The Boston Bruins have finished some paperwork ahead of their round-robin matches, signing Anders Bjork to a three-year extension. The deal will carry an average annual value of $1.6MM and keeps Bjork under contract through the 2022-23 season.
Some may be wondering why the Bruins would commit three years to a player who has only 14 goals in 108 NHL games, but there is a real belief that he can still turn into a top-six option for the team. Bjork will turn 24 in a week and has impressed during the return to play training camp, enough to make head coach Bruce Cassidy unsure of whether Ondrej Kase will even have a roster spot when he returns.
A fifth-round pick in 2014, Bjork really found his game while attending Notre Dame, becoming a dominant offensive presence and recording 52 points in 39 games during his junior year. He was a Hobey Baker finalist that year and quickly made the jump to the NHL in 2017-18. Though he hasn’t been able to show that same sort of offensive touch at the professional level, he was about to have an opportunity to really establish himself with a strong playoff performance. Like the many unrestricted free agents trying to improve their value, pending RFAs are also looking to put down statistical accomplishments that they can use in arbitration hearings.
It’s important to remember that Bjork will not be a UFA at the expiration of this deal, meaning the Bruins hold some control over him even if he does improve. The deal is also not prohibitive to their cap, but does somewhat guarantee him a roster spot going forward.