Alright, sorry for the confusion: yes, we published #6 yesterday, ahead of #7. Peter Cehlarik and Jeremy Lauzon actually finished with pretty similar grades, but Cehlarik was a little behind due to our weighting.
So we’ll do Cehlarik’s profile now, even though you already read the one of the guy just ahead of him. After that, we’ll be back in order with #5. Math is hard.
Going into last season, Peter Cehlarik and Matt Grzelcyk had quite a few things in common. Both were drafted several years ago (Cehlarik in 2013, Grzelcyk in 2012). Both had been “prospects” for what seems like forever. Both had been productive in the AHL, and had a few cups of coffee in the NHL.
Last year, Grzelcyk made the jump. Is this year Cehlarik’s turn?
Drafted 90th overall, Cehlarik is one of those guys who seems like he’s perpetually been on the fringe of breaking through. This year probably represents his last best shot, and the bet here is that he takes it.
Truthfully, it must be a bit hard for Cehlarik to see what has happened to the forward ranks in recent years. Guys like Jake DeBrusk, David Pastrnak and Ryan Donato were all drafted after him, and are (or at least are almost certain to be, in Donato’s case) NHL mainstays.
Cehlarik, to his credit, has plugged along without complaining. He had 20 goals in 49 AHL games in his first season in the States back in 2016-2017.
Last year, he had a shoulder injury that sidelined him early, but he was still in the mix for an NHL spot early in the year. He was given a regular look in mid-November, which is when he scored his first NHL goal.
Cehlarik headed into his fifth game last season on a good note, appearing to find his groove. In that game, however, he was the victim of a semi-leg check against Pittsburgh and suffered a “LOWER BODY INJURY™.”
He ended up missing more than a dozen games due to that injury; in that time, the Bruins got healthy and Cehlarik’s spot disappeared. He played in one more game, but spent the end of the season in Providence, where he scored twice in three playoff games.
Cehlarik has a lot of upside: he’s big. He’s got a good shot and a nose for the net. He showed some chemistry with David Krejci, who could probably use a wing this season (that’s a conversation for another post).
He has some things he needs to clean up, including taking care of the puck in the defensive zone, but most prospects too.
The problem is that we’re approaching “now or never” time with Cehlarik. His contract is up after this season, and he’ll need to make some NHL noise to earn anything that isn’t a two-way deal.
With the Bruins having a few question marks in their lineup heading into October, this may be his best chance to break camp with the big club. He started off strong, with two assists in the first China game.
Can he continue that, and get himself off this list next summer?
The list so far:
10. Jeremy Swayman
9. Ryan Fitzgerald
8. Trent Frederic
7. Peter Cehlarik
6. Jeremy Lauzon