The Boston Bruins and General Manager Don Sweeney announced Wednesday afternoon that the team had signed forward Anders Bjork to a three-year contract extension through the 2022-23 season. The contract will have an annual cap hit of $1,600,000.
“We’ve had discussion with our RFA’s, and at times they start to track in a direction that you think you’ve got a landing spot, and other ones they don’t. There’s never any timeline,” Sweeney told BHN’s Jimmy Murphy regarding the timeline of getting Bjork signed.
“Other than the obvious of when the season starts, or a player has arbitration, some of those touch points that do present deadlines,” Sweeney continued. “In this case we had a couple of conversations with Anders and his representatives and found a timing and such that he would like to get it done earlier than later and we were fine with that.”
Sooner rather than later was important for Bjork. With all of the uncertainty in the world, Bjork was eager to get the security that comes with the deal.
“Yeah, definitely,” Bjork said when asked if the state of the world impacted his decision to get a deal done. “I think, you know, it definitely feels good for sure. Now I can have my focus completely on where it should be, on these playoffs right now, and doing the best I can to help the team and help us achieve our goal.”
The 23-year-old Bjork had nine goals and ten assists in 58 games for the Bruins this season. The 6-foot, 190-pound forward has 14 goals and 34 points in 100 NHL games. The Wisconsin native and former star at the University of Notre Dame was drafted by the Bruins in the fifth round (146th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
With David Pastrnak just returning to the ice Monday and having only practiced once prior to that, and with Ondrej Kase still out, Bjork has been getting a real good look to be a regular in the lineup once the round-robin begins August 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy made it clear to the media, as he has to his players, that whenever Kase comes back, his job won’t automatically be waiting for him.
“To me personally, it would be about the loyalty to the player that has been injured,” the two-time Jack Adams Award finalist said Tuesday in a Zoom media session. “So for example, if it was a guy that was with us our whole playoff run last year and then this regular season, and I know that he’ll be able to come in and do his job, it would be a little easier for me to give him his spot back because of the trust factor.
Ondrej came late. He came at the deadline. He was building — that’s not a negative — it’s just I don’t know. I don’t know the player well enough right now. He only had a handful of games to integrate himself in the group. … That would be an interesting one. Let’s just say it’s Jack, it’s Bjork, whatever, that takes off and Ondrej’s not ready and they’ve strung together five, six, seven games, played a round, whatever. You’d have to seriously consider making a change to a guy I’ve seen more of, but those are things you decide down the road. ” … It wouldn’t be automatic that I put Ondrej in if the young kid was playing really well.”