A big opportunity for Urho Vaakanainen – and an even bigger opportunity for Don Sweeney draft takes
By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Urho Vaakanainen has a nice little opportunity in front of him. The kid with the greatest last name in hockey appears likely to man the blue line for the Bruins on Tuesday when they play the Florida Panthers. But as good of an opportunity as it is for the young defenseman, it’s an even greater opportunity for everyone to thumb through Don Sweeney’s drafts over the years and find new ways to absolutely tear the Bruins GM to shreds.
Unfortunately, Vaakanainen is only getting an opportunity because Torey Krug is dealing with an upper-body injury. Krug had to leave Sunday’s loss to the Flyers late in regulation. Some sleuthing will be required to figure out a more accurate timetable for Krug’s injury, but at least the team hasn’t immediately ruled him out for extended time.
Nevertheless! It looks like the Bruins will move forward with Vaakanainen as their third-pairing left-shot defenseman for at least one game. Vaakanainen practiced on a pairing with Connor Clifton during Monday’s skate, while Matt Grzelcyk slid up to the second pair with Brandon Carlo and Zdeno Chara reunited with Charlie McAvoy.
As the Bruins’ 2017 first-round pick, Vaakanainen still has the upside of a top-pairing defenseman at the NHL level. He’s only 20 years old, so he has plenty of time to grow. And we on the other side of the glass have even more time to just completely trash Sweeney’s drafting.
D-men tend to take longer to develop their games and the Bruins have had quite the robust infusion of young talent on the blue line in recent years, so it’s not surprising that Vaakanainen has had trouble cracking the NHL lineup in his first two seasons and change. But don’t let that get in the way of takes. And don’t even get us started on that damn 2015 draft, either.
At least we’ll be able to complain about how much Vaakanainen sucks and blows (Mike!) with him playing right in front of us. He scored only 2 points in 15 games with Providence before the big B’s called him up, so he may have to impact the game in other ways to make fans think about smiling. A big game for Vaakanainen on Tuesday would go a long way toward preventing an immediate Twitter meltdown when he makes a minor mistake.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.