Boston Bruins It’s starting to look like a legitimate threat now. They have won seven of their last eight games since the start of the new year. With that, they’re now 21-11-2, just five points behind the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division. It’s good to see that because just a few weeks ago they were way behind them.
While their stars have come a long way during this fantastic period, they’ve also seen better results from their depth and youth. With that, it feels like now is the perfect time to discuss some of Boston’s breakout candidates for 2022. Before getting started, however, it’s important to note that players currently on the NHL’s roster will be watched. So, for example, Jack Studnicka and Jesper Froden are not on this list. Alas, let’s dig into the four specific candidates on Boston’s roster.
Anton Brad Makes it hard for the Bears to remove him from the lineup. At this stage of the season, he has 2 goals, 6 assists and a +4 rating in just 17 games.This production starts at the age of 26 nice to see, and this can only be the beginning of it. He has one goal and four points in his last four games. That’s far more than what the Bears asked of him. That’s especially true when remembering that he’s only 3 points in his first 38 NHL games over the past five seasons.
Some fans were baffled as to why the Bruins chose him on their opening night roster over top-six mainstay Chris Wagner. However, Blidh showed the team that they made the right decision. Not only did he contribute offensively, but he also brought a lot to him on the physical side of the game. Let’s see if his breakout season continues in 2022. The one downside about him is that he’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Many expected Studnicka to be the Bruins’ best forward this season, but Oscar Steen already. After scoring just 11 points in 23 games with the Providence Bears last season, he has 10 goals and 10 assists in 16 games this season. This fine game gave him his first long stint in Boston, and he didn’t look out of place. In 10 games, he has one goal and four assists.
Steen seems to be on the verge of a legal breakthrough, which is exciting. The Bruins aren’t known for having a strong prospect base, so seeing the 23-year-old with so much success is a real gasp. He’ll make it hard for the Bruins to return him to the AHL forward to get healthy again. With this, he may have a real chance to take the next step, Become a full-time NHL player the rest of the year.
when the Bruins Acquired Taylor Hall from the Buffalo Sabres Last season, there was understandably a lot of excitement when he joined the team. However, Curtis Lazar was also part of the trade, and now he’s starting to thrive with the Bruins. In 27 games, he has five goals and 11 points. With that, he’s on track for a pro season. It’s the perfect timing for him, who, like Blidh, will also be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Lazar was originally a first-round pick by the Ottawa Senators in the 2013 NHL draft. Although he never developed into a legitimate top-six talent as originally expected, he has always been a very respectable back-six forward. However, one has to wonder if he’s on the verge of becoming a more formidable scoring threat because of his performance. In the last three games alone, he has scored two goals and provided two assists. All that said, it’s fair to say he’s eligible for this list.
Urho Vaakanainen is another Bruins first-round pick who has failed to take the next step in his development. As frustrating as it may be, the 23-year-old looked very good during his latest call-up.Thanks to Derek Forbort, Connor Clifton and Matt Grzelcyk Among the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, it finally opened the door for the 18th overall pick of the 2017 NHL entry draft to get into some NHL action. In four games, he recorded three assists and scored a +4.
The sample size is small, yes, but this performance from Vaakanainen is very encouraging. That’s especially true when recalling his struggles last year with Boston. In nine games, he had two assists and a minus-3 rating. One has to wonder if the Finnish defender can continue to play so well. If he does, maybe we’ll finally see him grow into a legitimate NHL defenseman. If he continues to play like he has the past four games, his chances in that regard look pretty good.
Alas, it will be interesting to see how these four perform as the season continues. To be fair, each of them played well for the Bears. However, if they find a way to improve further, the Bruins could be in a good place when the playoffs roll around. Until then, let’s keep an eye on this quartet.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor covering the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he has written and edited for numerous websites. In addition to his work for THW, you can find him at NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me, and The Rat Trick.