Ryan Spooner’s second career NHL game will be one to remember.
The 21-year-old center will line up Tuesday night between wingers Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, replacing the injured David Krejci (knee) in what amounts to his biggest opportunity at the NHL level to date.
“We’re giving him an opportunity to be a real good centerman playing between some really good players,” Boston head coach Claude Julien told CSNNE.com. “He’s a great play-maker, so it’s a great chance for Spoons to take and we’ll see how it works out.”
Spooner, Boston’s second-round pick (45th overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, is having a stellar season with AHL Providence, leading the team in points (45) and assists (33).
He’ll get a chance to reprise that offensive role with the Bruins. Horton sits third on the team in goals, with eight, while Lucic sits third on the team in assists, with 13.
Spooner made his NHL debut back on Feb. 6 — a 2-1 win over Montreal — but played sparingly, getting just eight shifts for 5:29 of ice time. He only played two shifts in the second period and just one in the third (which was a mere 29 seconds long).
Julien wasn’t promising much more than an opportunity for Spooner this time around, and said he wasn’t married to keeping the former OHL scoring sensation with Lucic and Horton all night.
That said, expectations are high.
“If it’s not working out then we can make some changes,” Julien said. “But we’ve seen him enough to think he’ll be a good fit there.”