Bruins

After a slow start in 2019, Urho Vaakanainen looking to rebound during call-up to Boston

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Bruins had a decision to make ahead of Monday’s practice — just hours after getting dealt a bad hand with the news of Torey Krug’s upper-body injury. 

The Bruins did have options when the time came to determine the next man up in the organization’s blue-line prospect pipeline, but who was it going to be?

How about Urho Vaakanainen — Boston’s de-facto top D-man prospect mired in an early-season slump with Providence? Maybe Jeremy Lauzon? Or perhaps this would be another window for Jakub Zboril to show some of the promise that made him a first-round pick back in 2015.?

“As far as young guys go, we know there’s three call-up guys that we’ve used that have had different levels of success,” Bruce Cassidy said of the current state of Boston’s blue line down in Providence. (Alex) Petrovic has played in the league, so he’s more of a guy that, in case we run into problems in the right side with some of our bigger bodies. … But they’re going to get their opportunity and tomorrow will be Day 1 for one of them.”

Indeed, with Krug out for at least a couple of games, another young skater is going to get a starting nod on Tuesday against the Panthers — with Vaakanainen getting the green light from the B’s brass. 

It’s a move that few would argue with, considering the 20-year-old defenseman managed to crack the NHL roster out of training camp last year and likely would have stuck around a bit more had it not been for injuries. 

And yet, despite all of the potential that the 2017 first-rounder showcased last season, the strong play that Vaakanainen put forth during World Juniors and AHL competition hasn’t exactly translated over to this current campaign with the Baby B’s.