There are still a lot of questions to be answered when it comes to the NHL’s official return to play. One of the major questions revolves around roster size. How many players will NHL teams be allowed to carry into this summer’s tournament? A rough guess had rosters at around 27 skaters earlier in the process. That number still has not been solidified. Regardless, the Boston Bruins must begin to prepare their expanded roster.
Every spring, NHL rosters are expanded for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the ‘Black Aces’ come to town. Who will have that distinction for the Boston Bruins this summer? To find the answer, let’s first take a look at the expected lineup.
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Nick Ritchie – David Krejci – Ondrej Kase
Sean Kuraly – Charlie Coyle – Jake DeBrusk
Joakim Nordstrom – Par Lindholm – Chris Wagner
Andres Bjork and Karson Kuhlman are both likely to be on the roster as well as extra forwards. That brings the total number of players on the roster to 14 already. The defense adds another seven players to the mix.
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton
That gets us to 21 skaters. Both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak are locks to be on the roster as the top two goaltenders. There have been talks, however, that teams will be allowed to carry as many goaltenders as they would like without counting against the final number of skaters. The Bruins will likely carry at least three goalies.
THE ‘BLACK ACES’
So, who will the ‘Black Aces’ be for the team? Providence Bruins coach Jay Leach discussed options for recall last month when he met with the media via Zoom. Among those named by the coach of the team’s AHL affiliate were Trent Frederic, Jack Studnicka, Jakub Zboril, Urho Vaakanainen and Steven Kampfer.
“This is really just my best guess, but it’s the guys that we always talk about,” Leach said in May. “The Studnicka’s, the Frederic’s, it depends. If you have five guys it’s the Studdy’s (Studnicka), the Freddy’s (Frederic), it’s Zboril, Vaaks (Urho Vaakanainen), Kampfer, but it’s really tough to nail it down.
“I’d go with those four or five to start, and then where does it end?” Leach continued. “It depends on what the limit is and what they are going to need.”
THE FINAL ROSTER
Forwards (16): Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, Nick Ritchie, David Krejci, Ondrej Kase, Sean Kuraly, Charlie Coyle, Jake DeBrusk, Joakim Nordstrom, Par Lindholm, Chris Wagner, Karson Kuhlman, Anders Bjork, Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic
Defensemen (10): Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, Connor Clifton, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Steven Kampfer, Jakub Zboril
Goaltenders (3): Tuukka Rask, Jaroslav Halak, Maxime Legace