It’s hard to give a fair rating to a guy who played in two regular season games in the first half of the season and then was thrown into the crazy whirlwind of the 2019-20 Stanley Cup playoffs.
But Jack Studnicka showed glimpses of his potential this postseason, and given how little we’ve seen of him, he gets a boosted grade based on that potential.
Studnicka made his NHL debut on the road against the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 26, 2019 and registered his first career point on an assist to Danton Heinen.
He played in one more regular season game on Nov. 29. In the two games, he logged a total of 24:15 minutes of time on ice and three shots on net. That would be it with the Bruins for Studnicka during the regular season. He spent the rest of the year with Providence where he led the team in goals scored (23), assists (26) and points (49).
Various Return to Play protocols - which limited guys like David Pastrnak, Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase being “fit” to participate with the team during training camp - gave Studnicka a chance to get reps in and show how he could gel with others on the right wing.
He wasn’t going to get many chances at center during the year because of depth at the position. But hey, this weird postseason at least gave the Bruins a win of sorts – seeing how at right wing, Studnicka could be useful with different lines.
The right wing will likely be where he starts out as he gets more call-ups as he continues to develop, but I think this was a huge turning point for the young forward who didn’t get much of a look during the regular season.
During the 2019-20 playoffs, Studnicka appeared in five games. He didn’t register any points, but he seemed to grow into his comfortability with each game. He meshed well with David Krejci. He set up some nice neutral zone breakouts with Charlie Coyle. He’ll definitely need to shoot more as he had 10 shots on net in five games, but that will come with more NHL game play. Overall, he didn’t hurt the Bruins by being on the ice.
This is a kid that’s still in development, but I thought he exceeded expectations with how he contributed during the playoffs. He needs to get stronger on the puck, but you could see him trying to make plays and earn his future roster spot. His confidence handling the puck did improve during his five postseason games. Studnicka made the most of the situation dealt and hopefully Bruce Cassidy gives him an early look next season.
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