The Boston Bruins, parent club of the Providence Bruins, announced today they have agreed to terms on contracts with former Providence Calder Cup champion Eric Nickulas, 2004-05 Providence Bruins defenseman Jay Leach and right wing Garret Stroshein.
Nickulas, 30, enters his ninth professional season in 2005-06. The Hyannis, Mass., native spent three seasons with Providence from 1998-2001, winning the Calder Cup with the Bruins in 1998-99. During that season he was second on the team and third in the league in playoff scoring with 20 points (8g, 12a) in 18 games. Nickulas dominated during the post-season with Providence ranking third all-time in points (33), second in goals (14), and fourth in assists (19). Following the 2000-01 season, Nickulas was named the Bruins’ MVP and earned the Three Stars Award. Currently, the right wing sits first all-time in Bruins game winning goals (13) and tenth all-time in goals (57).
Nickulas spent last season with the Norfolk Admirals, recording 22 points (11g, 11a) in 53 games. In 323 career AHL contests with Norfolk, Worcester and Providence, he has totaled 96 goals and 108 assists for 204 points.
Jay Leach returns to Providence, where he helped the Bruins to the conference finals in 2005.
Nickulas was drafted by Boston as their fourth-round pick, 99th overall, in the 1994 NHL Draft and played his first game with Boston on January 7, 1999. He has spent parts of five seasons in the NHL, with Boston, the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. The 2003-04 season was Nickulas’ first full season in the NHL and he tallied 20 points (8g, 12a) in 65 games.
Leach, 25, enters his fifth professional season. Last year, the Providence College graduate was a member of the Providence Bruins team which went to the Eastern Conference Finals. With Providence, Leach had nine points (4g, 5a) in 62 games. During the playoffs, the defenseman shared the team lead in plus/minus at plus-8.
Leach has played 97 career games in the AHL, recording 10 points (4g, 6a) for Providence, Bridgeport and Springfield. He was originally drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes as their fifth-round pick, 115th overall, in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
At 6-7 and 245 pounds, Garret Stroshein is one of the biggest skaters in the AHL.
Leach’s uncle Steve is an AHL graduate who played more than 700 games in the NHL, and his uncle Jay is a former AHL head coach with Springfield and Hershey.
Stroshein, 25, enters his fourth professional season. The Edmonton native spent the last three seasons with the Portland Pirates. In 105 AHL games he recorded 268 PIM and earned a call-up to the Washington Capitals where he had 14 PIM in three games.
Last season with Portland, Stroshein recorded one assist and 109 PIM in 42 games.