BRIGHTON, MA – The Boston Bruins continue to rotate through depth options with Jake DeBrusk out of the lineup and have called up Finnish forward prospect Joona Koppanen for his first taste of the NHL.
In order to make room for the versatile, big-bodied Koppanen, who can play the center position, the Bruins sent veteran winger Chris Wagner back to Providence after he got into some game action on the California road trip. The 24-year-old Koppanen has five goals and 19 points in 34 games in his fifth full season with the P-Bruins and has the 6-foot-5, 216-pound size that you simply can’t teach at the pro level.
There had been an uptick in Koppanen’s play recently as he’d been paired with Jakub Lauko at Providence to excellent results.
Mougenel on the uptick in Jakub Lauko's game this week:
"He's playing with (Joona Koppanen) and a lot of that goes to Koppi. He's been unbelievable. (Justin Brazeau) has been real good. They drag him into the fight. Koppi's been absolutely outstanding the last three-four games"
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) January 9, 2023
Wagner had six hits and one-shot attempt in 12:36 of ice time in Boston’s 7-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night and is having an excellent season for Providence that was rewarded with the California road trip.
With AJ Greer leveling off with his play after a strong start to the year and others like Trent Frederic settling into third line roles with DeBrusk out, it could be an opportunity for a guy like Koppanen to inject his way into the fourth line mix if he can show a mixture of physicality, puck possession and a little bit of skill at the NHL level. Koppanen was centering Nick Foligno and Tomas Nosek and practice with Greer rotating in as the extra forward during drills.
It’s also interesting to wonder if Swedish top prospect Fabian Lysell might have been the one to be getting an NHL audition if he had played better at the concluded IIHF World Junior Championships in Nova Scotia after he failed to score a point and was ejected from the bronze medal game vs. the United States after getting a match penalty for an attempted head shot on an American player.
Koppanen, a Tampere, Finland native, was selected by the Boston Bruins in the fifth round (135th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and has yet to appear in an NHL game.
Really forgettable World Juniors tourney for Fabian Lysell with zero points throughout and an ejection in the Bronze medal game for this match penalty vs Team USA pic.twitter.com/eLJtkLEGsd
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) January 5, 2023