BOSTON – The results have been mixed for young Boston Bruins defenseman Jack Ahcan in his NHL stints to this point in Boston.
The 24-year-old puck-mover was a minus-3 without any points in three games with the Black and Gold last season while posting a goal and 10 points in 19 games with the Providence Bruins last season. It appeared at times that the size and strength of NHL players was giving the 5-foot-8, 178-pounder some trouble the first time around, and the dynamic offensive game was more hidden than readily apparent.
But Ahcan looked a little more prepared this time around when he got the call in Saturday night’s 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning with Charlie McAvoy (illness) unable to play and showed that he might just be ready to help a Boston back-end that could use a boost.
Certainly, the Boston Bruins coaching staff liked what they saw.
“I thought [everybody on the defense corps] showed up tonight and competed. They all did. Kevin Dean said he was proud of his guys on the back end. Jack did a good job tonight,” said Boston Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco, serving as the acting head coach while Bruce Cassidy is in COVID-19 protocol. “He was called upon and he played hard. Like we talked about [on Saturday] morning, we wanted him to move the puck and transition it. Hopefully be able to make some plays on the blue line, but also be responsibly defensively. I thought he did all that.”
It was just one game and 15:31 of ice time, of course, but Ahcan had two shots on net, six shot attempts and a hit while also exciting the fancy stats crowd with a dominant showing when he was on the ice.
In Jack Ahcan’s 14:58 of 5v5 ice time, the Bruins held a 31-5 edge in shot attempts.
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) December 5, 2021
Perhaps more importantly, Ahcan showed that he could hold his own defensively and wasn’t a liability at all locked up against some bigger, talented Lightning players like Corey Perry.
Jack Ahcan looks hungry for some more NHL ice time: pic.twitter.com/gYIXu7ccNj
— Blake Thorne (@_BlakeThorne) December 5, 2021
With Jakub Zboril injured and his status still unknown, there could be a spot on Boston’s NHL roster opening up for the right, young defenseman and it might just be that Ahcan passed that audition on Saturday night. It’s not difficult to see that the Boston Bruins envisioned Ahcan as a possible Torey Krug replacement, albeit perhaps a less explosive offensive version, and this weekend’s performance showed that still might just be the case for the young blueliner.
Like every other young player, however, Ahcan will have to go out and keep earning it every single day while his two-year journey of proving he’s an NHL player continues for the Black and Gold.