Boston Bruins: How the injuries to Spooner and McQuaid affect the lineup

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 15: Riley Nash (2nd L)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 15: Riley Nash (2nd L) /

After the last game against the Vegas Golden Knights, the frustrating loss for the Boston Bruins wasn’t the only negative to follow the team out of Sin City.

Boston Bruins’ center Ryan Spooner and defenseman Adam McQuaid both left the game in Vegas on Sunday night with injuries and did not return.  Coupled with the fact the team is already without David Backes and Patrice Bergeron, the last thing the Bruins could afford was more injuries.

Now, McQuaid and Spooner are not necessarily as important to the team’s success as Bergeron and Backes.  However, with those already two out, and looking generally, vets like McQuaid and Spooner are still important parts to this team if they want to build off the success from last year.

Replacing McQuaid is a little bit easier task than replacing Spooner, because the team has at least 3 solid options to fill in for him on the 3rd defense pairing.  Replacing Spooner, however, is a much more difficult decision to make.

The Bruins just don’t have the center depth with NHL experience to replace him, especially without Bergeron in the lineup.  They already have Riley Nash centering the 1st line, and then Spooner goes down as well.  What are they to do with that sort of luck?

Luckily it seems that Bergeron and Backes have started practicing again.  But, I’m here to run down a few options for each injury, and which options I believe would work best if Spooner and McQuaid have to miss time.

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Replacing Darth Quaider

Paul Postma

The Postman is probably Cassidy’s first choice to fill in for McQuaid.  The former Winnipeg Jet defenseman signed with the Bruins this offseason and was presumably brought here for a reason just like this.  He has NHL experience, and could plug into the 6th defenseman role and play reasonably well for a player of his quality.  He is likely the preferred option to fill in for McQuaid, but I believe the best choice is down playing in Providence.  That would be….

Rob O’Gara

Boston Bruins

The former Yale product is who I would pick to slot in for McQuaid.  In the brief time he was in Boston last season he played well.  Ultimately he was sent down when other players came back from injuries and he spent most of the year down in the AHL.  Personally, I think he kind of gets forgotten about, considering all the hype around other top defensemen prospects Charlie Mcavoy and Brandon Carlo.

No, I don’t think he is as good as those two, but he can be a serviceable bottom pairing player, with some upside.  I know it has looked pretty rough recently, but if the team is serious about playing the kids and going young, O’Gara is the choice here.

Matt Grzelcyk

Grzelcyk is an interesting choice because he is almost a complete opposite of McQuaid.  He is a smaller, PP specialist that is like a carbon copy of Torey Krug.  I don’t think he’ll be the choice just because his game is quite different than McQuaid’s, but he was up in Boston already this year, and could be another option to be used on the struggling PP.

Replacing Spoons

Kenny Agostino

Another Yale product, last year’s AHL MVP signed here in the summer, and played decently this preseason.  He didn’t make the opening roster, but it might be time he is brought up to the parent club.  They could see if his talents translate to the NHL, and if they do, the Bruins could certainly use the boost.

The only problem with Agostino, is he is a winger, not a center, which is what the team really needs at this point.  They still could promote him and instead of “replacing” Spooner, he comes in for another struggling forward, Frank Vatrano.  But for Spooner’s vacancy, the spot should belong to…..

Austin Czarnik

Boston Bruins
DETROIT, MI – JANUARY 18: Austin Czarnik /

Czarnik has already been on the NHL roster, and this injury opens up a roster spot for him to grab.  Before the injury, he was swapping in and out with Vatrano, and now that Spooner is hurt, it is a good time to see if Czarnik can cut it with the team.  Also, he is a natural center and can slot in as the 3rd line center.  He is the best option the team has in my opinion.  This is also assuming that he is available, given that he and Danton Heinen were sent to Providence today.

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson

“JFK” is a wild card option for Cassidy, because of his talents he showed off at BU.  I don’t think he’ll be called up right now, but to me it is worth a mention because he is looked at as a future player for this team.  Because of injury, that time might be now.  But to me the best course of action is to keep JFK in the minors for a full season and try him out next season.

Next: Bruins Week 2 roundup

Heading into Thursday’s clash with Vancouver, Bruce Cassidy has many options to work with.  Let’s just hope with whatever he decides, it works, because this team needs help and these choices are the tip of the iceberg that could help turn the season around.