Dec 19, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Nick Johnson (32) against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Buffalo beats Boston 4 to 2. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Bruins winger bolts for Swedish league

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Nick Johnson of the Boston Bruins has left the NHL to sign with the Vaxjo Lakers of the sunny Swedish Hockey League, per Pro Hockey Talk. Johnson, largely a bottom six forward, became an easy cap casualty of the cash-strapped Bruins after he posted limited numbers in his brief time in Boston.

How quickly the big names rise to the top while the rest sink. Johnson was hardly more than an afterthought in Boston as the winger has largely struggled in his career, despite a promising 2011-12 campaign with the Minnesota Wild that saw him score eight goals.

That may not be much for many of the guys being signed to big free agent deals on July 1 (well, most of them) but for a fourth liner like Johnson, it made all the difference between getting shots at the pros with Phoenix, then Boston, and now only getting a whiff from the Swedish League.

The Bruins meanwhile continue their purge of the lower line talent in the hopes of securing their top-end players for longer terms. Gone are Shawn Thornton and now Johnson as rising young stars Torey Krug and Reilly Smith both look to secure new deals under their restricted free agent status. The Bruins only have $1.6 million in cap space at the moment. While Johnson certainly wouldn’t have cost the Bruins much, any amount is too much for a team trying to save money any way it can.

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