Ryan Spooner: The Most Improved Player On The Boston Bruins.


In the early parts of the season, it was clear that Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien had no love for center Ryan Spooner. It didn’t matter that Spooner was what the Bruins really needed at a time where they were crippled by injuries. His playmaking and offensive abilities weren’t fitting in to the Julien system.  So, when the Bruins starting seeing healthy players started returning, it was a quick trip back to Providence for the twenty-three year old Ottawa native.

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There had been conversations that Spooner was one of those players to be parceled off at the trade deadline. The B’s were looking for a solid right-wing, right-handed shooter. (They were also looking for a defenseman after Peter Chiarelli gave up Johnny Boychuk for draft picks.) Chiarelli had tried shopping Spooner around last season without success, and it appeared that he wasn’t having much luck with a trade this season.

Without much support from Julien, and doubt starting to creep in, it looked like Spooner would either be stuck in the AHL or have to leave the Bruins organization.

“He’s definitely gotten to be a better player. First few times he came here, all [his] shots were from perimeters, and he had some assists — no goals. Right now, he’s certainly been a lot more productive.”  Bruins head coach Claude Julien on Ryan Spooner’s recent progress

Then the hockey gods intervened. David Krejci went down with a partially torn MCL in a game against the St. Louis Blues. With his recovery time slated at between 4-6 weeks, the Bruins needed a dependable center to fill-in for the short term. With the limited talent pool available, the Bruins organization chose to give Spooner another chance.  Claude Julien decided to give him an opportunity to play with fellow P-Bruins call up David Pastrnak and struggling veteran Milan Lucic.

He took that opportunity and ran with it.

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  • Ryan Spooner has played in twenty-one games for Boston since his last call up. He’s had a solid turnaround in his playing style and his numbers have been impressive.  The Bruins new second-line center has put up eighteen points(eight goals) in that time period.  He’s gone from a player that Julien felt reluctant to even play, to a player that Julien has on the B’s first power play unit. When Krejci returned to the line up, the Bruins chose to keep the hot second line together.

    “That line’s been our most productive line in the month of March,” said Julien of the Spooner line last week. “There’s no doubt that you’re not moving a guy like [Spooner] out of your lineup because of what he’s done, and what his line has done.”

    Spooner will be a restricted free-agent at the end of the season. He’s earned a bump in pay, and now it’s up to the organization to see that he gets one. This will mean that the Bruins will have to move someone (perhaps part of the impetus for the B’s to ‘trade away’ Marc Savard to alleviate their salary cap problems), or let someone go.  Depending on the cap hit Spooner’s new contract will bring, it could be the end of the Merlot Line or perhaps Carl Soderberg.

    With just three games to go, and a playoff position not yet locked in, the Bruins will need all of Spooner’s offensive production to help the B’s make their eighth straight trip to the post-season.

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