Austin Czarnik came into Boston on the heels of a good thing and a bad thing.
The good thing was that he was genuinely impressive in camp, he competed well in spite of his small stature and his knack for crazy fast, accurate shots, speedy skating, and willingness to get into the thick of the action on offense or defense got him in the good graces of Claude Julien.
The bad thing was of course...the fact that he had his roster spot solidified by the injury of Frank Vatrano, who ended up being out for half the year.
He played two games early...then got concussed. Then he came back and played a little more full time, logging usually somewhere in the avenue of 13 minutes a night on the ever-mercurial third line, and didn’t do terribly, all things considered. With his skillset he seemed to definitely be able to capitalize on the strengths of his center and winger.
In this time, he ended up sticking around for almost half the season, playing alright and not really generating much in the way of goals, only notching 5. And because of that he was struck with the curse of being ultimately replaceable. It’s not that he was bad, but it was that his inconsistency with the puck, general skittishness when it came to breakouts, and tendency towards low-danger shots meant he just wasn’t the killer instinct the team was looking for in it’s third line. (Not that they ever got it, of course.)
He ended up going back and forth from Providence, he got hurt in February and remained as a P-Bruin after that, finishing his year in the Ocean State with 23 points in 22 games, which is pretty neat. He did have a somewhat disappointing playoffs, with only 7 points in 17 playoff games, letting Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen take center stage.
Czarnik will have a hefty amount of competition from his Providence and former Boston teammates as the team attempts to get younger, so who knows at this point where this rollercoaster of a year might take him come September.
He certainly looks like a player that needed some time in the AHL to improve himself but also looked ready to make the leap. Injuries hampered him, and maybe with a full season to prove himself and another strong camp he can stay on the main roster.
Games Played: 49
Final Aggregate CF%: 54.44%
Where should Austin Czarnik start next season?
This poll is closed
AHL, call up as needed
Decide in camp