(Photo Credit: Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter / X @adbblue

After being eliminated in six games by the Florida Panthers in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Boston Bruins will have an interesting off-season. With a handful of pending free agents and a lot of money to spend, GM Don Sweeney will have some tough decisions. However, one thing he won’t have to worry about is what to do with center Matt Poitras, who is coming off his rookie season. 

The 2022 second-pick had his first NHL campaign cut short after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery. In 33 games, he had a line of 5-10-15 and was a +4. The young forward has already started skating and looks to jump back into the fold next season. 

After an impressive preseason in which he led the Bruins in points, Poitras made the team out of training camp as a 19-year-old. However, his point production wasn’t the only thing that earned him a spot on the roster. His vision and positional play in all three zones were stellar, and it was clear he belonged at the NHL level. 

All that carried over to the regular season, and the rookie continued to contribute to the team’s success. Although the point production was inconsistent, Poitras was always in the right spot on the ice. Furthermore, he showcased his skill by scoring a few highlight-reel goals and proved to be an excellent puck distributor. This earned him some occasional minutes on the Boston power play. 

After suffering a shoulder injury against the Arizona Coyotes, Poitras needed surgery, which would cut his first season short. Although Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zacha both had career seasons, the Bruins are still without a bonafide number-one center heading into the 2024-25 season. Sweeney is likely to address that through free agency or a trade, but if Poitras makes another jump and raises his game, he could be an option for that role in the future. 

It’s unlikely he’ll fill the top-line center role next season, but the 20-year-old will undoubtedly be in the mix for the center spot in the Bruins’ top nine. He is also still on a rookie contract, which saves the team money against the salary cap. Once Poitras fully matures and bulks up, he has the potential to be one of the team’s most important players. Expect him to be a crucial part of the Boston lineup next season.