BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins will welcome Jake DeBrusk back into the lineup on Thursday night against the Arizona Coyotes and it appears that Ryan Spooner (lower body) might be headed toward another stint on the injured reserve.
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Spooner has only been back a handful of games since tearing his groin, an injury that cost him more than a month of the season, when the center sustained a similar injury in the loss to the Nashville Predators on Monday night.
DeBrusk was out the past three games with an upper-body injury and had two goals and five points in the previous five games before getting injured in the loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
Spooner has been ruled out Thursday night and might be headed for the IR depending on his prospects for playing this weekend. Don Sweeney and Bruce Cassidy were planning on having a roster discussion on Thursday afternoon. A quick IR stint for Spooner would save the Bruins from having to make a more permanent roster decision.
With DeBrusk coming back, underperforming wingers Frank Vatrano and Matt Beleskey would appear to be most at risk of losing their spot unless the Spooner injury can give them a little more time. At this point, however, it feels like the Bruins have cemented their opinions on the players that have been with them all season.
“It’s not about second chances necessarily. I think every player that’s here has been given an opportunity to play. Some more than others, I get that. But if this is our best lineup then it’s our best lineup, and we’ll have to make the appropriate decisions when we get there,” said Cassidy. “When we do [make the decision] we’ll have a discussion on what makes us the best team and how we want to approach that.”
Given the roster crunch, the Bruins have engaged in some level of trade talks involving Vatrano, and to a lesser extent Spooner and Beleskey, and could potentially get something back for players they might lose for nothing if placed on waivers en route to Providence. Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings after an optional Thursday morning practice at Warrior Ice Arena with Tuukka Rask set for goaltending duties: