Reader rating: 4.6
SCOC rating: 4.4
It’s hard to call Jack Studnicka’s 2021 season a disappointment, but it’s also hard to call it a success.
I guess, in a way, that explains his rating: right around the middle of the road, maybe slightly below “meh.”
To put it more simply, Studnicka’s 2021 was fine. However, that in and of itself is a little disappointing.
Overall, Studnicka didn’t have much of an impact on the Bruins’ 2021 season. You could say he didn’t get many kicks at the can, but I was actually surprised when I looked up how many NHL games he played this season.
Considering that the regular season was only 56 games long, Studnicka appeared in more than a third of the Bruins’ regular-season games.
Do you remember many of those appearances? Yeah, neither do I.
That’s not to say that the year didn’t have highlights for Studnicka, who scored his first NHL goal in January:
(That was also the Bruins’ first even-strength goal of the season...remember those days?)
The problem, I guess, is that most of us had hoped for more out of Studnicka this season.
Given that he’s the B’s top prospect and this was his first real run of play, we wanted to see something that affirmed his place as the “next guy” for the Bruins, the future 1C/2C waiting in the wings.
We didn’t really get it. And frankly, that’s probably fine.
The Bruins aren’t really in “develop prospects” mode right now, given the rapidly closing Stanley Cup window.
Especially after restocking at the trade deadline, the B’s weren’t going to give Studnicka a ton of ice time to find and hone his game.
However, should David Krejci decide to move on, the Bruins might find themselves facing an expedited Studnicka timeline with the team relatively thin on good options at center.
Overall, this season was undoubtedly a step forward for Studnicka: first goal, couple of assists, more NHL action than the previous year.
It’s not worth putting too much stock into a kid’s first 20ish game foray into the big leagues, and early indications are that he’s rearing to go next season.
Studnicka remains a bright spot in the organization and is the Bruins’ best hope (aside from Jeremy Swayman, probably) for hitting it big in the farm system. A step forward is a step forward.
The only problem is that the step forward wasn’t quite the big leap many of us hoped for: many of us hoped 2021 would be Studnicka’s coming out party, but it wasn’t to be.
Maybe next year.