Justin Florek could play himself into permanent job in Boston
|04.22.14 at 1:43 pm ET|
DETROIT — Last year the Bruins saw one Michigan native play his way into a job during the postseason in Torey Krug. Might they be in the process of seeing another?
Well, that depends on the definition of “job.” Justin Florek has filled in for Chris Kelly admirably in the first two games of the postseason, scoring a fluke goal but also playing very well five-on-five and killing penalties. While Florek won’t be stealing Kelly’s job any time soon, it’s entirely possible that his play could make him the team’s 13th forward over Jordan Caron, if that isn’t already the case.
With both Kelly and Daniel Paille out, Florek has played in place of Kelly on Carl Soderberg‘s line, while Caron has played on Gregory Campbell‘s line in place of Paille. Though Caron was with the Bruins throughout the season and Florek spent much of the year in Providence, it would appear that Florek has become a better option to play in different roles. For what it’s worth, both Caron and Florek are restricted free agents at season’s end.
Florek, who is in his second full professional season, is just happy to be playing playoff hockey. If what he does now sets him up for more of an opportunity going forward, that’s gravy.
“I don’t think about it at all really,” Florek said of playing his way into an NHL role. “I just go out there and play my role. I just do what I can to help my team win and whatever happens happens. It’s just kind of the way I’ve approached my career the way long. I’m just going to continue to play that way.”
The Bruins brought up Florek prior to the playoffs on an emergency basis. However, the terms of that recall will not present an issue for the Bruins once Paille or Kelly is ready to return, as teams are permitted three regular recalls at the start of the postseason.
Florek, like Caron, has had to play in different roles with the B’s this season. Florek played well on the fourth line earlier in the season, picking up a goal and an assist in a three-game sting in January, and he’s also looked good on a more skilled line with Soderberg and Loui Eriksson.
“I feel comfortable playing both roles. At the same time, I just go out and play my game,” Florek said. “[Regardless] of who I’m playing with, I’ve just got to play my game and not get outside of it or do too much. Playing with those guys is great. No matter what line I’m on, I feel comfortable with [them]. Hopefully I can continue to play that way.”