Earlier this week, Bruce Cassidy noted that the Bruins’ opening night roster would be down to “plus one or two.” That left just one game for the handful of hopefuls to make an impression deserving of a spot or at the very least a future call-up.
One of the players on the bubble, Anders Bjork, stood out during Boston’s 2-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils Wednesday night at TD Garden.
Wednesday wasn’t Bjork’s only impressive showing this preseason. The 23-year-old’s continued growth and development throughout training camp gives Cassidy and the Bruins’ brass a reason to keep him in Boston to start the season.
“It’s a good problem. We want good depth,” Cassidy said about Boston’s young players looking to make the roster. “Those guys know time is running out. They were told time is running out and we were going to play more of our lineup Saturday. Glad those guys took a step forward.”
Bjork’s presence was felt all over the ice against the Devils. The ex-Notre Dame standout provided a good tandem with David Backes at the opposite wing Wednesday night.
The duo consistently generated offensive zone pressure with speed and physicality and it resulted in Backes’ beautiful backhand goal in the second period.
The one knock on Bjork — and valid knock at that — regards his durability. He hasn’t yet played a full year in Boston as Providence as injuries cut his first two professional seasons short.
We can’t say for certain that an injury won’t happen again this season. But Bjork seems more confident in his abilities and his body following his challenging, but eventful off-season.
The confidence isn’t only showcased through the media. It’s also translating on the ice.
Bjork displayed his free-flowing game based on blitzing speed in multiple pre-season contests. Even if he somehow doesn’t make the roster, he is, at the very least, ahead of where most expected him to be at this point in recovery.
The Bruins need more production from their three lines. Bjork, if healthy, can provide that with his skill, speed and hockey IQ.
Bjork has done all he can this preseason to bolster his status in the organization. He should receive a roster spot as a result.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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