I thought I would try this out and see where it takes us. If the questions keep coming regularly and there is interest, I will continue on with this. You can ask questions about the Bruins, their prospects, the cap, anything Bruins related. Twitter lovers can hit me up with questions there, if you are a fan of HF Boards you can send me a DM there or you can email me at email@example.com
Andrew on Twitter asks:
Question – Is there anyone on an AHL-only deal for the B’s right now that you could see turning it into a two-way deal a la Brady Lyle?
Answer – Along with Lyle, you can add Samuel Asselin who went from an AHL contract to an NHL contract with the Bruins after signing him to a two-year, two-way contract on July 28, 2021. The Bruins currently have several players on AHL deals, but most of them are there to fill out the Providence roster. But there are two that may have a shot at an NHL deal: Eduards Tralmaks and Alex-Olivier Voyer. Tralmaks is 24 years of age so his time is coming up. It may have to be after this season or not at all. Voyer signed his AHL deal at the same time as Lyle did back in 2020 and is 22 years of age therefore more likely. After acquiring the rights to J D Greenway from the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins signed him to a two-year, two-way contract this summer. He’s skating for the Maine Mariners of the ECHL after returning from injury so he’s a little further away. But it all depends on how his development goes. Too early to tell.
Maria via email asks:
Question – Do you see any of the Bruins prospects playing in college signing after their season is over?
Answer – Let me start with Jack Becker. He is in his fifth and final season in the NCAA and his college career is over. The Bruins hold his rights until August 23, 2022 but the question is “will the Bruins sign him or let him go as a free agent?” Then there is John Beecher. There were reports that he was ready to sign last season but then shoulder surgery ended his season – and the pandemic didn’t help either. I believe he signs as soon as Michigan’s season is over (don’t expect it to be early). The question is “will it be on an AHL contract to finish out the season with Providence or will it be an NHL contract that allows him to burn a year off his entry level contract?” I believe it will be an AHL deal similar to Charlie McAvoy once his college season was over. Mason Lohrei could be a long shot depending on how his season goes. He will have to have a somewhat exceptional season in the NCAA to earn his way up. He started the year just fine with a goal and 3 helpers in 5 games, but I worry about his defensive game. Time in Providence could bode well for him.
What you should be keeping an eye on is College free agents once their season is over. It’s expected the Bruins will be major players here with a couple of players they will target. Parker Ford, who was a development camp invite is probably at the top of the list but there will be several NHL teams after his services. Never underestimate the Pittsburgh Penguins or San Jose Sharks who do very well in attracting College free agents.
Pauly Walnuts on Twitter asks:
Question – Would love to discuss the use of Charlie Coyle. I have strong feelings on the matter.
Answer – This is more of a response than an answer because it wasn’t really a question. But it is a hot and somewhat controversial topic among Bruins fans, but I won’t shy away from it. The fact is that Coyle has looked fine there early centering Taylor Hall and Craig Smith, the latter as you know fighting through an injury. Yes, Jack Studnicka has looked good centering the second line but that was between Hall and Coyle due to Smith missing the last couple of games with his injury. I’m not going to base a Hall-Studnicka-Smith combination based on preseason games, because they are what they are – preseason. In my opinion (and probably the Bruins as well) you need to give Hall-Coyle-Smith more time to assess where the team is at. If it falters, you can try Studnicka and see what happens or go looking for an upgrade. The Bruins have the cap space and the assets to make it happen.
Andrew via email asks:
Question – What do you make of the Jake DeBrusk resurgence?
Answer – Are you the same Andrew that asked a question on Twitter? No matter, it’s a great question. I have three words for you: I’m not surprised. I actually wrote about it here before the season began and the bromance between DeBrusk and Nick Foligno became news. As I wrote then Foligno and new Assistant Coach Chris Kelly would have nothing less than an immediate impact on DeBrusk and that impact is evident. I see no reason why that won’t continue. Foligno and Kelly are both terrific leaders and they know how to deal with situations. The minute DeBrusk slips (if he does), they will pick him back up. I think this will be a terrific bounce back season for JDB.
G-Rant on Twitter:
Question – Cameron Hughes projection? Swayman to Providence mid season – Rask back?
Answer – I’ll start with the last question first. IF Tuukka Rask returns, the only choice (from a hockey op stand point) is that Jeremy Swayman returns to Providence. Linus Ullmark has a full no-movement clause so it is impossible to send him to Providence. To carry three goalies would mean that the Bruins would have to waive a forward or a defenseman to make room on the 23-man roster for Rask (assuming a healthy roster) and they are not going to do that. I know fans complain about the NMC, but to get him to sign, the Bruins had to put that on the table in just such a case. And it gives Ullmark some control if the Bruins decide to trade him. The clause does not hinder the Bruins. As for Cameron Hughes, he is a high-end skater with superb playmaking abilities and has the smarts and vision to go along with it. Unfortunately for Hughes, injuries and the pandemic have derailed his development and we’re going to need to see a solid full season in Providence to see where he is at. I think at best he can carve out a career as a fourth line pivot and at worst he has a journeyman type career making a few pit stops along the way.
Mark Allred on Twitter asks:
Question – Dom, what are your thoughts about Jack Studnicka who I know you’re very familiar with getting second line opportunities but barely hitting the ten-minute mark of action? He’s not playing bad but I think a promotion like that would garner increased trust minute-wise.
Answer – Great question Mark (by the way, if you don’t follow Mark, you should be). Many things play into it Mark. First and foremost is game situation. We saw Coach Cassidy use David Pastrnak on the right side between Coyle and Hall trying to find a goal when they were down to Carolina. In that situation when needing a goal, give me Hall-Coyle-Pastrnak over Hall-Studnicka-Coyle 100 times out of 100. It didn’t work obviously, but it was the right coaching decision and that negatively impacts Studnicka’s ice time. Secondly, without home ice advantage the coaching staff couldn’t get the matchups they wanted and they may have seen something that was working against them so they decided to make switches here and there. Finally, in the game against Florida on Wednesday, we saw Studnicka take a hit and went to the bench a little gingerly. Without a suitable replacement, maybe he’s fighting through something but can’t go 100% so they are picking their spots with him. I have followed Studnicka since the 2014-2015 season in the Under-16’s. There is no doubt in my mind he can play in the NHL. He and the Bruins have taken the patient approach and I think they will continue to do so. It’s what’s best for both he and the team.
GeeWally on Twitter asks:
Question – If the anemic offense continues any chance of seeing Lysell sooner than later?
Bacisitpretty on Twitter asks:
Question –The scoring is a concern. How long before we see some call ups? Lauko? Froden? Hughes? Achan?
Answer – Combining these two questions because they are very similar. Beginning with Fabian Lysell, I will refer you to the NHL/CHL agreement:
As for any other callups, no one in Providence is exactly lighting the lamp down there either – at least until this past weekend. Their offense was as anemic as Boston’s at the moment and I don’t think the answer is there as of right now. Injuries of course will play a role, but no one there is solving the offensive issues. As for Jack Ahcan, there’s going to have to be an injury on the blueline before we see him. The Bruins would need to send someone to Providence to open up a roster spot for him on the 23-man roster (without an injury happening) and they don’t have a defenseman that is waiver exempt to send to Providence to do so.
Thanks to everyone for submitting your questions. Let’s do this again next week.
Follow me on Twitter @dominictiano