Quick! Who on the Boston Bruins is facing the most pressure this season?
Maybe you thought about goaltender Tuukka Rask, who’s always under a microscope, especially come playoff time. Or perhaps you considered David Krejci, whose contract hasn’t really matched his production lately, or David Pastrnak, who’s looking to prove he’s among the NHL’s elite. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney might’ve even crossed your mind.
How about Anders Bjork? No?
Well, Emily Kaplan identified each NHL team’s figure — player, GM, coach or group of players — under the most pressure for the 2018-19 season in a piece published Tuesday on ESPN.com. Bjork is facing the most heat on the Bruins, according to Kaplan, mainly because of the opportunity in front of him.
Here’s what Kaplan wrote about the young winger:
The 22-year-old Notre Dame product is one of the Bruins’ top young players. But after a February shoulder surgery cut his season short, the winger watched as other youngsters such as Jake DeBrusk, Ryan Donato and Danton Heinen basked in the spotlight. Bjork is looking to lock in a full-time role, potentially even in the top six.
Kaplan’s logic makes sense. Bjork, a fifth-round pick in 2014, totaled four goals and eight assists for 12 points in 30 games with Boston last season before suffering a season-ending injury in an awkward collision with Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin, and he showed enough promise that he absolutely could factor into the Bruins’ plans for 2018-19. It’ll be important for him to show he belongs in the same conversation as Boston’s other up-and-coming forwards.
But it’s still an interesting pick, nonetheless, as there are several other figures who come to mind before Bjork, whose production is unlikely to make or break the Bruins’ season.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images