Don’t Forget About Anders Bjork
As the official start of NHL free agency is rapidly approaching the Boston Bruins and their fans are patiently waiting for John Tavares to get the market going. The Bruins are one of six teams in on the star free agent. However, there’s no guaranteeing he’ll come to Boston.
Should the Bruins miss on Tavares, they’ll have a hole within their top-6 forwards to fill. There are many fans who have been thinking big and want a guy along the lines of James van Riemsdyk in free agency or guys like Jeff Skinner or Wayne Simmonds through trade. Though they’re great options, it may be wise for the Bruins to sign someone more like Michael Grabner. Grabner isn’t top line talent, but he can be a solid 2nd or 3rd line guy.
Let’s not forget that the Bruins top-6 isn’t completely starved of star power. This top-6 contains Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak. That’s some pretty solid talent. And when the puck dropped last season, it also included Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork. Many Bruins fans fell in love with DeBrusk for his 100% effort every game and his game 7 heroics in the playoffs. But many other fans have forgotten about Anders Bjork.
Bjork started the season on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and looked like he belonged in the NHL right away. He registered three goals and six assists in 16 games before suffering an upper body injury in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. When he returned after that hit he wasn’t the same, which made him spend some time in the AHL. Upon his return to the big league from the AHL, Bjork suffered a shoulder injury that shut him down for the remainder of the season. His rookie NHL stat line read: 30 GP 4G-8A-12PTS.
His numbers between the injuries weren’t pretty, but we can’t forget how he started his NHL career. The former Notre Dame star was on pace for a 15G–30A–45PTS stat line in his rookie campaign before his two major injuries. What Bruins fans need to think about is the talent they have in this guy.
Now there’s a chance Bjork could come out next season as a shell of himself and struggle to keep up in the NHL, but that’s unlikely. Let’s not forget that he came out of training camp last season with no NHL experience and was able to not only crack the NHL roster, but produce for an NHL club. The potential for Bjork is there and it’s something that Bruins fans shouldn’t forget.
Breaking up the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line could be tough, but if the Bruins are unable to bring in a top-6 forward via free agency or trade, perhaps they should reunite the Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork line and put Pastrnak on Krejci’s wing to start the season. Bjork showed some excellent chemistry with Bergy and Marchy early last season and if he shows up bigger and stronger than last year, there’s no denying he can pick up right where he left off and contribute on offense for the black and gold next season.
Obviously everybody wants to land the big fish free agent but sometimes you need to look from within. That worked for the Bruins last season when the young guys produced at a high rate, so why wouldn’t it work again with a second year player who showed signs of production before two major injuries derailed his season?