After bouncing back from an underwhelming game on Saturday with two assists in a 3-2 overtime win for the Boston Bruins over the New York Rangers, Bruins center Jack Studnicka wasn’t sugarcoating anything. Studnicka is well aware that this training camp, and if he’s on the regular season opening roster on Oct. 12, staying there early on, will likely determine his future as a Bruin.
“Well it’s huge,” Jack Studnicka acknowledged when asked how important this 2022-23 training camp is for his future in the Boston Bruins organization. “You know I’m not gonna call it a last chance type of thing but with waivers, you’re playing to play for the Boston Bruins and not playing for other teams. Obviously, since I was a kid, I’ve been wanting to play for the Boston Bruins and that’s what I want to do. So, just trying to see how it goes.”
For the first time in his young career, Studnicka would need to clear waivers if the Bruins wanted to send him to the Providence Bruins in the American Hockey League. The chances are that he would very likely be claimed before that could happen and be done with the team that drafted him in the second round (53rd overall) at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
“It’s something I’m definitely aware, I’m not going to lie,” Studnicka acknowledged. “Everyone’s aware of things like that. But I’m just trying not to dwell on what-ifs and show up every day and hopefully things go well.”
In the preseason opener on Saturday, things didn’t really go well for the 23-year-old center in a 2-1 loss for the Bruins to the Philadelphia Flyers. On Monday, new Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery pulled Studnicka aside for a heart-to-heart.
“I just like the way he responded,” said Montgomery said of Studnicka’s performance Tuesday. “I talked to him (Monday) about the opportunity to respond from game one where I thought he didn’t play to the level he expects or that we expect of him. And tonight he did. It was nice to see him get rewarded with some offensive production.”
Studnicka knew that wasn’t his best performance and appreciated the one-on-one with Montgomery.
“We had a conversation like he mentioned and I took it to heart,” Studnicka said. “I agreed with him, I didn’t show my best in Philadelphia so you can only make one first impression so I kind of made sure my second impression was good.”
Studnicka knows that if he wants to continue to impress his new bench boss, he needs to accept his likely new role of bouncing up and down the middle of the Bruins’ bottom six forward group. On Tuesday, he was flying around and trying to hit anything in sight but as he joked, he didn’t get credit for a hit on the scoresheet, which he says has become par for the course in the NHL lately.
“That’s what a fourth line does; they create energy for the rest of the team and so I’m just trying to show that, trying to be physical,” Studnicka said. “I’ve learned it’s pretty hard to get a hit on the scoresheet! I’m trying but it’s pretty hard to get them in this league. But, I’m just trying to throw my weight around as much as I can; be on top of pucks, be on time, and create energy.”