(Photo Credit: Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

By: Jason Cooke | Follow me on Twitter / X @cookejournalism

Matt Poitras’ rookie season is over, and the Boston Bruins are already making roster moves to account for his absence. On Thursday afternoon, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced that prospect Anthony Richard had been recalled from the Providence Bruins. Richard–who has been red-hot down in Providence–joins a Bruins squad that could use a scoring punch headed into the remainder of the regular season.

The 27-year-old has posted a line of 19-19-38 in 41 games in Providence this season and was signed by Boston as a free agent on July 1st, 2023. Richard, a 2015 fourth-round selection by the Nashville Predators, has paid his dues in the American Hockey League. He’s played eight seasons in the AHL between five teams, recording a line of 138-145-283 in his AHL career. The forward has also had three short stints in the National Hockey League, most recently scoring 3-2-5 for the Montreal Canadians in the 2022-23 season in 13 games.

Known for his speed and pure skating ability, Richard has the tools to create plays with his feet around the offensive zone and has been a top contributor in Providence this season. Richard appeared in preseason action last September with the B’s, and while he was unable to find the stat sheet, he showcased his NHL talent, including this give-and-go opportunity with Trent Frederic. Richard utilized his speed to jet down the left side of the ice, making a great move to cut inside, nearly lighting the lamp:

While it is unsure if Richard will see any minutes with Boston this season, an opportunity has presented itself with the news of Poitras being sidelined for the rest of the season. As it appears right now, Richard will most likely slot in as the 13th forward behind a fourth-line trio of Danton Heinen, Jesper Boqvist, and Oskar Steen. However, I wouldn’t rule out an NHL appearance in the coming days.

Due to Poitras’ injury, Richard isn’t the only player who could take advantage of the newly-opened roster spot. Fabian Lysell, who has also been tearing it up in Providence this season, could very well see his own call-up. Lysell has posted 13-25-38 this season in the AHL and has seemingly improved his game after facing criticism from Providence head coach Ryan Mougenel in December. In his second AHL season, Mougenel was frustrated to see Lysell not progressing in situations where he was too individualistic with the puck. Since those comments, Lysell has improved his playmaking game, totaling 15 assists, including a four-assist game in late January. If there were a time to reward Lysell, it would be now. But he’s still young, and there’s no need to rush his development.

Another Bruin who could make the most of the new roster spot could be John Beecher, who was sent to Providence in late January after posting 5-2-7 in 39 games played for the Bruins this season. Beecher has already proven he’s an NHL-caliber player, using all his 6’3″, 216 pounds to be a physical presence in Boston’s bottom six. He was strongly suited on the face-off dot, ranking first among rookies in face-off wins (208) and face-off percentage (53.9 percent) as of January 22nd before being returned to Providence, where he’s notched just two points in six games. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins bolster their bottom-six with Beecher.

These potential call-ups are purely speculative, and the B’s could very well keep what they have with Heinen, Boqvist, Steen, Jakub Lauko, and now Richard to occupy the fourth line. Boston could even target a middle-six forward at the trade deadline. But injuries create opportunity, and while the Bruins would love to have Poitras remaining on board for the rest of the season, someone else will have to step up to the plate.