Anders Bjork - RW
Anders Bjork is a player with a lot of praise and good feelings about his play...but there are also a lot of question marks around him. Which is never fun for a rookie, even if it’s not his fault.
He played perfectly fine as a top 6 winger in a mere 30 games of being one, helped by the fact he was often playing with some of the best compliments a young winger can have with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. When he was on his game, he showed how head-and-shoulders above many of his former NCAA peers he was with the kind of poise and skill that makes you believe he’s been playing in the NHL for awhile now.
And then...he got his shoulder hurt. And promptly disappeared.
Which is a shame. Bjork only played 30 games this year and definitely showed some flashes of what could be a perfectly serviceable top 6 winger...
...Which would be all the more puzzling for his “interesting” quirk; his short dry spells. Now, before we go throwing ideas like him “going cold” for stretches of the season, he never had any more than three or four at a time, but it was noticeable when he could easily get a point or two concerning who he was usually linemates with. When he seemed off his game, it seemed like Bjork simply existed as a name on the team and a body on the ice. Which is fine, Bergeron and Marchand can do most of the heavy lifting on any line, but it’s still strange that a player who has such promise can just kind of...disappear.
It’s also puzzling how he ended up the weakest link in analytics amongst most of these young guns, considering he often had more ice time than they did...when he was on his game of course.
But then, again...he got hurt. And also got sent down occasionally. So unfortunately we’ll never know if that wasn’t just nerves, rookie quirks or a specific flaw in his game until next season.
Aggregate Grade: C+
Injury sucked a lot of fun out of last season’s early run and especially for guys like Bjork. Because this kid looks like an NHLer and plays like an NHLer and when he’s on all cylinders there isn’t a lot many teams can do for themselves. It’s just now we’re going to be left wondering whether or not the same Anders Bjork that ran the show in preseason is going to be showing up again.
Bjork will likely look to rebound in a big way for training camp. Let’s see if he can pull it together for another great season...Namely, one that ends well after game 82.
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