Boston Bruins

Jan 8, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Anton Blidh (81) is congratulated after scoring a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If break-up day comments mean anything, it stands to reason that Anton Blidh will move on from the Bruins this summer.

Boston’s 13th forward for much of the year despite career-highs across the board, the 27-year-old energy wing couldn’t hide his disappointment when discussing his 2021-22 campaign with the Bruins.

“Obviously, I didn’t play as much as I wanted,” Blidh admitted. “Some days were tougher than others. But at the end of the day, I think I did a pretty good job coming here, bringing energy, and smiling every day.

“Some days, I would rather [have been] in the AHL, to be honest. I did not sign here to sit in the press box. I signed here to play hockey.”

For Blidh, life in the press box got old real late, as he dressed for just five of the Black and Gold’s final 35 games of the season. Blidh even had a staggering 24-day wait between his penultimate and final appearance of the season. Rhythm? Yeah, good luck with that. And Blidh admitted that there was little communication with the coaching staff in terms of what he could’ve done to earn a spot.

“I felt like I played pretty good in the games they gave me, [but] obviously, it’s hard when you get one game a month,” Blidh said. “It’s easier if you’re in consistently and you can kind of get the feeling of, ‘OK, I feel good now playing’ instead of, ‘I have to show up and prove that I belong here and survive every day.’”

“I think Anton’s just been here a long time [and] he’s been kind of a depth player. He just wants to play hockey, I can respect that [but] I gotta make the decisions,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Blidh’s comments. “We put [Nick] Foligno and [Trent] Frederic kind of in the spots he may be in, or  [Curtis] Lazar on the right, and lived with it. That’s it. We thought they gave us the best chance to win, right or wrong. So like I said, I’ve had Anton from back to Providence, so I like his energy. We just went with different players and I can, like I said, respect his request.”

In Blidh’s defense, the Swedish agitator finished the regular season with two goals and nine points in just over 313 even-strength minutes. Foligno, the man who finished the year as Boston’s fourth-line wing, had two goals and 12 points in 699 even-strength minutes. A 386-minute advantage for the veteran Foligno came with just three more points, and this was with Folingo getting 58 more offensive-zone starts than No. 81. Blidh also held an edge over Foligno in hits per 60 (15.7 compared to 13.9), blocks per 60 (2.87 compared to 2.49), and penalties drawn per 60 (1.53 to 1.03). The biggest difference between the two came on the books, actually, with Foligno making $3.8 million compared to Blidh’s league-minimum, $750,000 cap hit.

With their on-ice results relatively similar, Blidh’s banishment to the shadow realm down the stretch was difficult for him.

And Blidh found it especially frustrating when he watched the Bruins struggle to keep Carolina’s active defense at bay in their first-round series, as he felt that he played a style that would’ve worked for the B’s in that matchup as an annoying forechecke with a penchant for confronting and cutting off defensemen in their own zone and at the defensive blue.

“I felt like I could [have] made a difference some nights,” Blidh offered. “So that was hard.”

As for what’s next, Blidh is going to return to Sweden and spend some time with friends and family before deciding what’s next. But he didn’t left without making his intentions for 2022-23 clear.

“My goal is to play hockey in the NHL next season,” Blidh said. “If it’s here or another team, we’ll see.”

Keyword there: Play. And I’m not sure that’s happening here.

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Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for He has been covering the Bruins since 2010, and has been a member of the Boston chapter of the PHWA since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.