BOSTON — Anders Bjork earned a promotion to the NHL based on his play in Providence this season, and he may have just also earned himself a longer stint with the Bruins based on a solid first game for the Black and Gold.
The 23-year-old Bjork didn’t break into the scoring column or put together any kind of dominant game in Boston’s 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, but he also looked like he might be ready for a consistent, productive run in a Bruins uniform this time around. Bjork finished with four shots on net in 13:17 of ice time and was a speedy, aggressive left wing who paired nicely with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner for his first game of the season.
Certainly B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy liked what he saw and that bodes well for Bjork sticking around in Boston with Karson Kuhlman out for at least the next month with a fractured tibia.
“We’ll see where Bjork fits best. I don’t think he hurt himself at all tonight. With [Karson] Kuhlman out, you lose a bit of that motor, a younger guy that get on pucks, and that’s where Bjorkie was good tonight. That’s what we’re looking for,” said Cassidy. “Can he sustain it, can he be strong on it? He was. He didn’t hurt us defensively, so that’s a good thing and that bodes well for him. We’ll see if we find a spot for him on Saturday. But it’s looking that way.”
One would suspect that Bjork will be moved up to the third-line left wing once Joakim Nordstrom is ready to return the lineup, and Danton Heinen could swing around and possibly play on the right side to make room for his fellow twenty-something winger.
Bjork appeared to regain his scoring touch with three goals and eight points in seven games for the P-Bruins prior to Tuesday night, and the confidence is very clearly there after watching the way he played a 200-foot game against Toronto. Now Bjork simply wants to produce and play consistently good hockey while he’s up with Boston and work toward once again nailing down an NHL roster spot after serving as the Bruins' top forward prospect just a couple of short seasons ago.
“I think overall I was pleased that we got the win, so you can’t be unhappy with that. I can bring a little more of my speed and my confidence when I’m playing up here,” said Bjork. “I definitely think there’s a bit more of my game that I didn’t show tonight, so I’m going to try and do that.
“I need to show consistency both game-to-game and also throughout the course of a game. It’s really important to show that I can compete every night, and that I’m going to be reliable and that I can be trusted. It’s one of my focuses, and my offensive ability is something I was honing down in Providence. I want to contribute in that way up here.”
After a strong training camp and a solid start to his season in AHL, Bjork is now in a position to contribute with the Bruins now that Kuhlman is on the shelf. It’s completely up to him what he’s going to do with it, but it goes without saying that the Bruins need another productive top-9 winger and Bjork could be that guy after getting sidetracked by shoulder injuries for a couple of years.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.