By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
With the National Hockey League and affiliated American Hockey League on this coronavirus hiatus, some players returned home to be with families as this pandemic ravages planet earth. Boston Bruins forward Peter Cehlarik returned home to his native Slovakia country as he and hundreds of other NHL players patiently wait for NHL executives to make an official call on whether a return to finish the 2019-20 campaign.
“Sometimes I felt as if [Cassidy] was just waiting for my mistake to send me back to the farm.”
Cehlarik sounds off: https://t.co/xbBCRByObc
— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) April 20, 2020
In an article written by Bruins scribe Ty Anderson of the 98.5 The Sports Hub website, the 24-year-old Cehlarik wasn’t exactly thrilled with the way he’s been used in his short tenure with the Boston Bruins organization. While at home overseas he’s been speaking out loud to Slovak media members about his frustration with his inability to crack the Boston lineup for a full-time position. Cehlarik is a 6′-2″ 203-pound winger that has the ability to play both wing positions but has played a majority of his time with the organization in the AHL with Boston’s top minor-pro affiliate the Providence Bruins. With Providence, the big forward has appeared in 185 games posting 59-77-136 numbers but when called upon for NHL duties he’s only contributed 5-6-11 numbers in 40 games at the top level of hockey in the world.
Peter appeared in three games for the NHL Bruins during this 2019-20 regular season but was placed on waivers in November of 2019 for the purpose of placing him in Providence after notching only one assist in that timeframe. He would surprisingly pass though the 24-hour waiver process and reported to the AHL Rhode Island club and go onto post 16-21-37 numbers in 48 games with Providence before the regular season abruptly stopped due to the worldwide pandemic. After being selected in the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Cehlarik signed a three-year entry-level contract in June of 2016 and made his way to North America to start his pro career with Providence for the 2016-17 campaign. He signed a one-year extension with Boston in July of 2019 which expires whenever the current NHL season is determined over and there’s an actual offseason instead of the current pause in league operations.
Let’s go back to the mention of 40 games that Cehlarik has played in the NHL. Also, let me grab a few quotes from the aforementioned 98.5 The Sports Hub article that the talented Ty Anderson wrote.
“I can’t cross the line to persuade Bruins [coach] Bruce Cassidy for good,” “Sometimes I felt as if he was just waiting for my mistake to send me back to the farm.”
“They know what they are doing. They’ve invested years of development in me. It’s all about trust from a coach I don’t get. I still hear that I’m ready for the NHL, I have it, but when it goes like this, I need a change and a new start. It is high time.”
Well to me saying things like what he said above is certainly not going to bode well with future contract negotiations and in fact, there’s a rumor that he’s exploring options in the Swedish Hockey League. The SHL avenue might be a backup plan as soon as he becomes a free agent and no other NHL teams want to take a chance on the winger. The Bruins would still own his rights up to the age of 27 so the Boston club could also make him available via trade to possibly get an asset back before he goes pouting off elsewhere.
This reminds me of another situation that happened years ago with Bruins prospect Alexander Khokhlachev and his verbal battle with former Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. Koko appeared in nine games for the Boston club in sporadic recalls from AHL Providence and said his piece about the limited time he was used to showcasing his skills. Julien was often accused of not playing younger players in favor of the veteran experience or seniority and Alexander spoke about his frustrations ultimately seeing him leave the Bruins organization for a seemingly better opportunity overseas in the Kontinental Hockey League first with the SKA St. Petersburg team during the 2016-17 season and has spent the last three seasons with the Spartak Moskva club. Khokhlachev is still Boston Bruins property for at least another year.
Chris Casto, Brian Ferlin, Alexander Khokhlachev, Torey Krug, Colin Miller, & Joe Morrow were the players receiving qualifying offers today.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) June 27, 2016
Providence’s Alexander Khokhlachev is officially off to the KHL on a two-yr deal w St. Petersburg. Finished third in #AHL scoring (23-45-68)
— PATRICK WILLIAMS (@pwilliamsNHL) July 1, 2016
It’s clear that Bruins management and obviously Head Coach Cassidy didn’t exactly get a warm fuzzy feeling with Cehlarik’s time in Boston and to say imply that he didn’t get enough time to show his skills for permanent NHL placement is just wrong. He had more opportunities than the organization gave previous youth players and it seems like other Bruins prospects that were getting recalls on the regular is where this frustration is coming from. Looking at the current NHL lineup and contracted players, it’s really not a big loss for Boston to walk away from the disgruntled forward but his game will be sorely missed in Providence as he did work extremely hard to get attention from the higher up’s. Peter’s always been talked about as a player that’s about to cross the threshold of an NHL career but like Cassidy mentioned in the article of discussion and quoted below…..
“If [Cehlarik]’s going to stay in the National Hockey League, you’ve got to play to your strengths,” Cassidy said back on Nov. 2. “And I thought he had opportunities to make plays. He made a few here and there, but I thought he left some on the table. At the end of the day, the details we’ll keep getting after him about, so overall, I thought he was OK. “His ideal place in the lineup is with skilled centermen, and I’d like to think we have three of them.”