It was fun while it lasted.
Well, that is premature. Nothing has officially happened yet in terms of the future of Ryan Spooner in a Boston Bruins’ sweater. What is gone is the potential for the 25-year-old center to be a focal point of the B’s offense for years to come.
The pending restricted free agent certainly had an up-and-down year to say the least. Spooner finished the 2016-17 season with 11 goals and 28 assists for 39 points in 78 games. Although he bounced back and forth between center and wing, he really thrived on the power play. Spooner’s ability to move the puck with the man advantage is right up there with some of the best players in the National Hockey League.
The biggest flaw in his game, whether he was playing under Claude Julien or Bruce Cassidy, was his defensive ineptitude.
Spooner was a healthy scratch in the last two postseason games that the Bruins played in their first-round loss to the Ottawa Senators. If he is not providing any sort of offense when he is logging over 13 minutes of ice time per game, then his spot in the lineup will always be in question.
In order for him to really thrive as an NHL-caliber player is to perhaps explore a change of scenery. The writing on the wall might indicate that the Bruins feel the same way.
With Sean Kuraly and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson waiting in the wings (not technically, both players are natural centers), Spooner could become expendable. As a second-round pick, he was supposed to really thrive in this organization and become a potent threat that opposing teams have to plan for. Case in point, look at Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Both were second-round picks as well. Those two guys turned out pretty good, right?
Spooner and the Bruins is a marriage that was not meant to last and it is almost certain that he will be on the move this coming summer. The New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks have already expressed interest, but the likely destination for Spooner could be Vegas.
The Golden Knights are set to begin their inaugural season this coming year, and it all starts with the expansion draft taking place in June.
It will all come down to whether or not the Bruins choose to expose Spooner for the expansion draft. Players from every roster will have to be protected, but others will not. That is the way an expansion draft will work. A minimum of two forwards from every team will be up for selection. Those players must be under contract for the 2017-18 season and must have played in at least 40 games the previous year.
Spooner fits both of those categories.
It really depends if the Bruins want to trade him and get something in return. At this point, it looks like that he will be playing for another team before his contract expires. Seeking options for a fresh start could do wonders for Spooner’s career.
A brand new expansion team? One could not ask for a more fresh start than that.