To deal with the injuries, the Bruins already called up a few players from Providence. Paul Carey made his season debut against Washington, and he joins Trent Frederic and Urho Vaakanainen as the recent recalls.
Studnicka had a strong training camp, and he looked like a regular NHLer at times. However, Boston sent him to Providence to continue his development, and he looked set for a big year.
Even with these high expectations, it took some time for Studnicka to find his game in the AHL. He didn’t play poorly by any means, but the production wasn’t there.
Eventually, Studnicka did get things going, and he’s been one of Providence’s best forwards over the past few weeks. Now, after 18 games, Studnicka finds himself with six goals and seven assists for 13 total points.
In the last five games alone, Studnicka had three goals and two assists. He had a goal and an assist Friday night for Providence, and then he scored in the shootout.
Studnicka followed up that performance with another goal on Saturday.
Studnicka clearly has heated up at the right time for Providence, especially with so many players out of the lineup and in Boston. That said, as great as Studnicka looks right now, the Bruins need to keep him down in Providence for the full season.
The main reason why Studnicka needs to stay in Providence is his lack of professional experience. Studnicka joined Providence in the middle of last season, so he only played five regular season and four playoff games. This year, he only has 18 games under his belt.
That means Studnicka only played 27 professional games so far, barely over a quarter of a full season. For him to really be ready for the NHL, he needs at least a full season.
This is the strategy Boston used with Jake DeBrusk a few years ago. DeBrusk played the entire 2016-2017 season in Providence, even though he looked deserving of a call-up towards the end of the year.
The full year in the AHL paid off for DeBrusk, as he scored 16 and then 27 goals in his first two NHL seasons.
The Bruins need to ensure Studnicka gets the same time to develop that DeBrusk did. Every player develops at a different rate, but Boston must be careful not to rush Studnicka.
Plus, we have to consider that Studnicka plays center, which tends to be a more difficult position for a young player. Centers have a lot more defensive responsibilities than wings, so experience is more important.
The Bruins continue to deal with adversity with the NHL club because of injuries. However, they cannot sacrifice too much of the future to help the present. Studnicka looks like he’ll be an important piece in Boston, but not yet. He needs to stay the full year in Providence.