By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Bruins’ preparation for the 2021 season has come with some number-switching for three of the team’s young guns, while their lone big free agent addition of the season has settled on his new number.
Up front, top prospect Jack Studnicka will switch from No. 68 to No. 23.
With the Bruins for two regular season games and five postseason contests last season, Studnicka enters the 2021 season as a potential darkhorse to make the Bruins as a third-line wing with Charlie Coyle. Studnicka is the first Bruin to wear No. 23 since Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. Prior to JFK, Chris Kelly donned No. 23 from 2011 through 2016.
If you want to get your mind racing with this switch, it’s worth mentioning that Mike Hoffman, who has been linked to the Bruins all offseason, wears No. 68. Or maybe Jaromir Jagr is making his long-awaited return to Boston.
Trent Frederic, meanwhile, will go from No. 82 to No. 11.
Frederic, who has appeared in 17 NHL games over the last two seasons, is a candidate to crack the B’s lineup as a Noel Acciari-esque presence with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner on Boston’s fourth line. He’ll be the first Bruins player to wear No. 11 since Jimmy Hayes wore it during his two-season run in Boston from 2015 through 2017.
Both numbers would seemingly indicate that these guys are going to be more Boston than Providence in 2021.
On the backend, Jeremy Lauzon will take No. 55 after wearing No. 79 during his NHL stints over the last two seasons. Acciari was the last Boston skater to wear No. 55, donning the number from 2015 through 2019.
Johnny Boychuk was the last Boston defenseman to wear No. 55, from 2009 through 2014.
And with No. 15 unavailable, free agent addition Craig Smith will take No. 22 with the Bruins. That number was last worn by Peter Cehlarik, though fourth-line enforcer Shawn Thornton made it a fan favorite during his seven-season run in town. No. 22 was also the number worn by Willie O’Ree when he broke the NHL’s color barrier with the B’s in 1958.
The Bruins will open up their training camp on Jan. 3.