A new NHL season brings a new season of Boston Bruins Weekly for the 2022-23 season. In the first Bruins Weekly edition of the new year, we will reflect on the first week of training camp, how some of the prospects are faring, and more.
Mixed Results for Beecher & Studnicka
Entering training camp, this was going to be an essential camp for young centers Jack Studnicka and Johnny Beecher. Both centers are seen as part of the future in Boston once Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci retire, but the first preseason game against the Philadelphia Flyers gave first-year coach Jim Montgomery mixed results about the two young prospects.
Beecher centered the first line with veterans Nick Foligno and Jake DeBrusk and played in all situations for the Bruins. In just over 15 minutes of time on ice, he had two shots on the net and played in the bumper position on the power play. At the faceoff dot, he won 57(%)-percent of his draws in the game, going 11-for-19. Despite this being his first full pro season, Beecher has high expectations for himself entering the season looking for a bottom-six on the opening night roster.
“I’ve talked about it a couple of times throughout the summer just how much I’ve worked on my offensive side of the game and my scoring touch and little things like that,” said Beecher. “I’m only 21 years old, I’m definitely not at the peak my career yet. But I’ve put in a lot of hard work over the last six months. I’m excited to kind of show everybody what I’ve got now.”
Beecher is certainly being given every opportunity in camp and in preseason games to impress and grab one of the last roster spots.
Studnicka was re-signed over the summer as a restricted free agent (RFA) on a two-year deal, but you have to wonder when, if ever, he’s going to break through and get a full-time roster spot at center. He got a spot out of training camp in the 56-game shortened 2020-21 season, but struggled on the right wing. Against the Flyers, he played in all situations like Beecher, had three shots on the net, and was robbed in the first period when the Black and Gold were on the power play by Philadelphia goalie Felix Sandstrom. When he was on the ice 5-on-5, he appeared to be just going through the motions, which is not good for someone looking to make the roster full-time and avoid another season with the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Wagner Battling for Fourth Line Spot
When the Bruins signed Erik Haula, Foligno, and Tomas Nosek in free agency during the summer of 2021, the writing was on the wall for Chris Wagner. A key part of the Bruins’ fourth-line in the 2020-21 season, the trio of free agent signings kept Wagner in the AHL with the Providence for nearly the entire season last season. He did come up for the final regular-seaosn game against the Toronto Maple Leafs when the Bruins had a playoff berth locked up and former coach Bruce Cassidy played primarily an AHL lineup.
This season, Wagner enters the final year of his contract and one has to think, this is the last chance the Boston native will get to earn a roster spot. Against the Flyers, he was one of the more noticeable forwards. He played 24 shifts, most of any forwards, he played in all situations and delivered a team-high eight hits. It is going to be tough for him to make the roster and avoid another AHL season, but the 31-year-old started off on a good note on the third line with Nosek and Oskar Steen.
Lysell Gets Shot With Bergeron in Practice
As training camp gets into full swing, one of the biggest questions is where does top prospect Fabian Lysell end up to start the season, in Boston or Providence? After a strong rescheduled 2022 World Junior Championship in August and another strong showing at the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo earlier this month, Montgomery is throwing the 2021 first-round pick right into the fire at the beginning of camp.
Lysell the first two days was on the first line with Bergeron and Pavel Zacha. Brad Marchand is out for at least until late November and it leaves a big void in the top-six for Boston. DeBrusk is expected to begin the season as the right wing on the top line with Zacha on the left, but with a lack of right wing depth, Lysell is getting a chance to prove he is NHL-ready.
Against Philadelphia, he had two shots on net in just under 15 minutes of ice-time, but he did look good on the first power play unit, moving the puck with pace and finding the open spot in the offensive zone. When more of the veterans play in the preseason, it will be interesting to see where Lysell is slotted on those lines if he’s in the lineup. Monday in practice he was slotted down further in the lineup with Wagner and Studnicka.
Bruins Week Ahead
As the Bruins enter the second week of camp, they have three preseason games and you have to think that after most of the younger players played in the first game against the Flyers, more veterans will crack the lineup with two home games.
- Tuesday: vs. New York Rangers, 7 p.m.
- Saturday: vs. Philadelphia Flyers, 1 p.m.
- Monday: at New Jersey Devils, 7 p.m.