It doesn’t exactly take a genius to figure out why Anders Bjork’s new deal with the Boston Bruins is a slam dunk for both sides.
While he’s underachieved overall, Bjork has shown flashes of being a legitimate top-six talent if he’s able to hammer out the consistency. He rounded out the defensive area of his game, and he’s still only 23-years-old.
So the Bruins getting him at $1.6 million a year over the next three years could prove to be a steal.
First, think of the downside. Say Bjork continues to struggle with injuries and consistency, then $1.6 million really isn’t too painful of a pill to swallow.
But if he does figure it out and becomes, at the very least, a useful middle six NHL winger, then that’s a palatable, one might even say a bargain, deal. The potential most certainly is there, and asking him to be a 30-point a year guy while riding on the second or third line is not that lofty given his skillset.
By all accounts, his return to action during training camp has been good, and he seems like the odds-on favorite to be Boston’s third-line right winger on a unit with Charlie Coyle and Sean Kuraly during the playoffs. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy went as far as calling Bjork the best player on the first day of camp.
To reiterate, the potential is there.
For Bjork, he now gets a modest pay bump and a bit of security with respect to term, while also having the opportunity to prove himself, become a more stable NHLer, then position himself for a bigger payday in a few years while he’s still only entering his age 27 season.
Essentially, the Bruins paid the type of money you give a solid fourth liner to a guy with top-six potential, and probably a third line floor. If it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work out, and they ride out the contract and/or leave him exposed for expansion draft next summer. If it works out, they’ll get a solid player on a cheap deal for a few years.