Bruins Made Right Call Trading Studnicka After Failed Development

When the Boston Bruins traded away Jack Studnicka on Oct. 27, 2022, the immediate reaction was (rightfully) sour. Studnicka was once a very promising prospect who appeared to be primed for a top-six role in the Bruins’ lineup one day given his skillset, willingness to compete and inherent leadership traits that were impossible to miss even from a young age. Instead, Studnicka, like many other young prospects who have been drafted during the Don Sweeney era in Boston, found himself on the outside looking in regarding an NHL roster spot, eventually resulting in his departure from the Bruins and to a new opportunity with the Vancouver Canucks.

Jack Studnicka Boston Bruins
Jack Studnicka was traded from the Boston Bruins to the Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It should be noted that there are a few players who have been drafted and developed during Sweeney’s tenure as the general manager, but the list is probably way too small given the fact that he’s been at the helm for seven seasons. Even more upsetting for some was the return that Sweeney got for Studnicka, though the return may not be as bad as some are making it out to be.

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At the end of the day, Studnicka was a player who was struggling to crack the lineup in Boston due to their superb depth at center; playing him on the wing has only gotten him so far and a change of scenery probably made the most sense for him at this point in his development.

“His initial onboarding was really good, his trajectory was really good,” said Sweeney when discussing Studnicka. “During the COVID year, it was disjointed for a lot of players and he just kind of got stalled for a little bit. Then it was up and down and opportunities in and out. It’s no fault of Jack’s, maybe more fault on ours, in terms of just being able to get him fully acclimated to the level that he had been playing at in the AHL and producing.”

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It’s difficult to say that Studnicka has been to blame for any of this situation and some credit is due to Sweeney for at least acknowledging that the fault should be placed more on the team. This doesn’t necessarily excuse the situation, but it’s also important to remember that drafting and developing is difficult and certainly isn’t a linear progression and this is especially true when the team is competing for the Stanley Cup every season. Still, this one was a disappointing outcome to say the least.

Bruins Acquiring DiPietro and Myrenberg Bolsters Goalie Depth, Addresses Defensive Need

Moving on from Studnicka and acquiring a goalie prospect in Michael DiPietro and a fifth-round draft pick from the 2021 NHL Draft in Jonathan Myrenberg may not have been the ideal return for the Bruins, but there was still some value to be had, especially in the latter. The Bruins’ goaltending depth at all levels appears to be solidified, creating somewhat of a question mark surrounding DiPietro’s place in the system, but adding a right-shot defender with size and offensive ability in Myrenberg was definitely a good move from a system-need standpoint.

When speaking about the DiPietro acquisition, Sweeney had the following to say.

“We’re going to work through that,” said Sweeney regarding whether DiPietro would report to Providence. “Organizational depth for us in that position is never a bad thing. The guys have done a really good job. Kyle [Keyser] is off to a good start, Keith [Kinkaid] has played well, [Brandon Bussi] has played well. So, we feel we have a lot of depth there now, but we have a couple of things in the works in terms of playing time regularly.”

Related: Meet Your New Bruins: Michael DiPietro & Jonathan Myrenberg

More interestingly, though, were the comments made surrounding Myrenberg.

“We’ve done a little bit of leg work there,” Sweeney said. “Guys, coincidentally, over the past little while have seen Myrenberg play a little bit. [P.J. Axelsson, European scouting coordinator for the Bruins] has a lot of familiarity with the player. He’s done a lot of the leg work over the past few days when these conversations started to pick up. We do feel that there is some upside to this player.

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He’s young, he’s taken a growth spurt, he’s 6 foot 3 now so he’s got some length. His numbers at the junior level are really good. He’s got some experience in the SHL playing very regularly. So, I think there is a development upside here in a positional need organizationally that we felt was a good opportunity for us. There’s maybe a little longer of a development time associated with this player, but it’s just a good opportunity to add to the depth in the organization.”

Myrenberg may not have found much success offensively since making the jump to the professional ranks, but he’s getting an opportunity having played 11 with Mora IK of the HockeyAllsvenskan league in Sweden this season and is still getting acclimated after spending 15 games with Linkopings in the SHL last season. The Bruins have acknowledged that his development will be a long-term play; ideally, this one will work out in their favor.