Over the years, Anders Bjork has become a well-known name to Bruins fans. The young forward has had high expectations since entering the Bruins system but been held back by injuries. Last season the Notre Dame product had three points in 20 games before a shoulder injury ended his season. During the 2019-2020 campaign, however, Bjork has started to live up to expectations.
Before the season began, Bjork had only appeared in 50 games throughout his first two years in the NHL. His best year was his rookie season when he had four goals and eight assists. While those are not All-Star numbers, Bjork was off to a promising start before his season ended early due to injury.
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Through 58 games this season, Bjork has managed to stay on the ice. Before the 2019-2020 season was put on pause, Bjork had nine goals and 10 assists. He also had one power-play goal after failing to record one the year before. The former fifth-round pick had landed 66 shots on net, which is a career-high by far.
While Bjork showed improvements offensively, he also improved his two-way play. So far the season Bjork has landed a career-high 43 hits and blocked 21 shots. He was averaging a career-best ice time of 12:56 and attempted 134 total shots. As a result, head coach Bruce Cassidy has shown more trust in Bjork and even used him on the penalty kill at times.
Three words: Anders Bjork SZN pic.twitter.com/prSSvwAPZ7
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Although Bjork’s play has taken a step forward, he appeared in just one of the Bruins’ most recent five games. While Bjork’s demotion was disappointing, it gave Boston the chance to see where Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie fit in the lineup. With the playoffs quickly approaching at the time, head coach Bruce Cassidy was trying to send a message to his young forward.
If the season does resume, Bjork will be more motivated than ever to prove his critics wrong. His decrease in play might light a spark for the young forward as the Bruins look to return to the Stanley Cup Final.
Regardless of how this season plays out, Bjork will be a restricted free agent this summer. There is a good chance he will return to Boston, as Bjork and Charlie Coyle have shown to be an effective combination at times. He will be looking to take his game to the next level and earn a permanent spot in the lineup.