Jack Studnicka in 2022
Key stats: 15 GP, 0G, 3A, 3PTS
Other stats: 35 AHL points in 41 GP, 51.1% CF (5v5), 55.0 CF/60 (5v5)
Reader rating: 4
Writer rating: 4.7
At this point, I’m starting to feel a little bit like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football when it comes to Jack Studnicka.
Every offseason, I talk myself into this being the year that he gets an NHL look and earns his spot, taking the step forward we’ve all been waiting for.
Also every offseason, I find myself writing this same exact post, looking ahead to next year, which will surely be the year.
It’s a little harsh on Studnicka, to be fair. He’s still just 23, and it’s not completely inaccurate to say that he still hasn’t got a real, solid, extended chance at the NHL level.
The Bruins found themselves ravaged by injuries a few times last season, leading to Studnicka getting a few instances of “runs,” though not all were long enough to earn that moniker.
He got in three games in October, registering a point. There were two more games of spot duty over the next couple of months.
His most extended look came in February, where he got in five games and didn’t do a ton: one assist, seven shots on goal (though that’s a little inflated by one game with three shots).
I still think it’s a little early to write Studnicka off, but at some point, the question has to be asked: is he not getting a shot, or not earning a shot?
Admittedly, I didn’t watch his performances this year with laser focus, but I don’t really remember seeing many games where you walked away saying, “man, he’s gotta be back in there Tuesday.”
Fans have, for the most part, been patient with Studnicka’s development. Many were super high on him after an outstanding CHL career and a great start in Providence.
NHL returns have been harder to come by, however, and that excitement may be reflected in his rating: 4, meaning fine, but slightly below expectations.
Last year, you fine folks gave him a 4.6.
Studnicka spent much of the last several years as the Bruins’ top prospect, the can’t-trade 1C of the future.
Since then, he’s been surpassed in that regard, but also hasn’t stuck in the NHL. He’s in ‘tweener land, which is a bad place to be.
It doesn’t help that the Bruins are looking pretty set at center, his natural position, again this year. Where are the NHL opportunities going to come from?
Studnicka will probably still be the first man up in the event of an injury, but if you look at the Bruins’ full healthy top nine, there’s really no room.
Having said all of that, it’s certainly too early to get too doom-and-gloom on Studnicka. While his progression may not be as fast as many had hoped, strong AHL production and flashes at the NHL level show that there still may be something there.
And I feel like this review has been a little harsh at times, even though it isn’t intended to be. It’s not like he looked completely lost in his NHL appearances or anything.
The Bruins are willing to be patient with him, signing him to a new two-year deal earlier this summer.
If he can show steady improvement over the life of that deal, then posts like this won’t become a summer tradition, which will be great.
If not, he runs the risk of being another Alex Khoklhachev, or Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, or whoever: plenty of potential, but little return.
Have your hopes for Jack Studnicka’s development changed?
This poll is closed
No - still think he can be a top-six producer
Yes - depth is probably as good as he’ll be
I was never high on him
I’ve already bailed on him as a prospect