BOSTON — With the Bruins now done with their exhibition season, there isn’t anything left for anybody to do to impress the B’s coaching staff.
A bubble forward like David Backes has probably made the roster based on his strong performance that came to a crescendo with his final preseason appearance in the win over the Devils earlier this week. It’s clear that he put in the work during the summer, and that both he and power forward Brett Ritchie will probably be jostling for the same spot among the top-12 forwards on a nightly basis.
One forward who enjoyed a strong camp, but won’t be cracking the NHL roster to start the season in all likelihood?
It’s Anders Bjork, who did everything he probably needed to do in order to get things back on track after each of his last two seasons were wiped out by shoulder surgeries. Bjork was fast, he was aggressive, he looked stronger on the puck and more willing to engage in the danger areas, and he was able to create some offense as well.
Despite all of this, the 23-year-old Bjork is expected to start the season in Providence. On its face it would appear that Bjork didn’t make the cut, but it’s much more about the B’s being interested in seeing him build back up to a place where he’s really going to help the team in Boston. Consider the boost the Bruins could get from popping Bjork into their lineup later this season if he can regain the offensive mojo that he lost on the surgeon’s table in each of the last two seasons.
That’s what the Bruins are hoping for.
“He was drafted as a scoring winger. He hasn’t been able to do that consistently at the professional level, so we have to determine [whether] he is going to be able to do it here? Or is he better served in Providence, finding that part of his game? What’s going to be better for us in the long run? Do we need him here in the short term? That’s what we balance,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We proved last year we had a good lineup [and] added a center and a winger.
“We’ll have to make that determination, but my guess is [the AHL] is where he will probably end up starting, to work on that part of his game. He had a good training camp, good preseason and he’s healthy, bigger, stronger. So that’ll be just in my preliminary evaluation there, but we’ll sit down again and go over it.”
Otherwise, the only wrinkle for the Bruins lineup is moving things around on the fourth line because Joakim Nordstrom (foot) isn’t going to be ready to start the year on Thursday night in Dallas. It could be as easy as pushing Sean Kuraly over to left wing and essentially having two centers on the energy line with both Kuraly and Par Lindholm able to handle duties there to start off the year.
Otherwise, this should be the group that hits the ice on Oct. 3 provided that David Krejci (lower body) is able to play as the B’s currently think he’ll be able to after tweaking something in preseason action earlier this week:
|Brad Marchand||Patrice Bergeron||David Pastrnak|
|Jake DeBrusk||David Krejci||Karson Kuhlman|
|Danton Heinen||Charlie Coyle||David Backes|
|Sean Kuraly||Par Lindholm||Chris Wagner|
Scratches: Brett Ritchie
|Zdeno Chara||Charlie McAvoy|
|Torey Krug||Brandon Carlo|
|Matt Grzelcyk||Connor Clifton|
Scratch: Steven Kampfer
Injured: John Moore, Kevan Miller, Joakim Nordstrom
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