After dealing with shoulder injuries for the past two years, Boston Bruins forward Anders Bjork feels that he’s finally healthy and ready to take the role that he originally signed on for when he left Notre Dame after a big junior season and came to Boston as one of the team’s top prospects.
Instead, the 22-year-old suffered multiple injuries to his left shoulder, which in both cases required surgery, according to the Boston Globe’s Matt Porter. In 2017, Bjork suffered two injuries; he was trucked at center ice by Toronto’s Matt Martin in November and then saw his season ended after a crosscheck from Francois Beauchemin in January, then last year, his season ended in December while in the AHL after he overextended his shoulder after a hit from Washington’s Nathan Walker.
Bjork said that while he hasn’t gained any weight and still weighs about between 190 to 195 pounds, the forward said he is much fitter and has worked extensively in the gym on his upper-body muscles so there are no further issues.
I’ve had a lot of time to train. I didn’t want to get too heavy and lose any speed, but getting stronger, my upper body for shooting and winning my battles. I don’t feel heavy or slowed down at all. I’m pleased with that. My focus now is to maintain that and keep my strength throughout the season. You’ve got to be dedicated to keep the good weight on, because you’re playing a lot of hockey.
- When defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was an unrestricted free agent back in 2017, the Tampa Bay Lightning were one of the first teams that attempted to sign him. However, with the cap problems the team had at the time, signing the highly-touted defenseman was impossible and the team settled instead on Dan Girardi to a more reasonable deal. The Athletic’s Joe Smith (subscription required) wonders whether the Lightning might consider grabbing Shattenkirk now on a much more reasonable deal. Shattenkirk had everything go wrong with the Rangers since then from suffering a significant knee injury to suddenly finding himself in a rebuilding situation. However, Smith feels that a Shattenkirk fit makes sense and could work out as a short-term and cheap option.
- The Athletic’s Marc Dumont (subscription required) analyzes the play of Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Suzuki, who will turn pro this season, and who many view as a top-six center option for Montreal in the future. While looking at his junior numbers and noting a significant plateau of his numbers after his third year, the scribe believes that Suzuki should become an eventual fixture in the team’s middle, but also suggests that Suzuki likely will never be an elite player. He also writes that the 20-year-old would likely benefit from one to two years in the AHL before he is ready to make an impact for the Canadiens.