SUNRISE, FL -- Sean Kuraly was one of the most heavily utilized young players during the Bruins preseason schedule, and with good reason as the young forward has parlayed that into his first NHL call-up. The 23-year-old Kuraly was promoted to the Bruins from the AHL P-Bruins late Monday afternoon with dinged up Patrice Bergeron in question for Tuesday night’s game against the Florida Panthers.
Kuraly skated on the third line’s left wing with Riley Nash and Jimmy Hayes during B’s morning skate at the BB&T Center on Tuesday, and it appears the former Miami University center will be making his NHL debut if Bergeron is sidelined by his post-practice injury.
Claude Julien said Kuraly was impressive in the effort and competition categories during training camp, and that youngster was sent to Providence to get some “polish on his game.”
“He was a hard competitor. He skated hard and competed hard, and to me he just had to polish his game a little bit. There’s a possibility he’s going to be in our lineup tonight, and from what I’m told he was the next guy to come up,” said Julien. “I’m okay with that seeing what I saw in training camp.
“He’s just got to play his game, and do the things that impressed us: work ethic, compete level and all of that stuff. He’s pretty strong on the puck and good at battles, so we just ask guys when they come up to play their game.”
Kuraly isn’t offensively explosive and doesn’t have skill that’s going to pop out eyeballs, but he’s a big (6-foot-2, 201-pounds) and solid, versatile forward that can play either wing or center, and will play hard at both ends of the rink. With the Bruins beset by so many injuries and missing a big body in David Backes, perhaps Kuraly can provide some size, strength and toughness qualities for a third line that’s lacked everything thus far this season.
“It was unexpected. It’s exciting to be here and I’m looking forward to it,” said Kuraly, who has an assist and nine penalty minutes in eight games with the P-Bruins this season. “For me it’s playing simple, hard and fast, and sticking to the basics while playing my game rather than letting other things take the focus.
“It’s just good to be here. Whatever happens is out of my control, so I’ll just be ready to play and we’ll see what happens. It’s just me doing the best that I can and bringing that to the rink every day, and if it leads to [making an impact] then that’ll be great.”
There will certainly be an opportunity for Kuraly to make that impact because that will mean that Bergeron, Backes and Pastrnak will be out of the lineup for a Black and Gold team that’s already suffered their fair share of injuries.