The Boston Bruins have a couple of glaring holes that their currently dealing with. Scoring, toughness, and simply too many players are too complacent. Certain players are playing like they have nothing to lose. With the amount of potential currently in Providence, Don Sweeney needs to put an end to the complacency before it puts and end to the Bruins hopes of another Cup.
Who are the culprits?
The culprits are guys who have simply underperformed. Essentially players who are consistent members of the third and fourth line. Not all of them, but too many of them. Par Lindholm, Brett Ritchie, and Joakim Nordstrom are all guys who are worthy of some time in the AHL. At least to see if the young bucks in the AHL end up producing better. If so, stick with who;s hot. All three players have played at least 21 games this season, and none of them have more than five points. With a team who has enough potential to make a deep cup run, and so much potential sitting in the AHL, that kind of production simply should not be tolerated by Don Sweeney and company.
What is the solution?
While the first solution that most fans point to is a trade, I think this problem could be solved in house. At least for now. The players that are underperforming bring essentially zero trade value right now. And to get a player who would be worth trading for, it would take young players in Providence to bring them in. At this point, the Bruins are better off doing their due diligence and giving some current Providence Bruins a shot.
Potential in house solution
I think the first two names that the Bruins should take a look at are the two players who have been lighting it up in Providence all year. The two players to represent the Providence Bruins in the AHL All Star game: Paul Carey and Jack Studnicka. Carey, the who has played 36 games so far this season, is tied for the baby Bruins lead in points with 26. Those 26 points have come by way of 15 goals and 11 assists. Carey is primarily a wing, which would work nice as it gives him more flexibility. Jack Studnicka has played in one less game but has just as many points. Studnicka has 14 goals and 12 assists so far this year in Providence. While Studnicka is primarily a center in Providence, he’s played a little bit of wing in Boston this year already, where he showed a lot of playmaking ability.
Another name that comes to mind is forward Trent Frederic. Frederic is currently tied for second with five fights so far this year in Providence. Not only does he bring toughness, he has also managed to produce 17 points. He might not completely solve both the toughness and the scoring issue, but he will certainly help contribute to the success of the Bruins.
Time is ticking
While the Bruins are currently towards the top of the standings in the NHL, that’s because they got off to such a hot start to begin the year. While that could maintain an average success rate for the rest of the year and finish at the top, good hockey teams will expose their issues in the playoffs no doubt. The time is now to work out the kinks before another team uses our problems against us come playoff time.