The Boston Bruins have announced their initial roster for the 2021-22 NHL regular season and a familiar face from the past three seasons did not make the cut. After being waived on Friday and then clearing on Saturday, veteran forward and Walpole, MA native Chris Wagner is likely headed to the AHL and the Providence Bruins. Veteran Bruins defenseman John Moore, who was also waived Friday and then cleared the following day did make the final cut as the Boston Bruins will carry eight defensemen to start the season.
Here’s the expected Opening Night roster (barring any injuries) for the Boston Bruins when they host former Bruins star forward Tyler Seguin and the Dallas Stars on Saturday night at TD Garden:
Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Anton Blidh, Charlie Coyle, Jake DeBrusk, Nick Foligno, Trent Frederic, Taylor Hall, Erik Haula, Karson Kuhlman, Curtis Lazar*, Brad Marchand, Tomas Nosek, David Pastrnak, and Craig Smith.
Defenseman: Brandon Carlo, Connor Clifton, Derek Forbort, Matt Grzelcyk, Charlie McAvoy, John Moore, Mike Reilly, and Jakub Zboril
Goaltenders: Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman
While it wasn’t exactly a shock that Wagner was waived by the Boston Bruins on Friday, it was still hard for the team to do and for fans to see a local kid that works his tail off and is a popular Bruin. As Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy explained Sunday though, there are other players that have jumped ahead of Wagner on the depth chart and it’s simply the nature of the numbers game in the salary cap era of the NHL. While the fact that Blidh made the roster over Wagner is surprising, it has been clear during training camp that Kuhlman has jumped ahead of Wagner.
“Wagner is a good soldier and an effective penalty killer,” Cassidy said. “He can be physical. The makeup of that line with Nosek and Frederic and if it was Wagner is that it’s lacking a little bit of pace. So that’s we thought about with putting [Kuhlman] in there.”
As for Moore, with the 30-year-old having proved he can play his off-shot and the Bruins thin on the right side, his competitiveness was enough to make the cut and be an extra blueliner with Zboril.
“Johnny has bounced back from his surgery well and has shown that he’s got good life and good legs,” Cassidy said Saturday. “We have guys ahead of him, but Clifton would be the main competition with Clifton a right [stick] and Johnny a [left] stick. But Moore has been practicing on the right and playing on the right and doing a good job.”
As referenced before, the fact that Blidh made the roster is a bit puzzling, and even more so is that rookie center jack Studnicka didn’t despite the fact he had a brilliant camp filling in for Charlie Coyle for three games in the second line center slot.