Anders Bjork has been a brilliant spot for the Boston Bruins this season. In his first full NHL season, Bjork if lastly clear (knock on wooden) of the accidents which have nagged him for the previous two seasons, and his high quality of play has mirrored a stage of development that the Bruins must be enthusiastic about.
What’s extra, Bjork’s development over the previous couple of seasons demonstrates the worth of persistence. In immediately’s NHL, which is quicker, youthful, and extra expert than ever earlier than, Bjork’s story resonates. He’s proof that, whereas the Connor McDavids of the world are anticipated to make an on the spot influence, there’s nonetheless worth in giving gamers time to develop into their potential.
A fast have a look at Bjork’s profession stat strains might not reveal a considerably increased high quality of play this season, however the Mequon, Wisconsin native’s elevated influence has been noticeable on the ice.
After two injury-plagued seasons, when Bjork jumped between Boston and the crew’s American Hockey League affiliate in Windfall, he lastly appears to have cemented his place as an NHL common. That hasn’t come shortly, or simply.
Anders Bjork has handled accidents for the previous two seasons. Now wholesome, he’s making an influence for the Boston Bruins. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)
Bjork was assigned to Windfall at the beginning of this season, however shortly earned himself one other shot with the varsity membership. Eight factors within the P-Bruins’ first seven video games earned him a fast name up on Oct. 25, and he’s been with the guardian membership ever since. It’s simple to see why.
The largest flaw within the former Notre Dame standout’s play over the previous two seasons has been his energy. That, and maybe naivety, are what led to his shoulder accidents; he was punished for placing himself into harmful positions.
However Bjork has beefed up his energy and has discovered to make performs that now not expose him to the heavy hits. It’s a dog-eat-dog league, and if you happen to put your self in harmful positions, dangerous issues are going to occur. Bjork discovered that the laborious manner, however the vital factor is, he’s discovered it.
It’s been a two-way win for Bjork, whose energy and smarts have allowed him to not solely keep wholesome but additionally make performs that wouldn’t have been attainable final season. The 6-foot winger has been noticeably stronger on the puck this marketing campaign, permitting him to provide performs like this one towards the Philadelphia Flyers earlier this month:
All of the whereas, Bjork hasn’t sacrificed the fundamental parts of his sport. His skating potential – and pace specifically – continues to be a giant a part of his sport. He’s a naturally inventive participant, and he’s all the time had a harmful shot:
Bjork’s participant profile presents a couple of advantages for the Bruins. His versatility permits him to play on each side of the ice – albeit somewhat extra comfortably on the left – which is vital when deciding which gaps to fill down the stretch. That mentioned, he’s spent most of his time on the appropriate facet, and the bump in his play this season may make him a viable choice to fill Boston’s eternal second-line, right-wing gap.
It’s a task that was worrisome for the Bruins prior to now. (from ‘Bruins winger Anders Bjork thriving in newest alternative, Patriot Ledger, 12/26/2019) Bjork was typically injured by chopping by way of the center of the ice from his off-wing. He’s now centered on making safer performs to provide from the appropriate facet. Utilizing him on the second line on the appropriate wing is one thing that the Bruins ought to think about over the following few months.
Bjork’s versatility has been evident in different elements of his sport as effectively. He’s a scorer at coronary heart, and his primary function has been level manufacturing, however head coach Bruce Cassidy has trusted him with stints on the penalty kill this season.
His sport has taken the following step this season, and whereas there have been whispers that he may turn out to be a part of a trade-deadline bundle, you might make a stable case for maintaining him in Boston.
Endurance in At this time’s NHL
The altering look of the league, and the conclusion that championship groups typically want superb gamers on low-cost contracts (what’s extra reasonably priced than entry-level offers?), can result in an urgency to hurry prospects by way of the system and into the highlight at a really younger age.
Currently, the Bruins have achieved fairly effectively with younger gamers. A number of gamers drafted after Bjork have already established themselves as influence NHLers: Jake DeBrusk and Brandon Carlo have been 2015 picks, and Charlie McAvoy was drafted in 2016. David Pastrnak and Danton Heinen have been each drafted the identical 12 months as Bjork, in 2014, and are each common names (an All-Star within the case of Pastrnak) in black and gold.
Boston’s persistence with Bjork is starting to repay. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)
So the place does that go away Bjork? The 2014 fifth-round decide didn’t skip into the NHL with ease like Aaron Ekblad, the first-overall decide from that 12 months. He didn’t make his NHL debut till he was 21, and was injury-prone over his first two seasons, which may’ve been a trigger for concern for the Bruins. Now, he’s enjoying his first full season at 23.
He was a prospect with apparent expertise, however one who wanted some work in areas of his sport, and struggled to remain wholesome. However now, he’s budding into a really competent NHLer with top-six potential.
It’s a testomony to persistence in a league that has grown increasingly accustomed to a fast return on funding. The Bruins performed the ready sport with Bjork, and now, it’s beginning to repay.