BRIGHTON, Mass – Newly acquired center Tommy Wingels wasn’t present at the morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena, but he’ll be making his Bruins debut on Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes in part due to the Patrice Bergeron injury.
The Bruins franchise center is out at least two weeks with a fractured right foot sustained Saturday night in the loss to the Maple Leafs. The reason behind Boston’s trade for Wingels made a bit more sense after the news broke on Bergeron. Riley Nash will step up and bring his defensive-minded approach to centering Bergeron’s spot between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, and Wingels will center the third line between Danton Heinen and David Backes.
Wingels, who turns 30 in April, is expected to bring a rugged veteran presence capable of killing penalties, play a hard-nosed brand of hockey and give the Black and Gold a capable NHL veteran to step in when things like the Bergeron injury happen.
“Wingels has played more center than [Brian] Gionta, so we’ll start there. They’re both going to play here in time,” said Cassidy of Wingels, who had seven goals and 12 points in 57 games for the Blackhawks before coming over to Boston for a conditional fifth-round pick. “I try not to get specific when [Gionta] will go in. [Wingels] will play with Backes and Heinen with Backes maybe working in the middle at times. It will be more ‘by committee’ now with all of the pieces moving in at the deadline, and with Bergeron out. I’m not going to lie. [The Bergeron injury] creates a hole, but we’re going to use different guys in different roles to fill it.”
Here are the line combos and D-pairings with Brandon Carlo also getting reinserted back into the Bruins lineup after Sunday’s healthy scratch, and Tuukka Rask expected to get the starting nod against the Hurricanes at TD Garden: