The Boston Bruins re-signing Anton Blidh isn’t a move that is going to turn many heads, but it’s one that deserves a little recognition.
The 26-year-old re-signed with the Bruins on Thursday to a one-year, two-way deal that will pay him $750,000 at the NHL level.
Not a ton of sixth-round picks make it to the NHL in the first place, so Blidh playing in 38 games with the big club is a feather in his cap. He’s never been a big goal-scorer with the varsity, but he’s been an effective enough point-getter in the AHL.
If nothing else, he’s an insurance policy, which is why the move is a smart one.
Sean Kuraly is an unrestricted free agent, and the Bruins very well might lose a forward in the expansion draft. That could open up a couple roles in the bottom six, and if the Bruins think they get pushed around too much, then Blidh would be right there with Trent Frederic as a guy who could help fix that problem.
Since launching Roman Josi in 2017 after breaking into the NHL, Blidh hasn’t made as noticeable of an impact in his NHL opportunities. But he’s a hardworking guy that has been patient and continued to work for each NHL opportunity.
It also helps that he looked good in his end-of-the-season call-up, scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals. He played 16 minutes in that game with the Bruins resting just about all of their regulars, and he showed he could hang around at the NHL level. Perhaps he’s the type of guy who just needs time to get acclimated in North America, which does tend to happen with European depth players.
If Blidh gets beaten out by Frederic, Jack Studnicka, Oskar Steen and the like for potentially vacant forward roles, then he goes back to the AHL and resumes the role he’s occupied much of his pro career. But there might be jobs up for the taking next season, and having a guy like Blidh with knowledge of the system who at the absolute worst provides organizational depth is never bad to keep around.