By: Drew Johnson | Follow Me On Twitter: @doobshmoob
The Boston Bruins have tapped Jeremy Lauzon on the shoulder in the wake of several injuries to the team’s defensive core. It will be the defenseman’s first NHL appearance.
The Bruins recently lost Charlie McAvoy and Kevan Miller which led to Urho Vaakanainen getting called up. Vaakanainen suffered an injury in Tuesday’s game against Ottawa, and so Boston has had to find another replacement via the Providence Bruins.
Jeremy Lauzon’s Career To-Date
Lauzon spent four seasons with the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. In that span, the 52nd-overall pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft appeared in 200 contests, tallying 35 goals and 95 assists.
Since moving on to the AHL, Lauzon’s offensive production has been dialed back. This is to be expected with heightened competition in a league full of NHL prospects. With the Providence Bruins, the 21-year-old has appeared in 58 games in the last two seasons while producing two goals and nine assists.
Despite the lapse in offense, Lauzon has remained strong behind his own blue line. That is exactly the reason he received the call on Thursday – while he is still offensively gifted, it is not expected that Lauzon will notch many points during his first crack at NHL hockey. It seems as though he be playing on the third defensive pair alongside Steven Kampfer where he will need to thwart the Philadelphia Flyer’s bottom two lines.
Though Lauzon is strong on the breakout, any offensive production at this point would be a bonus. It would also be surprising if the defenseman gets reps on Boston’s special-teams units. The Bruins often go with four forwards on the power play and players like Zdeno Chara, Brandon Carlo, John Moore, and Matt Grzelcyk will likely see time with the man-advantage. On the penalty kill, it is likely that the Bruins will ice Chara, Carlo, Moore, and Kampfer. They may test Lauzon in these instances, but the aforementioned players will likely see most of the action on special teams – Grzelcyk would likely be above Lauzon in this regard as well.
What This Means for Boston’s Defense
Lauzon getting the call over other prospects such as Jakub Zboril indicates the former’s spot in the pecking order. This also gives the young defenseman his chance to move up on the totem pole. Torey Krug and Miller both skated on Thursday afternoon, but they could still be a few games out of seeing playing time. In fact, Miller was placed on injured reserve so his timetable for return is unclear. This means Lauzon may have a handful of games to prove his worth and could surpass Vaakanainen in Boston’s defensive hierarchy.
It also means the Bruins’ defense is quite obviously spread thin. Their performance as a whole will be affected by the losses of Krug, Miller, and McAvoy. Those injuries have resulted in some unfamiliar pairs, those pairs being Chara with Carlo and Moore with Grzelcyk. If the next-man-up is to see struggles, Zboril could get the call with Lauzon sent back down to Rhode Island.
It will be interesting to see how Lauzon performs in his first few shifts on NHL ice. Bruins fans everywhere will surely be pulling for him, but whether or not he is ready for the challenge has yet to be seen.