By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Ryan Spooner’s future in Boston could be in doubt.
Spooner, 25, has not lived up to the expectations attached to him when the Bruins drafted him in the second round (45th overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft. After signing an entry-level contract with the B’s in 2012, he cracked the roster during the 2012-13 season and has since compiled just 117 points in 214 games with a minus-15 rating.
Spooner didn’t improve much after the Bruins ousted Claude Julien as head coach, scoring 12 points in 24 games with a minus-4 under newly minted head coach Bruce Cassidy. Spooner was scratched from the Bruins lineup for the final two games of the team’s playoff series against the Ottawa Senators.
His replacement, Sean Kuraly, scored twice in Game 5 to lift the Bruins to a double-OT win.
Spooner is a restricted free agent who is eligible for salary arbitration this offseason, which leaves his future with the Bruins up in the air. When GM Don Sweeney addressed reporters in his season-ending press conference on Thursday, he was asked if Spooner is part of the team’s future.
Sweeney didn’t rule out a return for Spooner, but was mostly non-committal.
“To be determined,” Sweeney said of Spooner’s future in Boston. “We’ll look at our roster and what our options are. [Spooner] has options as well as an RFA. We’ll have discussions with his representatives and see where there’s a fit.”
[graphiq id=”e2LqkGE5c3z” title=”Ryan Spooner 2016-17 Postseason Profile” width=”600″ height=”809″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/e2LqkGE5c3z” ]
Sweeney went on to acknowledge Spooner’s offensive struggles down the stretch of the 2016-17 regular season. The forward’s issues in his own end have been well-documented to this point. Sweeney also complimented the play of Kuraly and Noel Acciari in the Ottawa series, chalking up Cassidy’s moves to put them into the lineup as “just decisions, personnel-wise, that Bruce decided to make.”
The GM did offer a fair amount of praise for Spooner, despite his struggles and ultimate scratching from the lineup.
“Ryan’s a talented player,” said Sweeney. “He’s had a lot of success. Our power play is better when he plays as well as he’s capable of playing, and he can really be a good complement to our group.”
Spooner’s 15 power play assists in 2016-17 were tied with Brad Marchand for second on the team, behind only Torey Krug (19).
Although Spooner isn’t costing the Bruins much money – even on an RFA or arbitration deal, he’s not likely to earn much more than the $950,000 he made last season – but in five seasons, he hasn’t provided much value to the Bruins beyond his occasional playmaking on the power play. Sweeney said earlier in the presser that the Bruins will look to improve the forward groups in the middle of the lineup, which implies that Spooner’s role on the team is in question.
Whether Spooner remains in a Bruins uniform for next season is unclear, but he is certainly not a guy Sweeney would commit to long-term.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.