Anders Bjork Quietly Playing Well For the Bruins

Boston Bruins, Anders Bjork #10 (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Boston Bruins, Anders Bjork #10 (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Early in his career with the Boston Bruins, Anders Bjork has had his up and downs, like everyone else. His downs tend to be more noticeable and it even got him some healthy scratches this season.

The Bruins have the top-ranked penalty-killing unit in the NHL, thanks in large part to Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. However, they can’t do it alone. Sean Kuraly has been out the last two weeks on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols list, which takes away a penalty killer behind Bergeron and Marchand.

To add insult to injury, Marchand was placed on the protocols list last weekend and missed both games at the TD Garden, taking away one of the Bruins’ top penalty-killing forward. Boston’s PK did not skip a beat in Marchand’s absence because of the play of Bjork.

The Bruins’ bottom-six forward has not only excelled in killing penalties, but he has been using his speed to create scoring chances for himself and his linemates. Pucks aren’t going into the net as much as the Bruins would like, but Bjork’s play has been more promising than it was at the beginning of the season.

Bjork has been better on puck battles and brought a chip on his shoulder to his game. Is he becoming a difference-maker? No, I’m not saying that, but using his speed to his advantage, being tougher on puck battles, and creating some scoring chances have helped him become a better player as of late.

In Tuesday night’s 5-4 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils, Bjork was second on the team in terms of penalty-killing minutes with 2:08, behind Charlie Coyle and his 3:13 time-on-ice shorthanded. He also used his speed to be disruptive and had five takeaways.

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Bjork signed a three-year, $4.8 million deal last July that carries an annual cap hit of $1.6 million. His recent play of late is a good sign for the Bruins’ bottom-six forwards and his play could also be a good thing for general manager Don Sweeney, who might be able to use him as a trade piece before the April 12 deadline.