In this edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, Anton Stralman has impressed early at camp and has many believing he will earn himself a contract for the 2022-23 season. In other news, Nick Foligno is ready for a bounce back after a disappointing first season with the Bruins. Another looking for somewhat of a bounce back is Jack Studnicka, who realizes time is running out to impress management. Last but not least, Fabian Lysell appears to have a real shot at being on the opening night roster.
Stralman Turning Heads
Just days before training camp began, the Bruins announced that they signed Stralman to a professional tryout offer. The veteran defenseman waited on the market all summer long in hopes of a deal and, somewhat surprisingly, was unable to find one. By no means is he the elite shutdown defender he was back in the day with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he proved last season with the Arizona Coyotes that he is still an adequate NHLer, something head coach Jim Montgomery has quickly noticed.
“And then Stralman, you can see that he’s in really good shape, and he ends plays, and he makes good decisions with the puck,” Montgomery told reporters. “You know he’s played a lot of games in this league, and it showed today.”
The reason Stralman was brought into camp was mainly due to the fact that the Bruins will be without both Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelyck to start the season. He would seemingly fit in well as a depth option and would more than likely be okay signing a league minimum deal. That is spectacular value for a player who averaged over 21 minutes per game in ice time last season.
Foligno Ready to Contribute in 2022-23
After signing a two-year, $7.6 million deal with the Bruins last offseason, Foligno went on to have the worst season of his NHL career. The 1021-game veteran had nothing going for him and finished the year with a lousy two goals and 13 points in 64 outings. Despite the rough year, however, management chose not to buy him out, and he is looking to prove their decision right.
“I mean, two goals isn’t what I expect, but I just came in [this season] and tried to reset and work on some of the things that I’ve always worked on,” Foligno said to reporters on Monday. “I know I can score goals. I’m not worried about that. I think my track record speaks for itself.
“It’s just more about putting myself in positions to [score]. I think, last year I just could never get going, and it was just one of those years.”
The Bruins organization and its fanbase will hope that it was just an off year, though there had been some signs of a decline prior to his signing. In his last season as a Columbus Blue Jacket in 2020-21, he had just seven goals and 16 points in 42 outings before getting traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Things didn’t get much better for him, as he went goalless in all seven regular season games, as well as the four playoff games he suited up for. At 34 years old, there is a possibility that he is just on the decline, but we will have to wait and see.
Studnicka Looking to Prove His Worth
For a number of years now, Studnicka has been hyped up as one of the most exciting prospects in the Bruins pipeline. The 23-year-old, who was drafted in the second round (53rd overall) back in 2017, has proven to be a very good player in the American Hockey League (AHL). Unfortunately, that hasn’t translated to NHL success, as he has just one goal and seven points in 37 career games. Suffice to say, he knows entering his fourth season as a pro that he doesn’t have much time left to impress management in Boston.
“You know I’m not gonna call it a last chance type of thing, but with waivers, you’re playing to play for the Boston Bruins and not playing for other teams,” Studnicka said. “Obviously, since I was a kid, I’ve been wanting to play for the Boston Bruins, and that’s what I want to do. So, just trying to see how it goes.”
As Studnicka mentioned, if the Bruins choose to assign him to the AHL, he would have to pass through waivers, meaning the other 31 teams in the league would all have an opportunity to scoop him up. Given his high ceiling, it would be very shocking if he went unclaimed. That in itself may force his way onto the Bruins roster early on, but if he hopes to remain with them, he will need to figure out things from an offensive standpoint.
Lysell Has Legitimate Opportunity in Camp
After it being discussed all summer, the narrative seems to be the same regarding Lysell. That is, if he has a good training camp, he has a real shot at cracking the opening night roster. Some believe that the 19-year-old would be better off spending his first professional season in the AHL, but it is clear that Bruins management, along with Montgomery, believe he is very close to being ready.
“I think we’re looking for everybody to make it hard, but, yeah, him, in particular, would be nice,” Montgomery said of Lysell. “I think if you look at all teams, you know you want to have a veteran presence and great leaders like we have. But I think anytime you bring youth into the lineup, and especially the dressing room, it makes everybody else have more energy.”
The Bruins selected Lysell in the first round (21st overall) of the 2021 draft, and they haven’t been shy about how high they are on him since. He played in his home country of Sweden during his draft year but headed to the Western Hockey League for the 2021-22 season, where in 53 games with the Vancouver Giants, he put up 22 goals and 62 points.
Looking Ahead for the Bruins
While Bruins fans can continue to search the web for updates on players such as Stralman, Studnicka and Lysell, exhibition games have now started and can be tuned into as well. Their next game will be this Saturday in a home tilt versus the Philadelphia Flyers, followed by a Monday night matchup on the road against the New Jersey Devils.
Latest News & Highlights
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.