TORONTO The Bruins need to pick up and move on after a tough home loss to Buffalo on Thursday night, and they do that on Saturday night for a Hockey Night in Canada appearance against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
Theyll do so with a new face and many of the familiar ones that had dominated the landscape of this matchup over the last couple of years. Tuukka Rask was the first goaltender off the ice at morning skate in Toronto and will look to improve on a 4-1-1 record to start the season.
Rask and the defense will also be looking to bounce back after giving up six goals plus an empty netter -- on 31 shots in a slipshod effort in their own zone against the Sabres.
Jamie Tardif will make his NHL debut at 28 years old after appearing in 449 games in the ECHL and AHL since turning pro in 2006-07, and appears that hell be suiting up on Bostons fourth line. The injuries to Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille also means that Chris Bourque will be hopping back in the lineup in the third line left wing spot he inhabited for the first six games of the season.
Here are the line combos and defenseman pairings:
CHICAGO – The Bruins finished up their 2017 NHL Draft class with a bit of a project, but a 6-foot-5 defenseman with some great skating wheels is a pretty good way to go with a seventh round pick. The B’s nabbed Brandon Wheat Kings defenseman Daniel Bukac with the 204th pick in the draft, and admitted afterward that he’s an ultra-big bodied player that could take some time in the development process.
Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley said Boston is more than happy to be patient with Bukac given the tools that he’s working with as an 18-year-old prospect. Bukac had two goals and 17 points to go along with 38 penalty minutes in his first season in North America after coming over from the Czech Republic, and Bradley said that B’s scouts noted that he continued to improve and get comfortable as the season wore on.
"He's raw. He's a project. [He’s a] kid from the Czech Republic that played in the Western Hockey League,” said Bradley. “At the start of the year - he's come leaps and bounds with his development. Talking to the people - the coaches, the management, and the GM in Brandon, they're very excited about him coming back to Brandon. They're expecting big things from him. We look forward to seeing him in camp."
Bukac is starting to garner some good international experience after playing for the Czechs in the Under-18’s and the Ivan Hinkla Tournament, but this weekend it was all about his addition to the talented group of Bruins prospects in the hockey world.
"I'm so excited to be drafted by the Boston Bruins," said Bukac, who described himself as a solid two-way defenseman with a good first pass. "It's an awesome feeling. I'm so glad that I was drafted by Boston."
CHICAGO – While the Bruins went strong two-way defenseman early in the 2017 NHL Draft, they took a shot at a more offensive-minded Swedish defenseman late with seventh-round pick of Victor Berglund.
The six-foot, 165-pound Berglund clearly has a way to go in physical development and will need to get much bigger and stronger before he’s potentially ready for the North American pro ranks, but B’s assistant GM Scott Bradley raved about the Swedish defenseman’s skill set and potential. He also noted that Boston’s entire European scouting contingent, including former B’s forward PJ Axelsson, were fully on board with taking a flier on a talented player that simply needs to develop in the Swedish hockey system.
“Our Swedish guys were on top of Berglund. They think he’s a mobile D, he’s ultra-skilled and he skates well. He’s a six-footer, but [PJ Axelsson, Svenake Svensson and Victor Nybladh] were all pounding the table for him,” said Bradley. “We went along with it and I think we might have something there. Talking to his strength coach after the fact he’s working on putting some muscle and weight on, so we look forward to seeing him at development camp.”
In 62 games at three different levels, Berglund posted five goals and 18 points last season and displayed the kind of speed, creativity and play-making that one needs from their defensemen in today’s NHL.
"I'm an offensive defenseman, who likes to play with the puck, with a great short pass," said Berglund. "I like to follow the rush up ice and want the puck."
It will be a matter of building size and strength and for Berglund to continue developing his game in Sweden for the time being, but the Bruins are certainly happy with him at the 195th pick in Saturday’s second day of the draft.