Welcome back: Johnny Boychuk

Boychuk

Boychuk

Defenseman Johnny Boychuk’s words at the end of last season were as bold as his rush-joining play throughout his 20-goal, 65-point 2008-09 campaign with Providence (AHL).

Boychuk declared he wanted to be back with the Boston organization just minutes after the P-Bruins had been eliminated from the Calder Cup playoffs. While that statement didn’t do much to help his leverage in negotiations as an unrestricted free agent, Boychuk soon found out that the feeling was mutual. The Bruins re-signed Boychuk the day the market opened. Today he was back skating with some of his potential Boston and former Providence teammates at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass.

“Hopefully, they’ll give me a real shot to win a job here. I’m going to try my best,” said Boychuk, who took Boston’s one-year, one-way offer instead of some other team’s two-way offers.

Offseason tidbit: Boychuk and his girlfriend vacationed in Cancun, Mexico. At one restaurant, he saw a “big-ass” alligator.

“The owner said he just throws whole chickens off the deck (to the gator),” Boychuk said.

Position battle: By bringing back Boychuk and letting Shane Hnidy and Steve Montador walk, the Bruins wanted to get younger farther down their back-end depth chart. At the outset, Boychuk will be trying to hold off prospects like Andrew Bodnarchuk and Jeff Penner for the seventh-defenseman job. But with a solid camp he could push anyone from the group of Mark Stuart, Matt Hunwick and Andrew Ference if any of them falter.

Projection: Boychuk should be secure as the Bruins’ No. 7 and he’ll undoubtedly get some chances to play because every NHL team suffers injuries on the back end through the course of a season. When pushed into action, his power-play prowess could come in handy.

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