The Boston Bruins are proving they meant it when they said they needed more energy and speed this season.
New Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery confirmed that arguably the two roster hopefuls that consistently brought both attributes will be in the season-opening lineup Wednesday night when the Bruins open their 2022-23 regular season against the Capitals in Washington D.C. A.J. Greer will be the third line left wing for the Boston Bruins and Jakub Lauko will be on the right wing of the fourth line in his first NHL game.
“His speed, his tenacity, and he’s fearless,” Montgomery said of Lauko’s makeup to the media there for a Bruins practice in Annapolis Tuesday. “He’s fearless going to hard areas. We think he brings energy to our group, and that speed element is something we felt we needed in our lineup.”
Jakub Lauko, who was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the third round (77th overall), will be in the lineup just three days after he told the media how he felt about his chances of being in the season-opening roster.
“Last season I had a big expectations of myself that I’ll end up with those guys at the start of the season and it didn’t work out,” Lauko told the media Saturday after the Boston Bruins lost their preseason finale. “I wasn’t good enough. End of last season, (I was) pretty bad. But this summer, I was training my butt off and hopefully it’s going to pay off.”
Greer, whom the Bruins signed as a free agent this past offseason, also felt that he could earn a spot.
“I’m confident I have the tools to be here,” Greer told reporters Tuesday. “I’m confident that I’m good enough to be in the position that I’m in. It’s just a matter of always staying in that consistent state, that flow state, that same energy and drive and focus. Every night, bringing it. I’m fighting every day to stay in this position that I’m at. There are people fighting for my job, so it’s healthy competition. I’m enjoying it, but I’m focused and ready to do it every single day.”
Also in the lineup will be two of the three players the Boston Bruins waived on Sunday. Nick Foligno will be skating on the opposite side of Lauko with Tomas Nosek in the middle. Mike Reilly, who many didn’t expect to make it through waivers, will be on the blue line playing alongside Connor Clifton on the third defensive pairing.
Per various reports from the Boston media contingent at practice on Tuesday, this is what rest of the opening night roster should look like:
Taylor Hall-Patrice Bergeron-Jake DeBrusk
Pavel Zacha-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
A.J. Greer-Charlie Coyle-Craig Smith
Nick Foligno-Tomas Nosek-Jakub Lauko
Hampus Lindholm-Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort-Jakub Zboril
Mike Reilly-Connor Clifton
Jeremy Swayman or Linus Ullmark.