In need of some potential backup for Sunday’s outdoor meeting with the Flyers at Lake Tahoe, the Bruins have recalled forward Jack Studnicka and defenseman Urho Vaakanainen from the P-Bruins.
The calls back to the NHL for both Studnicka and Vaakanainen come with David Krejci injured in Thursday’s loss to the Devils, and with the Bruins’ left-side defense ravaged by injuries in recent days with both Matt Grzelcyk and Jakub Zboril ruled out of Sunday’s contest.
Boston’s defensive depth took another hit Friday, too, with word that Kevan Miller (rest) did not travel with the team to Lake Tahoe, according to the Worcester T&G’s Joe McDonald.
With Krejci expected to miss this contest, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy listed Trent Frederic, Greg McKegg, and Studnicka as the team’s options at center. Frederic and Studnicka, while spending the majority of their NHL minutes on the wing, are natural centers, while McKegg is capable of playing all three forward positions and has been on the B’s taxi squad all season long.
If the Bruins are looking for a direct Krejci replacement, there’s little doubt that Studnicka is their best bet, with one goal and one assist in eight NHL contests since the start of last season. Studnicka tallied one goal and six shots on goal in six NHL appearances this year before reporting to the P-Bruins, where he recorded an assist in two contests before receiving the call back to Boston on Friday.
Vaakanainen, meanwhile, will report back to the Big B’s after a 2021 start that’s included two shots on goal and a plus-1 rating in three AHL contests. The 2017 first-round pick has eight hits and three blocks, along with four shots on goal, in seven NHL games since 2018.
Veteran depth defenseman Steven Kampfer, currently on Boston’s taxi squad, will be thrown into the mix if Vaakanainen does not draw into Sunday’s lineup.
The Bruins are scheduled to practice 11 a.m. PST. But that practice will not occur at the outdoor rink they’ll play on tomorrow, but rather an indoor rink a few miles away, as the NHL doesn’t want to chop the ice for the Avalanche-Golden Knights scheduled for Saturday afternoon.