Boston Bruins forward Drew Stafford will play his first game for the Black and Gold on Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils. He’s in…but who will be out?
Boston Bruins forward Drew Stafford came over from the Winnipeg Jets at the trade deadline. He’s had a bit of a disappointing season this year. In 40 games, the 31-year old Stafford has only put up 13 points for the Winnipeg Jets. The former first-round pick (2004, Buffalo Sabres, 13th overall) is looking forward to playing with his new team, and hoping for a chance to put in a few more points this year.
“I think I’ll just rely on my experience playing a few games in the league and I’ve played against these guys a few times over the years, so that familiarity should help out,” said Stafford about playing with the Black and Gold for the first time. It shouldn’t take too long to get right in there. It was good to at least get on the ice with some of the guys a little bit this morning and get things going.”
Fun little fact: Drew Stafford will be attempting to exorcise the ghosts of parties past by wearing number 19, the jersey number made famous (or infamous) by now Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin.
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Stafford was acquired for a conditional sixth-round pick next year. That pick could increase to the fifth or even fourth-round depending on how far the Bruins get through the postseason. The odds of the Bruins making the playoffs are currently at 71.2%. Hopefully, the B’s will continue to progress under interim head coach Bruce Cassidy and that number will become 100% in the next few weeks.
Cassidy has stated that Stafford will make his Bruins debut on Saturday night. The B’s will be taking on the struggling New Jersey Devils at the TD Garden. With Stafford likely ending up somewhere in the middle six for forwards, who ends up sitting out?
There are two main candidates for getting the healthy scratch tomorrow night.
The reasonable money should be on Jimmy Hayes. Bruins president Cam Neely stated on Thursday that Stafford would likely end on the third line. Ryan Spooner has been performing, as has Frank Vatrano. While Hayes has been playing some decent hockey of late, he hasn’t contributed much to the scoreboard personally.
But Stafford is the kind of player that is willing to do what it takes for his team. He’s not much of a fighter, but he’s willing to have a go to help his team.
Coach Cassidy might decide to move Stafford up a line as well. He could put him on the Krejci line. If that happens, we can expect Cassidy to go ’50 Shades of Claude’ on us and bench Peter Cehlarik. In the last five games, Cehlarik has put up five shots on goal, and has a -2 rating. It’s possible Clau….Cassidy might bench the young kid so he can get a different perspective from the ninth level.
Stafford has played both wings in his career. This gives Cassidy a few more options when sitting players in the bottom six. While the honest money should be on Hayes, he might surprise us with Cehlarik (or someone on the fourth line).
Hopefully, Stafford helps the team. He’s able to put in six or so goals by the end of the season and help the Bruins make the postseason. It’d be worth a fourth or fifth-round pick to see the B’s back in the playoffs.