In 58 games, he had 3-16-19 totals and was plus-20 in his third full pro season. He is currently on loan to Brno Kometa in the Czech League.

Zboril had played two NHL games in 2018-19, but he himself said later that he wasn’t quite mentally ready for the step up in competition. Now with another year and a half of development and an open spot on the left side with the departure of Torey Krug, Zboril should have his best chance yet to make the team.

Zboril will require waivers to be returned to Providence.

The B’s had some well-chronicled whiffs in that draft, passing on now-established impact NHLers Matt Barzal, Kyle Connor, Thomas Chabot, Brock Boeser and Travis Konecny. But the Zboril pick was not considered a reach at the time, especially after the team needed to replenish its D corps after Dougie Hamilton forced a trade. The reach came after the B’s took Jake DeBrusk with the 14th pick, when they selected right wing Zach Senyshyn at 15.

Senyshyn, meanwhile, is an RFA whom the B’s qualified and must still sign. What will become of the right wing is anyone’s guess at this point. He has not been the scorer that he was projected to be in the AHL, but his size and speed did look promising in four NHL games last year — enough to be a serviceable bottom six wing — before suffering an untimely knee injury. The David Pastrnak injury could provide him with an opening at the start of the season to perhaps up his value, but there doesn’t appear to be much room for him in a fully healthy lineup. He too would require waivers to be sent back to Providence.

McKegg, 28, is a well-traveled left-shot centerman who has played 158 NHL games with Toronto, Florida, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Carolina and the New York Rangers. In 58 games with the Blueshirts last year, McKegg had 5-4-9 totals.

Booth, 23, saw time last year with Boston’s ECHL affiliate, the Atlanta Gladiators. He played in nine games, going 4-5 with a .911 save percentage and a 3.22 GAA. The Booth signing does fulfill an important requirement for next offseason’s Seattle expansion draft, when each NHL team must expose one goaltender. The B’s only need to qualify Booth, who’ll be an RFA, to fulfill the obligation.

Meanwhile, bigger ticket items like left-shot wings Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov, players who could help the B’s (signing either of them would require some offloading of salary), remain unsigned.

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