B’s Beat: Matt Fraser And Ryan Spooner Getting Their Chance
Injuries create opportunities. Nobody wants to see a guy get hurt, but when it happens, it opens up a spot for someone else to make an impact. The Bruins have been hit pretty hard with the injury bug over the last few games. Two of these many injuries, Chris Kelly (fractured tibia) and Loui Eriksson (concussion), have left holes in the lineup. Both of these players will be out for an extended period of time, so the B’s have called up AHL scoring machines Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser.
It is exciting to see these two guys get the call up from Providence despite the somber circumstances regarding their promotion. This is especially true given they outstanding seasons they are both having with the baby B’s.
Spooner was the Bruins’ 2nd round draft pick during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Last season with the Providence Bruins, he had 17 goals, 40 assists, and a +17 in 59 games. This season in the AHL he has 5 goals, 18 assists, and a +6 in 21 games. He has a high hockey IQ to go along with his impressive speed and vision. He has developed into quite the offensive weapon in the AHL, and there is plenty of potential there for him to turn into a productive NHLer.
A nice comparable for Spooner would be current Bruins forward Reilly Smith. Both players are quick, shifty, and their high end puck moving ability helps them make up for their lack of physicality. Although, Smith is a little bigger than Spooner, so he will have to contend with that throughout his career. The young center also has 2 assists in 2 games from a prior call-up earlier in the season.
Fraser was one of the four pieces that came over from the Dallas Stars for Tyler Seguin. For an undrafted free agent out of the WHL, he has certainly been one of the most prolific goal scorers in the AHL over the last three seasons. He scored 37 goals in 2011, 33 goals in 2012, and has 16 goals in 21 games so far this season with the P Bruins. He owns a lazer of shot, and he has a scorer’s mentality that allows him to slip into prime goal scoring areas around the ice.
I actually thought he deserved to make the team out of camp over Jordan Caron, but the Bruins needed to manage their assets, and that landed Caron in Boston.
I believe both these players will become solid NHLers during their careers, and the recent rush of injuries has given both of them the opportunity to make a name for themselves at the highest level. Peter Chiarelli has done a wonderful job stocking this team’s depth chart with many potential NHL players in the minors, that can step in without a moments notice contribute.
The Bruins have two games against lackluster opponents (Calgary/Edmonton) in which Spooner and Fraser can gain some confidence. Here’s to hoping they make the impact we are all hoping for.
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