By: Mark Allred | Follow me on Twitter @BlackAndGold277
The Boston Bruins announced today that forward Tomas Nosek, who’s already been playing through a hand injury, will miss the next four weeks with a non-displaced fracture in his left foot. Per the official roster announcement on the team’s Twitter account, the foot injury happened Thursday night on the road at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.
Nosek, a 30-year-old Czechia native, has appeared in 42 games this season, contributing three goals and five assists as the Bruins primary fourth-line center. Tomas is currently in the final year of a two-year contract with an annual average value of $1.75 million, per the PuckPedia.com website. Nosek will also be an unrestricted free agent at the close of this history-making 2022-23 season.
Per the HockeyReference.com website, Nosek has appeared in 117 games for the Boston Bruins organization and, in that timeframe, posted 6-19-25 totals. The eight-year National Hockey League veteran has 38-53-91 totals in 374 career games. In my opinion, Nosek was having the best year of his short tenure here in Boston, but with the prospects currently down in Providence getting closer and closer to the NHL level, Tomas most likely priced himself out and not returning for another year.
Bruins Recall Forward Joona Koppanen, Again….
Per the American Hockey League’s official website transactions page, the Boston Bruins have recalled forward Joona Koppanen from the Providence Bruins. The 6′-5″ 192-pound forward has been up and down Interstate 95 between Boston and Providence since the NHL Bruins found out about the Nosek hand injury; he courageously played through but was unable to take draws in the faceoff circle.
Koppanen, a 24-year-old Finnish native, was selected in the fifth round of the NHL Entry Draft in 2016 held at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. While it seems like it’s taken a player like this forever to get these opportunities, his progression and patients from the NHL Bruins throughout his development have been worth the wait. The big Fin isn’t going to blow anyone away on the stat sheet regardless of the level of pro hockey, but he will provide a solid game along the boards with his frame, and his penalty-killing skills are highly regarded in the Bruins depth.
Many Bruins fans want to give an opportunity like this to other prospects in the pipeline with names such as Georgii Merkulov, John Beecher, Vinni Lettieri, or Marc McLaughlin. While those thoughts are valid, a constant recall of Koppanen shows he’s a little more trusted for making impacts in the game with and without the puck. His body size also plays a vital role in these constant decisions, as I don’t believe those names like Merkulov, Lettieri, or McLaughlin can provide. I also don’t believe either mentioned are the best penalty killers and, in fact, more offensive threats, so that attribute might be more important when considering who deserves the recall.
Maybe it’s the Bruins considering seniority and the organization saying thanks for busting your ass in the minor-pro system for these opportunities. While I’d love to see Providence Bruins players who are on top of their game grinding it out in the AHL, prospects and patients remain my top priority when thinking about this narrative. You can be offensively gifted and one of the higher-point producers in Providence, but if you don’t have the full attributes physically as a fourth-line grinder in the NHL, your offensive capabilities aren’t heavenly considered for that role, in my opinion. I’ll stand by the recalls of Koppanen to fill in this role in the regular season and, with more game experience earned, the postseason as well. He has the ability to win important faceoffs in the circles for that bigger player who uses his size for leverage.
Koppanen has 30 points in 62 games played during the 2021-22 season, and this year in Providence has contributed 20 points in 36 games. Joona is currently in his last year of a one-year two-way contract which is worth $750K at the NHL level. With these recalls from Providence to the NHL level, Koppanen is also showcasing his skill for future work in the Bruins organization.
At 24 years of age, he’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights at the end of this season, which is always a tricky situation. In my opinion, if everything works out if this goes to arbitration, I’d bring back Koppaned for at least another year, maybe two, because his cap hit will be low, and his penalty killing is worth keeping around in case next seasons NHL Bruins roster changes drastically on the bottom six.
I like this kids work ethic, he has a long reach which he uses to his advantage, knows where to be defensively, he’s not afraid to go into the corners and can win faceoffs. I’d like him to play more physically when the opportunity presents itself. I hope Bergeron is teaching him his faceoff secrets and the 4th liners are teaching him how use his size to leverage hits, taking the puck away by lifting the stick of opposing players during the board battles and getting off a quick shot in front of the net. Yaya I know he probably knows all this, in the NHL it’s a lot faster than the AHL. I really believe he can make a difference playing between Greer and Foligno on the 4th line and on the penalty kill next to Coyle. What a big PK with a lot of stick reach with Carlo at 6′ 6″, Forbort or Lindholm at 6′ 4″ Koppanen at 6′ 5″ and Coyle at 6′ 3″ out there at the same time. Please don’t put Grzelcyk out there in the PK again. Coach Montgomery likes this kid as well so I hope he excells while Nosek is out and makes it a difficult decision for Management on who stays in NHL or sent back down.