Unless financial pixie dust sprinkles down over Brighton overnight, the Bruins will open training camp Thursday morning with two top young defensemen still on summer vacation.
Restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, who play on the Nos. 1 and 2 pairings, respectively, as of late Wednesday afternoon had yet to agree to contract extensions with general manager Don Sweeney.
“Still a work in progress,” said Sweeney, who took over the GM office in the summer of 2015 and never has had a projected roster player not report to camp because of a contract impasse. “We continue to communicate every day and we are hopeful we can find the right deal for both players — they’re important to our hockey club and we’ll continue to work at it.”
Minus those two players, Sweeney has roughly $7.3 million remaining in cap space with the new season approaching. Per the collective bargaining agreement, if restricted free agents have not agreed to contracts by Dec. 1, they are deemed ineligible to play for the entire season, including the playoffs.
Cameron Hughes, struck with a skate blade to the mouth it the final rookie game last Monday in Buffalo, is expected will miss the start of training camp.
“He’s got extensive damage that he needs to follow up on,” said Sweeney. “He has a significant injury there, so we have to make sure that he is healthy.”
Trent Frederic and Matt Grzelcyk both have been contending with minor injuries, but both should be good to go for the start of drills on Friday.
“We’ve talked about monitoring all of our guys — obviously, we had a hell of a run and we need to be cognizant of that. And again, it’s a great opportunity for other players, for them to realize that those are minutes that are going to get spread around accordingly and they can step forward. The competition internally should be really good.”
Now that coach Bruce Cassidy has his new contract, what of his assistants Jay Pandolfo, Joe Sacco, and Kevin Dean? Will Sweeney try to synch up their contracts with that of Cassidy, now believed to be under contract through that 2022-23 season?
“Are you telling me you’re negotiating for them, as well?” Sweeney said when a Globe reporter broached the subject. “We’ve had some continuity for our staff, and I’d like to continue to do so. Bruce and I have had some discussions, but . . . that’s what my intention would be. We’ll see if it goes as smoothly as I’d like . . . that would be our intention.”