Countdown to camp: Tyler Randell
Countdown to camp: Tyler Randell
From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2016-17 Bruins. Today: Tyler Randell.
One of the biggest surprises on last year’s Bruins team, Tyler Randell scored six goals in 27 games of spot duty on the fourth line while also willingly standing up for his teammates when the moment called for it. The 25-year-old Randell isn’t ever going to be much more than a fourth line winger/13th forward on an NHL team, but his combination of toughness and decent goal-scoring ability is something that could, and should, play for the Bruins.
What happened last year
Randell surprisingly made the Bruins out of training camp last season based on a very good preseason, and also on account of Boston’s fourth line that’s been in flux over the last couple of years. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Randell did everything he could with the small opportunities he was afforded by the Bruins, and finished with six goals in 27 games while finishing tied with Matt Beleskey and Adam McQuaid for second on the team with five fighting majors. The combination of fourth line offensive punch and strong, honest toughness was exactly the kind of thing that Zac Rinaldo didn’t do for Boston. He’ll be back in Boston this season, but Randell also showed last year that he could play for a lot of teams as a possible fourth line option.
Questions to be answered this season
The biggest question for Randell is whether he could handle taking a regular role on a fourth line. He showed last year that he could play at a high level in the spurts when he actually saw some game action, but never got to play consecutively for a long stretch of time. The Bruins like the toughness and the occasional offensive punch from Randell, and the fact that he employs that style while also playing a very honest game says a lot about the 25-year-old as a person. There are other players in front of him on the fourth line depth chart headed into training camp, but he outlasted many of those rated higher than him last season as well.
What they’re saying
“In the games he played in, he has been gritty. He defends his teammates. The thing with him is he’s got to keep up with the pace of the game on a nightly basis. He’s worked hard at trying to do that.” – Claude Julien on Randell, who plays the style of honest, hardnosed game that the Bruins coach surely appreciates.
Tyler Randell was a surprise last season, and a real pleasant story on a team that had as many disappointments as people that over-performed for the Black and Gold. The number of goals he was able to score in limited opportunities was borderline absurd for a player like that Randell with modest hockey skills, but the 25-year-old has also made a habit of really stepping up his game in clutch moments. It’s why Randell has been able to stand out in training camp situations, and why he was one of the last men standing on the NHL roster a year ago. Randell should make the NHL roster again this season barring anything unforeseen, and could continue to fill the role of tough guy, fighter and 13th forward also capable of scoring the occasional nice-looking goal. His mission will be to continue elevating his game to the point where he can be a regular skater on Boston’s fourth line rather than the occasional option.