( Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images )

By: Sam Minton | Follow Me On Twitter @sam_minton22

Boston Bruins fans were stunned (at least some of them) when David Krejci announced that he would be returning to the Czech Republic to play in his homeland. This leaves the B’s without a second-line center and lacking considerably at the position.

Boston has many options on the table, but right away, it seems as though Charlie Coyle is the favorite to take over for Krejci. While Coyle struggled last season, in the past, he has shown to be quite the goal scorer.

Bruins fans will remember fondly his performance in the 2019-20 season where the Weymouth native slotted home 16 goals and 21 assists. If only he were able to have a similar performance last season.

Boston also made a move when free agency opened to boost their depth ever so slightly at the position. The B’s signed Nick Foligno to a two-year deal with an annual cap hit of $3.8 million. Over his 14-year career, the bruting center has tallied 203 goals and 283 assists in 957 games played.

Part of the reason that Foligno signed with the Bruins is the fact that he was able to possibly play in a second-line role. The veteran told The Athletic that Boston told Foligno they want him on the second line.

Similar to Coyle, Foligno also had a letdown of a year last season. After racking up 10 goals and 21 assists in the 2019-20 season, the center only tallied seven goals and 13 assists last season.

Foligno and Coyle are both solid bottom-six options, but with Coyle struggling last season and Foligno continuing to rack up miles at the age of 33, they aren’t exactly the best options for Boston’s second line. A young stud who needs to prove himself could be a viable option for the team.

Second-line center Jack Studnicka?

Jack Studnicka got his first real taste of the NHL last season. He played in 20 games and was only able to tally a goal and two assists.

It seemed like Studnicka still needed to adjust to the NHL game. Spending some more time in the AHL wasn’t bad for the center last season. He is still 22 years old anyway.

But it’s now or never for Studnicka. This is the perfect opportunity to show that he is capable of being an NHL player.

While Taylor Hall might not be thrilled to play with a younger, unproven player after the departure of David Krejci, it surely would help Studnicka be in the best position possible to succeed.

If Studnicka can’t succeed with that type of talent around him, then Boston needs to seriously consider if he is a part of their future plans. Bruins fans might be witnessing Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson 2.0. Hearing how great a prospect is and having them never live up to the hype.

So the 2021-22 season is make or break for Studnicka. He needs to show that he can hang with the big boys.