The first takeaway from the latest round of Bruins cuts at training camp is that David Backes has made the team.
In fact, it looks like the $6 million forward is penciled in to play on the third line when Boston opens its regular season at Dallas on Thursday. He recently revealed that worked with a skating coach over the summer, and the extra work seems to be paying off a bit.
“I put the work in and you’re seeing the results. It’s probably a circle of seeing more results, wanting to put more work in type of scenario, and again this is early, it’s a couple steps but it’s steps in the right direction. And I like where we’re at at the moment,” said Backes after he practiced on a line with Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle on Monday.
David Krejci remained out of practice with a lower-body injury, but coach Bruce Cassidy said the center skated earlier in the day and remained on track to be in the lineup vs. the Stars. Cut from camp were Peter Cehlarik (waived for purpose of being assigned to Providence), Trent Frederic, Jack Studnicka, Cameron Hughes and Anders Bjork.
Bjork, 23, had one of the stronger camps among Bruins forwards, but he’s just eight months removed from major shoulder surgery and has just 50 games NHL experience. In those game he had just 15 points. So for about the 10th time Cassidy had to explain the Bruins’ rationale for sending Bjork to the P-Bruins.
“I mean we walked him through the situation on our team … it’s not just about taking the 12 best hockey players, it’s who fits where,” Cassidy said. “He played well for us and we just think the best thing for him, and I talked about before he even started camp, that he should round out his game and now that he’s got some details into this game that might’ve been lacking when he got here, let’s get the offense going, feel good about scoring and consider yourself a guy that can score in the league.
“Where that slots him in is to be determined, but we don’t want to turn him into just a checker. We want to make sure he finds his offensive game and it’s going to be easier there than it is to do here.”
With Krejci out, Par Lindholm filled in as second-line center between Jake DeBrusk and Karson Kuhlman. The other two lines were Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak, and Chris Wagner-Sean Kuraly-Brett Ritchie.
Although Ritchie was the Bruins’ first free agent signing July 1, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sit out against the Stars if Krejci plays. Lindholm could slide down to the fourth line with Kuraly moving to left wing and Wagner flipping over to his natural right side.
It seems like Cassidy intends to see if the Heinen-Coyle-Backes line can find a rhythm the way the Heinen-Riley Nash-Backes line had two seasons ago.