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He could play center or he could play wing, but this we know: With a few Bruins forwards banged up, Jack Studnicka is headed back to Boston.

The 22-year-old prospect, one of the last cuts from training camp, will join the team for Sunday’s matinee (1 o’clock) against the Sharks, coach Bruce Cassidy said, because third-line right wing Nick Foligno and fourth-line left wing Anton Blidh are out, and second-line right wing Craig Smith is questionable.

The Bruins were expected to finalize the transaction after Saturday’s 5 p.m. close of business, to keep Studnicka from counting against their daily salary-cap charge.


Against the Sharks, Studnicka could start off centering Trent Frederic and Karson Kuhlman on the No. 4 line. He could play in Foligno’s spot on the No. 3 line, to the right of Erik Haula and Jake DeBrusk. He could even jump from Providence to the No. 2 line, as the center or right wing with Charlie Coyle and Taylor Hall. The job description will be the same.

“He needs to play good, two-way hockey no matter what,” Cassidy said after Saturday’s optional skate in Brighton. “We’re not going to ask him to be a physical presence. Be hard on pucks, play a 200-foot game, add a little tenacity to our lineup in terms of puck pursuit, second effort. He was good at that [in the preseason].”

Studnicka’s simplification of his game, consistent effort, and physical transformation helped him stick around in camp. He is likely to consider this his chance to stick in the show.

“We’d like him to never go back,” Cassidy said. “It’s a good problem for us.”

Cassidy said Foligno was due to have an MRI on his undisclosed upper-body ailment. The 33-year-old was hampered last spring by what he has termed a “debilitating” back injury, which caused him to miss three of Toronto’s seven playoff games. The former Columbus captain signed with the Bruins for two years and $7.6 million in July.


Smith, Cassidy said, is “dealing with a bit of a nagging injury that we’re trying to work through.” He did not skate Saturday.

Smith, who took Thursday off for maintenance, skated 11:06 in Friday night’s 4-1 win over the Sabres in Buffalo, Cassidy moving him to the third line and shuffling fourth-line center Tomas Nosek to the No. 2 right wing spot. During Smith’s 10:46 of ice time during five on five, per Natural Stat Trick, shot attempts were 27-2, Sabres.

Cassidy wants to keep Hall and Coyle together, to “give them a fair chance” to build chemistry. Nosek, billed as a player who could move up the lineup if need be — Vegas coach Peter DeBoer noted to Cassidy in an offseason chat that he had success with Nosek as his third-line center — complemented the Hall-Coyle combo well. He drove to the net and scored his first goal of the season by keeping his blade on the ice.

After Foligno sustained his upper-body injury late in the second period against the Flyers on Wednesday, Cassidy told Nosek, a left shot, that he was needed to play the right side.

The following morning, when Cassidy stepped onto the practice ice in Buffalo, Nosek was “taking pucks on his off side,” Cassidy said. “He’s just a good pro. It’s not, ‘Well, I’m more comfortable here,’ it’s, ‘That’s what the team needs.’ It’s nice to have guys like that.”


“I’ve liked Nosek’s game, his ability to make plays in tight areas,” Cassidy said, praising him as a straight-line, responsible player. “He’s grasped pretty well what we’re trying to do, with the [defensive] layers. He can move around … He’s playing for a coach who will move people around and try to look at things.”

Nosek, 29, had a career-best 8-10—18 line in 38 games last season, his fourth with the Golden Knights. He signed a two-year, $3.5 million deal to come to Boston and play fourth-line center … unless needed elsewhere.

“Grateful for the opportunity to play on a better line with those guys,” he said. “I’m grateful for every chance to get more ice time. It leaves you with more confidence.”

Goaltender Linus Ullmark, coming off a 35-save effort in his old Buffalo stomping grounds, will get the start against San Jose.

“He definitely earned it,” Cassidy said. “He was excellent [Friday] night … We knew there would be some level of parity, so to speak, until they got going.”

Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman will split the back-to-back later this coming week. Cassidy didn’t say who would work Wednesday in Florida or Thursday in Carolina. That will give each netminder three starts.

Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyports.