The Boston Bruins have signed Anders Bjork to a three-year contract worth $4.8 million, the team announced Wednesday. This deal carries an annual cap hit of $1.6 million. Bjork was set to be a restricted free agent in the offseason.
The 23-year-old played in 58 games for the Bruins this season, a career-high, and followed that up with career-highs in goals (nine), assists (10) and points (19) while playing primarily on the team’s third line.
Taken in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Bjork made the best of his time at the University of Notre Dame as he’d improve in every major statistical category in all three of his seasons there. He’d finish his last season with 21 goals and 52 points in 39 games and looked to be an absolute steal for the Bruins at the position they drafted him.
Bjork would split the 2017-18 season, his first year under contract with the Bruins, between Boston and Providence. In 30 NHL games, he’d score four goals and 12 points and would look very good alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in the opportunities he was given.
He’d also play in nine AHL games that season, scoring two goals and four points.
He played in 13 AHL games and 20 NHL games last season, but unfortunately, Bjork would deal with injuries early on in his young career that derailed his progress any time he seemed to be getting any sort of steam. It seemingly crushed his confidence but he was able to bounce back nicely this season and earned himself a new contract.
Good Value for the Bruins
For the Bruins, this contract feels like it could be an absolute steal given the fact that he’s going to be 24 years old next season and has legitimate top-six potential.
Even if Bjork never reaches the potential he’s shown and remains as a middle-six player for them throughout his tenure with the team, the $1.6 million cap hit is more than reasonable for an effective third-line player.
For Bjork, this is the definition of a prove-it deal. He’s shown that he’s capable of playing and can produce when given the opportunity. If he can stay on track health-wise and continue on this trajectory, he should be in line for a healthy pay-raise when this contract expires.
This contract could also work wonders in putting Bjork’s mind at ease as he can focus solely on hockey now without anything distracting him. Given the fact that the Bruins haven’t played a meaningful game in months, this can only do good for him and for the team.
Bjork’s ability to play both on the left and right side should also mean something for the Bruins as his versatility can be used to shuffle lines around as necessary to get the most out of their lineup. That trait isn’t something that’s lost on a coaching staff as anything that can make their job easier has to be taken advantage of.