The Boston Bruins have sent several players to Providence over the last couple of days and the starting lineup is almost completed.
As it stands now, here is the projected opening night roster:
Troy Grosenick is still at Bruins camp, but he is not going to supplant Swayman or Ullmark in the crease and will eventually be placed on the waiver wire.
The Bruins like to carry eight defensemen and after the starting six, John Moore, Jakub Zboril and Urho Vaakanainen remain at camp. Vaakanainen is the only one that does not require waivers and for that reason is the likeliest candidate to head to Providence so that the Bruins can maintain some depth when the inevitable injury bug hits.
Up front is where General Manager Don Sweeney and Head Coach Bruce Cassidy have the toughest decision to make. Still participating at camp are: Jack Studnicka, Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman and Chris Wagner with Studnicka being the only one that does not require waivers. The one that sticks with the big club will likely be the 13th forward. But if the Bruins do keep 8 defensemen, then three of the four have to go to Providence.
Studnicka has done everything possible to show that he belongs in the NHL but Cassidy has hinted that for Captain Jack, it has to be in the top-9. He has outplayed the other three throughout camp. Some will argue that it’s better to play top minutes in the AHL than to be a healthy scratch waiting for an injury to get on the ice. Others will argue that being around the NHL club watching and learning is also good for his development.
The vast majority of fans do not want to think about the business side of the game. Unfortunatley, when these decisions need to be made, it plays a huge role. As stated earlier, Studnicka is the only one of the four that does not need waivers where the other three will require passing through waivers. It’s quite possible you could lose one, two or three of them (highly unlikely) but it is a conversation management has to have. And what happens to the team’s depth?
Studnicka could go to Providence and be the first player called up in the event of an injury. The 13th forward doesn’t automatically go into the lineup. But when the Bruins signed Erik Haula, Nick Foligno, Thomas Nosek and extended Taylor Hall, the lineup was pretty much written.
Studnicka just made them think long and hard.