Bruins right wing Zach Senyshyn will be out at least a month after suffering a lower-body injury in Tuesday’s loss to Florida. The 22-year-old first-round pick from 2015 has tallied two assists in four games this season.
In his place, the Bruins recalled forward Trent Frederic from Providence, where he had five assists in 15 games. He’ll get a chance to play in Friday’s major matchup against the Maple Leafs.
The Bruins are coping with an array of injuries, and coach Bruce Cassidy said the injured players who didn’t skate Thursday wouldn’t play against Toronto. That includes Torey Krug, who suffered an upper-body injury in the 3-2 loss to the Flyers last Sunday. Krug, who also missed Tuesday’s game, will miss Saturday’s clash with the Capitals as well.
But the position of worry is right wing, as the Bruins are without Brett Ritchie, Jake DeBrusk, David Backes, and Senyshyn.
“The hand we’ve been dealt right now is we’ve got a lot of right wingers out,” Cassidy said. “We’ve talked about Anders [Bjork] staying on the left side, so we don’t want to mess with that. He’s played well there, so we want to keep him on the left side. So that means Danton [Heinen] has to move to play the right side.
“We feel our best lineup is with Charlie [Coyle] as a No. 3 center, but injuries have dictated we move someone, so it happens to be him. I think he’s played well, minus the fact that I think he’s turned down some shots, and we’ve talked about that.
“His game is good. We’d just like to see him be more selfish with the puck and scoring more.”
Frederic is normally a center, but Cassidy said, “We’re trying him on the [left] wing a little bit. We’re strong down the middle. See if that frees him up to go out, be physical, and play more his style, a straight-line game instead of overthinking as a centerman.
“We’re not going to bring him up as a left shot and throw him in as a right wing. I think that’s a little unfair. We’re already kind of moving him around to begin with.”
Best is yet to come
It’s easy to forget that Charlie McAvoy is still only 21 years old. He already has logged 41 career playoff games, and has become a central part of the team, yet he is still adapting to life in the NHL.
After he signed a new three-year contract in September, it appeared the young defenseman was on the verge of a big season. And while that may still come to fruition, McAvoy has yet to score in his first 18 games.
Cassidy was asked after Thursday’s practice if he felt McAvoy has another level he has yet to reach.
“I believe Charlie has more to give,” said Cassidy. “I think he’s got a tough assignment every night playing against the best players. As a young guy, I think his natural, best ability at his age is puck moving and ability to join the rush and make some plays.
“He hasn’t finished, but he’s had some looks. I think that will balance out, I really do, the more he shoots.”
Coming off the disappointing loss to the Panthers in which the Bruins let a 4-0 third-period lead slip away, Cassidy offered an example to illustrate his point.
“He had a chance in overtime the other night,” Cassidy explained. “He tried to get it to [David Pastrnak], which is typically a no-brainer, but [McAvoy] is in the slot. Maybe that time he could’ve been selfish, who knows? You can’t fault him for trying to get the puck to Pastrnak for a one-timer.”
One area where Cassidy thinks McAvoy still needs to improve is on the other side of the ice.
“Defensive side of things, there’s a ways to go for Charlie still because he’s playing against the best players every night,” noted Cassidy. “Whether we should put him in that position or not is open to debate, but we feel he can handle it with [Zdeno Chara] there as his partner.”
“Like a lot of guys, he’s got room to grow. He’ll get better,” Cassidy added. “I think he’s played well, just not to his ceiling.”
The Bruins will start Tuukka Rask Friday against the Maple Leafs and Jaroslav Halak Saturday against the Capitals. Both goaltenders have seen their share of time this season, with Rask (7-2-2) starting 11 games and Halak (4-1-2) rotating in for seven.