By: Danielle DuBois | Follow me on Twitter @DanielleDuBois
The Boston Bruins have the best record in the NHL and have looked incredible all season long. While the team has a current record of 34-5-4, there have been some bumps in the road. Left Wing Jake DeBrusk, was placed on long-term injured reserve on January 5th. With DeBrusk having 16 goals and 14 assists this season, the loss was guaranteed to put a dent in the Bruins’ roster.
Since DeBrusk has been gone, head coach Jim Montgomery has played around with the lines trying to find one that is the most similar to what they had with DeBrusk. While Montgomery is playing around with the lines, this is the perfect time to bring up younger players from Providence, such as Marc McLaughlin. We saw the 23-year-old come up for 11 games last season. In those 11 games, McLaughlin had three goals and 12 shots. For a young player who didn’t play much last season, it was a promising start in the NHL for him. Since his NHL debut, he has returned to the Providence Bruins, where he has scored six goals and seven assists this season.
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McLaughlin has the talent to be in the NHL; he just needs more experience. The season is close to the halfway point, so this is the perfect time to bring up young players. This would allow the players the time to grow with the team and get settled before the playoffs approach. Towards the end of January, the Bruins have to face the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Florida Panthers, and the Carolina Hurricanes. With three strong teams who challenge the Bruins, bringing up McLaughlin could benefit the team. McLaughlin’s speed would help run those teams down and tire them out.
The problem with bringing McLaughlin up is that someone is going to be sent down to Providence. The Bruins have an extremely talented and diverse roster so choosing someone to send down is a difficult decision. On the fourth line, we have seen Nick Foligno, Tomas Nosek, and A.J. Greer. If McLaughlin were to get called up, he would most likely fit in on the fourth line; however, Greer has just gotten the hang of how things work here in Boston. Sending Greer down to Providence just wouldn’t make sense at this moment.
So how can McLaughlin get called up? Well, I would suggest moving Smith down. While Smith has been playing on the first line, he only has eight points on the season. Not to mention that earlier on in the season, the Bruins placed Smith on waivers. While Smith has been playing well on the first line, it would make the most sense for him to get sent down. The Bruins have clearly had friction with Smith so sending him down isn’t the most obscure idea. With Smith down in Providence, Pastrnak would get moved up to the perfection line. This would cause both Trent Frederic and Greer to move up one line. With Greer playing with Taylor Hall and Charlie Coyle, there would be a spot on the fourth line for McLaughlin.
Obviously, moving so many players around could hurt the team chemistry but trying it out for a game or two would be interesting to see. Worst case scenario, we revert back to how the lineups were beforehand and let McLaughlin develop more in the AHL.
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