Three thoughts on the Bruins roster
The 2021-22 season began Tuesday with a pair of contests kicking off the return of the NHL on ESPN. For some strange reason, the Bruins don’t drop the puck until Saturday, their lone game of the week.
There’s nothing booked at TD Garden this week, so this one, I don’t understand...
But anyway, the Bruins finalized their opening night roster ahead of Saturday's contest with the Stars, here are some thoughts.
Chris Wagner left off, Anton Blidh and Karson Kuhlman on
The Bruins raised some eyebrows this weekend when they placed Chris Wagner and John Moore on waivers. However, both went unclaimed.
The Wagner one was certainly the bigger surprise of the two, especially given the fact that the Bruins will be without Curtis Lazar who is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.
With the moves the Bruins made to their bottom six this off-season, the group became a crowded one.
In and out of the lineup at times last season, it was clear an everyday spot in the lineup was not a guarantee for Wagner, but waiving and sending him to Providence was something not many saw coming.
With Wagner demoted and Blidh and Kuhlman making the team, the Bruins are electing for a little more speed and skill than sandpaper in their bottom-six. I think we’ll likely see a Trent Frederic, Tomas Nosek and Kuhlman trio to start Saturday night.
“Wagner is a good soldier and an effective penalty killer. He can be physical. The makeup of that line with Nosek and Frederic and if it was Wagner is that it’s lacking a little bit of pace,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy.
Of course this does not end Wagner’s time in Boston, and we’ll likely see him back with the big club at some point. But, it continues the trend of the Bruins throwing some of their younger players into the fold, seeing where they’re at with their development.
Defensive depth an issue
I don’t mind the Bruins projected six on defense to start the season: Derek Forbort, Charlie McAvoy, Mike Reilly, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk and Connor Clifton. After that, is where it gets dicey.
As we’ve seen in years past, injuries have been a problem on the Bruins blueline. The next man up has been, too. Moore and Zboril currently sit as the Bruins’ seventh and eight defensemen.
While both are fine options as a replacement here and there, Moore has too battled injuries and it would be hard to rely on him for consistent minutes night in and night out.
Zboril was given every opportunity last season to take that next step forward and cement himself into the lineup. Obviously, he failed to do so.
Should the Bruins need to dig deeper into their defensive depth, Urho Vaakanainen, Nick Wolff and Jack Ahcan will be the ones likely to get the call from Providence.
No Jack Studnicka
When the Bruins revealed they would start the season without Lazar, there was some thought that maybe Jack Studnicka would get a shot after all. But where he would fit into the lineup was the issue.
Sticking him on the fourth line wouldn’t do much good, nor would healthy scratching him. I thought this was his best training camp to date and I am sure we will see him up on the roster at some point.
He'll go start the season in Providence like he did last season.
Patrice Bergeron, Anton Blidh, Brandon Carlo, Connor Clifton, Charlie Coyle, Jake DeBrusk, Nick Foligno, Derek Forbort, Trent Frederic, Matt Grzelcyk, Taylor Hall, Erik Haula, Karson Kuhlman, Brad Marchand, Charlie McAvoy, John Moore, Tomas Nosek, David Pastrnak, Mike Reilly, Craig Smith, Jeremy Swayman, Linus Ullmark, Jakub Zboril.
Injured and/or Non-Roster: Curtis Lazar.