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Ryan Spooner’s 2016-17 was controversial, regardless of how he played

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People have some STRONG opinions about this guy. Are they deserved?

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Evaluation:

  • He was one of the better power play stalwarts Boston could call on
  • He was disastrous 5 on 5 in his own end.
  • He is one of the more skilled players that can dance through opposing defenses with ease
  • He is soft and can’t play the boards
  • He needs better wingers to help him out
  • He needs to be traded so the youth can take his spot.

These are all things Boston fans believe of Ryan Spooner. I’ve read them in our comments, seen it on our facebook, it’s even been a recurring theme across news organization comments. Hell, the new guy in our masthead just made an article expressing disappointment in him.

Fans love to hate Ryan Spooner and there are also a number of fans extremely protective of Ryan Spooner.

In a way, you can understand that if you look back far enough. If you remember back to the days of the 2011-2012 seasons, you remember how clear-cut the lines were. Two scoring lines, one defensive line, and one line we swear was at one point alright and then caved in it’s own narrative by being disastrously bad. And then you had this nifty little passer and skater languishing his life away in Providence and you could see maybe...juuuust maybe...there was light at the end of the tunnel. Fans who hated Claude’s style rallied around him as what could’ve been the future of the Bruins. And then time caught up.

A lot has happened since then. The lines have changed dramatically. The Bruins are not the same team they were.

Since mid-season when we last looked at Spooner, nothing’s really changed except the numbers got slightly higher. Ryan Spooner is a skill-first, offensively minded center who ran the third line as it’s center for the majority of the year. He got a majority of his points on the power play, with 18 of his 39 coming from special teams action. Inarguably long stretches of time passing and opening space whilst the other team was down a man was Spooner’s strong suit, it really cannot be understated how good of a passer he could be on the man-advantage and even at 5on5 action when he was putting his all into it, able to spring players for truly impressive goals and bury chances, or create second chances. This was where he looked his best:

But of course...he has his faults. And the one universal problem people have with him is a justifiable one: his backcheck.

Ryan Spooner is a poor defensive player, the number of players worse defensively on Boston were few and far between. And his line did him absolutely no favors whatsoever in making it better, usually bringing non-factors like Jimmy Hayes or injured talents like Matt Beleskey or Frank Vatrano along for the ride and not getting much done. He is all of David Krejci’s quirks with backchecking except much younger, and probably a lot worse, given how he ended up playing in such scenarios, not being great at the faceoff dot, and with all that combined everything just kind of spiraled out of control on many shifts for him.

It got so bad that even a player that could create offense like he was occasionally able to in the playoffs got benched in Game 6 in the playoffs. A Liability that found himself stuck. That’s not great.

Spooner may be doomed to a team that’s just getting more and more talented players going through it and especially those with much more buzz and interest around him. Spooner’s 39 point season was good but...there were plenty of other players in Providence/Junior that might be able to do the same thing. He’s quickly becoming a player whose flaws have made him potentially replaceable. And as we heard, Ryan Spooner’s still being scoped out by a number of teams.

If they move him before the deadline, I wish him the best. If they keep him, I hope they can finally give him a line that makes sense before Game 1 of the season.

Grade: C+

He put up at least as many points as David Backes, and thus was not a total non-threat like other players on the same team were, but it’s become clear that Spooner’s continued usage might be as a power play specialist and little else if he sticks around. It might be him, it might be his wing, but it all adds up to him being...there. He’s not the worst player on the team, but he’s clearly not the guy people thought he could be.

Stats:

Age: 25

Games Played: 78

Goals: 11

Assists: 28

Points: 39

NHL Playoff Stats: 2 assists

Shooting-%: 7.6%

Final Aggregate CF%: 54.03%

Poll

What do you think of Spooner’s Grade?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Too high
    (63 votes)
  • 13%
    Too low
    (35 votes)
  • 63%
    Accurate
    (169 votes)
267 votes total Vote Now