The Boston Bruins middle-six forward group has been a revolving door as of late but the Bruins could take a step towards stabilizing their forward lines Saturday when they play the Flyers in Philadelphia for the second time this season. Forward Craig Smith is expected to return to the lineup for the B’s after missing the last two games and five games total with a nagging upper-body injury.
“I would suspect he’ll be ready by the weekend,” Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters after practice Tuesday. “Smitty, I suspect, is on target. That’s what I was told. Let’s see. Again, he has been on target then something crept in.”
Whether it’s been due to his injury or not, there’s no doubt the Boston Bruins need Smith to snap out of the early-season funk that’s left him with no points in eight games and an ugly minus -6 rating. Smith was coming off a solid first season in the Black and Gold with 13 goals and 19 assists in 54 regular-season games and then two goals and three assists in ten games during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The hope was that Smith could play right wing on the second line with Charlie Coyle and Taylor Hall but due to a poor start and health, that hasn’t worked out and the middle six forward group has been a mish-mash so far.
As for the other injured Boston Bruins forward, Trent Frederic isn’t as close to returning as Smith.
“Freddy is OK,” Cassidy said. “But I wouldn’t call him close to going out with us. I think there’s a few more things he has to take care of.”
Frederic missed the last two games after leaving with an upper-body injury suffered late in the second period of a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on November 9. Frederic was knocked out of the game when Sens defenseman Josh Brown caught him with a massive hit in the neutral zone.
Trent Frederic to the Bruins dressing room after getting rocked by Josh Brown pic.twitter.com/XZfuewi7q8
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) November 10, 2021
Frederic has also struggled this season with just an assist in ten games.