When the Boston Bruins selected Jack Studnicka with the 53rd overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the belief was that the Canadian center would need a couple more years to develop in juniors before being ready to make the jump up to the professional ranks.
But Studnicka has taken his game to the next level since his name was called on draft day.
The 19-year old currently is skating with Team Canada in training camp for the World Junior Championships, which will be held at the end of the month, and caught the attention of TSN’s Bob McKenzie after scoring a pair of goals in a warmup game Wednesday night. Studnicka was centering Canada’s top line with Philadelphia Flyers prospect Morgan Frost and 2020 NHL Entry Draft prospect Alexis LaFreniere.
According to McKenzie, Studnicka was the most impressive player on the ice.
“Pretty obvious Jack Studnicka was the best player on the ice,” said McKenzie. “That line was really good offensively, Studnicka was the best of the bunch of them. That line was really good and Studnicka was terrific.”
Studnicka impressed at Bruins Development Camp in each of the past two seasons, and was being considered for the big-league club coming into this season, the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont wrote in September.
The Bruins opted to send the 6-foot-2, 180-pound center back to the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League at the end of the preseason. Studnicka has dominated juniors this season, with 12 goals and 33 points in 31 games while captaining the Generals for a second season. Last season, Studnicka finished the season with 22 goals and 72 points before called up to the Providence Bruins in the AHL after the conclusion of the OHL season. Studnicka had one goal and five points in five games with the P-Bruins.
Due to the NHL/CHL agreement, Studnicka was not eligible to play in the AHL at the beginning of this season. The Bruins could have retained him if he remained on the NHL roster in October, but opted to send the 19-year old back to Oshawa for more experience.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, who are in need of help at center and could use more secondary scoring, Studnicka is unlikely to be called up to the NHL until the completion of his juniors season because of rules set in the NHL/CHL player agreement.
Nevertheless, it seems that Studnicka may have solidified himself at the top of the Bruins’ list of prospects and could be a prized asset in the long run.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images