TORONTO – The Bruins announced another round of cuts that gets them closer to their expected 23-player roster to start the season, but none of the names were eyebrow-raisers even if it did include a couple of youngster that performed extraordinarily well in training camp.
The B’s sent Ryan Spooner, goaltender Niklas Svedberg, Matthew Lindblad and Matt Fraser to AHL training camp in Providence with none of those youngsters requiring waivers in order to be released from NHL camp. That will leaves the Bruins with 15 forwards – including the injured Bobby Robins along with Jordan Caron and Nick Johnson – and a number that still needs to be pared down prior to the end of the month.
The Bruins have the NHL roster for now with the eight defensemen still remaining, and the goaltending tandem of Tuukka Rask and Chad Johnson that will start the season together.
While the 24-year-old Svedberg outplayed Johnson over the entirety of camp with excellent performances against the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets, concern over the young Swede’s development arc and the waivers required to send Johnson down to the AHL ultimately made the decision for Boston. The 18-save shutout performance for Johnson on the road against the Red Wings essentially clinched the 27-year-old journeyman a job as Rask’s backup to start the season.
Chiarelli was posed the question following Friday night’s game, and admitted that 40 games in the AHL would be more productive for a young goalie than 20-25 games as Rask’s backup at the NHL level.
“Generally speaking at [Svedberg’s] age he could use [more playing time]. He probably doesn’t want to hear that, but they’ll both play. We planned on having the discussion, but Chad needs waivers and Nik doesn’t,” said Chiarelli. “They both had strong camps. On a per minute played basis Nik played better, but Chad played well. That game in Detroit he played well.
“It gives me comfort that they played well over the course of camp, and that we knew we have some depth there.”
For Spooner there was simply no room at the Black and Gold inn despite him arguably having the best training camp of his B’s career. Chiarelli was impressed with the way the 21-year-old responded after suffering through an average AHL playoffs last spring followed by a lackluster performance at this fall’s rookie camp in Florida. Spooner’s game was average when paired up with Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla on Friday night against top competition, but he’s still prominently on the minds of the B’s brass.
“Spooner played well. [Friday] night was more average matching up against better lines. He had a really good year last year, and he had an average playoff,” said Chiarelli. “In Florida I expected more from him, but he had a really good camp year.
“With his pedigree I would expect him to play that way, but it was nice to see after the playoffs and the rookie camp.”
So now the Bruins will decide between Caron and Johnson – both will need waivers to get to
Providence -- for the 13th forward spot on the roster, and things will be set for the Black and Gold to start the season on Oct. 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.