A lot has changed within the Bruins forward core this offseason, meaning the ideal spot for Jack Studnicka is still a mystery. This upcoming season is a massive one in Studnicka’s development. One thing currently boding well for him is the hard work he has been putting in adding weight to his 6-foot-1 frame.
Word is Bruins' Jack Studnicka is killing it this summer @EPS_Strength in Foxboro. Has added 10 pounds. Eating right. Work ethic off the charts. Bodes well for upcoming season
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) July 17, 2021
That was back in mid-July, so it’s fair to believe that his training since then has continued to allow him to build strength and get bigger. With David Krejci heading back to the Czech Republic and Charlie Coyle most likely moving up to the vacant second-line center spot, there is potential for Studnicka on the third line. Whether that would be as a center or wing remains to be seen, but his positional versatility is an asset.
I think newcomer Nick Foligno will almost undoubtedly start the season on the third-line wing, leaving a competition involving players like Jack Studnicka, Erik Haula, and Trent Frederic for the third-line center spot. Haula’s status as a serviceable NHLer helps his odds of winning that job, while Studnicka and Frederic are still finding their way. In a world where Haula starts the season as the fourth-line center, Studnicka could get the first crack at third-line center.
I really don’t see Studnicka starting at the fourth-line center spot. His skill set would be better utilized with high-quality AHL minutes than fourth-line NHL minutes. The Bruins have a good group of capable fourth-line forwards that would make more sense including newcomer Tomas Nosek.
If the third-line job doesn’t come to be right away, while this may be unpopular to some, more AHL time with the Providence Bruins wouldn’t be the worst thing for Studnicka. He’s still 22-years-old and has proven that he can contribute at a high level in the AHL. Top-line minutes would allow him to further develop and learn how to leverage the extra strength and mass added to his frame. There’s also always the opportunity for him to earn a call-up during the season.
While the decision will be a tough one to make, the Bruins have options when it comes to where Studnicka plays. From what it sounds like from his offseason training, he is very motivated to take the next step.