He might have been penciled into a fourth-line role in Boston's lineup as recently as Thursday morning, but there stands a chance that Anders Bjork could find himself in a much more high-leverage spot during Saturday's matinee matchup against the Devils.
After replacing Craig Smith (lower-body) on Boston's third line during Thursday's season-opening victory over New Jersey, Bjork earned reps alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand during Friday's skate at Prudential Center, switching off in drills with rookie Jack Studnicka — who opened the season on that featured spot in place of the recovering David Pastrnak.
Speaking after practice, Bruce Cassidy acknowledged that Bjork could earn a look up on the top line on Saturday, although any lineup shuffling will revolve around Smith's health. Smith did skate on Friday, with his return likely prompting Cassidy to send one of Bjork, Studnicka or Trent Frederic to the bench.
"Yep, there is," Cassidy said on the possibility of Bjork earning 1RW reps. "Some of it depends on Craig Smith. He was skating today, so people get moved around. Obviously Frederic, Bjork, Studnicka — if the rest stay in, which is the plan, then you got two spots for three guys. So we want to make sure we put (Anders) in that position to get a few reps. He's been there before. Anders has been moved around throughout his whole time here and the good news is — if that's the case, you're always in the lineup.
"The bad news is you don't really get to develop chemistry. But injuries dictate that, so we do our best to try to fill in guys that we feel have the best chance to succeed and to keep guys sort of in the mix. And again, with good options to put in there — it's never really a bad problem to have when you know you got anybody you can put in there and feel they can contribute."
One solution could have Smith returning to 3RW, Bjork back in his projected spot at 4LW and Studnicka remaining in Pastrnak's spot for now, but Frederic made a pretty solid case for himself as a fourth-line regular on Thursday — and could be first in line to answer the bell if more Devils continue to take liberties against the B's netminders.