Boston Bruins May Look To Call Up Frank Vatrano
With the National Hockey League’s trade deadline a week away, much speculation swirls around the hockey world as to who will be buyers and who will be sellers. In the northeast, fans of the Boston Bruins are used to such chatter, and the majority of it involves Loui Eriksson, currently producing at a pace that will be his best season yet in three as a Bruin.
The primary reason the 30 year old Swede may be dealt has nothing to do with his 21 goals and 25 assists, or his durability, but due to the fact the he will be an unrestricted free agent as season’s end, and the Bruins are unlikely to give him a substantial raise over his current salary of $4,250,000.
If Don Sweeney does plan on moving Eriksson, his value is only rising with his recent play. He has six goals and one assist in his last eight games played, and that includes a career-high four game goal streak from February 11th through the 16th. He is amongst the club leaders in plus/minus (+11) as well as power-play goals (8) and game-winning goals (5.) He is also the only member of the Bruins to have played in all 59 games so far.
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The Bruins covet a right-handed shooting defenseman, but so do many other teams in the NHL. If Eriksson is moved for prospects and/or draft picks, that opens up a slot on the forward lines, and one likely candidate to get the call up is Frank Vatrano.
Since being shipped down Route 95 South last month, Vatrano has been on fire. In twelve games for the Providence Bruins, the East Longmeadow native has put up a point in every one of those games, amassing 13 goals and nine assists. Keep in mind that in his first nine games this season with the Baby B’s, he scored 10 goals with 2 assists.
Despite playing in well less than half of the Providence Bruins games, he leads the team in goals with 23, and is fourth overall in team scoring with 34 points. He is the team leader with 1.55 points per game, as well as the leading goal scorer on the power play, with 11 so far. Amazingly, he is within two goals of being the leading goal scorer in the entire American Hockey League. The parent club wanted him to work on his consistency when sent back down. He has proven he can consistently put up points in the AHL. He might soon see an opportunity to try to do so in the NHL at some point soon.