In this edition of Bruins’ News & Rumors, Anders Bjork has signed a three-year contract extension, Charlie Coyle has been named the winner of NESN’s 7th Player Award for the 2019-20 season and the Bruins expect Ondrej Kase to join them soon.
Bjork Signs Contract Extension
The Bruins took care of some housekeeping Wednesday when they’d sign Bjork to a three-year contract extension worth $4.8 million. This contract will carry a cap hit of $1.6 million for the next three seasons.
Bjork played in 58 games for the Bruins in 2019-20 and would set career-highs with nine goals, 10 assists, 19 points and 12:56 of average ice time.
In Bjork, the Bruins have a player with legitimate top-six potential who has played very effectively in a third-line role for the team thus far. While the goal for the team is likely to have Bjork elevate his game to the point where he gets to consistently skate in a top-six role, they were able to lock him up on a very team-friendly contract that doesn’t restrict where he has to play.
For now, Bjork has shined alongside Coyle on the Bruins’ third line and that duo probably isn’t going to be separated once the 2020 postseason begins. It just makes sense to keep things as consistent as possible when the Bruins finally restart their season as they’ve had basically a full offseason worth of time in between the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason.
Bjork was set to be a restricted free agent in the offseason but now he’ll get to play with certainty during the playoffs.
Coyle Wins Bruins 7th Player Award
For the second consecutive season, a Massachusetts-native has won NESN’s 7th Player Award. Charlie Coyle would be the 2020 recipient of the award, given annually to the “Bruins’ player who exceeds expectation and goes above and beyond the call of duty.”
Last season, the award was won by Chris Wagner, while other past-winners include Charlie McAvoy, David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Tuukka Rask, David Krejci and others.
This isn’t surprising given how well Coyle played for the Bruins. It hasn’t been easy for Boston-natives to play for the Bruins as there have been many instances of that failing in the past. For Coyle, though, the pressure never seemed to get to him.
Instead, Coyle stepped up and, as the award would suggest, exceeded expectations for the Bruins.
Though he’d have a relatively slow start for the team after being traded for Ryan Donato at the 2019 Trade Deadline, Coyle would step up in the postseason, scoring nine goals and 16 points in 24 playoff games. He wouldn’t miss a beat as he’d score 16 goals and 37 points in 70 games this past season for the Bruins while alternating between third-line center and top-six winger duties.
Coyle’s performance would earn him a contract extension to remain in Boston for the long-haul which could be a good thing for both he and Bjork given the chemistry they’ve displayed alongside each other.
Kase Return Update
While the Bruins have finally gotten clarity on David Pastrnak with the 24-year-old’s return to the team, they’re still missing it on their big 2020 Trade Deadline addition in Kase.
Kase has yet to travel to Toronto with the team and it’s unclear when he’ll get the chance to join the team to practice and actually play in the postseason.
Despite the uncertainty, though, general manager Don Sweeney would update the media Wednesday by saying “we do expect him to join us in short order.”
For the Bruins, this is good news as Kase was expected to slot into the team’s top-six and fill a hole for the team both in the short and long-term. It’s been a disappointing start to his tenure in Boston thus far given that he was only able to play in six games prior to the season pausing and now this ordeal taking place. Still, if he can come back and play in the middle-six for the postseason, he could be very helpful for the Bruins down the stretch.
There’s also the possibility that he’ll have to earn his job back and that this summer may already be a lost one for him. It’s probably too soon to say that right now, but it’s a legitimate conversation that can be had with arguments on both sides making a lot of sense.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for seven years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.