Bruins

Bergeron’s return also a boost for Bjork

Bergeron’s return also a boost for Bjork

BOSTON – Clearly, the return of Patrice Bergeron had a positive effect on all things Bruins up and down the lineup, but it might have individually done more for rookie Anders Bjork than anybody else.

The 21-year-old from Wisconsin and Notre Dame had his first breakout game for the Bruins with a couple of goals, three points and a plus-2 rating in a 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden on Thursday night.

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It’s no coincidence that Bjork’s rookie breakthrough arrived in his first game lining up at right wing alongside Bergeron and Brad Marchand after the youngster skated with those two forwards pretty exclusively through training camp. Bjork jumped right out with the immediate chemistry when he hopped to the front of the net and smacked home the rebound of a Bergeron shot for the important game-tying score, and both Bjork and the Bruins were off and running.

“He’s an awesome little player, and you can tell he’s really finding his stride right now. You know, he had an awesome game tonight, and [he’s] so good at reading the ice, open areas and where to go,” said Brad Marchand, of his rookie linemate. “It takes a little bit of time to build chemistry, but I think we’re coming along.”

Bjork cashed in his second goal of the first period on the power play after getting a centering pass from David Krejci and then firing under the bar from the slot for his third goal of the season. He had a couple of chances at the hat trick in the first period but missed high and wide with a couple more scoring chances, and instead finished with a career-high four shots on net and seven shot attempts in 12:28 of ice time.

“[Bergeron] obviously brings a lot of skill and passion and he brings a lot of other things that you don’t really realize – in the locker room and on the bench and stuff. So I mean, you can definitely see why he’s one of the best players in the NHL, not just because of what he does on the ice, but in the locker room as well.

“These guys are so easy to read off of. They’re going right away and they’re in the right spot all the time, so it makes it easy for me to get open and receive a puck like I did [on his first goal]. [The two] of them just playing the right way and also with that much skill…it’s pretty deadly.”

The Bruins hope Bjork continues to be a deadly combo for other teams when paired with Bergeron and Marchand now that things are starting to look like they were drawn up in training camp. 


 

Bruins draft grades roundup: Mixed reviews on John Beecher, later picks

Bruins draft grades roundup: Mixed reviews on John Beecher, later picks

With just one pick among the top 90 selections, the Boston Bruins weren't expected to be a major player at the 2019 NHL Draft.

But how did they fare with those limited resources? Depends on who you ask.

The Bruins left Vancouver with five selections, led by No. 30 overall pick John Beecher, an 18-year-old center out of the U.S. National Team Development Program. They didn't pick again until the third round, landing Minnesota-Duluth wing Quinn Nelson at No. 92, then added a Russian defenseman, a Finnish forward and a USHL forward prospect in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds, respectively.

The national media didn't have many glowing things to say about the Bruins' draft crop. While some outlets saw promise in Beecher, others believe Boston reached for the big center, and most writers weren't impressed with the club's picks in the later rounds.

This never figured to be a high-impact draft for the B's, who will look to free agency and trades to re-tool their roster. But let's check out what the experts thought of Boston's haul.

ESPN.com: C-minus
Quote of Note: "Not having a second-round pick might lead a team to reach a little if they have a late first. That seemed to be the case with the Bruins and Beecher. ... I don't think the Bruins made an especially big impact on their prospect pool with their later picks."

Sporting News: B
Quote of Note: "Although they mostly avoided pure finishers or playmakers, GM Don Sweeney and staff deserve credit for making something out of the few picks they had, and identifying speed and mobility as important characteristics of their draftees."

The Athletic: C-minus
Quote of Note: "A lot of scouts debated John Beecher, but I’m buying on him as a potential very solid third-line player and fine value at No. 30. The Bruins took some shots the rest of the draft, but I think a lot were long shots."

Bleacher Report: C-plus
Quote of Note: "Beecher looks like a strong future pick because he has excellent size at 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds, and he is a tremendous skater."

Puck Prose: D-plus
Quote of Note: "There were better players to be had at the end of the first round than Beecher. The Bruins only had two picks in the top 100, so this was always going to be a rough draft from them."

Rotoworld: C
Quote of Note: "Boston didn’t have another pick (after Beecher) until the third round when the club selected Quinn Olson at 92nd overall.  Most pundits believe the Bruins reached with this selection."

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NHL sets 2019-20 salary cap at $81.5, $1.5 million lower than expected

NHL sets 2019-20 salary cap at $81.5, $1.5 million lower than expected

The NHL announced it's salary cap for the 2019-20 season Saturday at $81.5 million, which is $1.5 million lower than initial projections.

The Bruins are expected to have about $13 million in cap space, not counting free agents Danton Heinen, Marcus Johansson, Brandon Carlo, Charlie McAvoy, Noel Acciari and Brandon Kampfer. 

The Bruins will likely bring back McAvoy, Carlo and Heinen, but the lower cap figure may have an impact on the team's willingness to re-sign Johansson. One avenue the Bruins could take is offloading David Backes contract onto a team with the space to absorb it, but apparently, his deal is "impossible to move."

We'll see what this lower cap result ultimately does to the Bruins plans moving forward, but the last thing teams usually want around free agency is less money to spend. 

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