David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk have seen their share of forwards skating with them on the second line all season long. The list of names that have tried their hand at second line duty includes Joakim Nordstrom, David Backes, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Ryan Donato. None have given Bruce Cassidy and the Bruins a spark as a top-six right winger that the team so desperately needs from the middle of their lineup.
General manager Don Sweeney needs to address the middle of the lineup as the Feb. 25 trade deadline approaches. Wayne Simmonds, Mark Stone, Charlie Coyle and Jakob Silvferberg are a few rumored names that are on Sweeney’s wishlist.
But, in their three games before the bye week, the Black and Gold decided to dip down into their farm system and have 23-year old Peter Cehlarik try his hand at playing off wing with Krejci and DeBrusk. The results; two goals, an assist and a plus-three rating.
Yes, it’s only a small sample size, but given his performance in each game, plus the year he is having in Providence (10 goals, 19 assists for a team-leading 29 points), another question arises for Boston: could Cehlarik be the answer on the second line?
“[Krecji and DeBrusk] are great players to play with,” Cehlarik said on his recent personal success, “We won battles and forechecked a lot. Positioning and creating chances (were key).”
Cehlarik made an immediate impact when he returned to the big club. Boston’s 2013 third round pick potted two goals against Philadelphia on Jan. 16 and followed that up with an assist on Torey Krug’s second period tally against the St. Louis Blues the very next night.
Peter Cehlarik made a brief return to Providence this week during the Bruins’ bye week. (Angela Spagna, Bruins Daily)
The third-year pro from Slovakia returned to Providence to get some reps in during the bye week. Given his early success in Boston, Cehlarik will likely make another trip back up I-95 when the B’s return to action Tuesday night against the Winnipeg Jets.
He didn’t record a single point this past weekend, but Cehlarik fired seven shots on goal during Providence’s victories over the Charlotte Checkers and Springfield Falcons.
Cehlarik sees the demotion as a way to tweak a few more aspects in his game, improvements he can make that will lead to a permanent recall.
“I have to keep the momentum I had going from up there and bring it down here,” Cehlarik said. “Working on getting pucks along the boards and helping out offensively.”
The Bruins have a recent trend promoting young and promising players up to Boston during certain points of the regular season, including Danton Heinen and Matt Grzelcyk last season. Both former college hockey stars made the most of their opportunity that led to a full-time spot in Boston. Peter Cehlarik could find himself in the very same boat with his next recall.
In theory, the move could make a ton of sense. It would coincide with the Bruins idea of the youth movement it has built over the last few seasons, while also shutting down the revolving door of wingers with Krejci and DeBrusk on the second line.
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