WILMINGTON — All NHL clubs must finalize their 23-man rosters by 3 p.m. Friday, but Thursday’s moves by the Bruins virtually guarantee that another Bourque will have his name on a Black-and-Gold sweater for Saturday night’s season opener against the Rangers at the Garden.
Chris Bourque, the eldest son (27 this month) of team icon Ray Bourque, appears to have landed the left wing spot on a line with veterans Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.
“It has been a great transition for me,’’ said Bourque following the club’s workout at Ristuccia Center. [Kelly and Peverley] both helped me out a lot. They are both always in the right position and they talk a lot out on the ice.
“That really helps out a guy like me, trying to find his way in the NHL. They’ve really been great with me. I couldn’t ask for two better guys.’’
Shortly before 7 p.m., the Bruins trimmed four players from the roster. Defenseman Matt Bartkowski and forward Ryan Spooner were sent to Providence. Forward Jamie Tardif was placed on waivers for the purpose of landing him with Providence. And defenseman Aaron Johnson was loaned to the AHL affiliate for conditioning.
Bourque, who turned pro in 2005 after his freshman year at Boston University, was acquired from Washington last May for former first-round pick Zach Hamill. In his first seven pro seasons, the diminutive (5-foot-7-inch) Bourque never landed full-time NHL work, getting only limited shots with Washington and Pittsburgh.
“I’ve never really made a team out of training camp,’’ he said. “That transition out of training camp into the start of the season helps. Being around the boys, you really feel a part of the team.
“So if I do make this team, it will be the best opportunity I’ve ever gotten in my career, I do believe, to stick in the NHL.
“I am trying to go and run with this opportunity. I feel like I’ve done a decent job this week and I’ve got to keep it going.’’
Coach Claude Julien, who put Bourque on the Kelly-Peverley line beginning with the start of camp Sunday, liked what he saw while watching Bourque play this season with Providence. The player he saw there has been the same one he watched in his camp for five days.
“He has good hands, he’s got good vision, he makes plays,’’ praised Julien. “Some of the passes he makes . . . he finds those seams.
“He was great on the power play [in Providence], kind of quarterbacked that, as well. So I liked his game the other night [Tuesday in the Boston-Providence scrimmage]. I know he’s played since October and that kind of gives him an advantage.’’
General manager Peter Chiarelli said Bourque, who shoots from the left side, could be a power-play asset, perhaps quarterbacking from the right boards.
“I don’t want to place too much on his shoulders, but we have been looking for that left-shot skill,’’ said Chiarelli. “That’s no knock on [Brad Marchand], but you always need more of it. It opens up your power play.
“And he makes plays. I have been watching him in Providence. He makes plays. He is a little undersized and he sometimes gets knocked for his skating, but he is gritty and he can shoot the puck.
“So we will see where it goes. He’s had a good first half in the American League and he’s had a good camp.’’
Pandolfo in running
The four roster trims left ex-BU star Jay Pandolfo presumably still in contention for work as a spare forward. The trims leave 23 players in camp, counting Pandolfo, an ever-reliable hand in his many years with the Devils. Pandolfo came to camp as an invitee and would have to come to contract terms for the Bruins to include him on the roster . . . Marc Savard, as expected, will be designated to the injured reserve list. Still dealing with postconcussion symptoms, he is not expected to resume his NHL career . . . Goalie Tim Thomas will be designated a “nonroster’’ player, said Chiarelli. The Bruins will fit comfortably under this season’s prorated $70.3 million salary cap . . . Milan Lucic was absent from practice for what Julien termed “a personal issue.’’ Lucic and his wife have been expecting their first child. The big winger is expected to rejoin the club for Friday’s practice . . . Late in the workout, Marchand nailed Tuukka Rask with a shot that took the goalie’s voice up a few octaves and required him to take a few seconds to recover. Oh, the humanity . . . Injured winger Jordan Caron skated briefly on his own but likely will return to Providence once he is closer to game action. Had he been healthy, he would have competed with Bourque for work on the Kelly-Peverley line . . . Former Bruin Mark Recchi was hired by the Dallas Stars to work in hockey operations.Continued...