The Boston Bruins‘ expected lineup for their final preseason game against the Washington Capitals has one notable omission from it – center Jack Studnicka. The Bruins are playing what could be their opening night roster, excluding goaltender Troy Grosenick. Jeremy Swayman of course will be dressed instead of him for the B’s October 16th tilt against the Dallas Stars.
Heading into the preseason, it was going to be hard for Studnicka to make the Bruins’ final roster. Although the team lost David Krejci over the summer, they also signed Erik Haula and Tomas Nosek. Furthermore, before training camp, head coach Bruce Cassidy stated that Charlie Coyle would be given the chance to be the Bruins’ second line center. The Bruins also already had players like Chris Wagner and Curtis Lazar fighting for spots in the bottom-six. However, even with all of this, Studnicka did everything he was asked for this preseason and has made a case for himself to stay.
Studnicka once again was noticeable last game against the Philadelphia Flyers, as he was the lone Bruin to score a goal. In the three other games he played, he also scored a goal and had two assists. Thus, in the four preseason games, he scored two goals and had two assists. Although some of his opponents were prospects and AHLers, he does deserve praise for his consistency. In fact, he couldn’t have done much better.
Yet, even with all of this, it’s hard to determine where he can fit into the Bruins’ lineup at this juncture. One could argue that the Bruins could elect to scratch Trent Frederic and move Nosek to left wing on the fourth line. However, would it be beneficial for Studnicka’s development to give him limited minutes in that role? Keep in mind, Nosek was signed with the idea of being a center for the Bruins, too.
It’s also difficult to envision the Bruins being open to move Haula down to the fourth line, either. He’s played quite well on the the third line with Jake DeBrusk and Nick Foligno on his wings. Furthermore, he’s more of an offensively-driven center, so it would not be beneficial for him to play fourth line minutes. He is capable of playing left wing, but moving DeBrusk to the fourth line in response to a position change would make a bounce back campaign far more challenging. It also wouldn’t mesh well with DeBrusk’s style of play.
If Coyle ends up not feeling 100% for the start of the season, Studnicka will be the player to take on the 2C role. We will have to wait and see how tonight goes against the Capitals. However, Cassidy also has noted that a final decision has not been determined about where Studnicka will start the season, either. Therefore, hope is not lost for him to stick around in Boston.
Nonetheless, if tonight’s lineup against the Capitals is what fans will be seeing opening night, have no fear. Studnicka has left the Bruins with a lot to think about, and he will surely be back if he begins the season in Providence. However, that is not set in stone. The kid has done everything he could to stay in Boston and we will have to see if that indeed occurs.