Who are these guys? Meet the newest Bruins
The Bruins have had a number of young, inexperienced players step up for the droves of regulars who've gone down with injuries over the last few weeks. It will be tested even more greatly in the wake of both Zdeno Chara (left MCL injury) and Patrice Bergeron (rib/chest injury) being out for the next month. The B’s will need a combination of their young players continuing to be “the next man up” for the foreseeable future, and they’ll also need some of the walking wounded to return as reinforcements for a group a little low on talent right now.
Here’s a look at some of the unknowns that have stepped up when given the opportunity due to injuries:
The 21-year-old defenseman has topped 23 minutes in each of the last two games and been over 20 minutes in each of the last three games as one of the few big, physical defensemen still healthy enough to play. He’s only been a minus player in one of the three games, and was really solid against both Dallas and Arizona. Lauzon isn’t going to dazzle anybody with his offensive skills or his functional puck-moving ability, but the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder will battle and grind in the defensive zone with size, strength and competitiveness. He may wind up being the biggest beneficiary of the spate of injuries if he ends up sticking at the NHL level.
JAKOB FORSBACKA KARLSSON
The 22-year-old Forsbacka Karlsson was called up to be the third-line center in order to shift David Backes back to the wing, but there’s no doubt JFK will take on some greater responsibilities with Patrice Bergeron out of the lineup. JFK has shown offensive skill in both the playmaking and goal-scoring departments, and is probably the center most suited to stepping up offensively after Bergeron went down as the team’s leading scorer with seven goals and 26 points in 19 games.
The former Quinnipiac University defenseman was an unanticipated call-up given the mass wave of injuries that hit the Bruins, but he’s actually looked very good jumping from the AHL to the NHL. He’s a plus-1 that’s averaged 19:28 of ice time in his two games, dropped the gloves with Jason Spezza in the OT loss against the Stars and has managed to limit his mistakes to a couple of delay of game penalties for flipping the puck over the boards. Once again he’s a solid, no-frills D-man that’s been able to play a simple game for the Bruins since being recalled.
The 2015 first-round pick has taken a little bit longer to get to the NHL level than anticipated, and has been okay with the Bruins coaching staff not giving him too much slack to make any mistakes. The 21-year-old has averaged 10:56 of ice time in his two games since being recalled, but hasn’t been given too much of a chance to show off the puck-moving and offensive abilities that made him a first-round selection. It remains to be seen if he’ll get that chance, but the good thing is he’s been able to keep his mistakes to a minimum.
Arguably the best player on Providence’s roster this season, Cave had 6 goals and 18 points in 15 games for the P-Bruins while playing in all situations. He hasn’t gotten into a game with Boston yet after being recalled following the news on Bergeron, but it’s anticipated that he’ll be pushed into one of the center spots once things get settled down. Cave played three pretty event-free games for the Bruins last season in his first taste of NHL action, but the B’s could certainly use more of an impact this time around from the 23-year-old.