Statistically speaking, Chris Wagner is as advertised 20 goals, 34 points, and 525 hits with Boston since 2018. A player who focuses less on his point-per-game status in favor of a more honest role, keeping the opposition at bay.
The 31-year-old Walpole, Massachusetts native has spent the majority of the last season and a half playing for Boston’s AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins. But due to injuries sustained by Jake DeBrusk during Monday’s Winter Classic, Wagner enters a familiar setting. A Bruins locker room rife with leadership and aspirations of capturing hockey’s ultimate prize.
Which presents the veteran winger with an intriguing opportunity to make his case to remain with the big club. Wagner has struggled to maintain NHL status since 2021 due largely in part to organizational depth. In a three-game stint with the Bruins during the 2022 postseason against the Carolina Hurricanes, Wagner made a lasting impression not necessarily on the scoreboard but on his opponent, racking up 21 hits in just 49 minutes of ice time. That ability to come out of the press box and make an impact on the game was a key component to his recent call-up.
Boston is set to begin the first leg of the dreaded three-game west coast trip tonight against the surging Los Angeles Kings. According to Matt Porter, Chris Wagner will not be in the lineup against the Kings. He will instead make his Bruins season debut in the back-to-back matchups against the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks. A strategic move as Wagner is much accustomed to back-to-back games due to the scheduling of the American Hockey League.
Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery will utilize tonight to measure team performance without one of his more dynamic forwards in, DeBrusk, to influence his lineup against the Sharks and Ducks. While Wagner may not be the player to fill Boston’s hole on their first power play unit, that’s a job for Taylor Hall; he is certainly capable of bringing a shot of adrenaline on every shift.
It’s difficult not to cheer for the local guy as he fights to prove he is more than worthy of another shot in the NHL.