In this edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, David Pastrnak appears to be close, but has yet to return from an undisclosed ailment. Meanwhile, Matt Grzelcyk was forced to leave Sunday’s game with an upper-body injury. In other news, Jake DeBrusk’s great play as of late may result in the Bruins refrain from trading him this offseason. Last, but not least, the Bruins announced the signing of free agent college forward Georgii Merkulov this Saturday.
Pastrnak Nearing Return
Some good news for the Bruins, as it appears that Pastrnak is nearing a return to the lineup. The 25-year-old has missed the past three games with an undisclosed ailment, which many believe is a core issue. The good news is that it isn’t believed to be anything major, and he could be back as soon as Tuesday night in a game versus the St. Louis Blues.
The 2021-22 campaign has been yet another fantastic one for Pastrnak, who has 38 goals and 71 points in 69 games. He is not only the Bruins’ best goal scorer, but one of the best goal scorers in the entire NHL. Safe to say, they need him to get healthy and be ready to go for the playoffs, which are less than a month away.
Grzelcyk Dealing With Upper-Body Injury
In a game on Sunday night versus the Washington Capitals, Grzelcyk was able to play just four shifts before exiting the contest with an upper-body injury. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy did not give an update on his condition postgame, but did admit that the team missed him out on the ice. (from ‘Steve Conroy: Bruins notebook: Injury issues pile up for Boston’ , Boston Herald 04/11/22).
“We obviously missed his puck moving back there,” Cassidy said. “It was a big, big factor in the game, our inability to transition well and it cost us in the end.”
Losing Grzelcyk for any significant amount of time would be a huge blow to the Bruins’ back end, as he has been having himself a very solid season. Not only has he registered a new career high in points with 22, but he has been reliable in all situations, proven by the fact he is averaging just under 19 minutes in ice time per game. Expect to hear more on his condition in the coming days.
DeBrusk May Be Sticking With the Bruins
Earlier this season, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that DeBrusk’s days with the Bruins were limited, as his agent confirmed that he had requested a trade. Since that request, however, both his usage and his overall play have improved tremendously, making some believe that the relationship may be repaired and the 25-year-old may stay put after all.
In his last 30 games, DeBrusk has recorded 15 goals and 21 points, giving him 22 goals and 36 points on the year. It remains to be seen whether or not this production will continue, as he has been known to be streaky in the past, but as of right now he appears to be a player management should be trying to keep around.
Bruins Sign Merkulov
On Saturday, the Bruins announced that they agreed to terms with Merkulov on a three-year, entry-level deal that will carry a cap hit of $925,000. The 21-year-old Russian forward is coming off of a freshman season with Ohio State University, in which he recorded 20 goals and 34 points in 36 games.
Prior to joining Ohio State, Merkulov spent two seasons in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with the Youngstown Phantoms. In a combined 74 games with the Panthoms, he scored 20 goals and 73 points. While it remains to be seen whether or not he has what it takes to become an NHL player, this is a no risk signing for the Bruins, and seems to be a good pickup as he has plenty of offensive talent.
Up Next for the Bruins
As mentioned previously, the Bruins next game will come on Tuesday night in a tilt versus the Blues. It won’t be an easy one, as the Blues are red-hot right now having won five straight games. Next up will be a game against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, followed by a Saturday contest against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They will all be huge games for the Bruins as they look to jump past the Tampa Bay Lightning for third in the Atlantic Division.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.