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Which Bruins Will Fill Out The 28-Man Roster?

( Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer / Associated Press )

By: Bryan Murphy | Follow Me On Twitter @bryan_murphy10

With the NHL’s return to play approved with the 24-team playoffs voted in by the NHL and the NHLPA, that means playoff hockey is on the horizon. And as always, comes the opportunity for the infamous Black Aces to be called upon.

However, this season, the NHL has told general managers to prepare for a 28-man roster, which would allow teams to carry additional skaters and unlimited goaltenders. 

For a team like the Boston Bruins, who won the President’s trophy as best team in the regular season, this means adding more depth and giving some younger players the potential to practice and skate at an NHL level. 

The Locks

Whenever that first game of the resumed season finally kicks off, here’s a projection of what the lineup will look like for Boston.


Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Ondrej Kase

Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Karson Kuhlman

Anders Bjork – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner


Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton


Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Joakim Nordstrom or Par Lindholm will see time on the bottom lines and are expected to be on the roster. On the defensive side, John Moore would be my selection as the seventh defensemen. Those three would be the extras.

The Black Aces

So with 21 skaters selected above, that leaves seven open spots to fill out the 28-skater roster, in addition to however many goaltenders the Bruins want. The Black Aces group will be, in my opinion, five forwards and two additional defensemen. 

For the forwards, I see Anton Blidh, Brett Ritchie, Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic and Paul Carey being called upon to fill out the roster. Ritchie has seen more NHL time than any other forward in Providence this season and should be slotted in the lineup if injuries occur to a wing position. Blidh was called up right before the season was suspended and could potentially fill in a role on the bottom line if nothing is clicking with the current forwards. 

Studnicka and Frederic provide relief at center, but shouldn’t see any time, barring any injuries, of course. Studnicka is coming off a fantastic AHL season and by next season, should be competing for a starting role night in and night out in Boston. But for now, he shouldn’t be thrown into the fire. 

Carey is on here because in my opinion, the guy deserves it. He took on the leadership role in Providence this season, helping groom the youth there that most likely will take a job in the NHL that Carey was hoping for. Similar to this whole group, he most likely won’t play in a game, but give the Weymouth guy a spot. 

If Cassidy wants to go younger, then Zach Senyshyn could replace either Ritchie or Carey. If Cassidy would rather have a left winger, Brendan Gaunce would be a fit, as well. 

On defense, Steven Kampfer and Jeremy Lauzon fill out the roster on the back end. Lauzon has made significant strides this season and gotten some increased NHL playing time. Kampfer has spent most of his time in Providence, but could be asked to answer the bell like he did last season in the NHL playoffs. 

Urho Vaakanainen may be taken over Kampfer. He’s in a similar spot as Studnicka, where he could make an impact if given the opportunity, but there’s no need to rush it. Vaakanainen is a better player than Kampfer, but Kampfer has the NHL postseason experience, so that’s why he gets the nod here.  

For the goalies, with the ability to bring as many goaltenders as you need, backing up Rask and Halak should for sure be Dan Vladar, who enjoyed a stellar season in Providence. 

But if the Bruins want to add a fourth goaltender – and I mean, why not if you can – it’s really a toss up between Kyle Keyser and Jeremy Swayman. Keyser has experience in the pros, but Swayman took home the Mike Richter Goalie of the Year award as the best goaltender in college hockey, and the Hockey East Player of the Year. A nightmare situation in the crease would have to occur for Cassidy to be turning to either of these two, but I think Swayman gets rewarded for his stellar season and will be on the playoff roster. 

So the Black Aces for the Bruins for this upcoming playoff would be: Anton Blidh, Paul Carey, Trent Frederic, Steven Kampfer, Jeremy Lauzon, Brett Ritchie and Jack Studnicka, in addition to adding Dan Vladar and Jeremy Swayman.

If all goes well and no injuries occur, there shouldn’t be any reason to believe any of the forwards would be utilized in these upcoming playoffs. Kampfer and Lauzon could slide in as the sixth or seventh defensemen instead of Moore or Clifton.

But the Bruins, as does the rest of the NHL playing in these upcoming series, now should not have to worry about bringing in players from the outside into the hub city once everything starts.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 182 that we recorded below on 6-7-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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  1. Joe Prosser

    I don’t know I would still like to have Senyshen on the 3rd line with Coyle and Ritchie. At very least have him on the roster. He’s been improving a lot this season and you never know he might just click with Coyle again. The speed and size those 2, just maybe Ritchie lost some weight and can keep up now. That would be a surprise/potentially scary line. My ideas for the top 2 lines are as follows.
    1. Marchand, Bergeron and Kase 2. DeBrusk, Krejci and Pastrnak
    3. Ritchie, Coyle and Senyshen 4. Wagner, Kuraly and Nordstrom
    Extras: Bjork, Lindholm, Kulhmam, Frederic, Studnicka and Blidh

    Defensive Pairings
    Chara. McAvoy
    Krug. Carlo
    Lauzon. Clifton
    Grzelyck. Kampfer
    Vaakanainen. Moore

    • Mark Allred Jr

      Well said Joe! I’m a huge fan of Senyshyn and his developme4nt thus far regardless of his yearly numbers at the AHL level.

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