By Andrew Thompson Follow Me On Twitter @godwentwhoops
After several years of trying to find a spot for forward Ryan Spooner, it appears the Boston Bruins are looking to cut their losses. Will another team pick up the 25-year old in the offseason?
The Boston Bruins have struggled to find a place for forward Ryan Spooner. The former 2010 second-round draft pick has found himself going up and down the lines in an attempt to find himself a permanent position with the team.
Spooner’s greatest liability has been his consistency. Over the course of five years and two head coaches, the Bruins organization have made a sincere effort to help Spooner reach his potential. The end result was a mixed bag.
Claude Julien tried a lot of different approaches to get Spooner to fit in. Some were positive, others weren’t. Julien even went so far to publicly chastise Spooner in front of the Boston media (who can make a school of frenzied piranhas look tame).
When Bruce Cassidy took over, he also tried to find a spot for Spooner. Once Bruce Cassidy was ensconced as the team’s 28th head coach, he took a few moments to offer a frank and honest assessment of Spooner’s abilities.
“I thought it started well with Ryan,” offered Sweeney on Spooner. “He had some confidence, some jump; we were trying to incorporate him in the penalty kill, make him more of a 200-foot player, but I’ll tell you what my issue was at the end with Ryan: It was well-documented with Claude he didn’t like his defensive game and some of the other things.
“For me, I didn’t like his offensive game at the end. He wasn’t playing to his strengths, and that bothers me about players, if they’re not able to play to their strengths when the temperature of the game goes up.”
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Bruins President Don Sweeney’s opinion was similar. When asked about Spooner’s return to team, Sweeney was decidedly uncommitted.
“Well, to be determined,” said Sweeney said of Spooner’s status in Boston. “We’ll look at our roster and what our options are. He has options as well as an RFA and we’ll have discussions with his representatives and see where there’s a fit. Ryan struggled down the stretch, had a nice bump when Bruce first took over, the familiarity probably helped. Offensively it tailed off.”
After five seasons with the Black and Gold, it appears the Boston front office are looking to move the Jekyll-and-Hyde forward. According to Ryan Kennedy of the Hockey News several teams have coming sniffing around the TD Garden in an attempt to grab the impending restricted free agent.
There are several teams out there that could use a player like him. He’s capable of putting up 40 points in a season. The Canucks and the Devils could certainly use a middle-six/bottom-six center. As for the Golden Knights, they just might do us a favor and pick him as long as the Bruins don’t decide to protect him.
Ryan Spooner isn’t the worst player the Bruins have put on the ice these last few seasons. (This is the team that put Zac Rinaldo in the spoked ‘B’ without trying to be ironic after all.) But he’s maddeningly inconsistent. Some nights he’s clicking offensively. Other nights he’s a liability (Claude’s own word) for the B’s.
Spooner would like to stay in the Black and Gold. He knew that his game wasn’t what it needed to be at the end of the season. He only put up two points for Boston in the postseason, and his replacement Sean Kuraly netted two huge goals for the B’s in game five against the Ottawa Senators.
“I’ve been here since I’ve been 18, so it’s been a long time and I just want to help out,” said Spooner of his desire to stay in Boston.
“I definitely didn’t play to the top of my game. I would have liked to score. I don’t think I scored in the last 20 games or something like that, so that definitely would have helped.”
“I just need to be better than the last little bit of the season.”
In the end, moving Spooner might be the best thing for him. He has the ability to be a solid NHL player, but he just can’t seem to click in the Bruins system. If moved, he could learn from this experience and become a more reliable NHL player.
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