If everybody is being honest, there hasn’t been a whole lot to be excited about in Zach Senyshyn’s game in his first couple of seasons in the Bruins organization.
The 22-year-old has averaged 13 goals and 25 points in his first two seasons in the AHL and hasn’t dominated at any point after being a first-round pick for the B’s in the stacked 2015 draft, along with Jakub Zboril and Jake DeBrusk. He was a surprise pick back on draft night four years ago ahead of more heralded players that have gone on to stellar NHL careers, such as Mat Barzal, Brock Boeser, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor. Senyshyn hasn’t been able to help the NHL team much when they’ve badly needed a top-six right winger the past few seasons.
But maybe, just maybe, there’s a chance that Senyshyn can help the Black and Gold, after all. The young winger was awarded a second assist after a change in scoring in the Tuesday night loss and tripled his career NHL output with the two-helper game in his 2019-20 debut. Senyshyn also could have had a third assist because it was his pass that set up Charlie Coyle for what appeared to be a pivotal third-period goal that was eventually overturned by a coach’s challenge. The third line of Anders Bjork, Coyle and Senyshyn was lauded as the team’s best after the loss in Montreal.
“Senyshyn pretty much played with Coyle and Bjork all night. They were arguably our most effective line. They had a good game,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I thought he handled it very well. He gave us 11 solid minutes. He and Bjork were on the puck, getting on pucks and turning pucks over to get on the attack. He drew a penalty by going to the net and getting inside, and that’s something we’ve asked him to do with his speed and body position. That was a great example of that. He had a lot to do with a couple of goals by getting to pucks first.”
Certainly, Senyshyn is going to have to play better than his numbers have borne out in Providence the past few seasons and he’ll need to turn his swift skating ability and 6-foot-1, 192-pound size into more than simple, unrealized potential.
It looks as if he’s at least going to get that shot as the Bruins endure a wave of injuries to their forwards that have Joakim Nordstrom, Pavel Lindholm, Karson Kuhlman and Jake DeBrusk all on the shelf right now, and Senyshyn will get another look with Coyle and Bjork as a young, fast third line that was so effective against the Habs in their debut.
“Honestly, I felt really good out there. It’s pretty easy to play with a guy like Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork, who really pushes the play,” said Senyshyn, who had two goals and three points in 12 games with the P-Bruins to start this season. “I’m just trying to take it one day at a time and show them what I’ve learned down there. The reason why I got here is by bringing some of those little things into my game and bringing my speed, which I’m naturally good at. I was focusing on playing to my strengths and trying to show them that I’m able to play that complete game.”
Senyshyn will get another shot against Detroit on Friday night and potentially on Sunday against the Flyers and that’s really he can ask for at this point in his still-very-young pro hockey career after an unspectacular beginning.
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