ANAHEIM, Calif. — Of all the promising young players the Bruins have in their system, Peter Cehlarik’s name should have been near the top of everyone’s list based on the small sample he was afforded last season.
While he notched a mere two assists, the Bruins were 8-3 with him in the lineup skating primarily on a second line with David Krejci and David Pastrnak before some defensive lapses landed him back in Providence.
With the early season promise of Charlie McAvoy, Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork, Cehlarik might have been lost to fans because he wasn’t able to compete for a job in training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. Then while playing at AHL Providence, his bad luck continued when he suffered a lower-body injury that prevented him from getting the call up to Boston.
But tonight against the Ducks, it looks like he’ll get his shot. And judging from yesterday’s practice at the Honda Center, he’ll be playing a prominent role. With both Brad Marchand and Bjork out for at least the games against the Ducks and Kings (tomorrow), coach Bruce Cassidy had Cehlarik taking Marchand’s spot on the first line with Patrice Bergeron and Pastrnak while also employing him at the net front on the first power-play unit.
“Obviously losing (Marchand) is a big loss. We’ve looked at a lot of different options to move up there. It’s obviously a good spot, so we’re not afraid to put a young player there,” said Cassidy, who also likes Cehlarik’s puck retrieval capabilities on the power play. “Peter did play with (Krejci) and (Pastrnak) last year, so he’s used to playing with good skill. He does complement them as far his ability to protect pucks and getting to the net. So he could be a good fit. Again, it’s Day 1. We may look at other options with that, but we wanted to give that a try to see where he was, and I thought he did a good job (in practice).”
In his first five games with Providence, Cehlarik was part of a line with Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Kenny Agostino — perhaps the best trio in the AHL at the time — and had three goals and three assists. Cehlarik played well enough to get a brief call-up for a practice before being sent down later in the day. Soon after, he suffered the injury and missed three weeks before returning to the Providence lineup on Sunday in Springfield. He got the call-up Monday.
“We knew Peter would have had a real good chance to make our club this year, but the…