With the NHL trade deadline around the corner, it’s important to know what prospects in the Bruins system are ready for the NHL. They could draw interest from teams looking for NHL ready talent, or they could be called up by the Bruins to replace somebody who gets traded.
What is "NHL ready"?
When I hear NHL ready, I think of a player who can get called up, step on the ice, and contribute. There's no doubt that it might take a game or two for a player to skate off the nerves of being called up to the big leagues. But after that, those that are NHL ready should be a contributing factor. Sometimes players get called up just to plug a lineup spot and are sent back down right after the game or as soon as a player comes back from injury. An NHL ready player will at least make the GM hesitate to send him down.
Jeremy Lauzon is a perfect example of a player taking advantage of his playing time, and opportunities that are given to him. He played a solid defensive game in Providence, thus drawing the attention of Don Sweeney and the Bruins front office. With Kevan Miller and John Moore missing so much time due to injury, the Bruins were forced to dip into the land of the AHL and call up an defender. When they decided on Jeremy Lauzon, he made sure that they didn't regret the decision, or hesitate to stick with him. With injuries and suspensions bound to happen, the call can come at any time for an NHL ready youngster.
The Providence Bruins are absolutely stacked with talent. I would say one of the most talented teams in the AHL. But that doesn't necessarily mean all of those players will succeed at the NHL level. Certain players, however, are poised for the NHL. When they are ready of course, but the opportunity has to be there too. A log jam at some positions have kept a couple of players in the AHL. A player like Trent Frederic is on just about every other NHL team by now I think as he brings toughness, defense, and scoring ability. The Bruins are one of the deepest teams at the center position in the league. If a trade or an injury were to go down, I think Don Sweeney and co would call up Frederic without hesitation.
Jack Studnicka is another player who I think could have success at the NHL level right now. I think the plan for him is to keep him in the NHL and really let him work on his craft, and then let him make a run at the roster come training camp next year. He will be ready to compete for the C3 job, but might have to settle for C4 due to the depth that the Bruins have. Trent Frederic will probably end up in the same boat. Both guys could probably hop over and play the wing, but both are better off, and better at the center position. Especially Studnicka as he is a great play maker and goal scorer. He'll be able to make the best of both of those skills in the center of the ice.
The final forward that I think could make an immediate impact at the NHL level is winger Zach Senyshyn. Senyshyn, like Frederic has been at the NHL level before, where he had a little bit more success than Frederic. Senyshyn has played four games where he helped on two goals, getting him two assists. He also maintained a plus two in his time in Boston. With Senyshyn’s contact expiring after this season, it'll be interesting to see what happens with him. Joakim Nordstrom is also set to be a free agent after this season, which could ultimately be a big opportunity for Senyshyn as he should be the next guy up if the Bruins are looking for a natural forward, especially with the chances of David Backes being traded increasing by the day.