BRIGHTON, Mass – After both new acquisitions Rick Nash and Tommy Wingels gave the Bruins an injection of life and energy on Tuesday night, it looks like the B’s will see if fellow trade deadline target Nick Holden can do the same Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy hinted that Holden will finally make his Bruins debut against the reigning back-to-back Cup champs after first meeting up with the team a week ago in Toronto prior to last weekend’s back-to-back losses. So that means the 30-year-old Holden, who the Bruins gave up D-man prospect Rob O’Gara and a third round pick for, has watched for three straight games while waiting for his chance to show what he can do.
“He’s trending to more probable [to play] than maybe yesterday,” said Cassidy of Holden.
- MORE BRUINS: Heinen up against the rookie wall
It’s been a bit of an odd situation for Holden, who has been a top-4 NHL defenseman for most of the last handful of seasons with the Colorado Avalanche and New York Rangers prior to arriving in Boston. Certainly, he was well aware that he was entering a situation where the Bruins had been rolling for three established defensemen pairings over the last three months, and those groups had them ranked No. 1 in the NHL in defense for a good, long stretch.
But some of the young Bruins defensemen are coming back to Earth a bit lately as the schedule gets a little heavier, and that slippage has knocked them out of the NHL’s top spot for their defense. With all that being said and with the Penguins coming to town on Thursday, it sounds like Holden will finally get his first crack with the Black and Gold.
And it sounds like Holden isn’t going to be holding anything back as he wants to stick in the lineup once he wedges his way in there.
- MORE BRUINS: They've got the moves
“Joining the team last week and not being able to get in, I’m chomping at the bit to play. I’m hopeful that I get [the call] on Thursday,” said Holden, who had three goals and 12 points in 55 games this season along with a minus-3 for the Rangers. “Everybody wants to play. Coming into this team I knew we had really good depth and I was going to be sitting at first.
“Once you got in you need to make sure that you’re playing well, and then hopefully you don’t come out. They went out and traded for me, and obviously what happened to them last year in the playoffs was a big factor in going out and getting a ‘D.’ For me I’d just like to play and get used to the system because it’s different than what I’ve played before. The last little piece [of being on a new team] is actually getting on the ice and playing, and sweating with them a little bit. Hopefully [Thursday] is that day.”
- MORE BRUINS: Tough break, tougher player
It looks like it will be that day for Holden, and the only slight uncertainty is which player might be coming out of the Bruins lineup. The most logical would be rookie Matt Grzelcyk in favor of the bigger, veteran player in Holden, but there are other candidates whether it’s Torey Krug (minus-2 in his last four games with just a couple of assists) or Brandon Carlo, who has been on the ice for six goals against in his last two games and was a minus-5 on Boston’s just-concluded road trip that ended with a healthy scratch in Buffalo.
It might not be all that encouraging of a sign that there’s more than one candidate to sit right now in favor of the new guy, and that’s more than likely part of the reason why Holden is finally going to get to show what he can do.