Yes, I’m a fan of Ryan Spooner. That shouldn’t be so hard to say should it? But for some reason over the past 4 seasons it seems as though that statement wasn’t safe to say around groups of Bruins fans, god forbid actual people who make executive and roster decisions for the Boston Bruins organization. He has speed, vision and creativity that so many have harped on the Bruins for not having the past 4 years, yet he remained getting minimum minutes and buried on depth chart until this season. People will point out that he has played too soft, or that he hasn’t taken any opportunity to prove himself. To those people, you’re idiots.
Look at his first season in Boston. As an inexperienced rookie playing fourth line minutes, he put up 11 points in 22 games. Keep in mind, this was the first 22 games he ever played. Given a learning curve that most people face in their VERY FIRST NHL games AND considering he played about 8 minutes a game on the fourth line, I would say .5 points per game isn’t too bad for the kid. The season after that he struggled on the third and fourth line early on, but with a Bruins team decimated by injuries he was given the second half of the season to finally play in a top line center role. With Milan Lucic and a rookie David Pastrnak on his wings, Spooner KILLED IT. But why do I feel like I’m the only one who remembers this period of play for him?! Spooners speed and vision blended great with Pasta’s creativity and hands, and Milan Lucic was playing arguably the best hockey he had played in Boston. This line almost single handedly pulled the Bruins into the playoffs. If you remember, the bruins missed the playoffs that year even though they accumulated 96 pts, the most by a team to ever miss the playoffs.
“Watch Ryan Spooner go to another NHL franchise and annually put up 55-65 points in a top two center role.”
The following seasons Spooner was pushed over to the wing where, surprise surprise, he struggled to find a consistent game. He bounced from the wing to third or fourth line center but continually crushing it on the Power Play. Hmm weird isn’t it…? It’s almost like the guy plays well in offensive situations with other talented players. I for one was not a fan of pushing him out of his natural position, as he clearly had trouble with the wing. Spooner needs open space to flourish and burying him on the third or fourth line was not putting him in a position to succeed. So what’s the problem for Spooner? He has two of them- Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. He’s already stuck behind two top line centers in Boston which never let him be in a position to fully succeed. Personally, I think this is a problem the Bruins need to figure out. Why don’t they revisit that chemistry between Spooner and Pasta from Pasta’s rookie season? Maybe try moving the defensively responsible Krejci to the third line to allow Spooner to flourish in a top center role?
Kudos to Spooner for finding a game that works this season. He seems to have finally figured out the wing on a top line alongside David Krejci. He’s playing tougher and making those little plays that his critics had seemed to have always been harping on him about. However it appear his future in Boston still remains uncertain. Spooner is only on a one year deal, and his name does pop up in the trade rumor mill if the Bruins were to push for more of a true winger to play with Krejci. My feelings on this? It would be opportunities wasted. I think the Bruins need to give Spooner a long run at center on a top line. They really have only done this once and he excelled at it, which leads me to ask if we are going to get rid of Spooner only to watch Krejci stop being effective within 3 years? If the Bruins let him go, we will all watch Ryan Spooner go to another NHL franchise and annually put up 55-65 points in a top two center role as we are all saying “what if….”.