Assuming the Boston Bruins retain the majority of their current roster and do not make any big blockbuster moves, which would be nearly impossible for the salary-cap challenged team, there will be five forwards competing for two remaining spots. One of the top candidates for the open position is Matt Fraser, who proved his value to the B’s organization in the 2014 playoffs.
Fraser played in 14 regular season games for the Bruins after being acquired in the trade that sent Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars. He made four appearances in the postseason and played exceptionally well, burying a timely goal in overtime that lifted the B’s over the Montreal Canadians in Game 5.
Fraser appears to be a promising option on the wing for the Bruins, but head coach Claude Julien also has four other players who are chomping at the bit to break into the NHL. Among them is 32-year-old Bobby Robins, the Providence Bruins grinder who has made a living in the AHL since 2005. Although Robins may be more of a fourth-liner, Justin Florek, Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev are a different story. They are trying to convince the Bruins’ Brass they are worthy of being a top-six forward.
Gm Peter Chiarelli is confident that the players in the organization are capable of filling the voids left by veterans Jarome Iginla and Shawn Thornton. Fraser seems like the most logical fit, and at 24 years old, he has shown great potential. Obviously, he still has a lot of room for improvement, but at the rate he has been progressing, the only thing that is going to help Fraser develop into NHL material is a regular shift.
I am not saying Fraser is going to be able to produce stats like Iginla’s on the scoresheet, but I will not be surprised if the B’s call on him to be a key role player next season.