Boston Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril is out for the season after successful surgery to repair a torn ACL.
Zboril left during the second period of the Bruins’ 2-0 win over the Predators in Nashville on Dec. 2 and has not played in a game since. He has missed the team’s last six games with that team termed a lower-body injury.
On Tuesday, the Bruins confirmed that the injury was a torn ACL, and head coach Bruce Cassidy clearly felt for the young defenseman who had been coming into his own this season.
“The good news for him is that he should come back stronger,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “Unfortunately, he was playing well and he had pushed his way into the lineup [at the time of injury]. So for him individually it’s a tough one. He’d spent a lot of time working to get to that spot where he could push into the lineup and I thought he was getting better. He had some room to grow this year if he kept his confidence level up and he was playing. He would only have gotten better as the year went along.”
In what appeared to be a clean hit from Predators forward Tanner Jeannot 4:36 into the second period of that game, the right knee of the Boston Bruins 6-foot-1, 191-pound, 24-year-old rearguard appear to twist the wrong way and Zboril eventually had to be helped off the ice with the assistance of his teammates.
Jakub Zboril had to be helped to the dressing room after this hit: pic.twitter.com/5CujIXnFHT
— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) December 3, 2021
Unfortunately for Zboril and the Boston Bruins, Zboril was playing arguably the best hockey of his young career. He had three assists in ten games and had finally seemed to find the two-way game and confidence needed to stay in the lineup. Drafted 13th overall in the now infamous – for the Boston Bruins – 2015 NHL Entry Draft that saw the Bruins then select forward Jake DeBrusk 14th overall and forward Zach Senyshyn 16th, Zboril came into the season as the Bruins’ seventh defenseman. He played solid in 42 games last season, racking up nine assists, but there were still question marks surrounding Zboril coming into this season. Unfortunately, for him and the Bruins, the Brno, Czech Republic native appeared to be answering those questions but will instead now have to rehab back from knee surgery.
If Zboril is out long-term when the Boston Bruins return from a COVID-forced break and the holiday break, and given all other defensemen are free of COVID, this is how the blue line could look for the Bruins:
Derek Forbort-Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk-Brandon Carlo
Mike Reilly/John Moore-Connor Clifton
Of course, with DeBrusk’s trade request last month, there is always the chance that Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney tries to pluck another blueliner off the NHL trade market. On Monday morning, Joe Haggerty suggested that the Bruins go all-in on Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who has become available via trade. Haggerty even suggested packaging DeBrusk in a trade for Chychrun. As Sweeney pointed out Saturday though, it’s highly unlikely that he or any NHL GM will be able to pull off a trade before the December 23-27 roster freeze due to the league-wide COVID outbreak.
“I mean, we’re still continuing to talk but you can imagine the entire league is a little bit handcuffed and we have the roster freeze coming up,” said Sweeney. “So that’s probably going to put us in a situation where things aren’t — communication can continue but you can’t really do anything until you come out of it. And obviously, we’re reacting to where our team is going to be coming out of the break and trying to prepare for that and then seeing who’s going to be healthy and recovered.
“On the schedule, we have a game that we’d have to go to Canada for and some players will not be able to travel there so we still have some things to maneuver through and we’ll wait to see what the positions are and we’ll prepare to play coming out of the break and hopefully take this pause where things turn in the right direction. We get everybody back and healthy, and we stay that way.”