ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Boston Bruins have rotated through plenty of options at nearly every position this season. For the third-line center slot, at least until the trade deadline, it remains center-by-committee.
It was rookie Trent Frederic again for Friday night’s game against the Ducks. But the Bruins, away from the East Coast for two weeks, also are giving Karson Kuhlman an opportunity to show what he has.
With Providence this season, the Minnesota-Duluth alum has 25 points in 50 games. He showed some flash at development and rookie camp, and very well could make his NHL debut on this trip.
“I think I’m just focused on getting better every day,” Kuhlman said. “I think we’re doing that, individually and as a team. Had a little rocky start in the beginning, myself included. ... Saw a few pucks go in the net, hope it goes from there.”
Kuhlman, 23, won a national title with Minnesota-Duluth and was a consistent 20-point scorer with the Bulldogs. He notched one assist in his two games with the P-Bruins last year, but broke out this season.
“Karson was a name that was brought up and he’s played really well in Providence,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “So that’s what we try to do, reward. Unless we have something really specific on a position, then we reward the best player. That’s who they recommended, and here he is.
“I think he’s more energy, he’s very responsible. Would start on the (penalty) kill for us. Then we’ll see. Some guys, they just morph into that. He scored a little bit in college; I wouldn’t call him a scorer, but he chipped in. Providence, the same thing. He’s starting to figure out a little bit more on the offensive of it.”
The Bruins obviously need scoring, and Kuhlman isn’t the answer to that, but he could get a look in tonight’s game against the Kings in Los Angeles.
“The constants of it has been to hunt pucks, make good plays with it, responsible plays,” Cassidy said. “Defends really well, helps your team win.”
The Bruins have been home since essentially the Winter Classic, with four single-game road trips in between.
“We had a long stretch at home, I think we needed it,” Cassidy said. “Then a lot of road games I think in November, the Winter Classic. ... For us to get home and get our feet on the ground was good, both for personal, to spend time with your family, then enjoy the comforts of home and hopefully win, I think we did that.”
They make up for lost time with the two-week trip that begins with the two games in southern California, then goes to San Jose, Las Vegas and St. Louis. Given the stretch of success for the team — eight straight games with points — that’s not a bad thing.
“Getting out on the road for us is good timing, we’re playing well,” Cassidy said. “Always nice to get on the road when you’re playing well. I think the guys can use the time together as well.”
For some of the new guys, it’s an opportunity as well to get to know the group. “I’d be excited to go everywhere, but the West Coast is fun,” Kuhlman said.
“Thought I’d get a little sun too, but unfortunately been a bit rainy so far. But can’t complain too much.”