With the Boston Bruins making their final cuts a name stands out that has all of Bruins social media talking. That name is Anders Bjork with an honorable mention to Peter Cehlarik.
Bjork has made the Bruins out of camp before but the past two seasons succumbed to injuries. In two years with the Bruins, he has played a total of 50 games and tallied 15 points. In those same two seasons, he has also played 22 games for the Providence Bruins and tallied 14 points.
You can Google Bjork’s name, and you will find countless articles saying that the Bruins need to move David Pastrnak to the second line and that Bjork is the answer. Many said during the preseason that Bjork stood out above all, but I did see some that said Oskar Steen, both were sent down to Providence. Every season it seems we all get hyped about who is going to make this Bruins roster and Bjork’s name is at the top of the list the last three years.
The game is changing, and speed is the asset players need to excel in today’s National Hockey League. Bjork has that, but I wouldn’t say he is the fastest skater on the team and sometimes takes a bit to get going. Bjork plays a two-way game with scoring acumen but hasn’t been able to translate to the NHL consistently. Bruce Cassidy earlier in camp this year said “What we all want to see is him play some games consecutively and get confidence, get back to being a productive player. I don’t know if he’ll be able to do that here right away.”
Karson Kuhlman, on the other hand, was given an opportunity last season to step into the lineup and made the Bruins out of camp this year. Kuhlman played 11 games at the end of the season and tallied five points. He played in eight playoff games and tallied three points. Kuhlman has quick feet, active in the corners, and has a scoring touch. Kuhlman earned his spot with his strong play in during the Bruins playoffs last season. Cassidy trusted him enough to start him in game six and seven of the Stanley Cup Finals over a veteran in David Backes.
It’s not to say that Bjork has lost his chance to make the Bruins and quite the opposite. Bjork hasn’t played enough hockey in the last two years period. If he were to make the Bruins out of camp this season, he would have slotted in on the third line with Charlie Coyle and Danton Heinen. By starting in Providence this season he will play top-six minutes along with powerplay and hopefully penalty kill. It will allow him to do what Bruce suggested earlier in camp, and play consecutive games and gain his confidence back.
Every Bruins draft pick on the team’s current roster honed their skills with Providence before becoming a regular with the big club. Maybe playing in Providence is precisely what Bjork needs to be that guy that most think he is. You can make the argument that he provides more scoring and speed than the likes of David Backes and Brett Ritchie. I can’t say that isn’t true, but I do feel that what is best for Anders Bjork is to develop in Providence and come back up and show us all he is the player that most think he is.